In yesterday’s mail (which spent waylaid at the neighbor’s house for several hours), I received the fruit of 8 1/2 years of (admittedly intermittent) labor. But Our Princess Is in Another Castle is now in this world, and it’s beautiful. I’m very grateful for Abby Beckel and Kathleen Rooney, the editors at Rose Metal Press, and their dedication and attention as we shepherded the book from bloops and flashing things in my head to a final, cohesive whole. Underneath the book in the photo is confirmation of the fact I’m flying to Boston for AWP. Stop by the RMP table (B5) at the bookfair at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 8th, and I’ll sign a copy for you while we trade tips about how to beat Super Macho Man in Mike Tyson’s Punch Out!!. Plus, the first 30 or so people who buy Princess at AWP get mints in a cool video-game-themed tin!
Whenever you start a project, you never know where it’s going to lead, or if it will ever have a tangible form in the world. At certain times, writing a book of prose poems about video games seemed a little … frivolous to me. But the end result is something I’m very proud of–in terms of the writing, and the physical object of the book.
Several poems from the book are available on my blog and elsewhere, but below is one of my favorites, and appropriate for today as I stay home with my sick son who is currently napping.
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The world was bright as candy.
I don’t mean some halcyon youth. Rather the October when we were walking on the Ice Age Trail, the trees shooting off their fireworks of leaves, our son curled in your belly. I was saying something about how love is no amulet, a kiss is no magic, when I scuffed over a dinosaur bone, smooth and white as a dinner plate.
Brontosaurs trampling Wisconsin! Pangaea unzipping away! And now a whole skeleton beneath me, locked in a crypt of glacial loam!
It wasn’t a dinosaur bone.
By then, it was now. Our living room an archaeology of toys. The plastic keys. The musical cube. A cell phone with four buttons that calls twinkling little stars. And he’s learning a new trick with his saliva: bubbles on his lips like the domes in some strange spit city.
I met a stegosaur at the drugstore today. I wanted to ask her about her plates, about thermal regulation, about keeping the broth of her blood neither a ball nor a boil. About how you could love yourself, your mate, your child when you know you all came from eggs. But she didn’t want to talk about any of that. Atop her head rode a seventy-nine-cent pink plastic bottle filled with soap water and the ridiculous ridged wand.
“Bubbles,” she said. “I’m one hundred and forty-three million years old, and I still love blowing bubbles.”