Bastard Child #5
I thought this might be fun to share.
Last night, while going through a few folders filled with older writings of mine, I ran across Issue #5 of Bastard Child (pictured below), a side-stapled, DIY zine from 1998. Flipping through its pages made me smile.
I first discovered Bastard Child while hanging out one afternoon at The Underground, a record and clothing store for young and rebellious youth into alternative and/or punk music. I was into both, so I fit in well. And I loved to read, loved to write, and bought every poetry zine I could find.
To be honest, there isn’t anything about Bastard Child that is particularly awesome – other than me being the first poet, other than its two creators, to have work included in the publication. Persephone and Violet hated almost all types of writing – and, when it came to poetry – they thought just about everybody and their work sucked. Except for their own poetry, that is. They thought very highly of their own verse.
I contacted Persephone and Violet (using my pseudonym, during those years, Trent Hill), via the U.S. mail, after reading Issue #4 and being impressed with a couple of the poems. With my flattering letter, I included my poem, “Casual Conversation”, and mentioned I thought it might fit into the general theme of the zine well. Persephone responded, via U.S. mail, a couple of weeks later to tell me she thought my poetry didn’t suck and my poem would be included in Issue #5. By that time, I had been published in a good number of independent zines – but, by being published in Bastard Child, my work would be within the pages of a zine run by two poets who hated poetry. It was the zine nobody (else) could get into.
Issue #5 is packed full of poems by the two young women, articles they wrote about their favorite musicians and – on page 14 (the next to last page) is my poem across from a black and white image of Tori Amos playing the piano and above a Neal Cassady quote. On page 14, my poem is with good company.
The poem is, admittedly, not a shining example of excellent literature – but it is an example of my early writing. And it rhymes.
So, just for fun, here is my poem, “Casual Conversation”, published in Bastard Child in September of 1998. And I hope you enjoy it! ______________
If I decided to throw myself into the sea Would you come and rescue me?
And if I laid down on the railroad tracks Would you pick up my body and bring it back?
If I were seated in the electric chair Would you pretend I wasn’t there?
And if I were casually playing with fire Would you pour on me gasoline – and make the flames rise higher?