Classical Camouflaged

__It begins, like all prose poems today,
with a bit of narrated diary, as though it
were a tale by Hemmingway, but more
self-conscious and less flowery.
__It then proceeds to rub the reader’s
nose in an unrelated past happenstance
where the tortured soul of the poet goes,
and you know it’s not pretty, from a
__If the audience leaves, thinking, “That’s
me!” it just makes me feel sorry how
many are out there thinking: “This is
poetry,” while well-trained poets don’t
make a penny.
__Editors prefer prose from a poet.

(This sonnet was rhymed;
I dared not show it.)



Current Convention

Editors kill rhyme,
though audiences love it,
as roses are red.




__He rolls the slip into a scroll to fit
within the bottle’s neck and corks it
tight. He prays the tides will randomly
transmit the words he hurls to
someone’s caring sight.
__Upon the waters, having “cast his
bread,” most often finds it washed
back on his shore, apparently
unopened and unread, yet undeterred,
he sends it out once more.
__He knows the dismal nature of his act
but hopes that, tossing up upon some
beach and catching someone’s eye, it
will attract with glistening enticement
and may reach the acknowledgement
he trusts it can win, achieving more
than the recycling bin.



James Ph. Kotsybar is a poet and owner of Chaotic Exotics orchid nursery, in California.

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15 Responses

  1. Jeremiah Johnson

    A quote in response to the “Submission poem:

    “Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.” – Don Marquis

    Thanks for the reminder that the dream of seeing my stuff in print isn’t as grand as I think it is! It’s a genuinely felicitous reminder.

  2. Sally Cook

    I like both poems very much, and also the Don Marquis bit about the rose petal. Send some more!

  3. C.B. Anderson

    All three of these are chaotic exotics and worth reading at least once.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    James, I’m always intrigued by poems on poetry and these three highly amusing delights have me nodding in agreement as I marvel at your eclectic techniques. Wonderful and inspirational.

    • James Ph. Kotsybar

      You should see my upcoming volume, “It’s Verse For Poets.” Unfortunately, poems about poetry (writing, reading, living) are excessively eschewed by editors (after rhyme and alliteration).
      Here let me praise Evan Mantyk for extending a platform to those who delight in the details of their craft and those who want to hear the music and rhythms on the page.

  5. Cynthia Erlandson

    James, these are devilishly clever! I grinned through all of them! I am curious about whether you have used this “camouflage” technique with any publishing success? In any case, I’m glad I got to read these poems.

  6. James Sale

    Truly ingenious; I am impressed. I could be wrong – I’d need to see more to be sure – but one senses not just a novelty but a powerful and structured intellect at work. Well done.

  7. James Ph. Kotsybar

    Strong praise, indeed, coming from you, Sir, but you have seen more. Do you recall nothing of our (years) past poetic discussions, some of them rendered in verse? Thank you, though, and I’m honored and gratified.


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