Catapult

Catapult Catapult publishes books, produces a daily web magazine, offers writing classes, and hosts an open online writing platform. Catapult publishes books, produces a daily web magazine, offers writing classes, and hosts an open online writing community.

From the founders of Electric Literature and Black Balloon Publishing. Catapult is headquartered in New York, NY, with a second office in Portland, OR. Have a question? Shoot us an email at [email protected]

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Operating as usual

"In the end I gave no reason when I slipped away from him, and he, in his goodness, let me." Read new flash fiction from...
06/05/2021
Fifty Last Dates | Clancy Tripp

"In the end I gave no reason when I slipped away from him, and he, in his goodness, let me." Read new flash fiction from Clancy Tripp:

Back then I genuinely believed that every next man was the last one.

In this short story by Molly Edmonds, the narrator just can't help but help: "As the dentist works, her giant belly touc...
06/04/2021
The Third Root | Molly Edmonds

In this short story by Molly Edmonds, the narrator just can't help but help: "As the dentist works, her giant belly touches my arm and my head, and I think the baby kicks me."

As the dentist works, her giant belly touches my arm and my head, and I think the baby kicks me.

06/04/2021

"I was so used to my work being fueled by some kind of pain. Something that would push me away. Something that would push me forward. Now I don’t have that."

Larissa Pham talks culture writing, curiosity and the internet to Becca Schuh for BOMB Magazine.
https://buff.ly/34SDcKg

"The most farfetched aspect of Mr. Riviere’s alternate world: Poetry has become suddenly marketable."Sam Sacks reads DEA...
06/04/2021
Fiction: ‘Dead Souls’ Review

"The most farfetched aspect of Mr. Riviere’s alternate world: Poetry has become suddenly marketable."

Sam Sacks reads DEAD SOULS (no not... yes the new one) for The Wall Street Journal!

Plus ‘The Other Black Girl’ and ‘Love and Fury.’

06/04/2021

In which a poet is called out, perhaps, in the darkness by an unseen critic in a sustained signal of dissent, either planned or impromptu.

Guernica excerpts Sam Riviere's brilliant DEAD SOULS.
https://buff.ly/3chDBKH

The danger in peace is that it can be broken: "There wasn’t any movement, but she’d been birding long enough to develop ...
06/04/2021
Spring Migration | Kate McKean

The danger in peace is that it can be broken: "There wasn’t any movement, but she’d been birding long enough to develop a feeling for some things" This is "Spring Migration," a short story by Kate McKean

Lori was in real, actual danger, but it was easy to convince herself she was not.

"Back then I genuinely believed that every next man was the last one." Read new flash fiction from Clancy Tripp:
06/04/2021
Fifty Last Dates | Clancy Tripp

"Back then I genuinely believed that every next man was the last one." Read new flash fiction from Clancy Tripp:

Back then I genuinely believed that every next man was the last one.

"In the way of the Sasquatch legend, I’ve pieced together my origin story in snippets of evidence, too." An essay by Lan...
06/04/2021
We're in Sasquatch Country Now | Lana Hall

"In the way of the Sasquatch legend, I’ve pieced together my origin story in snippets of evidence, too." An essay by Lana Hall on the mysteries of Bigfoot and the unanswered questions of her adoption narrative.

How the Bigfoot legend helped me reconcile unanswered questions about my adoption

"I am constantly managing what it means to practice radical Black love and radical Black self-care. Both are revolutiona...
06/04/2021
When a Friendship Ends But the Love Survives | Destiny Birdsong

"I am constantly managing what it means to practice radical Black love and radical Black self-care. Both are revolutionary acts of resistance, and both come at a price, sometimes to each other." A new installment of Home/Girl/Health by Destiny Birdsong:

I am constantly managing what it means to practice radical Black love and radical Black self-care.

“Had I not learned loss under surprising, painful circumstances, BEWILDERNESS wouldn’t exist––and certainly not in its c...
06/03/2021

“Had I not learned loss under surprising, painful circumstances, BEWILDERNESS wouldn’t exist––and certainly not in its current shape.”

Karen Tucker chats with Clancy McGilligan about her novel BEWILDERNESS for the Chicago Review of Books.

https://buff.ly/2RmdAm8

“Had I not learned loss under surprising, painful circumstances, BEWILDERNESS wouldn’t exist––and certainly not in its current shape.”

Karen Tucker chats with Clancy McGilligan about her novel BEWILDERNESS for the Chicago Review of Books.

https://buff.ly/2RmdAm8

"I desperately wanted Bigfoot to be real, despite the tinge of fear I felt every time we walked in the woods." An essay ...
06/03/2021
We're in Sasquatch Country Now | Lana Hall

"I desperately wanted Bigfoot to be real, despite the tinge of fear I felt every time we walked in the woods." An essay by Lana Hall on the mysteries of Bigfoot and the unanswered questions of her adoption narrative.

How the Bigfoot legend helped me reconcile unanswered questions about my adoption

"Except for the flood years, I never gave our most fundamental human need much thought." Katiy Heath in a new essay on w...
06/03/2021
In America, There's No Such Thing as Pure Water | Katiy Heath

"Except for the flood years, I never gave our most fundamental human need much thought." Katiy Heath in a new essay on what's hiding, and being hidden, in our water:

If anyone knows how to create a narrative in response to ecological misfortune, it’s the bottled-water industry.

Giving yourself space from your writing might be exactly what you need. Read Eva Recinos' final column on self-doubt and...
06/03/2021
Self-Doubt and Giving Yourself Space | Eva Recinos

Giving yourself space from your writing might be exactly what you need. Read Eva Recinos' final column on self-doubt and the writing process!

In the final installment of this three-part column, Eva Recinos explores how taking time away from writing is an important part of the process

"In the way of the Sasquatch legend, I’ve pieced together my origin story in snippets of evidence, too." An essay by Lan...
06/03/2021
We're in Sasquatch Country Now | Lana Hall

"In the way of the Sasquatch legend, I’ve pieced together my origin story in snippets of evidence, too." An essay by Lana Hall on the mysteries of Bigfoot and the unanswered questions of her adoption narrative.

How the Bigfoot legend helped me reconcile unanswered questions about my adoption

"I am constantly managing what it means to practice radical Black love and radical Black self-care. Both are revolutiona...
06/03/2021
When a Friendship Ends But the Love Survives | Destiny Birdsong

"I am constantly managing what it means to practice radical Black love and radical Black self-care. Both are revolutionary acts of resistance, and both come at a price, sometimes to each other." A new installment of Home/Girl/Health by Destiny Birdsong:

With the help of all of my friends—my best one included—I’ve gotten better at being my whole self.

"In each relationship, I find a piece of myself, or I can hold up a piece and ask, 'How do I love this?' And in their ow...
06/03/2021
When a Friendship Ends But the Love Survives | Destiny Birdsong

"In each relationship, I find a piece of myself, or I can hold up a piece and ask, 'How do I love this?' And in their own way, each one says, 'Here’s what I know. Here’s where I have been. Here’s how I got free.'"A new installment of Home/Girl/Health by Destiny Birdsong:

I am constantly managing what it means to practice radical Black love and radical Black self-care.

"Maybe, just maybe, that time he called me a g**k, jokingly and mischievously, he actually believed it a little. Isn’t t...
06/03/2021
That Uncomfortable Feeling of Being Wanted for My “Almond-Shaped” Eyes | Lam Thuy Vo

"Maybe, just maybe, that time he called me a g**k, jokingly and mischievously, he actually believed it a little. Isn’t there always a kernel of truth in a joke?" Lam Thuy Vo examines race and (being) desire(d) as an Asian woman:

My former therapist, a well-meaning white woman, once asked me, “Do you think he treated you badly because you are Asian?”

"I took my time shrugging / into this divinity / of good pleasure" | read + listen to "Sugar," a new poem by Camonghne F...
06/03/2021
Sugar | Camonghne Felix

"I took my time shrugging / into this divinity / of good pleasure" | read + listen to "Sugar," a new poem by Camonghne Felix:

Read and listen to a new poem by Camonghne Felix.

"light pooling in my cleavage / the soft lust of my need / breathlessly amazed at what / the body can flex / when pushed...
06/03/2021
Sugar | Camonghne Felix

"light pooling in my cleavage / the soft lust of my need / breathlessly amazed at what / the body can flex / when pushed out of line" | read + listen to "Sugar," a new poem by Camonghne Felix:

Read and listen to a new poem by Camonghne Felix.

"As a healthy young Black man, he would likely survive the coronavirus. But police brutality needs no preexisting condit...
06/02/2021
Sending My Son Out of America to Save Us Both | Kimberly Seals Allers

"As a healthy young Black man, he would likely survive the coronavirus. But police brutality needs no preexisting conditions to kill immediately," writes Kimberly Seals Allers.

I didn’t want it to make sense—to send my children away for who knows how long—but I did need them to survive. I needed to survive.

"Step aside, Jack Kerouac: When it comes to great American road trip stories, we’re letting fat, q***r, Muslim-Arab sing...
06/02/2021

"Step aside, Jack Kerouac: When it comes to great American road trip stories, we’re letting fat, q***r, Muslim-Arab single mothers drive the car." —Keely Weiss

Randa Jarrar’s LOVE IS AN EX-COUNTRY is a Harper's Bazaar Best LGBT Book of 2021!

https://buff.ly/34H6k7i

"Step aside, Jack Kerouac: When it comes to great American road trip stories, we’re letting fat, q***r, Muslim-Arab single mothers drive the car." —Keely Weiss

Randa Jarrar’s LOVE IS AN EX-COUNTRY is a Harper's Bazaar Best LGBT Book of 2021!

https://buff.ly/34H6k7i

Lynn Steger Strong writes about her 2020 yearlong novel-writing class and shares excerpts from her students' work!
06/02/2021
Making Space for Writing in 2020 | Lynn Steger Strong

Lynn Steger Strong writes about her 2020 yearlong novel-writing class and shares excerpts from her students' work!

This is how a workshop is like writing novels more broadly: A new life can grow inside a book once you realize you’re not making it all for yourself.

"You are white America's hostage, unwilling at first but fed and petted for long enough that you can now be trusted." Me...
06/02/2021
Notes from a White-Passing Asian | Meredith Talusan

"You are white America's hostage, unwilling at first but fed and petted for long enough that you can now be trusted." Meredith Talusan writes about passing as white in a time of anti-Asian violence:

Can you ever escape your complicity if you can't escape your own skin?

🎉 Happy pub day to Karen Tucker! 🎉 BEWILDERNESS is on shelves today!"Full of raw honesty and assured, beautiful prose." ...
06/02/2021

🎉 Happy pub day to Karen Tucker! 🎉
BEWILDERNESS is on shelves today!

"Full of raw honesty and assured, beautiful prose." —The Washington Post
"A stunning accomplishment.” —Publishers Weekly
"This is the novel the op**te epidemic needs.” —Rufi Thorpe
https://buff.ly/2S4wrm3

🎉 Happy pub day to Karen Tucker! 🎉
BEWILDERNESS is on shelves today!

"Full of raw honesty and assured, beautiful prose." —The Washington Post
"A stunning accomplishment.” —Publishers Weekly
"This is the novel the op**te epidemic needs.” —Rufi Thorpe
https://buff.ly/2S4wrm3

"Maybe, just maybe, that time he called me a g**k, jokingly and mischievously, he actually believed it a little. Isn’t t...
06/02/2021
That Uncomfortable Feeling of Being Wanted for My “Almond-Shaped” Eyes | Lam Thuy Vo

"Maybe, just maybe, that time he called me a g**k, jokingly and mischievously, he actually believed it a little. Isn’t there always a kernel of truth in a joke?" Lam Thuy Vo examines race and (being) desire(d) as an Asian woman:

My former therapist, a well-meaning white woman, once asked me, “Do you think he treated you badly because you are Asian?”

"I took my time shrugging / into this divinity / of good pleasure" | read + listen to "Sugar," a new poem by Camonghne F...
06/02/2021
Sugar | Camonghne Felix

"I took my time shrugging / into this divinity / of good pleasure" | read + listen to "Sugar," a new poem by Camonghne Felix:

Read and listen to a new poem by Camonghne Felix.

When Olivia Popp asked coffee anthropologist Sabine Parrish how her relationship to coffee has changed over the course o...
06/02/2021
The Life of a Cup of Coffee, as Told by Sabine Parrish | Olivia Popp

When Olivia Popp asked coffee anthropologist Sabine Parrish how her relationship to coffee has changed over the course of her research, she laughed: “I have become far less of a coffee snob."

“Consumers in the Global South have a right to the best coffees from their nations, their sister nations, from wherever they want.”

"There were two worlds then, the one we lived in and the one she invented, where my aunt remarried and nobody ever went ...
06/02/2021
[Political] Dialogue | Hala Alyan

"There were two worlds then, the one we lived in and the one she invented, where my aunt remarried and nobody ever went to America" | read & listen to a new poem by Hala Alyan:

Read and listen to a new poem by Hala Alyan.

Olivia Popp speaks with coffee anthropologist Sabine Parrish. "The 'most collaborative piece of research of coffee flavo...
06/02/2021
The Life of a Cup of Coffee, as Told by Sabine Parrish | Olivia Popp

Olivia Popp speaks with coffee anthropologist Sabine Parrish. "The 'most collaborative piece of research of coffee flavor ever completed' was clearly missing a crucial lens: that of consumers outside of the United States and Western Europe."

“Consumers in the Global South have a right to the best coffees from their nations, their sister nations, from wherever they want.”

"She still calls when I’m not expecting. Keef ibnik, she says. What could I say back? He’s good, I tell her." | read & l...
06/01/2021
[Political] Dialogue | Hala Alyan

"She still calls when I’m not expecting. Keef ibnik, she says. What could I say back? He’s good, I tell her." | read & listen to a new poem by Hala Alyan:

Read and listen to a new poem by Hala Alyan.

"[Anna] Qu is dazzling as she dismantles the mythologies surrounding the immigrant work ethic, making clear that a perso...
06/01/2021

"[Anna] Qu is dazzling as she dismantles the mythologies surrounding the immigrant work ethic, making clear that a person's humanity should never be connected with how 'productive' they are." —Kristin Iversen

MADE IN CHINA is one of Refinery29's must-read summer books!

https://buff.ly/3wIeU1A

"[Anna] Qu is dazzling as she dismantles the mythologies surrounding the immigrant work ethic, making clear that a person's humanity should never be connected with how 'productive' they are." —Kristin Iversen

MADE IN CHINA is one of Refinery29's must-read summer books!

https://buff.ly/3wIeU1A

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Comments

From my WIP entitled "God, Send Sunday": "Papa stepped off the porch and faced the man. Why had he said the man was white when clearly he was the loudest shade of pink Sunday had ever seen?"
Hannah Walhout's article on New York was quite wonderful. It was definitely New Yorker style writing in more ways than one.
I just finished "Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book" by Courtney Maum and I will be recommending it to many of my writer friends!
A Country Muse “Hear Sir! I write poetry far better than anyone on earth,” the young man claimed. “Oh! You don’t believe I can show you that.” He came close and demanded to read the yellow lines printed on his black t-shirt. I glued to the words, and as the t-shirt was tattered, and washed more than hundred times, many letters lost their sheen. You need to apply your imagination to have a sense of the poem. I failed to decipher the lines, but said with a sweet voice, “Wow! I’ve never read such a beautiful poem in my life!” “Eh, where do you find beauty?” He asked with a sneer, and apparently had been much pained with my words. “Why, man, I found beauty in each letter you pen.” I tried to mollify his wrath. But he was gloom and dark. A silence sustained. I felt shaken for my misdeed. The air was cool, and the day pleasant. The sun was mellow, and its soft rays fell on us through the laced twigs of lovely trees. The water of the pond riffled with a low murmur. Birds flew and sang dolefully among the bushes and thickets. The ducks paddled in glee in the gleaming water. A fishy smell smothered us. “You, the educated, always find beauty in everything—beauty in nature, beauty in women, beauty in poetry, even beauty in the poor. Eh…Where is beauty? Huh.., this poem is written not with ink. Each letter is dripped and soaked with my own blood. Huh…beauty?” He spat, and the air flung it far. He looked me hard, eyes forcibly wide, and face flushed with anger and disdain. “Where is the blood? It’s printed in a machine. Do you have a textile factory?” I feigned nonplused. He was terribly dismayed. He said nothing, as if he suddenly lost words. He squinted at me with derision. His eyes glittered, and a spasm of ache ran through his face. He jumped up with energy, and hurried a few paces away. But he came back, and said, “Blood, you can’t see, as you’re blind. Why do you keep eyes? Go to Nripen Mitra Eye Care, and donate them.” “That I do at when I die.” I quipped. “Hear Sir! And don’t forget. You may be a professor, but I’m your teacher.” He said with conviction, and thumped the soil hard, and his dangling hand was covered with dust, and the rays of the late noon sun began to play chiaroscuro before our eyes. “Why do I write? Do you know? Any idea?” He stooped his head, and it hung heavy. “Because you love it.” I plainly said. “But I’m asking now why do I love it?” He shouted shaking his head. A strain of fresh spit covered his thick lower lip, and his mouth was watery. “How can I tell that, man? I never know you and your poetry. Some write for name, some for posts and parks, the elegant and rich take it as hobby; the fashionables indulge in it as mere pastime. And we all love it. Your particular case I know not.” I bluntly said. He grasped or not I couldn’t tell. But he nodded his head, and said, “Sir, I’m writing since childhood. And I can tell you even the exact date. It was June 28, Monday morning when my father died. It was a heavy weeklong downpour, fields and ponds flooded. Villagers kept shut in huts. Many were washed away. We cried long. At noon the rain slowed, and we brought the dead to the burning ghat. We somehow made an odd plank with woods, wet and soaked, and poured two drums of kerosene oil over it. Father lie naked, and I set fire to his mouth. The body was not getting burnt, it was smouldering. My neighbours took bamboo poles and beat and beat, until they got tired. They thrashed his skeletons. And then Vangha Das, a tall dark man with a huge paunch and long untrimmed whiskers, a specialist in cracking heads hit and broke my father’s skull. It splattered like a ripe melon. I came home, swapped and sucked. And after midnight I wrote my first poem, “Mrituya” (Death). And I kept the draft in a tin trunk at a corner of my hut. At my restless days and nights I read it aloud, keeping me shut, and dark at my hole.” “Ask me why, why I write?” He stirred his legs unstopped, and stared at me. “Why?” “To kill pain, Sir.” “What pains? You’re young, and perhaps you have a good wife and a lovely child.” I remarked. “I’m unmarried,” he protested thumping his breast and told, “in old school days I fell in love with a girl. She was a beauty. You can’t find such a nice girl nowhere. But I was a student, and her father refused me her hand. I cried, and I penned many poems to soothe me. She loved my words, and at night lone she sang. We never talked. Only now and then stolen glances we exchanged. She knew the depths of my love, my admiration, and I dreamed her day and night. Then one day she stopped coming school, and I heard she eloped with a man of two children.” “So what? Fall in love again with any girl of your choice. Who Cares? It was so cool in today’s world.” I flatly said. “Are you a profe-saar? You’re talking like a…a low fellow. Huh… with such mentality you teach. Shame, shame on you!” He squeezed his face, and spat with a loud noise, and fell silent again. “Why man, love knows no time, no clime, no age. And I’m not asking you to marry and fetter your soul. I only ask you to fall in love, sacred and pure. And what’s wrong with that?” I extended. “Nah, nah… I’m happy with my life and my poetry. I don’t hate girls, but I shun them. I fear intruders into my little world of poetry.” He told, and looked earnest. “Oh, it’s fine. Have you published any poem?” “I’ve no luxury to do that. I have an acre of farm lands, and a yard of betel nut rows, and I live on that. Hah, Dr. Satidhar Rai, editor of Mujnai published some of my poems. But one day he called me, and asked to sell 200 copies to my friends and known faces. I declined before his face, ‘Saar, I don’t sell poems; I’m a poet, I only pen it.’ Since then he stopped me publishing.” He paused for a while thoughtfully, and then softly said, “I pen on sheets, and often print them on shirts and pants. My friend Amit has a printing machine. He does it free. And you know I have no ambition. A poor village poet I’m, and love to remain so. And see, not only on clothes, I also etched them on my skin.” He removed his t-shirt, and threw it away. It fell on a twig beyond, and hung like a scarecrow. He turned his back, and I saw, it was painted all with a green sketch ink. He pushed me to read. I tried and failed again. Only some dying words I could discover with much difficulty. The wind blew and yellow leaves fell on us. We made cozy leafy cushions, and sat on them. A cuckoo cooed tirelessly from a tree nearby. A kingfisher sat still on a lone stray branch, and its eyes set on the gliding water. The sky was all blue. The sun was rich and soft. Peasants, men and women, yonder were all busy weeding potato fields. “How many poems have you written?” I asked, and he said nothing. He looked weird, and a line of pain ran across his sunken cheeks, bearded and scabbard and jaded. His small eyes glowed, and gleamed in a way that thousands tales one could read there. “Countless Sir! My trunk is filled, and I now keep them on everywhere—bed, four corners of my hut, kitchen. And Sir, at my hut you can’t keep feet without nudging them. I write on boundary tins, clothes, utensils, plastic jars. My yard was scratched, and nut trees embossed all. In rain my poems bath, and in sun they bask.” He laughed so loud that birds made a flutter from trees. “Anything else you love, man?” I asked looking at the greeneries of the fields, and heard the rustle of the leaves. A leafless shimul tree was in full bloom, and its underneath was covered with gory scentless flowers. The man sat bare. The day was pleasant, and the place was a bit cold. “Oh…,” he smiled, “nothing much of that. I like fishing. But I don’t kill them. I catch fish, see them gasping for life for a minute or two, and freed them in crystal water. Sometime I pelt pebbles in ponds hours after hours. I also frequent forest to see tall trees standing still. I love to hear the buzz of bees, and cries of peacocks, but what I love most is to hear the sad silence of long wintry night and to watch and count the sparkling stars hung heavy over my tin shade.” “Oh! What a beautiful life you lead!” I exclaimed. “No beauty, please. It’s simple. I love simple things.” He warned me with an air of authority. He scratched his head, brushed his face again and again, scrambled his back pocket and lighted a bidi. He smoked, and asked me to forgive him for this little pleasure. “What I have Sir, …nothing,” he sighed, and began, “you know I have no bad habits—no women, no wine. I smoke bidi (a cheap smoke), and write at dark night. The things I need—a pen, a bidi, and a dark corner. I’m not a poet of moon, and sun, and stars. I’m a poet of pain. And I write poem not for fame or name. I write to quench the pangs of my birth. You understand, not laugh. Everybody writing poetry, hu… it’s not so easy and baby thing. All are not poets, a very few are.” He looked fierce, his eyes burnt. He spat, and with a mournful look he sat silent, and began to count lines of his palm, and muttered. And suddenly he hinged out a crumpled paper from his hind pocket and began to read so loud that some peasants soon left weeding, and hurried, and circled us. He commands all for being silent, coughed, straightened the sheet, readied himself and began to shriek, “Jago amar maa ar ghumayo naa “(Awake mother, no more sleep) Tomare fele jodi choli (If I leave you) Pothe jodi bipod ase (If darkness comes in my path) Dakbo kare maa? (Whom I call?) Nirapode tumi chhhaya (You are my safe shelter) Tomar kole, tomar buker (Lying on your lap) Dugdho tene (Sucking your breasts) Ei prithibir prothom alo (First light of the earth) Peyechi ami maa…” (I see…) ” He stopped, and kissed the sheet thrice, and sounded aha ha ha, oh oh ohhoho, and began to cry. He cleared his nose, and tears ran down, making his beard greasy. The peasants were all silent, and stared us still. The scent of fresh mud entered my nostrils. And they were so overwhelmed, and they almost bent over us. I could see nothing, only the bare mud caked, dusty legs, and the toes all flat like the ducks pointing towards us. An old pale lean woman among the crowd wiped her eyes with the end of her soiled sari, and pitied the man, “Why do you cry, bachha (boy). Your mother is no more. So what, I’m your mother. Come, I caress you.” Suddenly the man stopped crying, and tried hard to figure out his mother, and when found, he looked quizzically straight at her, and said with a serene voice, “You are my maa, it’s all right maa. But underneath lays another thought. Can you tell me that anyone? I ask you all.” His burning eyes slowly surveyed the dull faces of the peasants one by one. The peasants eyed one another, and stood silent, gaped and yawned. He then raised his voice and shouted, “Why won’t you die? Why do you live at all, you all are rustic fools!” He spat. I sat silent. He pushed me and asked, “Sir! What will do they? The mother of my poem is all’s mother—Bharat maataaa. Huh… it’s not so easy; a poem isn’t a baby thing! He cried loud and fainted.