I've finished my final review of my book's design and galleys and sent off my notes to my Lucky Press publisher. Next steps are sending out review copies, getting back comments and hopefully some good blurbs for the back of the dust jacket, and then the book's Mother's Day release. Right after that I have my first scheduled book signing - May 12 at our local Manhattan Beach bookstore, Pages, and a promise of an interview in our local newspaper, Easy Reader, around the same time.
So, in the meantime I'll post a few of the poems that are interspersed throughout. Here's "Leaving the Hall Light On," originally published by The Muddy River Poetry Review under the title, "What Is Loss?"
Leaving the Hall Light On
I lose my keys or sunglasses
and find them in my hand all along.
I lose my little boy in the department store
and he pops out squealing with laughter
from under the clothes display,
I lose important papers
and find them
in the stack of other papers on my desk.
I didn't lose my son, Paul.
Paul is dead.
Death is forever.
There's not a chance of finding him.
The light I've left on in the hall for him
every night since he died
doesn't show him the way back home.
There are no more piano gigs out there for him.
The Sunday paper entertainment guide
doesn't list his name at any jazz club.
He can't join the young guys at the Apple Genius Bar
and help people solve their computer problems.
Paul would have loved that job.
He was made for that job,
but he checked out too early.
The new meds and surgery for manic depression,
the new information about mental illness
are not for him.
Why do people refer to death as loss?
Maybe just to encourage
people like me.
Maybe just to keep me looking for him.
Maybe so I can pretend he's still out there.
Maybe that's why I long to mother
the strong young men at the gym
who hardly notice me
and the bright ones at work.
They are the right age.
They have the same look.
They have the same appeal.
Every time I see a young man
with close-buzzed hair,
a white t-shirt, and a black jacket,
sitting outside of Starbucks,
sucking on a cigarette,
every time I see a skinny guy
walking fast across the street
carrying a brown leather bag over his shoulder,
I look to make sure.
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...