I have a new book for you. Look for it in September. It’s my bravest book so far—about bravery and love. The title is Certain as Afternoon / Certa Come Il Pomeriggio.
This is a duel-language book of poems in English and Italian that tell the story of death and love. It’s not weepy and whiny, there are no flowers in it, and no rainbows. There are doctors in it, ice cream, clocks that tick, and lots of sky. There is rain, and there are ashes. No one ever flinches.
Why would I write such a book?
To save my life. To keep from going mad. To bear witness. To paint portraits and landscapes of things that cannot be photographed. Because I don’t have a therapist. Because someday you will lose someone you love–that it will come is as certain as afternoon—and this book of poems will hold your hand, then. It will lie with you on your bed and it will sit with you at the table under the ticking clock. It will not try to make you feel better at the time when you’re supposed to feel bad. You cannot possibly frighten or offend it by what you say, or by never speaking. What can provide that type of company but a book of poems?
Of course, the original language of almost all the poems is English. I do not consider myself competent to translate poetry into Italian, but it became present to my mind in the last half year that this book wants to be in Italian as well as English. So many people who loved Pio will not be able to read it if I don’t do the work. So, I conscripted the help of loving and patient friends who dug through the depths of this with me and went all the places nobody wants to go. They have called the task an honor, but truly the honor is mine. My language skills have grown, but not as much as my friendships.
I’ve prepared Certain as Afternoon using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service. The publishing platform is free for me; the book will have a small cost. My finger is poised above the “publish” button at which point there’s no going back. This time, I’m not interested in years of trying to sell myself to publishers before I can give this book to the people I’ve intended it for, and make it available to anyone who may discover, want, or need it.
I’m fiercely proud of this project. I can’t wait to share it with you. Buckle up.