My little dog Bobby likes to hear me speak his name, especially when I say it real soft and gentle like everything’s alright in the world. It’s not. But Bobby’s not dialed-in to some news feed. Only hears what I tell him. Oh, he meets people on the street. And he says hello. Meets and greets real well. But he doesn’t engage them the way he does me.
I’m the one he turns to for news of the world. And I don’t feed him the crap. Real particular about our media diet these days.
Like tonight I’m reading poems to him from my new (ish) book called Syllables Go By. And he has ears to hear what I say because his name is spoken in quite a few of my lines. Bobby is actually helping me warm up for Thursday night when we do a belated book launch for Syllables at Page and Palette. Six o’clock in the big room back in the Book Cellar.
It’s all JD Crowe’s fault–the launch of this book of poetry some two years after it was published. I had a date set for St. Paddy’s Day, 2020, to spring it on the world with a tour that began at home at Page and Palette, then up the road to Tuscaloosa and points beyond. John Evans at Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson, Mississippi even featured Syllables on his website during April, National Poetry Month.
Then Covid came to town and everything shut down. Me and Bobby went to our cabin and stayed there. For like a year. And forgot about the book.
Here a while back, JD came bicycling down the sidewalk along the bayfront at South Mobile Street. Like I said, Bobby is a hail fellow, well met and so am I. So we stopped and chatted with JD. And somewhere in there as we caught up on news of the world, JD suggested I take a mulligan with Syllables, and have another swing at the ball. Launch that sucker right out of the park. Or, off the shelf, at least.
So it’s on JD that I’m asking you to come to Page and Palette Thursday night and join me and Bobby as we talk about the 99 haiku poems in this little book. And poetry in general. I won’t just do a bunch of reading, I promise. We’ll knock around some ideas about writing and tell stories and just have a big time. And, yes, little dog Bobby will recite for you. That alone will be worth the turnout. (I wonder if JD will be there?)
In the meantime, as we close out, let me drop in here one of the greatest hits of the ancient Persian poet, Rumi. It’s called The Tent, and it’s about that danged ol’ news of the world.
Outside, the freezing desert night.
This other night inside grows warm, kindling.
Let the landscape be covered with thorny crust.
We have a soft garden in here.
The continents blasted,
cities and little towns, everything
become a scorched, blackened ball.
The news we hear is full of grief for that future,
but the real news, inside here,
is there’s no news at all.