I fixed on the irrational notion
that you would publish my collection
when I read somewhere that old Giroux
liked to curse, or was it Straus?
I knew then yours was a real House
with its fabulous writers and glorious
poets—I’m recalling Cocteau’s Orpheus’
joke before the Tribunal that these differ.
(I’m rhyming because I’m under the spell
of Ooga Booga. Not my fault. Blame Seidel.)
My manuscript needs a seasoned reader;
contests with twenty-something screeners
aren’t cutting it. Once I was pretty
but now the portrait in the attic is sixty,
though I seem young, teaching those contagious undergrads.
In fact, I teach too much, and chair. I’m going mad
loving a husband who doesn’t wear his wedding ring,
a dog and cat and three grown offspring
(one resides in Brooklyn) because my atman
belongs to poetry. My rabbi is Whitman,
my therapist Dickinson. When I lost my dog
I prayed on a hilltop to Blake, God’s analog,
and got her back from the woods. I’m choosing
to ignore the magnitude of your slush pile,
hoping an editor can liberate FSG style.
Please: two manuscripts are pushing up and it’s late—
more poems and a study of Harpo. I need this off my plate.
With language only in her bag of tricks
and with no agent but herself, yours truly, Charlene Fix
—from Rattle #33, Summer 2010
Tribute to Humor
Charlene Fix: “As far as poetry goes, I try to keep the channels open. And I sometimes rummage around in the closet of my sister Laura’s brain to clarify memories. I am inspired by many things, including desperation, which can also be fun.” (web)