T h e N o t e
Right Hand Pointing went live on the Internet in 2004, and so this, our 75th issue, is also the one in which we celebrate our 10th anniversary. (Keep thinking, as you read it, hey, this is a celebration.)
In spite of the recent leveraged buyout of RHP by Ambidextrous Bloodhound Publishing Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods, we intend to continue for another 10 years, bringing you outstanding short poetry, short fiction, art, and freshly manufactured breaded chicken and chicken byproducts.
How did it all start? I first met Right Hand Pointing in a Hardee's restaurant in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, which has since been closed and converted into The Pita Stop, a surprisingly stylish Lebanese restaurant. (I recommend the shrimp with garlic sauce appetizer and the seafood omelet.) Right Hand Pointing was divorced, clearly falling on hard times, and sporting some thrift-store clothing, which she almost pulled off as Goodwill chic.
I was just north of some trouble myself—actually east of it. I had been briefly jailed after an incident at a truck stop in Tulsa, involving an illegally altered taser, counterfeit surgical devices, and an 18-wheeler loaded with new Fiats. In any case, I behaved badly, which annoyed local law enforcement. To this day, no one has been able to explain my behavior to me, which is another example of how people shirk their responsibilities toward their fellow citizens. My lawyer was an embittered ex-Jehovah's Witness (Jehovah's ex-Witness?) named Trey D. Rumsfeld. Full name: Trey Donald Rumsfeld. Perhaps I've said enough, because this story isn't about me. Back to Right Hand Pointing.
Right Hand Pointing had left a successful practice of cosmetic dentistry under shady circumstances to which she vaguely referred but declined to elaborate upon. She was also vague about where she had gone to dental school. In fact, she was vague about whether she had gone to dental school.
We had the same lawyer, Counselor Rumsfeld, and we originally met to compare notes on legal malpractice but, midway through our biscuits, we abandoned plans to sue Trey. We instead talked about nitrous oxide and poetry. Right Hand Pointing wanted us to start a new literary journal and call it Nitrous Oxide. I countered with Fiat Oxide, which I thought was a good compromise. But Right Hand Pointing claimed she had dated a woman in college named Fiat Oxide, and so we ruled that out. We settled on Marsupial Tetraquark.
It turns out the booth at which we sat had an orange formica top. With toothpicks, discarded soda straws, and wrappers from various Hardee's products, including a sandwich which may well have featured a Tyson Foods deep-fried breaded patty of chicken byproducts, we created a rough design. A design that, to this day, we stubbornly maintain in the graphics department, currently headquartered in an abandoned shoe factory in Honduras.
And even though we agreed to name the magazine Marsupial Tetraquark, I knew, as she picked up her duffel and walked out of the Hardee's, and then across the street into a Winn Dixie, where she would remain for about 15 minutes and then emerge with a bag of grapefruit and a carton of cigarettes before returning to the Hardee's, waving at me with a bit of embarrassment, disappearing into the ladies' room, then again exiting the Hardee's and walking off again, this time actually leaving ... wait, let me restart this sentence because I can't seem to end it.
And even though we agreed to name the magazine Marsupial Tetraquark, I knew, as Right Hand Pointing picked up her duffel and walked out of the Hardee's, this time for good, never to be seen in these parts again, that I would name it after her. I would name the magazine Disgraced Cosmetic Dentist. My wife later convinced me that was a bad name. Once again, she saved me from a dark impulse that could have ruined me.
"Do you have a better idea?" I asked her, defensively.
"How about Right Hand Pointing?"
That's where the story starts to get weird. She had no idea the woman with whom I had the brief meeting was named Right Hand Pointing. That's what you call a nutty coincidence.
For this special issue, which we'll call Marsupial Tetraquark, we've curated the work of some of our favorites. Most are early, frequent contributors and some I regard now as friends. Some of them have had such success as writers that I can't believe they still publish here. Also, we have work by some newer contributors whose work we have admired lately
As we do on rare occasions, we have suspended the rules and have included one piece each by our editors. And most of our volunteer readers are here, too. My thanks to them. My special thanks to F. John Sharp, F. J. Bergmann, and Laura Kaminski for their hard work and dedication.
Thanks also to the incomparable Howie Good, who is my collaborator, an RHP contributor, a frequent guest-editor, and my friend.
And, all the above, by the way, are nice people. Holy cow. Really nice.
Thanks also to all of you who are reading this and who have read RHP, even occasionally, over the years. I'd like to say that 10 years of doing this has been about the art. It has been. But just as much it's been about nice people. And in the future, that's what it will be about: Art. Poetry. Good writing. Good people. Chicken. Chicken byproducts.