I am excited to see my poem, “Poll Watching: Alabama, 2020,” up at Third Estate Art‘s online journal, Quaranzine. Many thanks to the editors.
I wrote about Third Estate Art and the poem here. I will only add that my day of poll-watching was long and very depressing. I had naively hoped that the yam’s mishandling of the pandemic would turn off some of his supporters, but no. Indeed, even though the Dems won that election, the threats to our democracy are by no means over. Nor is the pandemic, and very little is being done on climate change. What is the matter with our politicians of both parties? Do they not go outside? These are rhetorical questions. I know it’s just greed and the desire for power.
But enough about my country. Let’s go to France and then do A Review:
I am happy to announce that after a one-word revision, Editor Matt Potter has accepted my poem, “Snow Globe,” for a love-themed anthology to be published by Pure Slush. This is the second time I have worked with an Australian editor, and both were exceptionally sensitive and caring about details in the poem. This leads me to conclude that Australians take their poetry seriously, or maybe they just don’t rush through things the way the rest of the world does. Whatever the case, the last word of the poem is probably better for Editor Potter’s suggestions, and I am grateful for them.
This poem was one of three inspired by my unpleasant encounter with a narcissist (in an earlier post I said there were two poems, but that was wrong). One of the more hurtful aspects of relationships with narcissists is future faking, when they give you a glimpse of possible futures with them in order to control you. The pain of discovering you were believing in a manipulative delusion is what this poem is about.
Luckily, I was able to process my belated understanding of the future faking I had experienced in the context of a loving marriage and a reasonably happy family, because I had moved on. But although I feel empowered by this understanding now, I still harbor a horrified fascination with the fair number of seemingly ordinary people I know who are manipulative, entitled, and low on empathy.
I am pleased that Editors Katie Lynn Johnston and Darcy Dillon accepted my poem, “Mercy,” for the October first edition of Mulberry Literary. I wrote the poem, which compares the speaker’s initial limited notion of mercy to the situation of a hermit crab grown too big for its house, in response to a Unitarian Universalist service about mercy. As I recall, we were supposed to do something other than write a poem, but I’ve never been great at following directions, especially if I can get some written work out of going my own way, and Unitarian Universalists never mind mild rule-breaking anyway.
My mother’s death, my constant, stressful hostility toward the quislings in my country, and my experiences with a few other individuals have all recently led me to try to overcome my defensive response to the toxic actions of others. Although I don’t believe it is possible to move on together with people who do not take responsibility for the harm they inflict, I have worked at transforming my partially suppressed rage to understanding, an openness to sympathy, and a greater sense of responsibility for my own toxic behavior.
So that’s what this poem is about. Again, thanks to the Mulberry Literary editors. I’m looking forward to the poem’s appearance and to reading some of the material already up on the site.
Editor David L. O’Nan, over at Fevers of the Mind, recently accepted a poem I wrote about Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” But he did not stop there. When I expressed an interest in being interviewed by him, he immediately sent me questions to respond to, and now my “Quick 9” interview is up at Fevers. Besides sending the questions and posting the interview, Editor O’Nan took the time to find images of the books I mentioned as being influences. It was fun to see the jacket of A Paper Zoo again. Thanks to Editor O’Nan for the opportunity to talk about what made me the writer I am and to plug my books, especially The Jesus Wars.
So if you’d like to know a bit more about my hyper-intellectual TV-less childhood, my love of British wit, and my literary struggle against fascism, head on over.
If not, here’s A Review for you anyway. I’m sorry about the 50-second false start last time. My son left it on his page, and I posted it without realizing it was the wrong one. So here is the actual Lupin review:
I have now written twenty-two poems based on the text from cans. As I said in my last post on this subject, I hope to write twenty-five. Also in my last post, you can read about my perspective on this work, as well as what I think of the two now up at Cacti Fur.
Again, many thanks to Editor Jim Thompson for his ongoing appreciation of my work. I invite you to go over and check out my poems, as well as the many others he has posted, which tend to feature strong narrative voices and a wry disappointment with life.
I am excited that Jasmine DJ, at What the Writers Wrote Podcast, has accepted my horror story, “The Pussy Hat,” and will be reading it on May 31st. I really like this story, but it has been hard to place, and I’m not sure why, though politics and feminism are not exactly staples of horror.
I did get some unsolicited feedback from a place that gives that with its rejections, and I found it somewhat flummoxing. The editor alluded to the protagonist as “an ordinary guy,” when I was under the impression that he was quite horrible–that is, if he was “ordinary,” our “ordinary” has gone horribly wrong. Anyway, the editor thought the basis for the monster was flawed. I can understand that because the basis for the monster is its manifestation of the protagonist’s horrific flaws. Obviously, if you see the protagonist as “an ordinary guy,” you will not perceive any basis for the monster and will flail around guessing and blame the story.
Suffice to say, I don’t think it’s any accident that a male editor rejected the piece, and then a female DJ/curator accepted it. But I would be interested to hear what any listeners to the May 31st podcast think about this or other issues connected with the story.
In the meantime, here is the first of our reviews of Lupin, which we liked a lot.