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Archive for November 12th, 2011

Be Mine

By Mather Schneider

When I first started sending out
poems to magazines
it was 1992
and if there were internet publications
I didn’t know about
them.
I didn’t have a computer and had
never been on the net.

When submitting my poems
I didn’t understand the whole
SASE theory.
I couldn’t figure out how you could put
one envelope inside another envelope
if they were exactly the same size,
and folding one just
seemed wrong.

I bought these small envelopes
like the kind kindergartners put their
valentines in
and I used
those.

A few editors managed to cram
rejections slips into them
with ingenious or angry
sloppy folds
and then one editor finally
wrote me:
“Get rid of the little envelopes.”

I heard about people putting
little extras in their submissions (I wasn’t cool enough
to call them “subs” until many
years later)
such as candy hearts
with messages on them
like “I LUV U”
and “Be Mine”
but instead I decided to impress them
with a wild fancy
cover letter.
I put a large,
grainy, photocopied picture of my face
in the right corner
and I drew a mustache on myself
and glasses.
With the bio I said things like:
Skin: White.
Hair: Lots.
Age: Why, is this a bar?
Sex: yes please.
Activities: see Sex.

Finally another editor wrote me:
“Stop being cutesy and pretentious
and just write.”
I was angry at that editor for
a while:
I mean, pretentious? Me? Ha!
Impossible!
But after a few weeks
I got over it.

In a few months I got my first acceptance
from a journal called
NERVE BUNDLE REVIEW.
The editor was Dan Nielson.
He sent me a contributor’s copy
and I still have it.

I sent Dan some more poems right away.
In a few months he returned my poems
and wrote:
“I will never read another poem
as long as I live.”

After that
he completely dropped out of sight,
never published again,
and maybe he even kept his
word.
I wish I had
guts like that
but at the same time I hope my poems
weren’t specifically to blame for his
decision.

If anybody out there
knows where Dan
Nielson is,
let me know.
I would love to
send him a Valentine
with a small candy
heart.

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