This past week I have been digging into my archives, both on paper and online, to unearth poetry I have published out into the greater world. Unfortunately, some of my best work has gone offline with journals either folding or starting over from scratch and I am without screen captures of them as they appeared. Without being overly sentimental, I am trying to catch what I can of what is left out there and do a better job of archiving my work in the future. That is the positive portion of this exercise. There is indeed a future. I have found that writing is a great deal of what I have felt was missing in my life lately and I am making a concerted effort to get back to it while not letting other creative ventures fall away. It will be quite a balancing act, but not one I am unfamiliar with.
Before I do anything else, here is a capture of the first poetry I was ever actually paid for. Yes, real money, by check. Most poetry journals pay in copies if they are printed and if online, not at all. But then again, the prestige of being selected for some is fairly great when hundreds or thousands of other writers are competing for the same spots. I never did cash that check, and I never did get around to framing it as proof I was doing something I loved for money, but here is the work that got me remuneration. (From Issue 16, Winter 2006 of Ducts at ducts.org)
Second up is a piece from an online magazine I really revered over the years, Eclectica. There are not really words to express the emotions roiling up when I found out they had chosen one of my favorite pieces of work for their October/November 2005 issue. I pulled this screen capture but I somehow wish I had every issue of their journal in print in my own library.
As for the other work that is missing either temporarily or permanently from journals such as Horse Less Review, Pettycoat Relaxer, and nthposition, I will find the hard copies somewhere and keep fingers crossed I had not edited them them at publication. But life is a road map and the best miles are yet to be routed. And in light of that, I am unveiling new work I have been sitting on for a few days. I can never just throw something right out there until it feels right and this one finally does. Hope it resonates a bit with you.
On Lightning Ridge
On Lightning Ridge, the people wore gingham
honestly with no pretense or airs
The bright checkers flitted in and out
of sunlight patches, butterflies
in hand sewn folds, as if they would
light on the ground and slowly sip from
drops of errant lemonade.
On certain days, when the air was
camphor blue, the checks lay lazy
on beeswaxed floors, dust motes
whirling to the keening of doves
daydreams put to music on forgotten
phonographs as lovers caressed the