Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8: Rejection All 'Round, New Poem

Yes, it was a good first day of vacation.

My son let me sleep until 7 a.m.  That may not sound like much, but when you're used to rising at 4 a.m., that's an extra three hours of sleep.  I got to have ice cream with a good friend, and I drove my daughter to her dance lesson, where she learned she's going to be dancing a solo this year in competition.  She's a little excited.

When I got back home, I checked my e-mail, and I found out that my friend from the university and his wife can't accompany my family to camp on Thursday.  In the same batch of e-mails, I found a rejection from the magazine Black Warrior Review.  No big surprise there really.  BWR is pretty experimental, publishes language poems, the stuff that's very in vogue right now.  My prediction is that those kinds of poems are going to be pretty forgettable ten or 15 years from now.  However, double rejection never sits well.

I just got back from a budget meeting at church, talking about new boilers and furnaces.  It was about as exciting as attending a meeting of the local chapter of Young Republicans.

I do have a new poem for today.  I've been struggling with it for the last few hours.  I have to let it go.  I think it's done.  For now.

Saint Marty, signing out.

New Poem Day

With its August heat,
Its swallowtails, rain-starved
Grass, cumulus sky, its lack
Of wind outside my office window,
Today seems like a new poem day.
It could be the bags of clothes
I dropped off at Good Will,
Shirts and pants and socks too small
For my almost teen daughter,
Who discovered two hairs
In her armpit last night,
Took them as a talisman
For the upcoming school year,
Changes about to burst open
In her body like tulip bulbs.
It could also be these quiet minutes,
When I sit with pen, notebook,
Scribble syllables, lines, search
The details of daylight for meaning:
Flat tire on my son's stroller,
Brown spot on my banana
Where I dropped it this morning,
Accidental violence to its ripe
Curve, a bruise so deep
I contemplate amputation of the lower
half.  I can't stand the imperfection
In this fruit, want it to be yellow,
White, untouched, smooth
As a toddler's calf.  It could also
Be the argument I had yesterday
With my father, when he yelled
About Democrats, I yelled
About Republicans, he slammed
A plate in the sink so hard
It shattered, sliced his thumb,
Or the guilt I've felt today,
Like a sinus infection in my nose,
Throat, raw as January ice.  This new poem
Could bandage my father's hand,
Return us to the entropy of late summer,
But he doesn't understand,
Won't read or accept my words
To heal his wounded flesh.
Instead, he'll crumple up this day,
Toss it into the garbage.
Like an empty beer can.
A greasy napkin.

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