Poetry Challenge Post #2

For day #2, I'm going to share with you a poem from chapter 1 of Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots. 

But before we get to that, I'm going to update you on some things that have been going on in my writing life :-)

Lately, I've been having an absolute blast serving as Poetry Editor of Devilfish Review. I don't think I've ever blogged about it, so let me tell you how that came to be.

Back when I was a lowly MFA student, I was in a requisite fiction writing class, and one of the classmates was Cathy Lopez. We got along pretty well, connected over the usual nerdery, but what I remember most was how different her writing was from everyone else's. She wrote (gasp) "genre" fiction, which, ok, if you're in academia, you learn that it's kind of a dirty word. I'm putting "genre" in quotes, though, because that's what our professor said Cathy wrote. I thought they were just good, interesting stories about being a superhero or living in a magical word, but whatevs. 

Anyway, Cathy graduated, and we went our own separate ways, though kept in touch via Facebook. Yay Facebook. About four years ago, she founded Devilfish Review along with another MFA classmate, Sarah Gonzalez. I watched in the backdrop. Their mission? Unofficially, I think they were aiming to prove that speculative fiction can be just as smart, layered, and rich as "Literary" fiction. Coolness. I'm all about representation, and I'm a closet sci-fi nerd. Though, of course, I'm not a fiction writer.

They chug along successfully, publishing interesting and quality speculative fiction, gaining a reader base, and generally being awesome.

This past summer, though, I was at some book signing festival thing for the City of Edinburg, and what do you know, Cathy and Sarah swing by my table. We chat for a bit, and they invite me out to coffee the following weekend. "We want to pick your brain about poetry," Cathy says, though I'm suspicious.

And I had good reason! Over our little coffee chat the following week, I learn that they want to include more poetry in their journal, and they need someone with a good eye to read, select, and edit it. I agreed to help them out until they could find someone better, because, well, I didn't exactly have all the time in the world on my hands. "I'll help for one issue," I say, temporary.

I begin sifting through the poems in the submission queue, and you know what? It's fun! I also edit Amarillo Bay, of course, which is more ::ahem:: "Literary" BUT the submissions for Devilfish? My goodness. Let me tell you. I just finished reading an epic in blank verse about a computer that falls in love with a lady. And it was fantastic. I get to read Star Trek poetry, poems about fairy tales, unicorns, magic. 

So, needless to say, I did the first issue, the second, and, well, about a year later, I'm still on board. I'm hooked. I have an official shirt with their octopod logo! And, well, Cathy and Sarah have become good friends of mine. So, I'm here to stay, and I wouldn't have it any other way. We jive.

In the spirit of being speculative, then, I'll share with you a revisionist fairy tale poem that's about as creepy as I can muster. I'm a big baby...

An Empty Parking Lot at Night

Suddenly you find yourself alone --
the sky’s the color of an eyeball’s pit,
too dark for skipping shadows, and the moon
even looks the other way. Your car’s
across the parking lot that, by the minute,
looks more and more a forest, every sidewalk
crack a bramble, every sound a howl
and every empty car’s a shrub the hungry
might lurk behind. You know the fairy tale –
tonight, you didn’t wear your short red dress,
meet strangers’ gazes with your eyes, or stop
to smell the moonlit lilies at your feet.
You tongue the rouge off from your lips and palm
the cell phone in your pocket, clutch your purse
to your hip. But dear, there’s nothing you can do;

the wolf is always after girls like you.

Speaking of which, we're currently running our first contest, The Kraken Awards! I bet you can write a better speculative piece than me, and I can't wait to read it. Submit!