#PoetryPantry 220: socks are underwear, after all

texture_248 surly petunia ebook

I’ve just published a chapbook/e-book called surly petunia, containing 24 of my poems. And so I’m sharing today one of the poems from surly petunia, one that was published in HEATHENzine Aug/Sept 1990. This blog post is for Poetry Pantry #220 on Poets United.

socks are underwear, after all!

eating spaghetti with a cattle prod

the small byzantine child asks

mother may i keep this fish head

it followed me home

& the mother

a neophyte carpet prostitute, says

yes but only if you

drink your opium

all gone


This poem is an example of the ‘bizarre world’ theme that runs throughout much of my poetic output. Does it have a serious, deeper meaning? Maybe. Maybe not. Is the deeper meaning you are finding any relationship to any of the ones I might have had in mind? Probably not. Unless you are weird, like me. (Weird like me— that sound like a great title for a manifesto.)

surly petunia

This chapbook I consider a sampler of my work and so I set the e-book price at Smashwords to free. (The next chapbook won’t be free— it’s all part of my sinister plot to get off SSI disability and have a life.)


It will also be on Kindle, where it will cost 99 cents. (Eventually I think it will be free on Kindle because of price-matching, so if you are low on funds, wait, or else download the epub version from Smashwords and use free software ‘calibre’ to convert it to mobi/Kindle format).

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NZ96EYE

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00NZ96EYE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Amazon India: http://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B00NZ96EYE?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

If anyone reading this post is thinking about producing their own book or chapbook at Smashwords or Kindle Direct Publishing, and you have questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.

Chiron Review

001Three of my poems, juror expend, drastic quotient and Red Cholera Blossoms have been published in issue #97 of Chiron Review.  I’d written to the editor recently because my records stated that three of my poems had been accepted for publication there in 1990, but I never got a contributor’s copy and couldn’t afford to subscribe. He checked his records and found that the poems had not been published, but he invited me to resubmit. I sent 2 of the original poems, and because the third had gotten lost over the years, I included a sijo, Red Cholera Blossoms. All three were accepted! And so I want to encourage all poets and would-be poets out there— don’t be afraid! If a crazy cat lady with Asperger Syndrome can get her poems published in a cool ‘zine like Chiron Review, you can get poems published, too! Just keep writing, submitting, and improving your craft.

E-mail list sign-up

Yes, I have an e-mail list. I’m going to be sending out updates when my books become available.

The form to sign up is at: http://eepurl.com/FN2hr

E-Books or Realbooks for a Space Colony

colonizationHTImagine you were planning on leaving your safe happy homeworld and going to found a new space colony. Do you ever think about things like that? I like to, and I like to read books about it as well. (The book cover illustrates one of the books in Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar/Colonization series which has the twist that the colonizers are aliens and the world colonized is Earth.)

But think for a moment about what it would be like to go to a new space colony that would be spending its first 50-100 years under harsh, primitive conditions. No aid packages from back home on Earth except for the occasional bit of emergency medical supplies. No new people until the 250 colonists start having babies. How would you keep your culture and your literate traditions alive in such a circumstance?

Let’s set these groundrules: there are strict weight limits to what your colony can have in the way of the one form of entertainment you can have: books. Either you can have a community library of 500 real, paper books, or you can have 5 e-readers with 600 e-books on each (the same 600), and the means to recharge those e-readers.

Let us also say that the paper books are designed to last 100 years at least, as are the e-readers and the recharger. How do you make your choice?


The advantage here is that you get 100 extra books. Pretty good if those are all the books you can read forever— more books is better. In addition, let us say the e-reader has the standard capacity to increase the text size. That will be of great help to aging colonists someday. With printed books, they will be restricted to any that are large print— and those large-print books might be too heavy for a frail elderly person.


Forget the concern that realbooks look, feel or smell nicer. On a primitive colony that won’t make much difference. But imagine some stormy night when there is little to do besides read? With E-readers, five people at a time can read. With real books, all 250 initial colonists could read at the same time.

Now, of course, with e-readers you could have someone read aloud to others. Up to 5 someones, in fact. But while hearing books read is nice, it’s not the same as reading them yourself. It also doesn’t contribute too much to continuing a literate culture, any more than watching movies and television shows based on books turns us all into readers.

Each option has advantages and disadvantages, probably more than I’ve thought of. Can you think of any concerns I haven’t mentioned? What factors would you use to come up with a decision on which option your colony will go with?

And remember, whichever you choose, you and 249 other people will have to live with your choice for the rest of your life. So what do you choose?

Bonus question: if you got to pick 5 books for the colony, which would you pick? (If a good Bible translation is important to you, which Bible translation would you pick, in addition to those 5 books?)

My books would include Gone With The Wind, Lord of the Rings (1 volume edition), Jane Eyre, and World War Z, and my Bible translation pick would be a King James Version with ‘Apocrypha’ (unless they’ve come out with a King James Catholic Edition).