Tryin’ shiT :: Won’t worK!

I received a pleasant message in my inbox today:
What a gift to receive your poem which I just read outloud in this room!!!! Thank you.
You have sent a poet’s voice to the site and sent us what only a poet can send, something deeper
and yet so attentive to the details of the physical scene.
Thank you!  We will be sorting the poems we are receiving come January and yes, we will be looking at your work.  If you have more poems that capture this fall on the streets of New York…and the east coast and your own views….send them.  We want to read them.



A timely acknowledgment from Solo Novo Press, for a poem which has been rejected by two publications in two months; one being a black owned magazine that publishes works from/about the south, the other a predominately white staffed and supported Review seeking social justice literature for the issue I was submitting to (which will be produced with the help of a recognizable guest editor, who happens to be black).  The said poem, is one I wrote in honor of Troy Davis after his execution in September

For a little while I had basically accepted that perhaps it was not so good a poem after all.  …Judging by the reaction in the email I received, I can’t help but reconsider writing it off.

It has proven to be a tedious process for a poet, getting your work out there to the huge literary sphere of (print/online) press’, journals, and reviews.  No place for the A.D.D or the OCD or any other acronym affected artist (with our already time & organization conflicting artist quirks).  Response to a submission can sometimes take 3-6 months, often under the condition that you do not submit the same poem/s anywhere else over that period.  Imagine honoring such a time constraint, only to be rejected.  Imagine swallowing your frustration and again submitting after the wait, to wait again, and be rejected again.  > Forces you to horde your best work.

In 2011 I sent prospective contributions to no less than 15 deadlines.  And I have only 3 acceptances to show for it.  That matches my total for 2010.  Now I know my output to some web of obscure titles doesn’t necessarily make or break me this day in age; the next man is 21 years old/ builds his own website/ and puts out a book that finds a distributor and works its way onto 4th grade reading lists across the nation in the time I’m patching futile accolades.  But failure to meet a goal is defeating none the less.  I was aiming for 6 this year, with projections of grandeur to double to 12 in 2013, and so on…  Veering back to this kind of headiness can ill-serve one to a stagnant place when you could be looking ahead; creating, fueled by the downswings.  *and boy does downswing poetry sway sweet chariots*

“BLACK USA” was a piece I wrote with tears falling off my face.  It was birthed upon my return from a candle lit vigil at St. Mary’s Church in Harlem the night progressive America bunched together to tune into Amy Goodman’s live telecast of a Black man’s lynching.  From the time I arrived to join the march there up until my weary exit for home, pangs of adrenaline stroked through my nerves with each update that miraculously deferred a final decision on Troy’s life, into the next hour.  I cried with word that he were granted a reprieve, I cried tears of gratitude and atonement; I dried then edged on tears with each glum rumor dominoing Amy’s way through the crowd outside of that prison in Georgia.  And I cried a final cry, one of bitter resentment and mourning when I got home, having departed our center of loving solidarity that night as many had, with time gone sterile between those exhausted pews, and word that deliberation on our brother’s fate could take up to a week long.  I was in tears.  Learning that at some point during the course of my travels home, Troys life was taken.  Wiped them dry, over my part, in restoring that Man his justice.

🙂  So you can pretty much imagine how good it felt to finally open an email that didn’t begin:  “We’d like to thank you for submitting…  unfortunately”  Up until today, a good crack of cynicism had begun to branch out in my veins, I was feeling hate in my blood; led to conclusion that perhaps the poem had been too radical with lines like: “I renounce jury as a duty henceforth”;  I had all but labeled a brother or two audacious for selling out on an opportunity to include such a homage, along with the cupboard and oak tree passages typically fore-centered at the dot coms of poetry.

Tryin’ shit = that won’t work!

Tryin’ shit, tryin’ shit = Won’t work!

Tryin shit; switch it up; tryin’ shit, tryin shit, tryin’ shit = Won’t work!

For two and a half months (and 2011 at large)..  I had effectively gone’ tiger!


One response to “Tryin’ shiT :: Won’t worK!

  • Ysabel Y. Gonzalez

    Congrats!!!! I read the poem then this post and made it all the more richer. I’m so happy for you. Listen even the best of our work gets rejected. It’s not the quality but the match sometimes. Besides everyone has their own opinion. I know it’s easy to get down about it but then we get a reminder like this and it saves the day!!!!

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