An Honest Polaroid

for Alan Horvath

By Matthew Jablonski


I got a letter from Alan early last year.

He'd handwritten a message about some words I'd sent him.

He said I'd "captured the essence of the moment like an honest Polaroid."

That this is very hard sometimes, "most writers fuck it up

with poetics or illusions of grandeur."


In the short time I had contact with Alan

his correspondence was timely,

and never failed to motivate,

to set me straight. Keep it simple. There is poetry there.

I read the letter in the afternoon sun

and kept it around for darker days.


Alan published two things I wrote in his Flats broadside series.

It meant a lot to me to be included, as I sat and still sit,

largely unpublished in rust belt Ohio.

His concept and care with the project were striking,

the meticulous nature, and respect for the work.


What got me most were the letters of support.

I kept sending work, with no project imminent,

more or less because he seemed to enjoy it,

because he found something there. I dug that,

and his responses were always a welcome sight.


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