Edit Poetry?

Two poems rejected with commentary about one. Still waiting for yea or nay on the short story submission to the same publication. I’m finding it very difficult to handle commentary about poetry. It took me a few years to accept that a particular very short story (will post it once I get it published) could be re-written, ask for feedback, rewrite, and re-submit. Realizing that I need to write write write, look back at old pieces with new perspective and be willing to revise and re-write. But with poetry, I just can’t do it. Not yet anyway…..


Here’s the feedback from publisher:


We appreciate the opportunity to read your work, but we will not be publishing…


We'd like you to know that overall, your piece was well-received by our reading committee. They have some comments and notes listed below. We hope you find them helpful as you continue to revise or resubmit your piece elsewhere. 






Thank you for sharing your work with us. We think that this poem has powerful potential ( for example, the 2nd person point of view is effective), but right now, the pain explained still feels a little abstract. We know it is an intense pain that the speaker seems to have a sort of love/hate relationship with, but we are having a difficult time relating to the pain as it stands. We hope that this perspective will be helpful for you in revision! 




Here’s the poem:



The Residue of Pain


Layer upon layer

Thick gooey tar strewn

Grooves dug deeply

Curves smooth after so many

Twists and turns in the shadows

Painful to unclog

Swelling and throbbing

Blistering and stinging

Raw and screaming

Tremors of terror erupt

When the clog is broken

It is your birthright

This pain built for you

It is your antidote

Save it and it grows

Like tar

Icky sticky pulling you down

With slow strong gravity

Remember the antidote

Put your mind on it

Examine it

See the facets

Trace the light

See it as one jewel

In your treasure chest of life

Set it down

Give it a pillow

Give it a hug

Shine it

Keep it warm

Put it in perspective

Let it flow through you

In whatever way it is

Don’t fight it all the time

It needs rest

Love needs your attention



See it as your jewel

In your treasure chest of life

Set it down

Give it a pillow

Give it a hug

Shine it

Keep it warm 

Put it in perspective




On the physical front, I continue to heal wounded knee. Started official physical therapy two days ago. The PT told me that I should have been walking by now and should have started PT two weeks ago. I KNOW! Very frustrating. She wanted to press my knee back into place from it’s approximately 13 degree distance from full extension. It was so painful, I couldn’t allow her to do it. I know it will be better once I can get past these last minor spaces, but fuck, it hurts! Scar tissue started to form, and now needs to be ruptured so that I can heal properly, so back to lots of pain at the end of the day and the beginning of the day. Moving through pain. She did tell me to stop using the braces, and move more. I started walking meditation through my crooked hallway, and upped the amount of walking around time in general. Walking a little less robot-like, but still with fear. I’m comfortable driving for short periods. Open to going out a little bit. 


I’ve gotten so used to being in my cocoon, comfortable with my friends in the television, and the meal preparation routine I’ve got going on. Trying to set up a comfortable writing situation at home. Wanting to be out in the breeze, dancing away from depression. Most of my recent writing has been pen on paper, mostly poetry. That’s what flows. I’ve got a few screen plays in mind, a book, and lots and lots of poetry. 



And here’s a little memo that I’ve been meaning to get out:


Dear San Francisco,


I realize I need to put some work into our struggling relationship. Darling gem by the Bay, you know I love you, but I’m having a hard time with the regular screaming sounds of the streets…sirens…car alarms…glaring poverty juxtaposed with wealth, escalating self-importance, high cost of living, and divisive communities. What I love about you is your smart and liberal ethos, density of intellectuals, ease of ability to disappear into the fog, proximity to the edge, lack of snow or humidity, and the ghosts that my spirit loves mingling with. I am willing to work on this relationship while rebuilding by body. So Darling, between workouts, will you inspire me in your coffee shops and cafes? Will you be my muse? Will you lead me to financial security as a artist, a writer? Will you make it possible for me to survive/flourish/expand/glow/be abundant without having to be a cog in anyone else's wheel? 


I hope so, because we’re stuck together for a little while. Marin pulls. Maui calls from time to time. DC knocks often. Paris has been calling for decades, and you know Ireland’s been courting for a lifetime. Let’s work it out, Darling. You and me.