• One Minnesota Writer

RIP Rosie and How to Kill Your Regrettable Poetry

My day began with the usual: checking Facebook, tweeting about the latest call for submissions from Every Day Poets, checking email, reading slush.

Then I had a conversation with an insurance claims adjuster. My nine-year-old Toyota Rav4, rear-ended a week-and-a-half ago, is a total loss. Rosie (my Rav) must be put to rest at a place called the Total Loss Center (per the American Family Insurance guy I spoke with). Total Loss Center?

This brought a tear to my eye. Both eyes, actually, as I told myself, it’s just a car. Just a car. Let it go.

But it was the best vehicle I have ever owned. And now I have to go car shopping, which I HATE. My familiar red four-wheeled companion of the last nine years will leave in a most undignified way without so much as a backward glance while I, ignoring my sense of being unfaithful, test drive something shiny and new, something alluring and utterly without history. Something without dog nose prints on the rear cargo area window. Something without Pop Tart wrappers in the pocket on the back of the driver’s seat. Something without winter-crud footprints from teenagers who ride in the back seat most weekends.


Since I can’t go anywhere today unless I walk, my thoughts have eventually returned to the writing work at hand. Rosie keeps popping in, though, and she’s giving me ideas about how we let things go as I consider what to revise and what to let die. I have visions of a Total Loss Center for bad poetry, where people drop off their verse that just isn’t working and someone comes out and says, here, let me burn that for you and you can rest assured no one will ever read this again. That might be a little harder to do with poetry we regret that has already graced the Internet, but maybe a Cyberspace Total Loss Center worm could crawl hungrily around and take bytes out of embarrassing verse until it is gone. We could bid adieu to those words we have become so attached but that, nevertheless, don’t work.

Then we can all get out our thesauri and go shopping for shiny new words that say what we want with much more pizazz. And without an insurance claims adjuster, although they might make pretty good editors as they try to figure out what can and can’t be fixed.

Now, if I could just make myself to get up and turn off that 1970s Barry Manilow station I have playing on Pandora right now. I’m at a total loss as to what I was thinking.


Okay, if you’ve read this far, you deserve the link to that call for submissions I mentioned above. Here it is: www.everydaypoets.com/march-table-of-contents/

EDP is running a contest that encourages you to blow things apart…figuratively speaking. Check it out, pay it forward.

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