On Climate Change
Now we have thousands of displaced refugees from Paradise, California. Noticing how climate change, perhaps even more than war, is a global crisis which we are so fucking unprepared for.
My memory has become so bad in the past couple of years. Names of people I used to know. Names of people I work with. Names of artists and musicians. Medical terms. I’m not sure I could continue to work if I didn’t have Google. I still can problem solve as well as ever. I do all kinds of tasks and make all sorts of decisions every day without making mistakes. Of course I am hoping that my memory failures are simply the overworking of an aging brain. I still have so much that I want to get done using this brain. The solace is that I can still write. The words come, if not so much the spelling. I can still write poems. All I’m asking of the universe is a few more years to write.
I hadn’t submitted in a while, waiting for the rejections to settle. But over the past month I have submitted my new manuscript to several long-shot presses and poems to several journals. Now I remember why I hate submitting. Instantaneously I become obsessed. Checking Submittable instead of Twitter. Watching for every “received” to turn into “in progress” even though I know it has nothing to do with what or when I will hear from them. Recently a poem was accepted by a longed-for journal. Unfortunately it had been accepted by another journal hours before. I would say I was heartbroken, but I don’t think that has much currency given the depth of real world problems. I’m not keeping track of my submissions these days, and not all of them are in Submittable. Still I’ve sent out a packet of the same 3 poems to 6 different journals, without equal aspiration for who might accept them. I’m not sure what any of this has to do with poetry.
I guess I still believe that there is a poetry cabal out there that I am trying to earn my way into. And the more successes I have, the more impenetrable and mysterious it becomes.
And here is a poem for a friend:
I first saw cancer I first saw cancer in winter, rocking gently as if to mollify a small child by keening a lullaby. She murmured a promise, a truss of blossoms. After a chill, in the thaw of spring, wisps of hair returned, a limp corkscrew crown, while pain cracked open bones and shred them into lacy stalks. Cancer rocked gently again in autumn, smothering the lumpish soil with a thin coat of saltpeter. And when it dried out like a codfish on the shore, she offered her caress.
This was first published online on YB in 2009. YB is a no longer available journal, produced by Rose Hunter and Sherry O’Keefe– both wonderful poets, who were some of the very first poets to publish my work.