New chapbook, Cannot transform myth, out today via Ghost City Press!
In the square-foot of space behind a cash register, Cannot transform myth began as a series of ideas scrawled between customers. Some poems pay direct homage to those receipt-sized rants, assembled like marginalized blocks of text. Others are shaped by subtler transactions – the almost imperceptible frictions of status and stasis.
Befitting the chapbook’s inquisition of “the underclass”, Cannot transform myth is free to download as part of Ghost City Press' 2020 Chapbook Summer Series. News about a physical release will arrive later in the summer.
Cannot transform myth; a timeline
In 2014, beset by circumstances, I took up a cashier job in a local health food store. At the time I was reading Elisa Gabbert's The Self Unstable and rob mclennan's the uncertainty principle, two books that would provoke a new directness in my work. Around that same time, when I was probably complaining about the monotony of my job, author Janet Turpin Myers encouraged me to write about it. Granted, I already was – but she meant as a challenge to find meaning in the work. It was great advice.
I wasn't a cashier for long, and with new company positions came new perspectives from which to write. Cannot transform myth #8 and #12 were published in 2015, #19 and Postcard from the corner booth in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Thanks to David Emery, Shaleeta Harper and rob mclennan for believing in those poems. I debuted a bunch of others at gritLIT in 2017 and got some generous feedback. In particular, a tip of the hat to author Chris Pannell for his thoughts. Thank you, gritLIT organizers, for including me.
Ghost City Press' submission call for their annual Summer Series caught me at the right time; I was resurfacing after an eighteen-month pause and saw their deadline as a motivator. I wrote one last poem (also the last in the series, #24) and by the end of February 2020 had redrafted and resequenced the manuscript to satisfaction. An enormous thank-you to Ava Wolf and Dior J. Stephens for selecting Cannot transform myth as part of this summer-long event. Special thanks as well to Kevin Bertolero for his hard work bringing all of these chapbooks into the real world.
Over five years have passed since I was in front of that cash register. It's the longest I've ever worked in one place and that's solely because of the wonderful colleagues I've shared my days with. Honestly, some of the realest people I've ever known. These poems are dedicated to all essential workers – but especially them.