Conversation 3: Finding the Monologue

So sad when someone asks
‘Why exist?’
and this is where
one is abstract:

ideas lead to deceiving for
societal and controlling truths.
One is one more tag than
that one, and the lame position

is somewhat like life.
We are poetry
and language is too, writing and
putting it on a desire.

That meaning shouldn’t explain
comfort zones for storytelling
is an argument about need,
the horrors imposed on quite

shallow pleasures.
Others, reading it, find their catalyst
in belief, whether it is yada yada yada
or a shorthand view.

But we have lost sight
of the poetic discussion
and if this is the last one, the one I write,
there’s no need to abhor what isn’t.

Conversation 2: Found, Fun, Family and Friendship

On the fundamentalist disposition,
almost apologetic,
love isn’t poetry.

Is music?
Or the visual to find our oblique

Try fun, family and friendship
for purposeful lives
and perceptions of this

or when a positive comment burns off
matter, this
untenable escape of a word.

And in informs, i.
In informs,

That is, I’m actually ‘poetry’
meaning I can, like,
I can like!

Make it mystify referring to a lovely word

and: do not exist to end death.
Language, in reality,
takes atheism positions.

Therefore, how a theism became the narrative is what
mystifies, found there in the

a reverse in the figuring out of words

when we don’t know how to communicate.
But the discursive truth
cannot know consciousness.

Words, intended meaning –
their own accord
sounding intentionally experimental,

and we meet shape to be respectful,
emotionally, and that is
space pressing for a finite disposition.

Conversation 1: Found, Form, Meaning and Purpose

soothe, pacify, terrify
and again

meaninglessly engaged
of course

discovering art is poetry
but the text anew

is as a process
language just a collection

of the composed
to suggest form

especially the boundaries

and in-form-ation

to make it of life
yes, experimental

lost or buried
too much: alive

like imagination
it pushes for interest

the complete chaos of
meaning and purpose

Pubs Who Take, er, the Lish

This is a short piece about poetry submission rejections, and if the poetry I submit is as lame as the title above, fair enough. Rejections are a part of the writer’s journey and are both falls and stepping stones.

Actually, if the poems I submit are as twee as that last line, fair enough again!

But it is all just opinion, after all; and – I think this is true – when competing with huge numbers of submissions. Most online poetry mags are labours of love with submissions free to make and editor/s with jobs who run them part-time and without financial support, so all credit and appreciation.

Here is some supporting proof from what I have said so far and will continue to expand upon. A while back I produced a visual poem titled Submissions which demonstrates the ratio of acceptances to rejections [including non-replies],


This was produced in November, 2018, and is the contents from my ‘submitted poems’ folder then. I would say the rejections have doubled/trebled since with acceptances totalling 58. I now have a ‘submitted poems 2’ folder.

My experience is that virtually all the rejections one receives these days are friendly, apologetic, encouraging and so on. Formulaic perhaps, but reflecting a culture of positivity from small presses which offers empathy and understanding from, usually, fellow writers.

I had three rejections yesterday [uncanny – these aren’t a usual daily, or weekly or even monthly experience]. One was a direct message/email, a single poem submission that wasn’t taken but an invitation to submit another before the deadline in just over a week. I won’t re-submit, but I did in fact thank for the thoughtfulness. I don’t usually respond – they will have enough in the inbox with which to deal.

Another was a rejection of a chapbook submission. I think this was a pro-forma response and that is absolutely fair enough when they are replying to large numbers. This too was friendly, supportive, encouraging and so on.

The third was different. I’ll stress now that if I keep this following account short, the ratio of positive observation – all above – to less positive – from here – will hopefully reflect my essentially upbeat focus.

I had a chapbook submission enthusiastically accepted with a small publisher in February, 2019, and with ensuing months of non-communication and one emailed excuse after I did inquire about what was happening [that excuse accepted when given, as shit happens for us all] I contacted again this week – one year since acceptance – and was informed yesterday it will not now be published.

I will admit the above paragraph replaces the four I had written detailing in full what happened, but that was going to fuck up my idea of a ‘ratio’.

The lame relevance of the playful ‘taking the lish/piss’ title is that I’m certain the chapbook is, in fact, no longer wanted. Having been thanked for my being ‘kind and understanding’ in August 2019, I feel this has been exploited by saying now the publication of my chapbook was no longer ‘feasible’. I could be wrong, but to explain, and I think convince, I’d have to write so much more, and a ratio is a ratio is a ratio.



Coleridge’s Church

church and flowers

[picture by Phyllis Baxter]

Yesterday I met up with former churchwarden, now assistant c/w, and fellow Coleridge Memorial Trust member Grenville Gilbert at Ottery St Mary church. We talked about the young boy Samuel Taylor Coleridge playing in the church grounds as well as the church itself, perhaps in the nave which linked well to Grenville’s anecdote about STC floating a little boat down the stream that still runs along the length of the churchyard.

I know the church reasonable well, but I was treated to an informed guide through the parts and features that relate specifically to Samuel as well as, obviously, his father who was the vicar there.

We also discussed Grenville’s religious verse from his collection More Honest to God and my found prose poems, this expanded on a little in an email I received afterwards from Grenville, including and ranging across details about Thomas Peacock’s criticism of Coleridge, as well as The Penguin Book of Prose Poems.

I found the following poem in the wonderful insights and experience of this meeting, written and that conversed about, and share here –

sub-mariner image