Sunday, January 23, 2022

EZ Poetry, Busted Bubble, a Vision of Vision

I was delighted to get a surprise call this week from my long-time poetry mentor. Long story short, he encouraged me to start sending out work again, so the plan of publishing new works on this blog has now transformed into a plan to write and submit one new poem a month. I’ll still post a previously published poem once a month, but I’m going to save the new work for sending out. It feels like a strange journey to be embarking on again after all this time. I can’t pinpoint exactly why and when I stopped sending out submissions, but at some point, I just lost patience and got sick of the gatekeepers jealously guarding their insular little lit mags that are only read by a niche group of other poets, all bowing to each other in their exclusive mutual admiration circle. I want to write poetry for the people, man. Seriously though, I never had any patience for the snobbery and academic parochialism that pervades the poetry world. There is a reason why most non-poets are fearful and distrustful of poetry, or just plain find it incomprehensible. First off, the way it’s taught in school is awful. For people who do not naturally resonate with metaphorical language, bashing them over the head with a “gotcha” about the meaning of a poem is just cruel, not to mention unimaginative. And these weird little “schools” that proliferate for the sole purpose of encouraging incomprehensible poetry that only other academics can understand is the height of pretension if you ask me. The bottom line is that normal people want to read musical, ear-pleasing, relatable work that has a surprise or two thrown in. Maybe one day I’ll start the lit mag equivalent of those jumbo crossword puzzle books and call it “EZ Poetry.”

I literally never go anywhere but the work, the gym and the grocery store, so my world is quite small these days, and when there is a disturbance in one of those worlds, it resonates. I started deadlifting a few months ago. They only had one deadlifting mat, and there was often a wait to get it, but once I did, it was my little square bubble of space that no one else could invade. I could comfortably concentrate on my lift without being crowded or feeling like I was front and center for all to see. This week, suddenly out of nowhere, the deadlifting mat was gone and in its place was this giant, neon-orange, industrial monstrosity of a…rack? I don’t even know what to call it. It’s a big square cage of some sort, with pulleys and cables and giant plates hung all of over it. I took a fairly close look at it but I’m completely flummoxed as to how to use it. It seems I’m not the only one, because it’s been there for over a week and I have yet to see anyone actually use it. The deadlifting bar was haphazardly tossed onto the big rubber mat in the front, where it’s always crowded and people are everywhere doing their stool jumps and lateral band walks. So I lost my deadlifting bubble and now I have to do it front and center with people all around me. Ce la vie, I guess.

It’s only a week and a month before my insurance kicks in and I can go and get my new glasses. I cannot wait. I have been struggling mightily with a pair of ancient glasses in a long-defunct prescription, and I’m convinced these new glasses are going to change my life, increase my IQ, and make my hair shiny and glossy. I plan to show up at the optometrist at the stroke of midnight on March 1st and stare into the window until they open. Of course, they have to order them and fit them and all of that, so it will be mid-March at the earliest before I can put them on my face, but once I do, I expect the heavens to open and angels to sing.

Speaking of angels singing, here’s a solid hour of Gregorian chants. Enjoy!

 --Kristen McHenry

3 comments: said...

Totally brilliant blog! :-o

drew said...

It's refreshing to read your thoughts on literary journals and submissions. I appreciate your candor & completely agree. "EZ Poetry" for all!

Thanks for the lift.

Rita said...

Amen to everything you said about poetry and lit mags and school and insular circles. And ear-pleasing, relatable work with a surprise or two.