More New Old Poems: A Tribute to Women in REDzine

Submitting poetry to literary journals, magazines, and websites can be quite a slog. There will always be more rejections than acceptances. In my email, I have a folder for each. Here are some quick, skewed stats: 68 Acceptance-related messages to 95 Rejection-related messages. For a slightly more accurate figure, how about my Submittable account: 6 Acceptances to 44 Rejections. Mind you, I’m not moaning. If any aspiring poets actually happen to read this, I want to encourage them. No matter how many rejections you get, don’t stop submitting. An acceptance is bound to come eventually.

And when an acceptance, like the one I got from Women in REDzine back in 2011, finally does come around, it makes such an enormous difference. For me, it provides the confidence I need to keep fighting the proverbial good fight, despite all of the grotesque paper cuts (there really aren’t many of those, what with all the digital submissions). For that reason, I just wanted to thank Women in REDzine for their support. As far as I can tell, they have been dormant since 2012, but while they were active, they certainly did some good. RIP.

Below, I’ve included the three poems they featured: Crisis, Sukhothai, and Go.

Crisis

Shards of sun come tumbling
down, cascading through clouds,
piercing stained glass windows’
martyrs, casting shadows,
breaking vaulted cathedral
ceilings, falling giving voices
to flat angels calling, singing
praises to nothing tangible,
yet so much in spears of light.
So soon we all forget, push and
shuffle, shouldering through grey
crowds, clouds promise rain
but some days light pours down-
cast from above out of love, out of
space, or great tears torn
from a forlorn face?

 

Sukhothai

Down the road, an old man makes his way
through the pre-dawn cool on crutches.
One leg gone below the knee with
cloud-white hair and sun-baked skin, weathered,
he wears his age like battered Buddhas; broken
statues missing heads, arms, entire torsos—remnants
of a bygone capital’s glory—victims of war, theft,
accidents, neglect and time, implying
a former state in which they all where whole.

 

Go

I
What can it mean to have your heart
in the right place? The power of proximity:
nothing closer to fire than ash
or the warmth of breath on your neck
before a kiss you don’t expect.
Sometimes, to create and destroy are
so tangled, slow dancing,
I hardly see the difference.
She always called my touch gentle,
but next to hers, it was a car crash.

II
A stretch of coast subtly pulled apart
by arriving and departing waves;
my reflections in passing trains’
windows flickering and gone:
the interplay between moments
and eternity. Abandoned
structures remind us going back
and returning are not the same.
Preoccupation with the absence.
Can we keep anything?

III
Desperately trying to map the boundaries
and chart the mad terrain between
content and resigned. Always anxious
for signs of change and familiar landmarks.
Restlessness, a hunger for direction.
No worse fate than stagnation, except
perhaps abstraction. Nodding off
at the wheel and singing to stay awake.

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