July 11th, 2002

abstract butterfly

The Discharge of the Home Guard

His company mobilized in quiet retreats,
the captains systematically discharging
battle-hardened soldiers, and sending them
home without arms or pension.

His cubicle proved to be one more picket,
Broken down in some rear guard action.
His co-workers were sorted into the dead,
the wounded, and those reduced in force.

Wars are lost; armies retreat--
but he had watched generals with golden epaulettes
looting the quartermaster, raiding the rations.
His appetite for combat is gone.
  • Current Music
    The Cranberries, "You Mystify Me"
abstract butterfly

Crape myrtles thrive in heat

The wilting heat plays its annual part today in giving us that "Texas summer" feel. Everywhere I walk or drive, crepe myrtles (I prefer the "e" spelling, but I think that "crape" is now in vogue) are in bloom--reds and pinks and whites. Things bloom and thrive in sweltering heat. I remember being grade school age, playing without a second thought in 99 degree 99 percent humidity days--conditions attractive only to bermuda grass and non-stop cicada call. When we lived in the Crescenta Valley north of Los Angeles, July and August brought out the oleander. Oleander has a literary quality, being absolutely gorgeous and heat-loving, but also a deadly poison.

Collapse )
  • Current Music
abstract butterfly

Art beyond circulation

I picked up Poet's Marketplace 2002 tonight at the bookstore. The publication itself is far more impressive than it was years ago; a huge number of outlets, a decent number of web resources. The poetry publications themselves are perhaps even more tiny than I remembered. It is kinda cool that "Poetry" can cite its 1915 publication of Prufrock as a "sample verse" for aspiring submitters, and its 300 printed out of 90,000 poems submitted makes it more selective than Yale Law School. But its circulation appears to be 12,000. This tells you all you need to know--thousands of people submit tens of thousands of poems but the circulation is less than 15,000. An RV magazine, by contrast, has a circulation of 45,000 or so. Numerous of the small magazines have circulations roughly the same as my little self-published chess poem book. Each little magazine covered has a little editorial blurb of what one should submit. One editor says it best: "self publish". I got a chuckle out of the self-importance of some editors' blurbs. Call me Jerry Lewis in a world filled with Sinclair Lewises. The "Bellboy" was on the TV this morning, and one could do worse. I am still going to do some submissions to some of these mags, but now I remember what I had long ago learned--there is no "there" there in poetry. This cooled somewhat my reverse snobbery, though--even the largest scale is, well, small scale. Why look down on folks who are struggling in small ways, just because they have universities or grants? I could have my own magazine, if I just wanted to start one, right smack dab in poet's market. My criteria: anything remotely smacking of any poet I've loved since the beats is verboten . I want something new, fresh, and legible! I'll bet I could even find readers! But what readers could be as cool as the patient folks here at LJ?

Everybody does indeed want to be validated through "official publication"--I want it desperately myself sometimes. But I am afraid I am going to have to be my own "artist trading card" in life--Topps is not going to put my face on a Poet Card like Mickey Mantle had.

Thus self-empowered, I did two of my 4 nervousness.org poetry exchanges. I am so happy that 4 people took up my exchange from yesterday. One was ab, the woman from the Netherlands who sent me a charming dark-tinged postcardx thing a few months ago.

I'll send her "Choice Regretted", which I posted in LJ and now sits in memory. I wrote a new poem for "susie" on nervousness.org. Maybe I should start my own distance learning school---The Academy of Hasty Poetry. I could offer degrees based on words per minute.

Let me tell you, I can badly decorate an envelope. One has several green vines crayoned on the front, along with pictures of DNA, a red faced man, and atoms on the back. The other has a picture of my face on it, even plainer than my own plain, middle aged face, and thistles and weeds simply sketched on the back. I have learned from outsider artists that you eliminate all misunderstanding of what you are literally drawing by labeling everything. This allows all the misunderstanding to take place on the metaphoric level. But hey, life changes...babelfish.com is actually trying to run a corporation now, and I had to use google to find a Dutch-English machine translator!

I want to pull my projects into shape, get more work done at work, and be a production dynamo! As I edit this, an e mail arrives to offer me vitality, which is a much more credible offer than anatomical alteration or miraculous investments in failed companies, my usual spam fare. scottm, I've got my next few weekends clear, and we have vibrations, rattles and hums to record! What's your schedule?