Gentle Readers,

In the last issue in which I took a strong hand, I talked about biblical numerology with regard to the number 11. Bollinger assigned it the number of discord; we tried to make that issue about Love.

Fourteen is twice the number of perfection, as perfection occurs at three and seven in most biblical analyses, admitting also forty as the number of complete testing and 49 as the number of Pentecost-- seven squared.

This explains the quote by Eliot on the current issue's cover under the candelabra. Fourteen quarterlies published equals three-and-a-half years, or half a week of years by the prophet Daniel's calculations. What this all means is that Melic isn't finished by any means. We're only halfway to seven years, which in net time will certainly make us an institution. But as Thomas Jefferson advised, we hope to remain open to revolution and renewal.

This issue features a number of poems with a Hebraic theme, even one ("Embarcation") which I take to be about the recent notorious Tel Aviv bombing. We get to behold Daniel from the lions' point of view, take a swim in the Dead Sea, and listen to the rabbinical caution of a poem by a Yiddish and American writer, Mr. Taub, that warns us about the danger of pride in being "the chosen."

Speaking of lions, I think Bryher's poem, "Jaguar," is a real gem. It also connects to biblical themes of suffering and rejection at the hands of the authorities from a modern-day leper's point of view.

Barbara Lee and Wendy Videlock weigh in with mother-daughter poems, one looking up to her aging mother while the other addresses a young daughter. I think they make nice bookends, and Wendy's poem is that rare thing, a lullaby.

Besides the open submissions that passed the editorial gauntlet, we also have two special features: "Sex with Martha Stewart" and "A Tribute to the New Poet Laureate, Billy Collins."

As Americans seem always obsessed with a price tag, let it be known that Billy only charges $7,500 for an appearance, while Maya Angelou reportedly gets $50,000, proving again that talent is rarely proportionate to fame or reimbursement.

The Martha Stewart feature grew from a friendly challenge on our poetry board, as did the Billy Collins tributes (and mockeries, esp. by Sterling Green). Furthermore, we have brought back our "Dead White Men" audio feature, which I was happy to recite.

We are re-publishing an essay by Michael Corbin which I found salutary. There is also my own controversial speculation on the "Top Ten Poets in English," which was very difficult to write, not for style's sake, but for making such insane judgments.

Every good poet is unique, and classification and ranking may not extend anyone's appreciation of poetry. Nevertheless, as David Letterman has proven, a Top Ten List is always of interest to human beings, since we seem to be obsessed with comparisons as if wholeness were beyond us.

My thanks to Mark Melton, webmaster, Val Cihylik, fiction editor, and Kathleen McGovern Chaffin, assistant to the editor and proofreader extraordinaire. And thanks to our webmistress emeritus, Blake Kritzberg, who maintains our Poetry and Natter boards, and to the monitors that serve there. Lastly, our managing editor, Laird Barron, was extremely busy with real life during this last quarter but still took the time to go through the poetry pending file and give me his opinions.

I also want to extend my thanks to all who submitted work. It is relatively easy to separate good poems from bad, but it is much more difficult to separate those worth publishing from the almosts and nearlys. I also wish to thank the poets who cooperated with the editorial process. Only one of those whom I thought might benefit from it refused to enter into that dialogue. Since I generally think of poets as a surly lot, I was genuinely surprised at their willingness to consider minor changes.

If I were better at marketing, my very first communication would have been that The Best of Melic: The First Three Years Online should be ready and available by our next issue, December 1st, 2001-- a wonderful holiday gift, we hope. As we now have PayPal on our homepage you can order copies or make a general donation (both are tax-deductible) with ease. All credit cards are accepted and other forms of payment are available as well.

The December issue is now accepting submissions. Laird Barron is in charge of poetry and essays while Val Cihylik remains our faithful fiction editor. I need a break from such things to try to realize the print version of Melic, something we've dreamed about and are now actually ready to achieve.

So please, if you want to support our literary efforts on the net in print form, go to our homepage, use PayPal to make a donation, and please specify how many copies of The Best of Melic you'd like. Don't forget to include your snail address. Our estimated cost per copy is ten dollars plus shipping and handling. We will be selling it at cost as we are a nonprofit corporation under California law.

Praise be to God who made us and gave us the gift of language,

Thine for Melic,

C. E. Chaffin, Editor