Willem Dafoe’s Face

willem dafoe

By Troy Jollimore

Willem Dafoe walks to the corner bodega
with Willem Dafoe’s face splashed all over
the front part where the face usually goes,
peering through the well-designed eye-holes to scrutinize

the sausagelike faces of his fellow urban adventurers,
the way he does every morning, the way you do
every morning, your face out there like Christmas decorations
for everyone to see, like you don’t give two shits

what they think. After all, you can see their faces too.
Which doesn’t, somehow, make it come out even.
The human face, that encyclopedia
of longing and vulnerability. He nods

to a heavyset man who is stealthily browsing
cans of precooked luncheon meat, who started it
by nodding at him, who has maybe and maybe
not recognized him from Light Sleeper

or The English Patient or (yikes) Speed 2: Cruise
Control
, two faces acknowledging each other,
not snarling, not biting, civilization emerging
victorious once again in the canned foods aisle.

Orson Welles, now he had a face.
You’d give your right arm for Orson Welles’s face.
He would have, too. Even at his worst,
rejected by Hollywood, The Magnificent

Ambersons lying in hacked-up pieces
at the bottom of the ocean, he must have been thinking
to himself, at least I’ve still got my beautiful
goddamned face. His face and his voice, two

eternal beauties. But really, what’s worse than
popping the wrong expression into the wrong
conversational slot? Like smiling a goofy fat
smile while your friend describes his sister’s

bone marrow treatments? Moments like that
make you wish you didn’t have a face. Or at least
that you could leave your face at home in a drawer
sometimes, and walk around just being the person

you actually are, like you believed in such
a thing. Like anyone does. But you’d never
let yourself say that, who’d believe it anyway,
coming out of that thing you call a mouth?

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Bareback

Bareback

By Timothy Liu

 

My father slowly
takes his time
working his way

into my ass—
one finger followed
by another with

all my siblings
now climbing into
the same bed

hoping to figure
out how much
more our family

can really take—

Live Sex, Times Square, 1980

By David Bottoms

Once, in New York, I checked out a live sex show.

The woman, a youngish brunette, lay on her stomach on a mat
while a balding man mounted her from behind.

Occasionally she moved her hips
and a bruise the size of a small fist quivered

on her thigh like a leaf in the wind. All the while
she kept reading a book.

In another place entirely, she’d smile and flip a page
while the man did his best to interest her.

I kept dropping quarters into a rusted slot to prevent
the plastic curtain from closing,

and squinted hard in the dim light to see
through the scratched and yellowed plexiglass,

dropping quarters, wiping the window
with my sleeve,

straining to read the title of her book.

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Submissions

WWW.THEAMERIANJOURNALOFPOETRY.COM
“Where Do You Submit Your Poems?”—by
Robert Nazarene, editor-&-chief—simply one
Poet / Editor’s opinion and fraught with contro-
versy. When poets first start submitting their
poems they may opt for small reviews with
limited name recognition. Many have easier
acceptance rates but may not have national
or international reach. Nothing wrong here.
Unless you’re interested in having your work
read by the greatest number of people possible.
Online reviews hold an advantage: they are
usually accessed with no charge to the reader.
Well respected print journals are fine as well.
But to gain a reader, the reader has to pay
$12-20 to purchase the copy in which your
poem appears. Oops. Fewer readers of your
hard work. An online review has virtually
unlimited readership—and again, it’s FREE,
usually. I know the differences well, having
published the print journal MARGIE for a
decade: a 450+ page annual poetry anthology.
And it is nice to hold a book in your hands.
Having mentioned these points, one thing is
certain: if you only submit to the most diffi-
cult reviews, online and print, there is great
satisfaction when an acceptance comes and
your work is included among the most respect-
ed poets in the world. There is a very prag-
matic reason as well. When you publish a
book down the line—readers will see your
previously published poems are from the
most selective reviews—naturally, this
garners respect. As I stated before, this blog
may be regarded as contoversial. I like the
“name-calling” the best: “elitist”, “career-
Ist”, “jaded”, “cynic”, “presumptuous”,
“self-serving”. I will attend to rebutting
this calumny sometime in the futu…
WWW.THEAMERICANJOURNALOFPOETRY.COM
“We are now reading for Volume Two.

Rejections

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WWW.THEAMERICANJOURNALOFPOETRY.COM
Poetry “Rejections”…As writers, if we’re not getting
tons of them, we’re not doing our job.”
–by Robert Nazarene, editor-&-chief
Rejections and Acceptances should look the
same to us. Like these guys. They simply boil down
to a numbers game. Here’s a decent rule of
thumb: you will need to send out 10 submissions
and endure 9 rejections in order to yield 1 poem
accepted. If you send out 5, get them all
“rejected”—then give up—that’s not a strategy.
Everybody will tell you not to take it personally.
Me too. So, here’s the cold hard truth. Set a goal
at the beginning of a calendar year: how many
poems do you want published or accepted for
publication in the forthcoming 12 months? If
you say 10—send out 100 submissions that year.
If you say 20—send out 200 submissions. Be
sure to maintain discipline. Send them out. That’s
why I just called it the cold hard truth.—And look,
say you send out 100 and “only” get 6 poems
accepted—that’s 6 more than you had before. So, it’s
simple. Rejections aren’t bad; they get us to where
we want to be. Acceptances always start out slow
when a poet first begins to submit—a period when a
poet may be lacking confidence—but the percent-
ages will catch up. And once you get your first
publication—the acceptances will come easier
afterwards. So—Rejections and Acceptances—the
main idea is to remain “centered” and “goal”
oriented—not “feelings” oriented. And look…
they don’t even call it a Rejection anymore. The
new term is “Declined”—like the debit card
screen says and you’ve got a full basket load
of groceries in the checkout line at Cosco.