“This Is Your Book on Drugs…”


Remember the old anti-drug commercial with the egg and the frying pan? “This is your brain on drugs,” it said. Drop egg into pan. Pipe in amped sound of sizzling.

I love metaphor, especially sunny-side up metaphors. Only having your first book of poems accepted for publication can be cloudy-side up at times. Think of it metaphorically: “This is your book on published and released.” It becomes many things, but few of them are what you imagined in the starry-eyed, naivetĂ© of your pre-published days.

Soon, you learn, and your education in book publishing is a wonderful lesson in metaphor as well. Almost a year after my first was published, here are but a few that come to mind:

A published book is a mote of sand on the South Beach of life.

A published book is not a cry in the wilderness, but a cry from a seat in the last row at the Super Bowl of Published Authors. After a Hail Mary reception. For the win.

A published book is an unholy mackerel in the biggest school the ocean has ever educated.

A published book is a Who on the day Horton loses his hearing-aid.

A published book is a sales statistic you cannot easily pronounce on amazon dot all-is-not-calm.

A published book is a pile in a book bag in your study. Like your little brother who kept tagging along instead of running off to get himself sold or something.

A published book is the one you actually have time to reread. And critique. When it’s too late.

A published book is a falling ex-tree in a forest. Does it make a sound?

A published book is the sound of one person reading. Maybe you. OK, definitely you.

A published book is sharp. Like that needle in the haystack would be. If people could see it.

A published book is not a Billy. It is not a Collins, either.

A published book is not a Barnes & Noble shelf squatter.

A published book is an x-ray. When held to the light, it shows no signs of New Yorker.

A published book is a first edition looking for the Godot of its second.

A published book begs attention like a panhandler in New York City. Pedestrians see it as fire hydrant. Pigeon, maybe. A sidewalk crack, perhaps.

A published book is read by your family. Well, some of your family. OK, your spouse. Because you read it aloud. While she’s trying to eat her burrito and do the crossword.

A published book is a glowing book review written not in a room of the New York Times but in the rheum of your eyes every time you browse through it. After a few wines.

A published book is hundreds upon hundreds of Goodreads “to-reads.” It is one “currently-reading.” Maybe you. Or your Secret Sharer. Or Joseph Conrad. Who is dead.

A published book is your son in left field after he got hit on the head with a lazy fly ball. You’re still proud of him, and though he’s not batting clean-up or winning gold gloves, you don’t give up on having more children.

Nota Bene: Good News, gentle readers! My second poetry collection has been accepted by a publisher and will be released around the New Year! Metaphor: A second published book is… as great a joy as the first!

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