The typo writ large
Writers at one time or another run into a situation where, for some reason, a piece gets printed incorrectly. We can rage against inanimate objects, cry into our Haagen Dazs or idly threaten seppuku. Or we can get over it. It took me a while, but I am getting over it.
My poem “Pristine Creature” is the first to appear in the very first issue of Do Hookers Kiss?, a print journal of erotic literature and art hailing from the UK. When I wrote the poem, it manifested first on some coffee-splattered sticky notes and remained in an untidy drawer for years. Children, gather round and hear this tale: if you want to grow up to be a rich and famous poet someday, learn how to organize your work better. If you don’t treat your craft with its due respect how can you expect anyone else to?
That sister publication to the funky and free-spirited Kerouac’s Dog did a fine job of showcasing the work I sent them, and even featured my page on their Web site, juxtaposed to a handsome black and white photo of some strippers by Bruce Dodson. Good luck trying to read it there, though. When they say print, they mean print – meaning buy yourself a copy. But keep in mind if you’re ordering from overseas, the shipping will likely cost you more than the actual magazine. And it’s a nicely bound, good-looking little book full of images and writing flirting with that sparkly edge between daring, naughtiness and class.
Like I said, they did a good job with what I sent them. However, weeks after reviewing my proof I found an orphan sticky note containing – gasp – the last two lines! Never a nice feeling. I shook my fist at the heavens and perhaps got to the bottom of a nice bottle of wine. How could I have been so hasty? Then I got back to the rich and famous bit and decided issue one of DHK is bound to be a collectors’ item, and will fetch a handsome price at auction some day when I am poet laureate of the universe (maniacal laugh). You know, like coins that contain minting errors (check your pockets!).
Here’s my poem in its intended form. I hope you think it’s classy. If you like it, send me a note containing an 1857 Flying Eagle Cent. Thanks for your support!
Here we are pummeled
by the left hand of the weather –
all power, no control.
The edge of the bridge
carries up the rain,
a slate tombstone to the sky.
We stand like suicides reconsidering
as traffic soaks us more
speeding to a various destiny.
Once was I a pristine creature,
haloed in gold leaf beyond a velvet rope.
But, the ennui of pricelessness!
Defame me, deframe me,
cut me away from the signatured canvas,
away from this marriage of cultish objects.
Let my cup spill and clang on the marble,
send the watchman running.
Hang me crooked above a motel bed.
Does my gilding gleam too
in the glow of neon signage?
The color of commerce – red,
it feels sexy.
What have I sacrificed
for the tousled sheets:
your eyes from an engraved bench.
But you have lost everything
when your muse won’t stay
in the museum.
Have you ever had a piece printed incorrectly? How did you handle it?