(Yes, I took the photograph ... I don't remember where or when, exactly ... but it's mine, all mine)
In case you've noticed my recent absence - oh, you didn't? - well, anyway ...
Phyllis and I have been busy recently, really, really busy, trying to pare down our holdings from all the years we've shared this journey, in preparation for a move.
I'll spare you to goriest of the details, but imagine, if you will ... moving from the seven rooms-plus, on four levels ... Brimm Manor ... that we've shared for some 30 years ... to a three-room apartment ... Brimm Minor, I suppose it might be called.
And there you have it. Meanwhile ...
One of the early things I learned about sending my poems off into the company of strangers ... on the chance that some very busy person might pause to read, to savor, to accept something I'd written ... is that there's an awful lot of rejection involved.
In fact, unless you have editors writing to you, begging you to submit something, it's mostly rejection.
Not long after my first acceptance, I thought I was having a particularly good run of luck, so I did the math and found I had an acceptance rate of 12 per cent.
Of course, while achieving that "hot streak," I was also having an 88 per cent rate of rejection.
"What'll You Have?" was probably written during one of those intervals when no math was necessary to tell me my rejection rate was high, high, high.
How nice it would be, I thought, if, instead of sending my poems all over creation, I could just have a little shop on a quiet little street ... a place where editors could drop in when they felt the need for a poem.
I would have poems on the wall, on the shelves, in racks ... all over the place ... even "teetering in the back room of my mind." I would, of course, hope that visitors would find something they simply couldn't live without.
I have yet to realize my dream of becoming the proprietor of a poetry boutique, catering primarily to editors, but at least this one little poem apparently did make a favorable impression on the poetry editor at ByLine, and there I was, way back in '96, dancing on the table again. How sweet it was!
WHAT'LL YOU HAVE?
What would you like?
I have these
written in the nights
of my despair,
a few over there
when I felt better.
A love poem?
Not much in demand
these days, but I may
be able to find one
somewhere on the shelf.
No picks among these?
I have more written,
on the back racks,
aging a bit
before they travel,
and, of course,
stacks and stacks
in the back room
of my mind.
Today's word: teetering