Hi Brian,That's got to be the first letter of appreciation -- or feedback of any kind -- I've ever received for a poem published in a journal. Usually publishing poetry is, as Don Marquis put it, like dropping a rose petal into Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.
I thought your poem in the latest TAR was delightful. It's one of the few literary works that truly meets the criterion of "needing to be told." I'll be sharing it with friends and colleagues over the next few weeks. I'm sure many will be doing the same. It's going to be a classic.
Paul Headrick, it turns out, is a fiction writer and English professor at Langara College in Vancouver BC. In the ensuing correspondence -- where we discussed the merits of the poem -- he said he'd be doing his best to publicize the poem, maybe get it reprinted somewhere. It's great to have an ally in the realm of academe. Only after publishing a first draft of this post did I discover that his coming across my poem could hardly be a surprise: it so happens he's a fellow contributer to issue in which it appears. Anyway, here it is for all and sundry:
AFTER READING TOO MUCH SHIELDS & ATWOOD
I am a man of few words.
or Matt or Joe
surrounded by crockery pots
and washing on the line.
Though I pay the bills,
bring home the proverbial bacon
I’m a whirling asteroid to your Jupiter,
an errant electron spinning round
your gravid nucleus.
Even yet, you wonder why
I need it so much:
why I slip my hand up your nightdress
(that you’ve gathered round yourself, for protection)
with, “If you’re willing, Mother.”
Is it five thousand times now? Ten thousand?
Why that constant urge to thunder and let loose?
When I proposed
it was in Greason’s Hardware,
“Say we get married, eh?
I make a good wage.”
Today you make a new recipe for me
-- Magpie Pudding --
and when I come home from the gravel pit
my tender, male mouth drops,
my eyes express confusion and surprise,
I eat in silence, then read the paper.
For I am a man of few words.
A John, you could say.