Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hometown public library wants my little chapbook

They say no man is a prophet in his own hometown, and that sounds about right, though today I was pleased to get a request from my hometown public library for an autographed copy of my chapbook of poetry, A Heart I Carved for a Girl I Knew.

It turns out the honcho librarian there now is a guy I grew up with, Paul Macios. How he knew I have a chapbook of poetry in print, I don't know, as I got an email over the Letters to the Editor transom at work and have not yet actually spoken with the man.

I grew up in Granite City, Illinois, what is now a dying steel town. You might think it doesn't produce many authors, and that's probably so, though it produced my mother's cousin, Robert Olen Butler, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for short fiction for his truly wonderful book A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.

I always appreciated the fact that, even after he won the Pulitzer, Bobby (as he is known in the family) continued to make the Granite City Public Library a stop on his book tours.

Unfortunately, Bobby also wrote a really truly whacked email when his wife left him for Ted Turner (!) that got leaked to Gawker and made his life miserable for a minute, maybe longer.

I have at least a hundred copies of this thing to get rid of, so rather than giving away one of the poems in my book, I'll give you an outtake here, one that didn't make the final cut.

Sex on a Piece of Limestone

I used to date the daughter
of the strawberry stand
pink pimples and a name
that mirrors in the mouth
mirrors that rock black river
I am flowing like the river
she said when I snuggled
her pink pubis Anubis
jackal headed guard
dog of the dead never
stop me from her salt, her
red moon river did calm
is the desire of my skin
now mirror
mirror now
rock black river

- By Chris King

That's a collage of a Granite City girl (who really was the daughter of the local strawberry farmer), a young activist woman I never quite got to call my own, and an Egyptian hymn. I guess I'm suggesting the poems that actually made it into the book are like this one, only better. I posted one from the book about oral sex in the other direction a little while (what seems like a long while) ago.

My book is available in local independent shops, wherever my car is parked, Kelly Writers House at U. Penn. and (pretty soon) the Granite City Public Library.

That amazing cover art is by my buddy Chris Dingwell of Sanctuary Tattoo in Portland, Maine.

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