Rejection Letters

Rock Garden, Extended Cut

  1. Rock Zen #11

“They say that in war/

Truth be the first casualty.”

                        —One Day As a Lion

You can’t let the truth be

            an end to your means. It’s only

                        a doorway out to open field.

            Let them break it down. You don’t

need a door to find the field.

2. Rock Zen #12

“I’ll measure time. I’ll measure height./

I’ll calculate my birthright.”

                        —P.J. Harvey

No formula exists to extrapolate

            a person’s worth from the volume

                        of their skull. Fill the bone

            with pellets if you must. Measure

circumference. It will only tell hat size.

3. Rock Zen #13

“Stay inside, it’s as safe as you can get.”

                        —Quicksand

Safety is only a construct of the human mind,

like your seat being a flotation device

                        in the event of a water landing.

            You’ll most likely swallow 600 times

tomorrow. Just try your best not to choke.

4. Rock Zen #14

“The news is just another show

With sex and violence.”

                        —Jane’s Addiction

Occasionally, hope pokes its head

            out of the news’ hole to check

                        on things. Like when that whale

            had a new pup after carrying her

dead one around for 17 days.

5. Rock Zen #15

“You are broken now, but faith can heal you/

Just do everything I tell you to do.”

                        —Tool

Breathe. That’s it. And blink to keep

            your eyes moist. There will be times

                        when you’ll have to take a step forward,

            but not many. Remember, pieces are only

pieces because they were whole once.

***

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. Jack’s work has appeared in Southern ReviewBirmingham Poetry ReviewPidgeonholesThe ShoreCotton XenomorphOkay DonkeyEcoTheoThe HopperTerrainsaltfront, and other journals. His latest collection is No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). He served as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019. 

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image: Lindsay Hargrave

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