Poem 153


When pricing antiquarian books
one falls haplessly in love with them
the angle of their indexes
the seductive bending spine
assured – certainly – that the value
of this humble bind is glacial
oh, those corners, character!
and that crease, delight!
light underlining on page eighty-six
a book this old will show some signs
of heavy reading,
perspiring fingers
baited breath—a book
this wise—tantamount to fortunes
sits neatly on my shelf, waiting
for a price and a buyer, oh no
I would never embarrass you with
slim figures, you deserve another decimal…
this quizzical whim, a leather bound
bombshell with notches and gilt, I am
toying with the book ribbon – inappropriately
and running my hand along the title page –
forgive me, this feels like a stolen moment
with a novel I could never afford
signed by both authors; unclipped
being its warden, for now, before
it falls into someone else’s library
to be read again,
or displayed.

Bookbinding 2: Make your Bed.

Hello Readers, 

The bookbinding post was so wildly popular that I decided to also include some images and tips from my journal-making experience. 

If you’re anything like me, poetry is a great love, but not the only love. I also enjoy painting. For me, poetry is the waking art, the one I try for, the one I perfect. Painting, or other types of visual designs, are the absent art, the one I do to calm me, in persuit of ambient inspiration. For some people this ambient art is music, others just go for a jog. It made sense to make a space where I could do both, write and paint, in a non-invasive way. For that, I needed paper that would not curl under water-color or buckle under acrlic. So I needed a cold press journal. And I would have to make that. 


Here are my thoughts on journals, now that I’ve made one:

1. Making a journal is personal. I get to pick the cover (paper used was from Paper Source, which just opened a store in Las Vegas) and make the pages from the type of paper I need. I wanted to have something I could paint, and so I didn’t need to spend $30 on a bound book or have loose sheets. I also got to decide how large I wanted it, which is something I always struggle with when choosing a book that always ends up having too many pages.

2. Building a book is like making your bed. It’s yours. I strongly believe that poetry is a vertical experience. We have an experience and then we write about it. But what if it was more than that. The experience was one you personally had, and then you thought about it, and wrote that poem in your own journal, that you made with your hands. First hand account on your own piece of art. It’s almost poetic and we haven’t started writing yet!

3. Poetry Gets Hands On. In my last post about bookbinding I talked about poems being very removed for me. I had forgotten how much I love writing things by hand. I miss writing and not typeing. I miss the permanence, even in draft form, of pen. It seems delliberate. It seems real. It also takes a hands-on experience to sew a book. There are awl punches and dangling needles and fidgety cardboard. It’s not always the simplest task, but it’s real. 

I find that I write different things when I plan to paint beside them. My poems really do conform them to their space. I tend not to write onto a second page or go outside the lines. I wonder what that says about me as a poet, about what poetry does to the spaces it encounters. 

So here are the numbers. 

$10 for the pages and cover (all in one of those artist pads at Michaels) – I only used half of the pages, it was just too many once they were all folded. 

$3 for the cover paper from Paper Source, they have lots of kinds 

$3 Rubber Cement

$0 for the inner paper and the pocket (I already had some scrapbook paper, it was in a pack of cardstock paper)

$6 for the hemp string (Paper Source), but there were 100’s of feet of it, and I’ll surely use it again! 

And I watched the same video by SeaLemon, which was helpful for the poetry book, and super great for the journal. (I used half of the paper, since water color paper is super thick when cold pressed). 

TIPS: The video will not show you how to cover the book with paper. It’s super easy. Take the cardboard and cover one side with a thin layer of rubber cement. Let dry. Take the paper and also apply a thin layer of rubber cement and let dry. Bring together. The dry rubber cement will stick better and faster than wet glue or wet rubber cement. Repeat for inner side.


For the corners, cut the extra cover paper to 1″ from the board. Then fold in the triangle of the corner, sticking with dried rubber cement on both sides. Then, fold over the 1″ margin once you have applied rubber cement on both the board and the paper and let dry. You’ll be amazed! For the inside, I used a piece of paper 1″ shorter than the board in height and length, affixed the same way as the other paper. 

Make sure that the holes are punched through the cardboard first and then later through the paper as you cover the sides. That way, you will have an easier time getting through the thick material, and it will be cleaner when finished.

That’s all for now. I hope you all make a journal and love it and fill it with hand crafted poetry goodness. 
Keep Writing, Start Binding!


Poem 34 – Editing for Final

I love this poem. It has been a cornerstone of most of my recent submissions, from the MFA application to a chapbook competition, I think the lofty haze it offers the reader is a strong demonstration of my work.

aPoem 34

Things I love about this poem

How short it is

The language

The imagery

The haze

The dream-like state


Things that still might need some love

The half filled cup thing

The library, should I come out and say it?

The title, is it awesome?

The dreamers, should I show them more?


Nonetheless, I will be trying to get this poem published until I die… or someone takes it. I love the flow, the haze, the simplicity, the readibility. For now I will call this finished and let that be it.




Even when poems are near or mostly finished, there is still room for improvement. Keep in mind the things you love and are unsure of in the pieces you consider finished in case you ever want to crack them open again. There are lots and lots of ways and opportunities to edit, even the poems we deem done.


Poem 34 FinalPoem 34 Original – Poem 34 Postcard

Poem 34 Final



Toes in the Water


We play hide and seek in seats

We share with strangers.

With you hiding and me

Lost. Sought truth but

Found only book bindings.

The well is depthless where

The well informed tread water

In the wake of inspiration:

A filling cup twice its necessity.

Come find me where pages

Smell of fingertips and

Day dreamers drape drowsy

Heaped on borrowed furniture.


Poem 34 EditedPoem 34 Original