an image diary

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ... You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream! If that there King was to wake you'd go out -- bang! -- just like a candle!"

"Hush! You'll be waking him, I'm afraid, if you make so much noise."

"Well it's no use your talking about waking him when you're only one of the things in his dream. You know very well you're not real."

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

pobiz: don't talk about it in public

I'm feeling shaken up and very sad.

Yesterday's mail brought terrifying news: the second royalty statement I've received since the publication of The Keepsake Storm in February of 2004. The first statement arrived around this time last year, early August, and came as a surprise since I hadn't realized that the UA Press's fiscal year ended in June and that I would be notified so quickly about book sales. At that point--from February to June of 2004--The Keepsake Storm had sold 400 copies, which I believe was about a third of the initial press run. The press assured me that those numbers were good, and I relaxed, did some readings, published a few poems, but backed off from doing any major networking. No Breadloaf, no book tour, no AWP panel. The job market ride nearly killed me, the new job, the new book, the dissertation...I dropped the ball on a few opportunities...I was exhausted and overwhelmed...

But? My book is paying for it.

Yesterday's royalty statement--if I'm reading it correctly and I think I am--says that from June of 2004 to June of 2005, The Keepsake Storm sold 78 copies.

78 copies, one year.

I don't know what it takes to go out of print in a year, but I'll bet these numbers will do the trick just fine.

So here's the point: to the 478 of you who bought copies of my collection of poems or had your library order it--or if you picked up a cheap used copy somewhere--THANK YOU. I don't have words for that kind of gratitude. If you own my book, please let me know so I can order yours, or send me your manuscript--not because I owe you but because I want to know you.

To anyone else out there listening: I could use some cheering.

Advice will do too.


Probably this is relevant, probably even true, but I have higher hopes for the life I write in:

"I do know, however, that in this po-world (which is and isn't the real world) one is expected to stake a claim. Those who do not are considered intellectually flabby, or not serious enough. Unfortunate, but true. This is why manifestoes get written, why wars get waged. The more marginalized one's chosen art is, the more tenaciously one clings to one's idea of that art. If you're going to care about poetry, you'd better care about it in the right way! The truth is, of course, that no one cares. I've noticed that since I have begun to "publicize" the new sincerity, I suddenly have a lot of new friends and nearly as many new detractors. Nothing's changed about who I am, what I do, my views on poetry, what foods I eat, who I fuck, etc. Simply by naming my practice, by appearing to have an aesthetic stance, I have invited both applause and derision. Those who claim that life is separate from poetry are not paying attention."


I invite your applause and derision, then. I'm Stuck.


I was watching this kid in the back yard next door who was playing by the fence with his Legos. He was talking to himself and burying the blocks in the mud and picking up little rocks to add to the story, and though I don’t know how his story went, I could tell it was good because he didn’t look in my direction when I dropped my shovel and said something about fucking caliche and the heat--and the longer I was out there the more brilliant that kid doing his own thing with the Legos seemed to me because he didn’t give a rat's ass for what Legos are supposed to do or that they were muddy and clogged with rock, and I started worrying about the moment in his life—very soon now—when someone would tell him he’s doing Legos all wrong and make him clean up his mess and make him feel small and stupid for doing his thing:

which to my mind is what "staking a claim" is about—-telling others how to play with their Logos—-right? I mean why can’t everybody play? Dejalo. That kid is serious enough. Let him be.


"and what is the use of a book...without pictures or conversations?"

[contact me:]

what o'clock it is


live flowers