Since last March, I’ve been going to a local high school track to exercise. My gym was hit by the tornado that flattened a path through East Nashville; and of course, the pandemic was fully in effect just a couple weeks later. There are several regulars in the early afternoon, and on Monday this week, a woman stopped to say hello.
She said she had dreamed about me before she started seeing me at the track. In her dream, I was an advocate for others and in the act of standing up for a person or group of people who couldn’t represent themselves; and because she hadn’t known my name, she was calling me Jonathan Roberts (or was it Rogers? The way she said it made it seem like that name was relevant to advocacy. I looked it up but didn’t find anything).
It was very flattering, but I didn’t know how to respond. I often struggle with the idea that I’m not doing enough to help others. I donate money, but shouldn’t I donate my time and more of my voice? I’m not caught up with being a “good” or likable person, but I do try to identify how I can be a more moral & ethical person. For a moment I felt like this stranger’s avatar of me was more virtuous that the real me was capable of.
I think she must be an artist. I hope I’ll get a chance to chat with her again soon.
I haven’t made any real progress on the book lately, but I’m taking some PTO next month to focus on finishing a handful of poems and working through a couple coding issues with the book.
I did have a brief exchange with Keith Wilson on Twitter about digital interactive poetry. He’s doing some interesting things with an open-source platform called Twine, which I’d never heard of, but looks like it’s been around for several years. Check out his poem that was published in The Blueshift Journal.
New publications forthcoming
After sending submissions to forty journals since the beginning of October, two acceptances came back within a couple days. Both should be out this Spring:
A journal for poems that have been rejected at least once. They took a poem called “The Author at 11 Wanted to be Reincarnated as a Dog” that I wanted to say I wrote & finished last year, but now that I’m checking I see that I actually started drafting three years ago. That’s a pretty average turnaround time for the bulk of my poems.
Dedicated to healthcare narratives. They took two poems I started drafting during the recovery after my blood clot in 2015: “Blood Clot: Coda” & “From the Shadow (5)”. They ask poets to send in
.wav recordings of them reading their work, which I love. I’ve been recording scratch files of my poems for the book, so I’m all set up. Also, they’re a paying market!
One of the poems Please See Me took is part of a series about my shadow—the element of the subconscious that Carl Jung called “the reservoir for human darkness [and] the seat of creativity” (and Robert Bly described as “the long bag we drag behind us”). I have several other series that I write in at no particular pace. Each series centers around a loose ethos; the Shadow poems are about the pieces of myself that I’m afraid of and have largely buried. They also often reveal indiscretions against others. In the case of the poem that will be published, it’s about me & my sometimes unhealthy relationship with my body.
In my MFA workshops, Marilyn Kallet would often mention that a certain poem was good fodder for a series. They were usually poems on subjects that were too vast for a single poem to address. I internalized that, and now have several series in progress:
- American Condition
- Catalog of Interstices
- Letters I Didn’t Send
- Note to Self
- Praise Songs
—and have conceptualized about half a dozen others. I also have a dozen Apologias, but since I haven’t defined a framework for it, I don’t really consider it a series, per se.
In December, PayPal was offering no-fee transactions to promote their new support for crypto. They only support four currencies, so I bought a small amount of each:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
On the recommendation of two smarter friends who have done their research, I also opened a Coinbase account and bought into some currencies—most notably Algorand (ALGO). If you’ve been following at all, you know the whole crypto market is way up since about November. ALGO has gone from hovering near $0.25 per unit then to flirting with $2.00 today. For a more familiar indicator, Bitcoin started November 2020 below $14,000, and hit almost $49,000 yesterday.
Since I got caught as a $GME bag holder, I would have been in & out of Dogecoin too if Coinbase supported it. I might have to set alerts for when Elon Musk tweets so I can immediately buy whatever the fuck he’s blurbing and then sell a day later after the ensuing pump.
The market, of course, is very volatile, and the value of individual currencies can swing wildly from hour to hour, so you can’t be a reactive investor.
- The title of this post comes from francisco x. alarcón's collection del otro lado de la noche