Or Perish

I occasionally write poems.

And I would like to see them published,
someplace much nicer than poetry.com.

The _____ Review is prestigious, but occasionally
seems a bit, shall we say, condescending,
and its cover is a tad too glossy to boot.

That one, The ______, publishes emerging academics
whose poems feel overworked; anxious
and trembling; the cadaverous words huddle
against its cold, narrow inner margins.

Another small magazine I was considering
just doesn’t seem to have the right attitude:
there is a photograph of someone's
buttocks on its back cover, and it sticks
its tongue out whenever no one’s looking.

The online version of—I shall name
no names—and its print counterpart
regularly upbraid each other with coarse
epithets; I can have my own inelegant
domestic battles at home whenever
I fucking want, thank you very much.

The ____ Quarterly is actually distributed
more sporadically; the latest hiatus has been
over eighteen months and the editor who wrote
such a flattering letter of acceptance is now
threatening to shoot himself before going to press
unless I pressure fifty “friends” into subscribing
for a twelve-to-twenty-four year term.

I would have considered the ____ Journal, but
the editor insisted that all poems were to be
submitted in triplicate, with a 237-word bio
avoiding any personal pronouns and all
irregular verbs regardless of their origins,
a notarized affidavit of creativity, plus
a hand-colored life-size photo of my breasts,
and I didn’t have an envelope that big.

So I decided to start my own small magazine
and made sure that it met my exacting standards:
the paper is heavy, recycled, 100% organic parchment;
the ink is from squid that died a natural death;
the font was selected for a distinctive image (Zapf
Abominable Cyrillic), and the first cover (matte)
will feature a Giger painting of a mechanized lizard
devouring its own intestines, and I really think it would be
in your best interests to subscribe.

© 2005 F.J. Bergmann

"Or Perish" appeared on Wheelhouse Vol. 2, Spring 2007

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