These are two alternate covers for GHOST MACHINE, designed by Joseph Reed from Caketrain. Joseph is a rad book designer. I feel fortunate to work with someone with his enthusiasm and skill. The actual cover works perfectly with the poems in GHOST MACHINE. I will post it in the future.
GHOST MACHINE is 110 pages long. It contains 42 poems. Most of the poems were written in 2006 in San Francisco before I moved to NYC. The poems are all collage poems made up of sentences I wrote after a breakup. I was also unemployed and sleeping on my brother's couch. I wrote most of the sentences as a method of passing time and dealing with my fucked emotional state. I would describe my overriding emotion during that time as a feeling of emptiness. I wrote so many sentences during that period. I wrote down things I heard people say. I wrote down things I thought or dreamt. I wrote down things that happened on TV or in books I was reading. I wrote down sentences I made up. I wrote down anything. The majority of the sentences were short and used simple grammar. They weren't really poems. I don't think I cared about writing poems at that time, but I got some of the things I wrote published. Nate Pritts published some of them at H_NGM_N. Del Ray Cross published some of them at Shampoo. Bruce Covey published two at Coconut. Beeswax Magazine published some. I never thought they would become a collection.
I didn't revise GHOST MACHINE until I moved to New York. It took me three years to revise the manuscript. When I revised it, I took old things I'd written and broke them up into parts and reorganized them into new things. I spliced some of the sentences together into new sentences. The new things reminded me of things that had happened to me, but they were completely different than what had happened to me. It was like sampling myself.
I took GHOST MACHINE and made it into two chapbooks. One of the chapbooks was published by H_NGM_N as an ebook called Collected Ghost. It is still available. The other one I sent to DIAGRAM and Caketrain. When Joseph and Amanda at Caketrain accepted the manuscript, they told me they wanted to publish it alongside Collected Ghost. I thought this was a great idea, but when I saw the two chapbooks side by side it seemed like they didn't fulfill the idea behind GHOST MACHINE the same way the "full-length" manuscript did. It felt like they were two machines side by side doing separate things. Not one machine doing one thing.
I sent Joseph the "full-length" manuscript and he liked it and agreed it was better than the two chapbooks side by side and agreed to publish it. I am stoked to have Caketrain publish my first full-length book. I don't think other presses would have given it the consideration Joseph and Amanda have. Nor would a bigger press have given me as much input into the design and layout. I fucking love Caketrain.