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A poem

Three days ago I received official news that a certain poetry journal that I submitted some stuff over the summer does not think that the poems I sent them match up with what the journal currently “wants,” but they’d be glad to receive future submissions and especially would love it if I or my school subscribed to their journal.

A with that a poem

“Prayer” by James Armstrong, from Blue Lash.


If we don’t believe in heaven, who reads the letters we mail there every evening?
Children send most of them, kneeling by the bedpost
imagining the universe under the care of a father
who rumbles behind the newspaper
smelling of cigarettes and Old Spice.
To grow up is to lose one’s God at sea—
better to lose one than be one.
If you believe the world is perfect,
think of Keats dying young.
I never would have seen it if I hadn’t believed it,
the saying goes. Somebody has to awaken us
to the time of day it is when the earth is empty
of any intention, or any human presence.

And yet it is noon, and here you are—your blue headlands
and swords, your wave-moistened silences.
As if at the heart of things
there were a heart.



They don’t want to publish now, but they might do so with future submissions, and by the way, they’d love a subscription? Is it overly cynical to take that as an invitation for a bribe?

That’s no bribe. It’s the nature of literary magazines: to break even they need subscribers like junkies need horse, so they have to beg for scrips even in their “thanks, but” postcards.

Sorry about the rejection, J. Submit them again somewhere else tomorrow.

I got an email from Leafwood/ACU Press that they had a rush on my book and sold five copies of Kingdom Come for Christmas!! I told them that just had to be Jy, :-)

I hope you have had a wonderful and blessed Christmas season.

Bobby Valentine

One of them was me, BV. I gave it to my dad, who looked at it suspiciously then handed it to his father-in-law, who flipped through it and told me a story about JMH’s father, whom he knew at Lipscomb. I don’t know whether either will appreciate it, since they’re both extremely suspicious of things that appears new. Even so, I’m glad I gave it.

well, bv,

i bought my books back in october, anticipating leafwood selling out of all their copies… and they were all recieved very well, no suspicious glances.

in fact, my wife’s sister-in-love just may have bought it for her father… an ex-harding bible prof. whether she was the rush or not, i don’t know.