Poem from Mom: Rattlesnake

years of taking pictures
when our kids were growing up
probably thousands or more
different cameras lenses
big and little
the decision was
couldn’t give up the big lenses
one day I decided to put my camera away
wondered what I had been missing
too much time clicking searching
a lense for perceived perfection
I know now it must be in you
or maybe doesn’t exist at all
an expectation of just one more frame
did I see more with my camera
squeezed against my cheek
like a shotgun I don’t know
maybe I see it differently now
relying on only my lenses
the only thing I know is
I love those old pictures
rewinding the good old days
reminding me of so much forgotten
there is a new camera back on my cheek
still trying to get the rattlesnake
coiled at my feet

Collaborative Book with Mom

After making books with Blurb since 2006 I’ve finally done a first draft of a collaborative book with my mother. Now, before I explain this you should know that from 2006, when my mother saw her first Blurb book, I had her convinced I was the ONLY one who could make these. I did this to elevate my sibling rank within our family. My sister is rotten, my brother is worthless, and I am clearly the ONLY one who matters…..
Milnor_Tools_007
Mom thought the book thing was native to ME. For years it worked perfectly.

But then mom asked “Why don’t you make me a book of my poetry.” To deflect this I fed her the line that makes many people cringe. “Sure, I’ll make you a book just as soon as you edit your work to the best twenty-five poems.” She responded as I expected her to. “Narrowing to twenty-five is impossible,” she said. I said, “Well, when you get there let me know.”
Milnor_Tools_008
Milnor_Tools_010
As expected, she was slightly delayed with this process. After six years, my ranking within the family had plateaued. I’m still, by far, the most important sibling (wink, wink) but I wanted to put the final nail in the coffin of my brother and sister, so while at my mother’s house a few weeks ago I made this first draft.

I’m not stupid. I didn’t tell her I was making the book otherwise we would have had MASSIVE creative differences in regard to which poems best paired with certain photographs. I just did it. I also just did it because I knew it was a first draft. I do this all the time with books, but I’m amazed at how many folks I run into who either never think of doing this or are convinced they are going to make a perfect book the first time out. The odds of their doing so, in most cases, are very slim. I’ve found that doing drafts takes all the baggage associated with making books and throws it out the window. My question is “What is the downside?” I’m on the hook for ONE copy and when I get it I live with the good and bad,and I learn from the draft and make a better, more polished book the second time around. Sometimes I even do three or four versions before I’m happy. Yesterday I was faced with someone wanting a signed copy of this thing, which caught me by surprise, but I explained this was only flavor number one and there was a subsequent flavor on the way.
Milnor_Tools_011
Milnor_Tools_013
There are things about this book I like. The overall dark and somewhat edgy feel. The portrait format. And I also love the puzzle you are required to solve when you combine seemingly RANDOM imagery with specific poems. I LOVE certain spreads. I don’t love page numbers. I love the mixture of image and border sizes. I don’t love the size of the copy. I also should have used charcoal grey or black end sheets and NOT the light grey, and I don’t like the final image in the book, it’s just too obvious. I do like the scanned, blank 4×5 negative I used in the front, and I REALLY like the spread with title page on the right and definition of inertia on the left. Imagewrap worked well although this is only a stand in cover image. I’ve got another image, very similar to this one, that has a different meaning to me and version two will see this new image on the cover. I think twenty-five poems is a good number and a roughly 60-page overall book is good and fits the attention span of the audience of this particular publication. I also see a series of these books which is why this one will be titled “Volume One.”
Milnor_Tools_015
Milnor_Tools_017
Milnor_Tools_018
Milnor_Tools_019
Milnor_Tools_020
Milnor_Tools_021
Milnor_Tools_022

Version two will be pretty solid I think. This book is not for sale, nor will it ever be. It was not made to make me famous, or her. It was not meant as a barometer of my talent, or hers. It was simply an exercise, and a record of her work and mine and how those two things play together. This book alerted me to the fact I’ve been missing an entire genre of books. There is much to do….

Flashback

[gickr.com]_0d6d0f88-571d-87f4-8df2-369cfeccf0f6

the feeling I’m given
endless it seems
breathe, breathe, breathe
did we want this? dream it up and put
a plan in motion, a sales team
for the technological dream
the uncle who won’t leave
remote camps will settle the score
or so I’m told
their agenda top secret
don’t help too much, just enough
true help is an admission of a problem
in the first place
ten years, that’s all it took
the tattered ends of the rope
looking up as they slowly unwind
a cruel world still
never kind

Poem from Mom: Web

Mom just casually dropped this one on me.


Seeking shelter and a place to rest a poem unable to be written weaves in and out my thoughts. I keep thinking you better get it in print or it will find the wind and find no home with you. The sad thing is no one else in the world has it and if you don’t sprinkle it on the page it will become dust on the dirt road of time. The shiny poem pleads with you to take care of it. Shed all that tries to keep you away from it. Do it!

shimmering shiny silver silken threads

driven by the wind

webs hanging on the lifeless fence

randomly swaying to and fro

because they

like mama found no easy place

loose ends

fragile

reaching wildly frantically

finding eyes that couldn’t let go

fascinating rhythm of the earth

unnoticed until

she walked through them

webs on her face and arms

she let me imagine

what the sunlight could bring

as it came through the woods

she found time to see them

time to embrace

what she wanted to be woven

through the cloth of our lives