New poetry collection published

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write, as I was busy working on some video projects for the past couple of months.  But I am now happy to announce that my latest poetry collection, Vestiges, has been published by Alabaster Leaves Publishing.

This 58-page chapbook features both narrative and observational poems. And the book is available for sale on Amazon.com. Please do not feel pressured or obligated to purchase it, but I just wanted to provide the link in case anyone is interested.

And here are a few excerpts from the collection:

Father’s Day Forgotten

Daddy and Christi parted ways at a bus depot
In the early morning hours.
No big scene, just a kiss on the cheek,
Then she turned around and was gone for good—
Hopping aboard the Trailways bus headed westbound for Chicago.
And she never looked back.

Daddy went home to his beer bottle and sofa seat,
And he drew the living room curtains on the rest of the world,
Letting those four eggshell walls close in and swallow him up,
Wasting away in three empty rooms and a bath.

And the memories can’t replace his lost daughter and wife.
So he tries not to remember his mistakes
Or how he drove them away.
Instead he recalls Halloween pumpkins glowing on the front porch,
Training wheels moving along the uneven sidewalk,
Little hands reaching for bigger ones in the park,
And serving Saltine crackers and milk
To chase away the goblins that haunted
Dreams in the middle of the night.

Now Christi has a life of her own,
And she lets the answering machine catch
Daddy’s Sunday afternoon phone call.
She never picks up and rarely calls back.
So Daddy returns to the green couch
Pockmarked with cigarette burns.
He closes his eyes, opens the door to his memory vault
And watches the pictures play in slow-motion.
He rewinds again and again without noticing the film has faded
And the little girl has stepped out of the frame.

Man Versus Ant

an ant races
across the sidewalk,
intent on getting
to the grass
on the other side.
I face a quick decision:
do I step on it
or avoid its path?
better leave the ant alone,
I think to myself.
what if that’s me
in the next life?

Side Dish

A mundane scene of modern living
played out one evening
while I walked along Ninth Street
near East Grovers Avenue in north Phoenix.

I heard the sound of a sliding glass door
opening from behind a retaining wall
running parallel to the sidewalk.

And although I had
no intention of eavesdropping,
I then overheard a woman call out:
“And now the great vegetable debate, green beans or corn?”

The question evoked a few seconds of silence,
followed by a man’s reply:
“Uh . . . both,” he said.

And as I turned the corner,
heading up the next block,
I was tempted to stop and ask the couple,
“Hey, what else is for dinner?”

Perseverance

You can’t expect the world to fall in line for you.
You can’t will happiness or alter your existence by whim.
You have to accept you are not in control.

Work and sleep.
Sleep and work.
Monotony and solitude.
You march on with stubborn persistence.

I believe there are other forms of bravery
Besides firefighters scaling burning buildings
And plucking toddlers from the top floor.
There is courage in accepting your condition,
Realizing you have fallen short,
But not quitting, not becoming bitter,
Not drinking yourself to death,
Or giving up and erasing your place in the world.

There is dignity in continuing to endure an unhappy life.
By making due and moving on,
You shine forth and elevate your humanity—
Even if no one notices or your situation doesn’t change.

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