I’ve gone through seven cups of coffee in this god-forsaken coffee shop trying to figure out what I’m supposed to write. Hotline Bling has been playing on loop for the past three hours because I truly haven’t had the heart to change the song (#turtlenecks). Maybe I’m feeling extra frustrated because of midterms this week. Maybe it isn’t really supposed to snow in mid-October; I’m from California, just leave me alone. Please. Yes, I know I went to boarding school out here, and I’m supposed to be ok with it. Oops, it’s still cold.
Basically, this isn’t going to be the happiest blog post in the world. Sorry.
"On Pandas & Poetry." The original title was On Penguins & Poetry, but that sounded a bit too much like Penguin Publishers, and I really, really did not want to get sued. Actually, that’s goal number three on our list of Blueshift commandments, after “publish the damn issues on time” and “avoid [another] staff rebellion.” I’ll share the whole list later down the road. Anyways.
I get to read a lot of poetry. That’s a good thing, I think, being the editor of a literary mag. I read bad poems, good poems, a whole lot in between. In all the time that I’ve been reading poems, I’ve come to the conclusion.
We love to smoke. Cigarettes, cites, whatever we can get our hands on.
Actually, I’ve figured out a lot from poems about poets. For example, poets are animagi. Yes, the ones from Harry Potter. We can morph into sparrows, ravens, crows, robins, you name it, but even cooler than that, some of us can actually turn into the sky on command. Or the dusk, the sun, the moon, any body of water. Say someone tries to mug you, BAM, become a goddamn rainforest. Ultimate defense mechanism. Also, a lot of poets have cities kind of just sitting snug inside their stomachs. That’s dedication to the craft. Swallowing New York is almost like our initiation. We’re all expert craftsmen. It’s true – we can make a home out of literally anything. An ocean, human corpses, ash, our mothers.
Have you seen Avatar? Airbenders, firebenders, etc? Yeah, that’s us. If we happen to, I don’t know, be burning, we can snap our fingers and unburn just like that. Also, mom and dad had a lot of kids, basically all of us. Thanks mom, thanks dad, we love you, and I do mean LOVE you. Remember, no matter what age, you should address everyone as boy or girl. People love that. If you look at a mirror too long, you will disappear into it. Also, the sky breaks on Sundays. Yes, every Sunday, so stay inside, mark it down, hide somewhere, maybe in a church. But don’t stay there too long, because seriously, everyone be praying. And if you feel weirded out by this stuff, feel free to disregard most of this, because none of us even exist.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I wish there were more pandas in poems. If you’ve ever met me before, you’ll probably understand why I picked pandas. My spirit animal is a panda bear. A furry, large, huggable, lovable panda bear (who can also turn vicious if not fed or made to copulate waaaaaay too much). And yet, from all the metaphors and similes I’ve seen in poems, I’ve yet to see a panda in a poem. And I really, really love pandas.
On a serious note, I’m not poking fun of the poems you send us. I’m sick of what we’ve been conditioned to think are poems. Poetry isn’t the shit that makes it into the magazines. I’m as guilty of using images like prayer, holy, skin, forests, boy, etc. as the next one. And to a certain point, it feels like people write poems with those over-used images because that’s what they think that magazines want. I mean, the stuff we publish has that too. But that’s not why we took them. We didn’t see “cigarette” and go oh my god nicotine I want. We saw the poet. We saw poems that were written for themselves, not for us. They took cliches and made them fantastic, fresh, real. And we like that.
Write for yourself. Write bad shit because sometimes it's just so much better that way. I’m trying it out, too. It’s hard, but what the hell. And next time you get a chance, send me a panda, will you?