November 07, 2008

Rejection: A Small Ars Poetica, Sort Of

“Though the manuscript you sent has not found a place with us…
                                                                                                    --The Editors”

Well, here’s another one. And like the others before it (are they folding-out
siblings or mere carbon copies?), it’s dressed in nice finery, with shadowy chain-
lines running throughout—just like the ones in our elegant stationary or in elderly
tomes, so believable.—And how we believed it, believe me, and so rightly feared,

shaking inside our booths before its austerity and the well structured speeches
it always pulled out of its inside vest pocket and read out like a sentence
artfully spooled in a single paragraph working smoothly as plumbing, which
left us so weakened, like those lead dreams of our youth. But we’re so far

past it now, taking it as no more than a commercial thing—like those worn PSAs
that accuse us and warn us—and so address it by leaving chocolate cookies on
the coffee table for whenever it may next arrive: snacks we dispense as glib
tokens. But recently, there’s this interesting spin-off: A maddening drive

to write a history of things as they are—something I do in closed quarters,
pretending the mercury-vapor light is a kerosene lamp whose smoky chimney
sends out a burnt oily smell.—I think that’s why the tight lines keep breaking in
odd places before reaching the right margin, depicting you as a fair damsel

chained by love inside an ogre’s keepsake box; and me a sad crowbar
bent in night light in the effort and hope of actually prying you out.

—David Tipton

Posted by dwaber at November 7, 2008 12:45 PM