The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Hospital Drive Doesn’t Want Me (more rejected writing)

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I saw a classified ad in Poets & Writers recently.  The literary publication Hospital Drive was looking for writing “that examines themes of health, illness, and healing.”  Whenever I comb through the P&W classifieds, I run my catalog of writing in my head to see if I have something I could send to any particular publication.  Sometimes a publication wants something highly specialized–sometimes that works out because sometimes you write something that is so specialized that there might not be any practical way to get it published other than by somebody wanting something out of the norm.  Regardless, you didn’t write whatever you wrote because you wanted to get published.  You wrote it because if you didn’t you weren’t going to be right.

When I saw what Hospital Drive wanted, I thought of a poem I wrote several years ago that has been doing nothing but sitting on my hard drive, and on my flash drive, and on my external hard drive (because you backup your writing obsessively).  So I dug this out, took a look at it, remembered how much I liked it, and fired it off:


The moth that flapped and fluttered in

the spider’s web above me as

I lie atop the exam table

is still.  I am prostrate, breathing

and watching him, staring into

the hypnotizing fluorescent

white lights where he is stuck, alone

except for me below.  We wait.

We are the prisoners of fate.

I was surprised to hear back from Hospital Drive asking me if the poem was still available because they wished to send it on to their next set of readers.  I was pretty happy that I made it past first cuts–  I liked the poem, but was never really sure if it offered much to anybody but me.  If I remember correctly, it has been rejected by other publications.  Earlier this week, Hospital Drive joined the ranks of the rejectors.

The seed for the poem came while I was recovering from an Achilles injury I suffered on Thanksgiving Day, 2007.  I just now dug through some old journals and found the above draft in November, 2008.  I dug further and found my first scratchings on May 13, 2008.  I remember starting it and getting frustrated because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, and I was struggling with the iambic tetrameter.  I obviously picked it up a few months later and was able to craft something.

Odd, this one…  my friend Barbara and I have talked several times about “autobiographical poetry,” which is the term we’ve given to our poems taken from our real lives.  There is no intentional use of symbolism, but readers can find symbols and assign meanings because they might not know that the poem is “true.”  Here, the spider’s web and “hypnotizing flourescent white lights” are merely pieces of the setting, but they act as strong symbols when you read the poem from the outside.  That’s one thing I liked about it as I was drafting, and it’s something that has become more common in my poetry as I’ve continued to write over the last four years.

Nonetheless, Hospital Drive doesn’t want me.  Guess I’ll keep writing and see what happens.

Written by seeker70

September 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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