3 Poems: FOH, STFU, and EMFDYSI | Soft Cartel | 25 September 2018

Thanks so much to the wonderful, mysterious team at Soft Cartel for publishing this little suite of poems, “FOH,” “STFU,” and “EMFDYSI.”

I found Soft Cartel because they published some work by Francine Witte, who I’d read with in NYC a number of times.

I struggle sometimes with wanting to mix the narrative ability of prose with the spacious lyricism of poetry. Sometimes, when I am submitting poems, I have a bit of a horse race. I’ll put in line breaks to submit via the poetry channel to a couple of journals, or box the same text out in paragraphs and see how it fares as prose in other queues. Kind of like a test-control situation, with control being flash fiction. This is a rare and fun moment, when the poetry beat flash.

I haven’t had a poem published since I was very young. I asked my ma the other day if she still had any old clippings of that one poem I had published in the town newspaper when I was a kid. She did!

It was published on Groundhog Day, 2 February 1989, in my hometown newspaper, The Madison Eagle. I was asked to read it at my neighbor’s memorial service, he was really a character, very memorable presence, a real Salmagundi Club original, but I was too shy to do that. I haven’t read this in ages, and I have to say I’m in love with old me. I think I still write the same way now, kinda story/kinda poemy.

The Madison Eagle, Madison, NJ. 2 February 1989. “Two Brothers.”

These Soft Cartel poems (and there are a couple more I’m hoping to place in this same set) seek to find deeper meaning in chat acronyms. They are varied in topic, but share the theme of collective judgments, non-verbal communications, and self-righteousness. We are all a bit judgy, and texting makes it easy. Social media makes it easy. Too easy.

I hope you enjoy my poems! Thanks for visiting the ol’ blog.

Artwork accompanying this post is a detail of David Humphrey’s “Swimmer, 2016.” From the exhibition, I’m Glad We Had This Conversation at Fredericks and Freiser, NYC, 2/21/2017