Friday, May 06, 2005

My First Time...

Peter and some other folks have been posting their first published poems this week. After some hemming and hawing (what the hell is "hemming and hawing" anyway? Hemming should be shortening one's pants, and "hawing" -- ?) I'm joining in. I wrote this when I was, um, probably 12 years old. Unbeknownst to me, my mother submitted it to a local literary journal, the Michiana Poetry Review, and they accepted it. (I suspect they liked its "childlike simplicity" or some such thing. They put a cute little pen-and-ink drawing of a little girl in big rain boots carrying a cute umbrella next to it on the page.) They had a little celebratory reading in a coffeehouse and I went with my parents, feeling all artsy and poetic and grown-up and stuff. I don't remember for sure, but I probably wore black. Heh.


Rain comes down softly,
Or quickly
And thickly.

-A.H., published in Michiana Poetry Review, 1973

Yep, that's it, that's all there is. Even shorter than "Door." Hah! I submitted several poems (doing it myself this time, not leaving it to my mom) for their next issue, and they sent me a rejection letter that said "we do not have a children's page." I was a tiny bit crushed, but apparently I got over it.

Okay, that one sort of doesn't count. There was the usual string of publications in high school and college literary mags, and then this was my first poem in a journal that was not published in my own state (I still kinda like this one):


Your face, radioactive blue
in late television light.
The sound blurred, magnetic
waves through a storm.
Upper atmosphere
disturbance, I think,
watching your eyes
flicker, not really seeing
the late, late show.
It crosses my mind
to say something, but you
don't know I'm here, standing
in the doorway, watching you.
I tiptoe upstairs
in the dark, in the subliminal,
fluorescent hum
as the storm comes closer
lightning on the horizon
cutting through the static
the bright, unsteady glow
of the all-night station.

-A.H. 1985, published in Images, 1988

That publication kicked off a string of about five years in which I got published fairly regularly, something I found I enjoyed a great deal -- got into some pretty good journals, had a few chapbook mss. named as finalists in pretty good contests, etc. -- then around early '94 I stopped writing & submitting for a few years. I guess I'm back in the thick of it now, though, and it feels good. I suppose it's a "guilty pleasure" because I know publishing isn't the point of it all, and I'm certain that it's highly uncool to admit this, but damn, I like getting published. It's fun.

Come on, admit it. If you send stuff out for publication, it's because you like it, too. It's not like we are in this for the money. :)

P.S. Added a handful of new links over there --------->

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