Response To A Vanity House’s Solicitation

By: Laura Hirneisen

Dear Ms. Rodeger,

Thank you for finding my poems in 2River View. I thought only communists, New Yorkers, pot smokers, and middle-aged men named Horatio read poems any more. But then I discovered your fan email brightening my inbox.

When I read you think my poetry deserves immortality, I wept with bliss. Please take my words to the shelves of stores called Barnes & Nobel as you promised. (I think what you meant to say was Barnes & Noble. Confusing the book store with the peace prize is a common error. I once used to think the Nobel Prize was funded by Barnes & Nobel too. No I didn’t, but I really want us to be friends, Ms. Rodeger. You like my poetry and I like you.)

Since we’re going to be pals now, I hope you won’t be offended by what I’m about to say. If you’re easily offended, Ms. Rodeger, please skip ahead to the next paragraph so we can stay chummy. You said, “Self-publishing is one strong avenue to share your photography with the world in book format.” I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but when you forgot I write poetry, you made me feel less special. Your slip-up tarnished my star and made my aura turn a little blue. I wondered if perhaps you sent the same letter to other people as well, people who take pictures, people you also said should have their work immortalized.

But your words are crafted in golden elegance, each tenderly strung sentence a gem adorning the tiara of creativity. And you convinced me. Now that you have so graciously assessed my talent as a poet, I would like to take the strong avenue you spoke of. I see this avenue in my mind: long and gray, tall glass buildings on either side. For some reason, a homeless man lives in a Sanyo box on one corner and bloated pigeon corpses are being mauled by taxi cabs, but I won’t let this bother me.

Which reminds me of what else happened when I opened your email, Ms. Rodeger. I thought of vampires. I pictured my poetry wearing a black satin cape with a red lining. While I am a WASP female, my poetry is inexplicably embodied as a swarthy skinned, mustachioed male. He is named Dagar, has a scar under his right eye from taking a beer bottle to the face in a scrappy bar fight, and smokes cigarillos in vast quantities. To gain his immortality, my poetry leeches the blood from unsuspecting readers.

Did you know vampires are categorized as bloodsucking evil spirits who rise from the dead each night to sap blood from the living? What’s ironic is that you sent your email at 2:47 a.m. Could it be that you too are vampiric in nature, Ms. Rodeger? If so, perhaps this explains your affinity for my poetry and your proclaiming it worthy of immortality.

Not that I mean to imply you are an evil spirit, Ms. Rodeger. Quite the opposite! You are bringing sunshine, warm winds, and happy unicorns into the lives of struggling artists everywhere. Today, in reward, I will send you a check.

Thank you for opening my eyes to my own brilliance, Ms. Rodeger, and for giving me the roadmap to achieving success and immortality. I hope to hear from you again soon and to begin sharing my photography poetry with a larger audience. You’re swell!

Best wishes,

Laura Hirneisen

Disclaimer: This message contains confidential information and is intended only for Ms. Geraldine Rodeger, which is a lovely name, isn’t it?