I finally got off the couch and began to submit work again. To start the year off right, I sent out several batch es of poems to some favorite magazines, and then rashly decided to make a run again at Threepenny Review. This has become a weird experiment. The last two times I submitted, they popped my reply envelope back so fast it broke the sound barrier. Well, a week later I got my new rejection so fast I thought they had found a way to time travel -- actually rejecting me before I submitted.

I cruised on over to Threepenny's site, hoping to find that there was some mistake, and I had submitted during their off period. Perhaps their robot was slitting open envelopes and stuffing reply forms into the SASEs, then popping them into the mailbox. But no. The site informed me that response would be 3 weeks to 2 months.

Because I spent 87 cents to get this rejection, I don't feel a week's turnaround has really given me my money's worth. I have often complained about a magazine taking too long, but this feel absolutely abusive. I either want my 87 cents or my sanity back.

Three pennies' worth of advice to other writers: don't bother to try to join the likes of August Kleinzahler and Seamus Heaney in upcoming issues. Regardless of what they say, they do not read unsolicited work. They just toss it to the envelope-stuffing robot.