Thursday, June 11, 2009

To My Two Daughters, After a Rejection Notice

This was written when i received a rejection of a poem i was submitted in the early 1990's. i read it occasionally to remind me the process for mainstream publishing is screwy if one uses good logic. Someday when i pursue publication of a book or my writing in a magazine, i will keep this in mind to help me maintain my perspective.

To My Two Daughters, After a Rejection Notice

i am not a handsome man:
pleasant looking, some say,
certainly not looks
to cause ladies to swoon;
approaching fifty, swoonability
is no longer required;
i am old enough to recognize
for what it isn't.
my journey is more than halfway there;
i must look to impart what i've learned to those that follow:
tough to do when those who follow
are distaff offspring, under different rules, different times,
foreign to me.

i feel somewhat discarded by the world today.
a woman playing god
dressed in black L. A. fashion,
not hiding hair dye and wrinkles,
chose to write me
a rejection
rather than telling me
what i wrote was not what she wished to sell.

it is the times in which we must live:
form over substance,
sales over quality.
"you are too personal," she said.
my emotions do ride upon my cuff.

i do not fault her for being a product of our time;
i find i am in some time warp,
unable to achieve her objectivity
while blaspheming those who unconditionally
wrap themselves around any cause.
"Is that form over substance too?" i query.

Daughters, spread across the breadth of my life,
what can i pass on to you
not only worthwhile,
but something you can comprehend?

Compulsion is a lovely yet dangerous thing:
little girl posing as an adult;
ride moderation into satisfaction;
don't underrate compassion.

Child, who cannot yet speak these words i write,
learn to love learning
yet keep your spirit of adventure.

That's it.
Not terribly erudite, i'm afraid,
rather shallow,
for i know
you must learn by yourselves with only my support,
as i have done
with my parents
in spite of their effort to do more.

Yet you nor they have had
some well-intentioned woman write to say
you (or they) were too personal to be acceptable
for publication.

take these chains from my heart and set me free
joshua won the battle of jericho and the walls came tumbling down
rock of ages
clef for me
let me hide myself in thee
let the water and the blood
from thy wounded side which flowed
wash away my sins
and set me free -
doo wah doo wah doo wah ditty,
talk about the girls in new york city.

Bonita, California
March 17, 1991