Back in my poetry writing days, long ago, I published several little spiral-bound chapbooks. When I had written enough poems for a larger work, I hand made about twenty perfect- bound books. I printed out a master with the poems 4-up, then had it copied and cut in fourths. A vise held the pages of each book while I applied craft glue, pushing the pages one direction, then the other to ensure getting the pages well glued. I let the glue dry, then applied more and carefully attached the cover, which I had printed myself, coated with a plastic sheet, and pre-folded. The effect is very similar to a professionally published book. The poetry doesn’t suck too bad, either. The cost was minimal (maybe ~$3 each) compared to the time spent binding the book. There are still a few in existence. A couple of years ago, I stayed at a friend’s house while she was away. While I was there, I saw one of my books on her nightstand.
I designed the book by doing a walkabout in the Ventura Barnes & Noble store. I found that the books were almost all shelved spine-out. The wider the book, the bigger I could make the title, so I printed the poems on one side of the paper, only, for a thicker book. I selected “Moon Over the Lost City” for the title. Moon, lost, and city are words that resonate with our feelings and associations. Of course, to use that title, I had to go back and add a poem with the same name. It’s not bad.
Moon Over the Lost City
Silently, the fat moon rises from the forest
to gloat above the stones of Nydah-Venn..
Ghosts wander from pools of blackness
and slink along their customary ways,
Murmuring their sins.
Hourly, ‘til dawn glows on distant mountains,
A skeletal muezzin ascends the
last unfallen minaret
and croons his malison on those below:
“Too late! Too late!” the bony jaws intone.
Ten thousand voices cry out in return.
No libertines haunt these granite avenues,
No fornicators and no thieves tread the
mossy stones of Nydah-Venn;
Nor greed-bound merchants,
Nor petty sinners.
This Gehenna of Regret is for those
who left something undone,
who let their joy escape,
devalued their heart’s desire.
Those who lived their passion have passed on,
never to haunt again the stony
pits of Nydah-Venn