ode to a poetry editor |
by John Grochalski

you have taken
at least four or five of my poems
over the years
thank you
we’ve always had a good thing between us
at least i thought
we exchanged a few jokes in acceptance emails
you said a few consoling words in the rejections
to calm my ever-fragile poet’s ego
at least you’ve never called me a bukowski rip-off
like those boys in london did once
but i have to tell you
that i don’t understand this latest email from you
it was a rejection this time
which i’m not mad about
they were shit poems that i sent to you
and would be used as kindling if i had a fireplace
but it was the way that you berated me this time
for not sounding like pablo neruda of all people
you wrote, mr. grochalski, our readers
prefer poets like pablo neruda, not writing like this
whatever this means in italics
but pablo neruda?
to be honest, i don’t think that i’ve read
more than three of the man’s poems in my lifetime
an ode to this and an ode to that
and i was pretty much set on his oeuvre
if i can ask
what made you think that i sounded like neruda in the past?
when did i stop sounding like him now?
i’m confused and it’s the morning
and i don’t know where to begin again with the word
how to sound like neruda or not
or maybe thoman mcgrath or seamus heaney
or some other dead bore who appeals to the three people
reading your magazine on its quarterly basis
so i settled on this gem
well, just the title anyway
it’s not really like pablo neruda this time
or, rather, again, in your opinion of me
but it’s certainly influenced by him
and you, kind sir
which i think you’ll understand
when i send it to you next month
along with four others
that sound like the usual shit that i always write.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming collection of poetry, Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street, 2014).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.