Who could have ever guessed? The Shortest Distance is a full-length poetry book that I've been working on getting ready to publish since October 2007 when Susan Shehane, Publisher/Editor of Coosa River Books contacted me to ask me about publishing my work. The artwork, "The Sleeping Head," by my good buddy, Carolyn Watson, is worth more than the book costs at $15.00. The book will be available at Little Professor here in Homewood (205)870-7461 and at http://www.amazon.com/ if I ever get it posted correctly. Right now you have to put in both my name and the title to bring it up. Take a peek at the lovely cover!
Thank you, Susan. I am forever indebted to you: it is about to happen! (Susan is also the author of a lovely memoir, Alabama Listening.)
One of my favorite sections of this book contains poems I've written for my grandson, Nicholas. The title poem is in that section. I thought you might like to see it here. (See below.)I wrote the first one when he was seven and have kept it up annually.
My other book is The Nights, The Days, a chapbook of dream poems combined with journal entries of the same time. This one won a competition. I LOVE the cover on both books, but the art director has interpreted this one beautifully. Brenda Thornton's "Across the Fens" was the basis for the cover. See that gorgeous cover soon at http://www.negativecapabilitypress.com/. This will be the place to purchase this book as well. (Chapbook means little book, less than 48 pages. Price only $12.00.) Some of my Savannah buds are going to be very surprised to see actual journal entries published that include their names!! (It's all good. Very, very good. I promise.)
The Shortest Distance
for Nicholas, at seven
Angles with formulas over equations,
axioms memorized over the unknowns;
earliest choices so easily concluded.
Now as we meander along this rickrack
of shoreline, our tracks skirting the water,
we pore over shells being swallowed
into wet sandy graves; we pick one up
and try to thumb him open, as tightly seamed
as a green pistachio, then throw him back;
we scan the drier sand for fresh turtle tracks
and follow the smooth slide to a roped-off
orange square dated by a tracker today.
The wind will sweep her mounds level,
disguise the high drama of timing her dig,
of her great effort to release the eggs,
her eyes locked in a glazed-over stare
each time a contraction begins and ends
with another of the one hundred eggs laid.
This part I will not explain to you now.
Anyhow, you will be spared that one pain.
I run back to the surf and walk backwards,
an old Indian trick, I tell you, but you know that one
already, so we grab the bucket near our umbrella,
to start an aquarium with seaweed and water.
We each net the waves crashing onto sand
in threes; yours is squirming with a sand flea,
a baby flounder, and minnows of all sizes
while mine hangs empty; I am dawdling
unable to stay on task with this strange
arithmetic that at once suspends time
and yet has it speeding away, a catamaran,
sails puffed, grown miniscule, the size
of little hands spread in plaster, as fast
as your mother and her brother grew
too shy to hold mine, too busy for sand castles.
Factor in this constant of passing time
and the shortest distance between two points
is not always the straightest line; the brown
mermaid’s purse lies emptied, curled up;
the spidery hermit crab lurks inside a shell;
the turtle tracks will be erased. Our hyperbolic
beach mornings burn away long before noon.
And now, back to the grind of marketing. . .