It seems that my submission guidelines
have captured the imagination of some authors. Some rebellious,
trouble-making types. You might want to pop over and read the
guidelines before you read further.
Here's Helen Losse, published in this issue and in Issue 2.
the Risk of Using the Verboten
Call me preachy or sentimental,
but really, our pets—both
alive and dead—
often show up in old family
the stuff one might find in
visiting a grandparent’s
in a box so covered with
dust no language
can break through the
hackneyed cliché. Writing
about my parents—and even
the nature of
illness and coping with
insures me an image of angst: the familiar,
like when the editor figures
by putting (unexpected)
parenthesis in to peeve him,
I’m doing more than just
breaking the rules.
Surely, I’ll be rejected.
“Not you!” quips the Editor.
“Just the (preferred 16
but allowed 20) lines of
verse you sent, although
you didn’t use the c**t
word or write haiku about
romantic love. It’s on
account of your sassiness.”
Today, what keeps me going
shields me from myself.
And here is F. John Sharp, whose work appeared in Issue 1.
I have one dog (alive) and
one cat (dead), and I live with my grandparents (both alive, but only
temporarily (of course, aren't we all alive only temporarily?)). I keep the
cat in the freezer in the basement as a hedge against a food shortage or a
sudden (but not unexpected) week of being locked there. Again.
The dog has cancer. The vet told me it's incurable. Just like Mom's. Coping
I keep hoping my grandparents will catch cancer from my dog, as I have been
letting him lick their plates before I serve them their peanut butter and
marshmallow fluff sandwiches for lunch (which they seem to enjoy to excess).
They're mean to me and they were mean to my parents (and when I say mean, I
mean average mean, like in the middle) and the sooner they die, the sooner
they'll be gone. Then I can get all their money and go to the movies every
The other day I was in their attic which is full of grandparenty things like
an old sewing machine (which I imagine Grandma using to teach my mother how
to sew as a little girl (awww)) and some hat boxes full of hats (which I
imagine my mother using to play dress-up when she was little (awww)) and an
over/under twelve gauge (which I imagine was the one my mother used to kill
my father just before the cancer got her (we buried them on the same day)).
I happened upon some old photos, which made me cry (as you can imagine)
because all I wanted was for things to be the way they used to be, which is
me and Mom (with no cancer) and Dad (without the big hole in his chest) and
my dog (also without cancer) and my cat (somewhat warmer and alive), living
in the trailer,
I was in love once, to a waitress named Samantha, who use to bring me my
favorite lunch (baked hot dogs on toast) without even asking, until I asked
her to marry me. The next day the owner (her husband) told me I couldn't eat
there any more. I still have a picture of her I took with a digital camera I
snuck under my jacket.
Anyway, I miss the old days and, if there's anything I've learned that I can
pass on it's this: Don't take a frozen dead cat to the movies.
Very clever. But both of these esteemed authors need to know that
there's no way in hell I'm publishing these.
Here's Issue 4: Driving North. Thanks to
Manfred Gabriel who contributed the title story to this issue and made other
less visible contributions.
With publication of this issue of Right Hand Pointing, the 2004-2005 Right Hand Pointing
Righting Contest is officially closed. Watch your mail, as you will be
given a chance to vote on the winner. Here's a shot of the T-shirt.