Archive for June 2nd, 2009

When a poem rights a person

A while ago I asked you which Things I should submit to Offshoots, the biennial anthology of the Geneva Writers’ Group. Then, rather than deciding what to submit based on the results, I submitted the two poems which my printer had managed to print before succumbing to persistent paper jams. I guess it’s official enough now that I can announce that ɘloЯ was accepted. However, the editors thought the last line could be more interesting, and wanted a title which was unlikely to cause typographic problems. So I renamed it to ‘Role Reversal’ and changed the last stanza. This is the new version of the poem:

One ev’’ning I went to the pub for a beer
and later went home to my bed.
As I went off to sleep I was feeling quite queer,
and the world turned around in my head.

The pieces of bread dipped us humans in cheese,
the cheese made by cows from our milk.
Early worms got the birds, while they made their pongees
from our swaddling, and christened it silk.

As letters sent men they would each seal a kiss,
which itself stole a beau, what a turnoff.
And Soviet Russia was in all of this,
poking fun at our man Yakov Smirnoff.

The horses on knightback were chased by the steeple,
convinced they should set the truth free.
And wars fought in soldiers then started the people,
till their shoes walked a mile in me.

Then science was checked by remains prehistoric:
the reptiles who warmed up the air
and caused the extinction of things meteoric
while the common were sought by the rare.

At some point, I think I awoke my alarm,
but I don’t know quite when in the tale,
for certain events have a true-to-life charm,
for a man who is drunk by his ale.

I’m not sure when this volume of Offshoots will be published, but I hope you’ll all rush out to buy them when they do, and then come home disappointed because unless you live in Geneva, you’re unlikely to find any. I’ll probably send some copies to friends. I’ve read previous volumes and they’re full of interesting writing. I probably shouldn’t compliment it too much, though, since my poem is apparently just as good, and one kind of poetic conceit is enough for me.

It’s been a while since I’ve had anything published; indeed, it had been a while since I’d written anything. I plan to submit a few more of my favourite Things to various appropriate publications. I’m also working on a few other spinoffs from this project, so there should be more updates soon. This has certainly worked; I keep coming up with ideas for things to write, and then not writing them because I have no deadline.


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