Saturday, November 19, 2005

"Opening the Fifth Rejection Letter"

I will stop feeling
sorry for myself. He didn't
tell me I should look
into another line of work. Really,
I've gotten that letter before.
Twenty two years ago; the stakes
much higher, grad school the brass
ring. More like brass balls. Oh so
gently suggesting (full of parenthetical
concern) that I apply to another type
of program. One I would be more
suited for. This, a hiccup--
no need for the universal gesture
or the heimlich. Just a belly-full
of ache and chocolate chunk ice cream.
A hundred or more of the same
sterile letters folded in envelopes
addressed in my own hand
and I would still count
only blessings. I will not be beaten
for words, the right words, lack of words,
silence when I should have shouted,
a hemmorhage of sentences,
paragraphs when I should have been
silent. It is deviant, yes, this private
thing, this playing with oneself
in a dimly lit room or the orgy
of sharing, the "I'll show you mine
if you show me yours." But if I stop
scratching pen to paper,
I would die as surely as any
chicken who refuses
to scratch the dirt for food.

ljcohen, 2005

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