My Beef with Polish

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That’s polish, not Polish; just to be clear. Yeah, I said beef. Yeah, I said yeah. Hey, here’s a poem I wrote when I was in my early twenties:

 

Self Prophecy              

                                                                               

O silly man,

why would you explode

such a librarie?

 

and why would you spell it

with “ie”

as though you were exotic?

 

In my head:

 

“I’m sorry

but I can’t possibly entertain

your request.

 

I just don’t have the time.”

 

I see their eyes globalize (what a word! No! Narrow…)

Narrow           in my direction

 

as they walk.

as they read it on my face.

 

O silly man,

why would you explode

such a girl?

 

When I have so little time?

 

O you man! once you threw

scribbled

shards

 

of mirrors

of leaves

of silk shirts

 

in heaps in corners in closets

so you could make love more freely.

 

And it worked!

 

I must try it for myself sometime…

 

O you masters!

 

Abandon your dusty tomes!

Gather and nod sagely

over the fledgling flights

 

of such as I!

Gather and quarrel

like a posse

 

that has lost its prey.

Or turn at the very least.

Roll your eyes.

 

O me.

Hmm. Polish.

 

Google “literary submissions polished.” Some results:

 

“Polish Your Work Before Submitting:” (writersdigest.com)
“Entries…should be polished little…” (www.thelmagazine.com)
“the manuscript should be thoroughly proofread and polished before…” (nathanieltower.wordpress.com)
“3-5 crafted, polished, image-centric, language-innovating poems…” (bloodlotusjournal.com)
“Make sure your work is proofed and polished…” (redsavinareview.org)

 

Editors like polish. Your work must be polished. Polish seems to be much less optional of literary works than of, say, furniture surfaces.

What does shiny look like on a poem? Every word in place. Everything intentional? On a story? Nothing awkward, nothing rough and improper?

It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Beauty is within. Don’t judge a book by its

Polish. Like the frames in a museum. Fancy frames, so you know the works are important. So you know they belong. So you know they come from actual artists.

Banksy likes to sell his work on the sly. People pay the same price for his insanely valuable works as they would for any street artist. If you get lucky, you could be one of those people. If you can spot the real art among the street art.

Yes, care. Care should be taken. Intention, that is important. You want the words just so. But not just so for you, just so for us. Make your brilliance more easily apparent for us. Put a beautiful frame on it. Here are the dimensions. Hello? Yes, I measured it. Yes. Their grass is four inches now. That’s right. Thank you, I really appreciate it.

On the steps of Morgan Hall at the University of Alabama, David Androoz disagreed with me as I speculated that one must first know the rules to productively break the rules. There’s not much more to say. He could reference outsider art. He could talk about gatekeeping. But really, in the mere disagreement, the point is made.

Which is it? Do the clothes make the man? Is Banksy’s art worth millions or dollars, millions or dollars more than street art? Does he do brisker business?

When we look at homeless people, we don’t even see humans anymore.

I’ve aced nearly every English paper I’ve ever written using polish alone. A-plus for the right shape of essay, and flawless. I could count on my toes my moments of genuine exploration, genuine content, in seven years of literary education.

On the other hand, I still can’t understand how people miss out on “Self Prophecy.” It makes them uncomfortable. It’s adolescent. I know from masturbation, and this is not it. It is pure YAWP.

Then again, we don’t react well to YAWPs in the street, do we?

Here’s a jacket. Keep your voice down. You seem like a fine person but you didn’t know there was a dress code. Dial the energy back, okay? Put it on and you can dine with us.

 

 

 

 

Photo By: Andrea Marutti

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About Author

Rachel Adams studied fiction at the University of Alabama. Currently she resides in San Jose, where she teaches sixth grade English and Social Studies. You can find excerpts from her novella, Between You and I , in Volume 3, Issue 5 of Atticus Review (Feb. 5, 2013) and Issue 3 of Parcel.

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