Wake up, Polly Parrot.


Writer's Blues Haiku
by Brian Plante

I profess to hating poetry. Well, I don't really hate it as much as I don't understand it. I tell the folks I workshop with not to send me poetry because I can't tell them the difference between a beautiful poem and one that reeks. These haiku are not real poetry. (Are any haiku real poetry?) Please don't email to tell me my poetry stinks. I already know.

Being an avowed non-poet, I thought I'd do a couple of these as a joke, like the famous list of computer haiku that's been around on the Internet. Once I got going, I found it a bit easier than I thought it would be. Some are funny, some are serious, and some probably only mean anything to me. Of course, the best thing about haiku is that they're brief. Here we go:

In the mail once more
If only my story had
Frequent flier miles.

My story strikes out
Hopeful on its long journey
Sadly it comes home.

Editor loved it
Thought it was ingenious
But alas, not right.

A. J. Budrys notes:
"Generally consistent
And often clever."

A thick envelope
Too heavy for a reject
Could it be a sale?

The big print giveth
The small print taketh away
Read the contract well.

Ugly Courier
Times Roman looks more like print
Guess which one they want.

Will I ever get it back
Damned postage went up

"Send us your best work"
But at a penny a word
What do you expect?

Yippee, I just got
My contributor's copies
But where is the check?

I read a review:
"I didn't like this story
But Plante shows promise"

Editor replies,
"Received too many like this."
But the guidelines said . . .

Dr. Stanley Schmidt
Picks stories for Analog
Mark Kelly won't read.

We're on hiatus
But your story was the best
Try again next year.

A cash flow problem
Oops, I killed another one
Send it out again.

Upper left corner:
"Disposable manuscript"
But not throw-away.

If they don't reply
To your query in a month
Withdraw the sucker.

It's tax time again
Can I claim all my research
Or will they audit?

We can't use this piece
It's just what we requested
But not what we want.

Please try us again.
A bit of encouragement?
They always say that!

Overstocked for now
Closed until further notice
Out of business soon.

Really liked this one
But just bought something like it
From someone I hate.

You can't sell to us
Unless you read an issue
Are they different?

Closed anthologies
How do I get my invite?
Some day they'll want me.

Inscrutable note
Did they even read the thing?
I search for a clue.

PO box is closed
My story is in limbo
Will they ever print?

We will only read
The months of April and May
It is now June -- Crap!

Please excuse this form
The volume of submissions
Keeps Xerox busy.

They bought five stories
But now they only send me
This pathetic slip?

They sent me guidelines
Instead of a real reply
Was I that far off?

"The pacing is slow"
Means the editor got bored
And didn't finish.

"Too predictable"
Means the editor must have
Read it to the end.

"Tighten up your prose"
If it were any tighter
The pages would squeak.

The editor said:
"Best of luck with it elsewhere."
Is luck what I need?

"Pays one to five cents."
A penny or a nickel?
(You get the penny.)

"No gore and/or sex"
Write a good enough story
And make your own rules.

Middle of the night
My typing cuts the quiet
I'll stop when it's done.

Should I be jealous
When my friends sell their stories?
Did they steal my slot?

Contest entry fee?
All magazines are contests
Why pay to enter?

Ten months and counting
Are they still considering
Or just slacking off?

Answer my query
Hate my story, but answer
At least give that much.

The creeping deadline
They hold my story longer
Who said that they could?

You want revisions?
But the story was perfect.
Make it more perfect.

Bad illustration.
Did the artist even read it?
The hero was black!

If you read this far
You have way too much free time
Go and read a book.

Copyright © 2001 Brian Plante

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