Jeffrey Zable

Trying Not to Just received another poetry manuscript rejection.Third or fourth in a row. In the newest one the editor wrote,“I really liked your work. Has fine imagery and interesting ideas,but alas it’s not what we need at this time.”And so I asked myself, “What does anyone really need at any given timebut a few good friends, a significant other, health, and enough moneyto live a decent life when most people could care less if you live or die.”In fact there are a lot of people who would leave your body in the street,put on your slippers, and sit down in your favorite chairwithout giving it a second thought.Knowing this doesn’t give me a good feeling,but it’s probably been this way since the first semblanceof human beings walked the earth.Even so, I must try not to be cynical about everything. . . A Long Way to Go I was overloaded with love and just couldn’t take it anymoreso I said to anyone who would listen,“Please, take some of this love. It’s all too much!”And wouldn’t you know it, it was the movie stars,television personalities, and famous athletes who were listening.And being a man of my word, I gave it all willingly.By the time it was over I had no love to my name.I went to a garbage can, pulled out a newspaper,walked to the park, and lay down on a bench.The paper kept my feet warm for the moment but by the time it was darkmy teeth were chattering so badly that I thought they would crack.I realized that I’d never be so fortunate again,that I gave up all that love because I felt guilty—guilty that I didn’t deserve it.From there I walked the streets but a shadow of my former selfbegging people to spare me a little love.One gentleman finally said, “Sure sport, here’s a dime.If you can get a thousand of theseyou should be able to buy some love to last you for a while!”Putting the dime in my pocket I thanked him profusely,though I knew that I had a long way to go. . . Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent writing in Serving House Journal, Sick Lit, Mocking Heart Review, Kairos, Dead King, Ink In Thirds, Tigershark, Drunken Llama, Verse Wrights, Vending Machine Press, Third Wednesday, Fear of Monkeys, Futures Trading, Jokes Review and many others.