Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Little Secret

A dear friend of mine has been urging me to put my poems into a book for several years. Whenever I suffer the inability to write, she suggests that it is because my files and brain are somehow clogged with poems that have not been given the freedom to live lives of their own; that if I were to put together a collection of poems, bind it and let it fidget its way into the hands of poetry lovers, I might find my muse again.

This a-medical condition has grown so daunting, that it became one of my goals to self-publish a book of poems by the end of 2008. Sure enough, the goal was written on the white board beside my desk during the summer of 2008. The idea percolated (read: procrastinated) in my mind during my son’s swimming lessons, while he was at pre-school, during a trip to Ecuador and another extended stay in Sweden, even during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with all of our family.

My husband and I were married on the last day of December, 1995. Though we had plans for a wonderful outing at First Night in Spokane, Washington, December 31, 2008, I was frantically setting up my self-published book. There were, as might be expected by those who don’t procrastinate, glitches and things to wait for, rejections of the manuscript format, etc. etc. When my husband finally urged me away from my computer so he could take me on a wonderful overnight date, I realized my publish date would push past the last day of 2008. Sigh; my fault and all that.

I continued to work on the little book into January. It was finally “uploaded” and ready for the public to order before we left for Sweden, January 10th, 2009. Imagine my excitement--my unreasonable expectations--that people would begin purchasing the book even before I advertised, and other wild notions.

Upon arriving in Sweden, I went to the Print on Demand site where I had set up my manuscript (Lulu.com) to see how easy it would be to simply “bump into” the title of my book.

It was worse than trying to find a piece of amber in the fine white sand of the Swedish Riviera. A needle in a haystack might be considered a quick find in comparison. Counting the number of molecules bumping against ones head at any given moment would even be easier.

Mind you, I can pay a hefty sum for Lulu’s help in marketing my book. I’ve even received an invitation to an international library show of new book titles (for another deeply discounted but hefty sum). But I’m going to start here, with you, after having sat on the secret of my book for a whole month.

Here’s how it works. You start by being curious about what might be written in my book. You look up the title, “How They Die,” on Lulu.com, and, of course, you make mention that you know the author, Juliene Munts, so the information about this book-among-thousands can somehow be brought up for your consideration. You might peruse the first few pages, which will give you the sense of one formal poem and the beginning of a long narrative poem (but the cut-off for the number of pages possible to view for free stops before that poem ends). You might even rub your chin while weighing the cost of a blessed work of poems, for goodness sake, over a riveting novel or compilation of travel articles to exotic places.

May I suggest the following be considered. The book itself, if you order it, will be nicely printed and sent to your mailbox for the price of $18.95 plus shipping and handling. OR you could shun the destruction of so many trees for paper and download the manuscript for a mere $5.00. The delightful aspect is that you help me either way. My poems are read and I get nearly the same cut no matter how you do it.

Now, if you decide to take the plunge and buy some form of this strangely titled little book, you must give me feedback. No more lurking in the shadows. I’ll want to know what you think about it. Was it money well spent? Were you just humoring me? Did any of the poems lift the top of your head, or did they simply put you into a deep sleep? Please leave your feedback at this article in my blog.

Okay, now that all this has been established, I want to sweeten the deal by including, here, one of the poems printed in the book. It will follow this paragraph. So, I will sign off now, thankful that you might, possibly, spread the little secret beyond my ability—and only if you truly desire to let the secret out. Thank you. --Juliene

In Honor of the Rain*

I wore my wrap-around
Mozambique skirt
(leopards peering from
geometric circles)
in honor of the rain--

in honor of the preacher
who fled the "Big Water,"

grabbed his Bible,

hoisted his family and

several others before
climbing up with them

into a chestnut tree,
and preached to those
clinging to the branches
around him, "Repent!"

in honor of the woman
who arrived
at the helicopter, exhausted
and tearful, holding a dead
newborn, her mother holding the
live newborn--twins. When given
a sandwich, she gobbled
the first food she'd eaten
in three days

in honor of those
who rarely slept
for weeks to rescue
people who'd been standing
knee-deep in disease-
infested water

in honor of literally thousands
who ate nothing but thin-grass soup
and stood in kilometer long lines
for drinking water,
though surrounded by flood

in honor of those
who saw their loved
ones floating down
the Limpopo River and wondered
if this was God's judgment

in honor of the governor

of Gaza Province
who gave rescuers
his personal cell phone
so they could
continue calling for help

in honor of the fishermen
who used their boats
to rescue people from trees
and rooftops, helping
to deliver babies where necessary

in honor of the five
or six-year-olds carrying
babies with no parents falling
out of 45-passenger helicopters
due to hunger--mostly children,
very few men

--because it had rained
three days in my town
and one never knows how long
one will walk the dry ground
after a rain.

*First appeared as first place winner in the 2001 Beauty for Ashes Poetry Review poetry contest


JeanneH said...

Juliene ~ In Honor of Rain...I love it. Very insightful...I remember that time, the stories, the heartbreak, and the love shown...you captured it all in your own thoughts.

Hey, it was good to see you tonight. I forgot to tell you, I love reading your blog, and about all your adventures in Sweden, and elsewhere., God bless...Jeanne

Tumblewords: said...

I'm enjoying your new book. Thank you. It was nice to see you again, too. :)