Somewhere in the thick of it all, I forgot to share the news that I had a poem chosen by Ted Kooser (Poet Laureate from 2004-2006) for his column, American Life in Poetry. The poem is called, "What It Looks Like to Us and the Words We Use" and recounts a conversation between a dear friend and I about the belief in God. To me, this is an exploration of belief, but also of naming. It's also a poem that I hope provides a common ground between my beliefs as an atheist and other people's religious beliefs. It's also about barns. Out here in the countryside of Lexington, KY these old tobacco barns sit on the soft rolling hills like forgotten statues. Many of them are still in use.
The poem also takes place in the Sonoma Valley Regional Park (one of my all time favorite places to hike). The Spanish Moss, the obsidian shards, all of that comes from the place where I grew up. I wrote this poem when I was living full-time in Sonoma in 2011. I used to hike there as a child with our dog, Dusty. A yellow lab who didn't think about God. Though sometimes we thought she was an old man who had been reincarnated in her body. We'd say, "Hey Lou, are you in there?"
And now I have said too much. But I wanted to tell you about the poem. Also, in the two days it's been out in the world I've received many sweet emails telling me how much they enjoyed the poem. The poem is part of the new book, Bright Dead Things, which is with my publisher, but may not be out for some time depending on the universe. If you'd like to hear the poem read, I recorded it this morning and it's over there ---> on the right hand column. Thank you for your kind notes and emails. That means the world to me.
Also, this week, we go live on buses in Atlanta. A new poem "Endings" will be featured and includes a story about a turtle. It's a true story. Those of you who know me, know that when I don't know what to say about a poem of mine, I just say, "That's true." Thank you, Atlanta! And now back to work.