Editor’s Introduction to Lucky Issue #13

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Here we are at issue Lucky 13, the themed issue on Deadly Sins, featuring the poems of the amazing Joan Colby.  When I first received these poems, I thought, well, I could use a couple in this issue, maybe a couple in the next……. and then I thought, “why should I break these up?
Why not just add to them?” So that’s what we did.

Reaction to the theme ranged from wildly enthusiastic, with one poet, Robert Cooperman, who said he used the theme as a springboard to an extended sequence of poems on Deadly Sins, to ,”Ugh .” or “I don’t do theme issues” to “I will scrounge around for something about sin. Since it doesn't really exist in my world, this may be difficult.” I am assuming her life remains sin free as I haven’t received any sinful poems from her, to date, and don’t expect to. But we  love her anyway and look forward to something sin free in the future.

I intentionally did not specify that I want poems dealing with the seven sins exclusively, leaving the interpretation of the theme up to the poets. I did lead people to believe the seven sins were the theme by citing Joan’s work as the inspiration of the issue.  And yet, there is always a yet, poems that addressed the theme in a tangential manner, sometimes only obliquely, at best, or not at all, with new, yet appropriate, deadly sins”, were the ones that most caught my attention. I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that the most popular sin was Lust.  The sins of the flesh far outweighing the sins of the heart. 

The next issue, which I will begin reading for on June 1st,will be an open one: no themes and  no deadlines as has been our previous policy. Sometimes life intervenes and we have to change things a bit and adapt, which is my excuse for this year’s change in policy.  I doubt I will do another theme issue but I could be persuaded to change my mind. Time will tell. Keep those cards and letters and, above all, those poems coming.

Lucky 13 marks our second year of publishing some of the best contemporary poets and writers. We’ve gradually been expanding our review section to accommodate the many fine books that are being released that are not receiving the kind of attention they deserve: I mean, everyone knows when the next James Patterson book is released but who knows about say, Simone Muench? or small press legends like John Bennett, A.D. Winans and John Yamrus?  There’s something wrong here and, while we can’t change the dynamic, we’ll chip in as much as we can to help poets get a piece of the review action.  Occasionally we’ll do a standalone  “half” issue when there is a gap between issues and we feel the need to remind people that we are still alive and functioning.  I am thinking of an issue “thirteen and half”  around the end of May which will explain some of the gaps for this year.

On closing, I would like to offer a piece of my own as an example of a poem that addresses the theme of Deadly Sins, but uses them in a non-traditional way, as a weapon. Actually, it was something of a defense mechanism, as life can get really deadly being stuck in a bar with little or no interruptions, unable to avoid talking to a professional drunk. I think the situation is like what Sartre had in mind when he wrote, No Exit.  You decide.

The Ice Man Cometh

Purgatory didn't quite
cover being stuck in
a barroom with him,
nowhere else to go,
no way out knowing
he had recently
completed hibernating,
all those Winter months
dry he had to make up
for on his annual
neighborhood pub
crawl, the seasonal
chill melting off the skin
& bones of his life,
soiled money unfolded
on the bar, his mouth
on automatic replay
whether you were there
to listen or not.
You want to tell him that
the defrosting process
is incomplete, there's
still a trace of ice
built up in his eyebrows
or that his lips are blue
but he'll think you're
kidding, laugh & start
a new, endless track
unless deflected into
a ditch with all the
wrecked vehicles
of his life, a ditch he
will never be able to
climb out of once he's
placed there, "Hey, Mike,"
I say, "you went to Catholic
School, what are the 7
Deadly Sins." "That's an
easy one, I know that
one like the back of my
hand." Which is hard
to see with all that liver
spotting, cigarette burn
scars, old intravenous tube
wounds."Sloth, ah Envy,
um Greed, um Gluttony----"
"Aren't Gluttony and Greed
the same thing?"
"Now that you mention it---"
It was a cruel thing
to do to a mind already
waterlogged by alcohol
& I would surely roast
in hell for doing this,
if, in fact, I wasn't
already there.