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At Bonfire's Heart

My first poems ever “officially” published…

“At Bonfire’s Heart” was released 20 March 2001 in the anthology Woven Magic, ISBN 1582355576.

“Woven Magic”

At Bonfire's Heart

Time is slowing to an embarrassed crawl
as rising flames coil and recoil
in undulating shifts of yellows, reds,
oranges, purples, greens, and blues;
the tempo seductive to my mind and eye;
the warmth tantalizing my skin;
my flesh reveling in the comfort;
I am thrilled by the sounds of heated consumption.

Now blossoming, emanating from the searing coals---
-- a dancer----   AH!
I am captured by the lithe, supple, swirling, coaxing figure,
beckoning my presence,
riveting my attention to the raw energy,
begging my participation in its torrid ballet.
Lost in this fiery dance, entranced,
I scarcely feel the cold breath of winter at my back,
so close am I to being fully engulfed,
to being hand in hand, within the flame,
to being willing to dance with the fire.

“Box” was my second poem to be "officially" published.  It was released 20 June 2001 in the anthology Tears and Triumphs, ISBN 0795150016.

Box

An empty box along the road,
the drafts of vehicles gone by,
to draw it into the traffic,
have pushed and pulled to no avail.

An empty box along the road,
the plows and snows have pushed afar,
"Rubbish!" they wrongly said---
No, a castaway.

An empty box along the road,
amid the grass and weeds:
a home now for the creatures small,
a refuge to all little ones who flee---
along the road. 

Both of these poems were published by The International Library of Poetry (TILOP), now called LULU Poetry (still the poetry.com website).  I suggest that writers carefully research how and with whom they might publish their works, and seriously consider my following experiences with TILOP before submitting any work to LULU Poetry, or to anyone else.  I do not mean to offend anyone, but even one person’s anecdotal experience can be part of the truth.

TILOP initially seemed responsive to my submissions.  After “At Bonfire’s Heart” was accepted, I signed up for and bought one copy of the anthology in which “At Bonfire’s Heart” was published.  TILOP did not give an author a gratis copy for having been accepted or published by them.  TILOP anthologies were priced around $50.00 each at the time.  For someone who had never been published before, it was exciting to have a hard copy containing my own poetry (even at that price), so I allowed my eagerness to own a copy of my published work to override my better sense.  As it later became evident, TILOP was only allowing a writer to have one accepted poem per anthology.  That publication limit, of one poem per anthology, was not made clear until after publication.  From an author's perspective, that limitation made the cost per publication exorbitantly cost-prohibitive of any potential future purchases from them.  If one wanted multiple copies of the book, particularly when most authors yearn to see whole books of their material published rather than single pieces scattered about, the TILOP cost-to-publication ratio was outrageous for one author’s work. 

After TILOP had published those first two poems, I waited patiently, hoping that they might change their publication limits and publish multiple poems by the same author per anthology.  I allowed them to sit on six more of my poems in their publication queue for over a year, but TILOP did not publish even one more of my poems during that time.  After several unfruitful emails and phone calls to TILOP during that year, to inquire about the status of my poems and to attempt to encourage their expeditious publication, I retracted the remaining unpublished works to submit them elsewhere.  It became obvious that the principle of the old Roman "caveat emptor" saying remains very much as true today as it was when first spoken centuries ago. 

May the Good Lord Bless You as You Seek Him!

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