Flashback: “Rusty Love” wins Fourth Place in World of Poetry contest

rusty-love-cert.jpg

That time my poem “Rusty Love” won Fourth Place in the World of Poetry contest. When I wrote this one, I deliberately tailored it for what I perceived WoP would like: something rhymed and sentimental. The title was cribbed directly from the name of an actual person–the property manager of the apartment complex where I lived in Winter Park, Florida. If I’m not mistaken, the real Rusty Love was retired, like most of my neighbors there, but she seemed pretty cool, driving a convertible and wearing youthful looking clothes. Her evocative name suggested the outrageous conceit that leads off the poem: “My love is like a rusty nail.”

Here is the whole piece in all its horrible glory:

Rusty Love

My love is like a rusty nail:
It is old but will not fail.
Tender is the tree, and I am wet;
Rain falls on me, but I won’t weaken yet;
We’ve years to go, and miles, more miles,
than can be counted on the branches of its head.
Quiet times, and times that break a smile;
Animal times, and times of flying fowl.
Quickening times, hears and times that part meanwhile.
I never doubt my love’s location;
She is in me, and I am her vocation.

As you can see, the opening analogy leads to an even weirder one, ad it spirals our of control for a while. I have no illusions about this award, either. Given World of Poetry’s modus operandi, I was probably one of about a thousand (or even more) “fourth place” winners.

This article has been delayed for months because I couldn’t track down a copy of “Rusty Love.” Finally, while going through a box of old postcards, photos, and junk, I found an index card with a pencil draft. It’s possible that I revised the piece when I typed it; the middle section, where there is no rhyme for “head” or “fowl” seems like something I might have fixed. Or I may have decided it was “good enough” for the purpose of competing in a World of Poetry poetry contest.

“The Spider That Laughed at the Sea” short story published in Danse Macabre du Jour

spider laughed danse macabre

Danse Macabre du Jour posts dark and atmospheric fiction and poetry on a daily basis as an adjunct to the periodical Danse Macabre. I’m very pleased that my short science fiction story “The Spider That Laughed at the Sea” appeared today. You can read it here.

In the story, a dysfunctional family lands on an unfamiliar planet, hoping to find a suitable place to set up a home. Their search for food leads them to a a cluster of giant spiders on the beach of a milk white sea. Lured by the temporary paradise they find there, the family becomes part of their new world.

DM du jour-spider

“Making America Great Again” and five visual poems published in Otoliths

making america otoliths 56

Great news! Issue 56 of Otoliths was just released. Sad news: it is dedicated to the memory of Reuben Woolley, a fine poet and editor in the vast international avant garde, who published my work in his journal Curly Mind. He will be missed as a poet and peace activist, both of which are much needed today.

Otoliths 56 is chock full of the usual suspects, representing the full range of textual and visual poetics options today, always cutting edge and great fun. Never a dull moment and an essential read. I’m very pleased to be represented among such fine company with a text poem from the robotspeak series, “Making America Great Again,” which applies the linguistic logic of the Facebook AI units to the branding catchphrase of the current US delinquent-in-chief. Plus 5 visual poems with asemic writing from a recent series of tape sampling pieces that seem to represent a scientific journal from a human colony on an extraterrestrial world. You can check it out here.

making america 2 otoliths 56

“A Bleeding Screen of Need” and two other poems published in Synchronized Chaos

Synch Chaos-bleedng 2020

Online poetry issue just released its first issue of 2020 on New Year’s Day, including a wide variety of work centered on the theme of “Co-evolution and Adaptation.” Three of my poems appear in this one: “A Bleeding Screen of Need,” “The Pieces Fail to Fit,” and “Salamander Tides.”

The editor wrote a nice introduction to the pieces, noting:  “In Jeff Bagato’s poetry, speakers resist oblivion in various ways: creating digital identities, building objects as a distraction, even lashing together sticks to form a raft in a rushing current.” You can read the poems here.