from ammonite sonnet
the ammonite an index of sutures
i got tired of cataloging them
hermetically sealing little traumas
afraid they’d get to know one another go boom
little mother catastrophes instead
i smashed little rocks to bits in a ditch
each shard a memory released pressure
from stomach the common burial ground
the cavity of accumulation
each little box coated in dust and feelings
each glass stone chamber not really secret
i get ready to shatter the discretions
i open my palms no explosions no pain
coalesce little traumas wrap your wounds
around each other a chrysalis blood
a becoming of feathers of air a fire
CW/TW: sexual abuse, broets, pobiz bullshit
If you’re one of the two people who read this blog (hi, Mom!), you might know that my book, field guide to autobiography, was orphaned back in October due to the press’ publisher being outed as a sexual abuser. As a survivor of sexual violence, a staunch women’s rights advocate, & a human being with a brain who believes women, this was triggering on many levels.
When I found out, it was a week after the Mendo Lake Complex Fires, & I was on a bus home from Oakland where I had been doing a reading & classroom visit at CCA. I’m wearing a mask and I’m feeling such rage. I’m thinking of betrayals and rape culture and the woods and I’m listening to Black Hole Sun and remembering the toxic aftershocks. Memories I’ve trapped in amber all these years. So – after crying for about an hour while somehow also listening to 90s rock, I wrote to the publisher & withdrew my book.
For several months, I distracted myself with family & work obligations, & tried to work through some of this rage at the gym, all while mourning & feeling pretty cagey about trusting another publisher with my work.
A few weeks ago, I delved into editing and revising my manuscript-in-progress (which is largely about rape culture & sexual predation of teen girls), little ditch, & excised half of it, rendering a chapbook-length manuscript which I later submitted to above/ground press. Feeling the momentum from that accomplishment, I decided to submit field guide to a few presses I had carefully vetted (though, the vetting wasn’t new – I thought I had carefully vetted the previous publisher as well). Well….
This story has a happy middle. I found out just last week that both field guide to autobiography & little ditch will be published by The Operating System & above/ground press, respectively. I’m so thrilled, & grateful to both Lynne DeSilva-Johnson & Rob McLennan for being such stalwart, literary citizens & for helping to restore my faith in poetry world. Hooray for great publishers who actually give a damn about the work! Hooray for not needing to spend 5 hours proofreading my manuscript because the publisher kept introducing weird errors & errant phrases during every iteration! Hooray for a true collaboration! I’m stoked.
Oh – there have been these two new, wonderful reviews published about field guide:
Stay strong, friends.