Editor’s Lament

I gathered my thoughts in lieu
of other sustenance. They were
like craneflies to a phoebe:
mostly legs & wings.
I kept pausing to clear my throat.
I had no company but the stick
the stock the stack of unlovely poems.
And I who had been
such an awkward ugly kid,
I who knew nothing about the fine
points of grammar or literary theory,
marked them up with
a cheap ballpoint pen
and emailed rejection notes
to each of their hopeful authors:
Didn’t make it we’re sorry
best of luck in placing them
elsewhere…

I chewed as carefully as I could,
but one or two nevertheless
did not go gently. Ten hours later
there’s still a feeble fluttering
in the pit of my stomach.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

14 Comments


  1. Oy. Don’t know how you do it.

    Great poem! Love the craneflies in the craw.

    Reply

    1. Oh, that didn’t strike you as too grotesque? (I mean, obviously I wanted it to be a little grotesque.)

      Yeah, it’s hard. Only part of putting out a magazine I don’t enjoy. It’s easier when it’s a good writer who simply sent you something that doesn’t fit or is a little sub-par, of course, and you can tell them in all sincerity that you hope to see more from them. And fortunately a lot of our rejections at qarrtsiluni do fall into that category.

      Reply

  2. No rejection from this quarter: so much to love. “the stick / the stock the stack” works so well.

    Reply

    1. Thanks. I tried to work “stuck” into the poem or title, too, but it didn’t fit. So it had to remain implicit.

      Reply

      1. And craneflies are like insect storks. (Also implicit to (perhaps only) this reader.)

        Reply

        1. Ha! O.K. Yeah, I’m not sure too many readers will make that leap.

          Reply

    1. Thanks. I should’ve looked through my files for an appropriate photo; I must have one somewhere.

      Reply

  3. Metaphoric Images

    I had no problem with the flies;
    Easy as ABCD.
    The word I hastened to look up
    Was obviously Phoebe.

    The image of a woman
    Crunching all those crispy critters
    Would never ever fit the bill
    As something else that twitters.

    Eureka! Yes! I found the thing.
    It was indeed a bird.
    All hail thee Wikipedia
    For giving me the word.

    Alas, my ornithology’s
    Quite limited in scope
    But Negativa positively
    Gives a gleam of hope.

    Reply

    1. Glad you took it the time to look it up (and write some light verse about it — fun!). I had thought of substituting “flycatcher” for “phoebe,” but somehow it just didn’t sound as good.

      Thanks as always for stopping by, Joan. Your comments add real value to a blog.

      Reply

  4. Nah. Phoebe is perfect. No need to dumb it down for the ornithology challenged. Hey, I stop by every day, Dave, but your more poetically schooled commenters seem to say all the good things before I get there. Soo if I can’t play the game that well I occasionally decide to dazzle with fancy footwork. (Grin)
    BTW, if that was autobiographical, I don’t know how awkward you were as a teen, (weren’t we all?) but your kid pics in “Escape From the Mountain” are adorable.

    Reply

    1. No need to apologize for being a lurker. I don’t comment at most of the blogs I visit, either, usually also because I can’t think of anything original to say. So when I mean “stop by,” I mean, stop by the comments thread — kinda like coming up on the porch for a chat versus strolling by and looking at the garden. Nice of you to vouch for my cuteness as a kid. How much did my mom pay you to say that?

      Reply

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