Some Pieces I Had To Lose

For now, anyway. In this latest revision of Yountakah Country, I’m condensing this poetry collection to chapbook length. That usually means about 20 pieces, but no more than 30. And that’s opposed to the book-length version of more than 50 pages.

The first culling to about 30 pieces was relatively easy. I took away pieces that went out in other submissions, and was slightly surprised at how many of those there were. And then I pulled out the pieces that I plan to use in other submissions.

So I had a collection of a bit more than half of where it started. That’s when I looked again at what was here, after a few months of not looking at any of it, with cold eyes.

I thought it would be easy to see now how bad these pieces were and how much work they would need in order to stay in this or some other collection.

The pieces were actually better than I remembered them. I changed a few words here, and a title there. And I changed the order around a bit, but too much of it was in tact and I needed to cut it down.

There were some pieces I had to lose, but which ones were they?

I took out NUTLEY HEIGHTS with its reference to the NYC skyline and Tozzi’s. Somehow I managed to work in Cambridge Heights, funky water and “the carp splash.” I think this needs to ripen.

PARLOUS WATER went on the back burner, too. I liked when it says, “your parents may have/swung from a rope over the brook/ and splashed sneakered feet into/the cool wetness on a steamy summer day.” But towards the end it references A&P carts and the “whirling waters.”

Back to draft mode went U.N. GARDENS. That piece reflects on the long-neglected gardens that were planted long ago “in hopes of peace and love.” The gardens are beyond the “gazebo where the Yanticaw Creek splits…”

It wasn’t for the obvious reason that I held back VALIUM BREEZE. The Roche plant and vitamin fumes are as much a part of Nutley history as is Miss Annie Oakley who wintered with the Eaton Stone Circus on the grounds where the drug company stands. No. I held this one back because it is not ready.

NUTLEY DINER was a tough one to pull out. I liked the mentions of the Centennial Clock, and the references to the long-gone Town & Country and the Onyx Club.

Some day these pieces may see the light of day, in slightly different form, as we say.

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