Introduction to Misfit 32
As I write this, a couple of months into the Biden administration, I feel as if I should be quoting Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to capsulize the final months of The Orange Lear’s reign of terror. “Now we are engaged in a great Civil War….” #45 is gone but by no means forgotten. The blessed relief of his no longer omnipresence on social media and daily, needful, domination of the news cycle, is palpable. Not having to listen to constant barrage of alterative reality is the removal of a low-level free flowing anxiety many of us weren’t even necessarily aware of feeling until its absence.
Hopefully, there really are no second acts in America. Rumors are the Prince of Darkness in ill-fitting suits, is planning his own social network. It’ll be Yuge. Now you know where all the money is going to his, Make America Gruesome Again C-Pac. That is the money not earmarked for a multitude of legal expenses. Remember, if you want to fund his dreams of Dystopia, you know where to go.
This issue of Misfit has much in the way of reactions to the smoking ruins of America, the former United States, he leaves behind. If there were to be a theme to the issue, it would be Covid 19: reactions, responses, and effects of. While the prevalence of such poems was unintentional, you go with what you get. Honestly, Covid 19 is what defines of our everyday reality.
D.E. Steward writes a brilliant prose piece that captures the moment that is our plague-ridden society that feels as much like Personal Commentary of the necessary sort, hence a Guest Commentary designation. Other poets address another pressing social issue no one wants to talk about, school shootings. Mickey Corrigan provides historical examples of shootings with brief prose codas explaining the where and what-fors of these incidents. Ashley Schilling provides a student’s point of view on the same subject. While this magazine tries to avoid overt political poems, issues cannot be divorced from our Art. In fact, our Art is enhanced by our issues.
With this thought in mind, I had composed an Open Letter to an unnamed “poet” who deliberately sent me a number of “poems” that seemed designed to “piss off the editor.” I’m not sure I get the point of this. Personally, I view a submission as a kind of contract between the author and the editor in which a common purpose is involved. That common purpose, and I shouldn’t have to say this, reflects a consideration based on an editorial standard, clearly stated elsewhere. Violating that trust, for the express purpose of annoying the editor, seems pointless to me. I am accused of being a liberal by this person, with all the glorious, meaningless buzz words beloved of far-right ideologues. To which I confess, if you read any of the work, editorial and otherwise in pervious issues, this fact would be obvious. Yes, I am. Liberal. Get over it. Read another magazine. Submit there.
I can only think that this person’s submission reflects the current adversarial relationship that permeates our current society. I welcome contrary points of view, but I disdain diatribes and arrant nonsense no matter who and where they come from. I will read everyone’s submissions, as always, as I read his twice, but please don’t waste my time with bullshit. I’m old and I don’t have all that much time to waste. This mini-rant will have to suffice for a much longer Open Letter to an Idiot.
On an even more somber note, we have included another Memorial to a gone poet. I recently learned of the passing of one of our semi-regular contributors, Ted Jonathan. The news was as shocking as it was sudden. I considered Ted a friend though we have never met face to face. He was much cherished by family and personal friends as well as those of the poetry community, especially in New York, where he often read. I have included a couple of personal reflections by two of Ted’s friends (Tony Gloeggler and Mike Flannagan) and an elegiac farewell poem by B.K. Tuon.
As always, I want to thank Jennifer Lagier for her tireless efforts coding each issue and to Gene McCormick for his peerless artwork that illustrate the issue. And to all of you, readers and contributors, past and present. Happy reading.