Hit Man Responds to a Rejection Slip That Says His Work Lacks Lyricism

It’s National Poetry Month.  Always bemused me that they chose April, the month that T.S. Eliot called “the cruelest month of all.”  Of course here in Michigan it usually is rather disappointing. We welcome the Spring equinox as if the flower beds will suddenly burst into bloom. Like most who wander in their gardens, I head to the garage and lug out the pots, clean the paths, even haul mulch. And then the temperature drops like Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl, the drearies set in, and the weather ball says “Snow on Thursday.”

I have never once said, “Poet,” when asked, “What are you?” But in Ireland for some reason I said, “I’m a poet,” when asked by a fellow on the street the first day we were in Ballyvaughan. He brightened and offered, “Well, are ya now! Then ya must come doon to the pub this evening and read to us. That would be luvly! And over a pint or two, eh!”

No need to publish or win some award or hear “I liked that one,” or hope for approval. In the pub, a poem was as soulfully nourishing as laughter, a raised pint to Jimmy’s dog, or another round.

Hit Man Responds to a Rejection Slip That Says His Work Lacks Lyricism

“You know what happens
to anyone dumb enough
to be gawkin’ at stars?
Tell ya what I’d do–
throttle ‘em up against
a dumpster. We’d see
whose consciousness gets
raised; I’d hoist it higher
than a crack dream. Up
your lyric. Here’s what
you can do with your
elegiac. Epiphany this.
Who in hell’s runnin’
things? Some forehead
who can’t decide what
socks to wear? I bet
he says, ‘James, you
decide,’ then heads out
to dinner with the intern.
Well, I’d be glad to serve him
an anti pasta he won’t soon
forget, one he’ll be scanning
in his dreams. How about
he reads between these lines—
Time he learned he shoulda
been like his old man and
sold cars, or had the balls
to be a decent plumber.”

-Jack Ridl
First published in Waymark

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18 thoughts on “Hit Man Responds to a Rejection Slip That Says His Work Lacks Lyricism

  1. Jack,
    “Well, are ya now?”
    Dare say a night at the pub with more than a few of you readin’ and among us all laughter and tears enough to ease along more than a few pints (though I’m a lager rather than a Guinness man, myself) would be perfect! And I’m a pretty mediocre plumber as well!

    • Ah mah dear lad, how I would luv raisin’ a pint to yer good soul.
      But first, now, yah would haftah fix the darned plumbin’
      Twill be well worth it though, but for sure!

  2. Oh yes, Jack! Can I come to the pub with you and sit in the corner and listen? Already do the laughter and tears at my computer.

  3. Dear Jack,
    As always you bring a smile to my face as I read your weekly email. I am sitting here gazing out at the winter storm as I quietly feed 25 baby bunnies dreaming of my future trip to Ireland.

    • Do you know how much this enters my heart? Try, lassie, try.
      And do go to Ireland. Tis, indeed, a landscape where your dear soul
      will feel at home.

  4. I think we ran into the same fella in Ballyvaughan this past fall. We were in a pub and it was quite dreary out (surprise, surprise) and I asked him how the Irish stay so upbeat when the weather’s so constantly dismal? He said, “What’dya mean……….it only rains twice a week here………..the first time from Sunday to Wednesday and the second from Thursday to Saturday!” I had to raise a pint to that!

    • Ahhhh lassie, tis true, so very true indeed.
      What a delight to know you were in “our” little village.
      I read in a castle there! Opened by saying, “I’ve read in castles all
      over the United States, but this is the first time in Ireland!” They laughed,
      thank heaven. We’ll have to exchange Ballyvaughan stores, er tales! I know
      that pub! Ha Ha!

  5. I love this poem. Laughed out loud while squirming a bit.
    Tell me, did Julie write the intro about gardening, then Jack jumped in with Ballyvaughan? Maybe it’s the “juju Ridl” that confuses me. Is the post pure Jack or a collaboration?
    -David the Dim.

    • Nope, I wrote the whole thing. She’s better, but insists it being all mine each week.
      Thanks for laughing. The poem needs that!

  6. Hi Jack & Julie – Happy Birthday dear one….attached is my birthday wish – see you tomorrow.. love, Bean and Blair

    • “Blair Einstein! Paging Blair Einstein! Please report to Gate 1. Your flight is
      readying for takeoff. Mr. Blair Einstein, please, PLEASE PLEASE report to Gate 1.
      Mr. Einstein? MR. EINSTEIN!!!”

      Well, I’m glad the book was engaging, good Sir! Thanks for the birthday wishes!
      And get your butt back here because we’re here and you are not here and we need
      you to be here.

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