The Required Accompanying Cover Letter

Richard Fein

The Required Accompanying Cover Letter, by Richard Fein, is the newest collection of poetry published by Parallel Press. Fein’s chapbook explores states of alienation and loneliness through imaginative natural and technical metaphors: “God the geek is lonely, all geeks are. / Hours a day touching nothing warm except a computer monitor and reheated pizza. / Of course, all the algorithms onscreen are his own creations and that’s the cosmic irony, / for he’s a misfit programmer among his own programs.”

Fein’s poetic examination of writing, with all of its frustrations and rewards, is evident in the collection’s opening piece, “The Required Accompanying Cover Letter”: “Submit. Submit! Submit? / I should submit a manuscript so you could turn thumbs up or down? / Never! Not this pen-wielding Spartacus! / I don’t submit to anyone, and I’m sub to no one.” Fein’s use of organic and technical metaphors offers a rich, complex view of a world where history, nature, spirituality and rationality mingle to create tension and sometimes an unexpected coalescence.

Richard Fein was a finalist in the 2004 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. He has been published in web and print journals such as Southern Review, Foliate Oak, Morpo Review, Ken*Again, Oregon East, Southern Humanities Review, Skyline, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, and many others. He also has an interest in digital photography and has published many of his photos.

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A Scratchy Radio Salvation

Broadcast voices sputter through white noise,
momentary clarity in a matrix of mumbling.
All stations are misaligned,
a soft voice from Canada, a harsh one from Maine,
stock market advice from New York,
10 percent off is being offered somewhere for something,
and between the crests and troughs of radio waves
Jesus saves everyone everywhere.
The world intrudes as uninvited static
on one loner flat on a flophouse cot,
half asleep, cigarette drooping from his mouth,
with burning ashes falling on the disheveled bedsheet
as dreams go up in smoke.