So I started working on next week’s shoot-out. Things that start with “M”. Like my name -- Mark! But before you know it, my mind morphs madly into mentally meandering over many…
So I go out to the mailbox…the mmmmmailbox….and there is a beatup letter in there with the address handwritten in my own handwriting. One of those instantly recognizable SASE’s (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelopes) some of us include with submissions of things for publication to cover the postage of having the rejection slips sent back.
The only surprise here was that I haven’t submitted anything anywhere for almost a year. The other surprise was that is was not a standard rejection but a notification that the Rockhurst Review is going to publish a poem I wrote in 2005.
I’m pleased, of course. Acceptance always feels better than rejection. In fact, feeling accepted if probably the main reason poets spend money on postage – because there is no monetary reason – ooh. Money. Starts with “M”!
But also felt a little strange because after a few years of writing a lot of it, it has been on the back burner since last summer. Getting an acceptance made me feel somehow guilty. These guys think I’m a poet. But I’m more of a photographer. Or really a blogger. But I’ve been thinking I need to pull the banjo or the guitar out of the closet. Maybe I could try songwriting. And I’ve always wanted to act. Or do stand-up comedy (although Karen thinks I do that all the time unless I’m asleep). So many things to do in this world!!! It’s frustrating at times.
But I remind myself to be grateful for an overactive mind. It’s really ironic too. Because back in 1976 just before I started going to A.A. and stopped being drunk 24 hours a day, my biggest fear about sobriety was that I’d be bored. What could I do to fill all the hours of the day if I couldn’t drink and smoke pot? I had also fallen into the Jimi Hendrix Dylan Thomas Jackson Pollack myth that creativity stemmed from alcohol and drugs. What a joke.
So anyhow, here is the poem that Rockhurst Review liked. I actually had included it as a filler in the group of four poems I sent them. I liked the other three poems better, but what do I know? I had written in 2005, probably after a day of frustrating honey-do work around the house --
The clatter of buckles, snaps, and rivets
from the dryer’s rotating drum beats rhythm
behind us, as our hands dance together
in the soft warm pile of fabrics.
T-shirts laid flat, palms gently smoothing
resistant wrinkles before folding once again,
creasing the arms, then again. Quality control.
Knit shirts and pants hung still damp on hangers
the way your mother taught.
Towels and sheets in letter-fold packages
Socks matched up and folded once
Except for mine.
Some identity must be preserved;
I roll the elastic in the ankle down
securing them like soft grenades,
and I simply grab my briefs in wads,
even the one’s you’ve already folded
like napkins, stuffing them in their drawer.
And you have secrets, too,
the mysterious fabric outfits with frills
I’m not allowed to touch.
But mostly we work as one, laughing
at artifacts dug out of Brian’s pockets,
washed and dried notes with names and numbers
of girls we don’t know, gum wrappers,
and why, you ask, is there
a cigarette lighter in his cargo pants?
I sometimes wonder how much straighter
your creases were before my clothes joined yours,
and often I can’t understand
how I ever dressed at all.