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My editor mailed me a copy and it came yesterday. So beautiful. And so real! Until now it's seemed like the sort of conceptual exercise I did in grad school: here's my fancy (fake) manuscript, here are the fake mock-ups of the cover, rights page, etc. But it is real. How strange it feels. What I made is going out in the world to be talked about or not, loved or disliked, maybe forgotten, touched, known by people I will never meet.
If you like poetry or you need something nice to read or you're just nosey, you can find it at your local library (or ask them to get it for you), you can preorder it here or you can (please) support your local independent bookseller!
Thank you for your support and your kindness all along.
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Two poems (not from the book; from the daily exercises with my friend):
TRAIN VOYAGE NO. 38
I myself am hell/ Nobody’s here
Robert Lowell, “Skunk Hour”
What search goes on goes on across distances;
you say the word selectman
as if it is nothing, Atlantic’s far side
crashing into your history: I’ve left
all that behind now. Body
being what it is, frantic, knowing
cellular breakdown, basis of all things,
I am still longing spread
across tarmac and railroad. Today
the train had no heat, I hunched
in jacket and corner and drew
faces from memory. Hands trill
like birds, motors, how after drought
earth almost shakes to take in all it can
of rain. Not knowing
breaks all into pieces, I gather half-hours
one by one to pass the day. Will there ever
be another hand touching
me? No could be, glass
splintering on tile floor, bones
without song in them. I want
black hair curling by a wry face; fear
I have left second place behind
in vain, an anxious wind hurrying me every wrong direction.
Tape-record footsteps leading
from one end of town, sound
two hands make stopped
in air, in speech; one gesture
equals more, whether covering the face
or the palm and fingers
meaning seven. The reporter
keeps everything, steno-bound
and silent, even past ending.
In another evening
we could wind cats’-cradles of wool
yarn, pass hours between cups
and kettle, squares
of chocolate on a white plate
and not answer the doorbell,
compound everything from type
case to sewing machine to miles
doubled into kilometers and horizon
that only ends with ocean.
There will always be someone
with a knife raised to ear’s
finely haired edge; rarer: receiver
holding a gauze envelope,
two people surrounded by a wreath of bees.
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See you soon!