Editorial Encounter



   I was hanging me out at The Block & Cramp
   (that watering place for hungup writers)
          when in from opposite doors there came
          a couple of literary laureates:
   this one editor of an academic semiannual;
   that one of a quarterly, privately published;
          each given to lambasting the other's genre
          in lengthening columns of to-themself letters—

   That one's gazette accused of ad hominemisms,
          of pernicious delusory flaws in its logic
          and twaddlesome rocks in its righteousness;
   why else so persistent with butterflown drone-ons,
          ignoring the hungrily homelessly World Without?

   This one's periodical alleged to a priorize,
          to immerse its pages in amoral self-absorption
          and put its unlaundered flatulence on display;
   why else this disdain for Truth and embrace of Pain,
          confining the mind to nihilistic cowardice?

     These disparate editors entered The Block & Cramp
            and both made a bluepencilline for the bar!
     I braced myself for the surely-following fracas,
            the hole-and-corner buffery more bitter
            than ever occurred in old Eatanswill;
     or, at the very least, for face-to-face bawling
            of oral invective and thunderous oaths
            that would curdle the very ink in our pens!

     ...What resulted was a scene out of Warner Brothers
            (though lacking in violence or even animation)
            —a sheepdog and a coyote-colored wolf
                   passing at their mutual timeclock:
                   "Hullo Sam," murmured the one;
                   "Hullo Ralph," the other.


Originally published in The Duckabush Journal
(Sequim, WA: The Duckabush Press)
Number 5, Fall 1990

Copyright © 1990, 2004  by P. S. Ehrlich

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