**EDIT: “the angry boy” was also accepted for publication as a reprint, and is now up at Ekphrastic Review (Dec, 2017). Many thanks to Lorette Luzajic! Head on over to ER for some wonderful poems, all of them art-inspired.**
This poem first appeared in RHP Issue 33 (2010). It was one of the first where I received an acceptance that then included a fairly substantial revision via editorial collaboration. Thanks to RHP for the confidence and support!
the angry boy
the angry boy with one hand
will cut you up if you’re not careful
or just because he feels like it
and don’t you look him square
unless you want to fight or fuck
the cogs and screws of pity
just don’t move things around here
The concept was inspired by a self-portrait taken in 2009. A previous version of the poem included the phrase “…lifts the smooth blunt / hammer of his rage…” *:
* Please note, I am not an amputee nor can speak for those who are, nor do I desire position myself in any way that could be construed as marginalizing or ableist. The photo above has not been retouched — it is a trick of the shadow captured by chance that inspired a creative moment for me, moments which arise out of a desire to be more empathetic toward my fellow humans and the variations of the human experience, and to tell deeper and truer stories as best I can.
Accountability check-in! But first, a recap from my first #100rejections post:
I have decided to set the literary goal of accumulating 100 rejections this calendar year to facilitate sustained efforts toward publication. Submitting multiple poems to one market and having them all rejected counts as one rejection. Having any number of poems in the packet accepted means that submission counts as an acceptance. I’m aiming for 120 submissions by September 30 to accomplish this
February, 2017 — 7 Rejections, 2 Acceptances, 8 New Submissions Year to Date, 20 / 4 /30
Hermeneutic Chaos Press, Rejection*
Animal: A Beast of a Literary Journal, Rejection
West Branch, Rejection*
Memoryhouse Magazine, Acceptance
32 Poems, Rejection*
*The journals marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy my secondary literary goal of submitting to as many top-tier journals as possible. See my January Totals post for details.
Poem about growth and becoming with a wine metaphor up at Inklette, Issue #4. Lots of great stuff up there, for their first themed issue. Take a look!
Special thanks to Amanda O’Donoughue Photography for lending her incredible talent to this project by sharing one of her photos to display with the poem. You don’t know it yet, but you need to see her photos.
Peacock Journal, in collaboration with Little Red Tree Publishing, announced today that they have put out an inaugural anthology of poetry…and I am honored and thrilled to report that one of my poems from the collection of 5 they published online in December was selected to be included in this beautiful journal.
Seeking publication through traditional channels means you’re going to get rejections. I have decided to set the literary goal of accumulating 100 rejections this calendar year to facilitate sustained efforts toward publication. For the purposes of this goal, submitting multiple poems to one market and having them all rejected counts as one rejection. Having any number of poems in the packet accepted means that submission counts as an acceptance .
To stay transparent, accountable, and perhaps to help inspire other writers out there to share their art, I’ll be posting monthly updates on my progress. I’m sort of fascinated at the internal response to this challenge — it has been invigorating, and has definitely made me cherish the “No” responses all the more.
Logistically, I’m aiming to submit 120 times by September 30 (allowing for a response time of 3 months for the market to notify me of their decision).
January, 2017 — 13 Rejections, 2 Acceptances, 22 New Submissions
Love & Ensuing Madness (Rat’s Ass Review), Acceptance
Hermeneutic Chaos Press, Rejection*
Threepenny Review, Rejection*
Eyedrum Periodically, Acceptance
Whale Road Review, Rejection
THRUSH Poetry Journal, Rejection*
Plume Poetry, Rejection*
The Golden Key, Rejection
Synaesthesia Magazine, Rejection
Baltimore Review Contest, Rejection
Nanotext Contest, Rejection
*The journals marked with an asterisk (*) satisfy my secondary literary goal of submitting to as many top-tier journals as possible. I’m going by the imperfect but convenient standard according to statistics recorded in Duotrope, the site offering comprehensive databases of markets to submit work to combined with submission tracking. They collate robust response statistics and from these data, create a variety of “Top 100 ____” Lists, including things like fastest response times, friendliest and most approachable, etc. I’m gauging “top-tier” based on the Duotrope listing of the Most Challenging markets (lowest acceptance ratios) and No Acceptances Recorded lists. I’m using their statistics to help me determine what markets are likely the most competitive to get into, and therefore more desirable to have on my tear sheet to build my credibility and reputation as a poet.
My poem “My Cunt, or Cleanup in Aisle 3” is now up at Rat’s Ass Review as part of their special Love & Ensuing Madness collection. This is a fun little extended metaphor piece I wrote on a lark one day years ago. I’ve always loved it and never thought I would find a home for it — happy to say that’s no longer the case. Thank you, Rick of Rat’s Ass! Here’s the main link to the full collection (scroll down to view all once you get to the page, or browse the list of poets).
Catching up on referencing some of my earlier published work — “The Secret to Befriending Men” and “The Babel Tree” first appeared up at Strong Verse in 2010. Thank you, Strong Verse!
The Secret to Befriending Men
downturned eyes a comfort;
Only the guileless lure —
a whispering croon
unmasked in purpose —
will call him to you.
And when he shows himself,
don’t hold him, but welcome him, loosely —
he’ll come at first by starts
to the acorn meat
crumbling golden in your marble palm,
the cutting shell all gone.
Be true and gentlepatient —
for now he’s downwind, watching.
You can’t smell him,
but he’s close.
The Babel Tree
A grisled tree sits on the spot you were once,
a requiem in the choreography of its limbs.
Leaves like questions lift and pluck at the sky.
I whistle —
the dog comes,
loping out of the long grass,
brown like a gnome and suddenly I am a sprite of the wood, still and small against the forest of this tombstone oak, and every runnel in the bark spells a message in some glyphic language I never learned but half-remember. And I wonder, if I whistle for you, will you awaken and come loping out of the long grass, too, no beckoned dog, but a homeward, homesick man with verbless heart and fairy-ring eyes?