Friday, November 18, 2011

Presumed Dead

Speak of the devil! Or the "presumed dead," as I sometimes mark poetry submissions that have been gone far too long. I refer here to the submission, or even the magazine itself, not to my poems. Many of my poems may be presumed dead, too, but I can resurrect them, or, egad, cannibalize them, and voila! new poems, or, rather, the poems they were probably always meant to be.

In What Counts, a recent blog entry on tallying submissions, rejections, acceptances, etc., I referred to the "presumed dead" that I try to deal with responsibly by inquiring about and then officially withdrawing. Today I finally received back in the mail my self-addressed stamped envelope with 5 poems submitted August 26, 2010--so, a year and 3 months ago--with a nice, handwritten note apologizing for the delay and ending, "Best of luck, & try us again."

It's been an emotional morning. I finished Home, by Marilynne Robinson, and wept. Why? It's hard to explain, but I think I wept at the beauty, the mystery, the love, and the hope. OK. Read it yourself, then, as in read it and weep.

And I've been listening to Leonard Cohen songs all morning while baking red velvet cupcakes for my daughter's birthday. It's the beauty again, in Cohen, and the raw truth. Hearing them in the light of Home was almost unbearable, in a good way. Cooking, without Cohen, might have been unbearable in a bad way.

And speaking of Joan of Arc and the song of Bernadette...that is, Leonard Cohen songs...what you see above are some exotic angels from this website, with info about them. I found some exotic angels recently at my grocery store and took them to a friend in the hospital, and then they were marked down, tempting me terribly, so I got some for myself, too. Mine are a paler yellow and a paler orange than these but similarly beautiful.

Here's another website with info "all about exotic angel plants," the name for a variety of houseplants trademarked by Hermann Engelmann Greenhouses of Florida, and I was glad to learn that some are begonias, what I had guessed about my own, based on leaf and stem. I had been afraid to Google "exotic angels," so finding solid plant info instead of scantily-dressed dancers or Victoria's Secret models, or worse, was a comfort!

Not that there's anything wrong with exotic dancing or fancy bras.


Anonymous said...

Home did the same thing to me, I couldn't stop weeping for a long time. Not to mention what Leonard Cohen does for me, to me. The lost poems weren't lost after all. There are crumbs of red velvet cupcakes everywhere. Connections are sudden and shattering, they are all around us.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Isn't it weird to receive letters in the mail with our own handwriting on them? So bizarre and awesome.

Hope you have fun celebrating your daughter's birthday, and a great weekend!

Kathleen said...

And so we had to watch "I'm Your Man," the Leonard Cohen documentary, on hulu today, Risa, and I told my husband the story of Rumi and Shams.

Yes, Hannah, but often I use those free address labels that come in the mail....

Collagemama said...

Your presumed dead poems are faster than Medicare claims processing!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for putting it in context, and getting us back to what really counts. Sigh.... Although, in a way, poetry can heal us and help us die, so, it's quite economical.