Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Review: "Seasons of Heaven & Hell" by Michael G. Stone

First Edition printed by PublishAmerica, 2005
 

This review can also be found on Goodreads and Amazon.
 
It is hard for me not to be biased in this review, as Michael is a close friend of mine.  I originally came across this book on Amazon, I read samples from it and was compelled to write him.  That is how our friendship began.  He sent me a personalized copy a few months back, a little treasure that I will keep safe and enjoy always.  The paperback version of this book is out-of-print, making this gift even more prized.  Nowadays, if you wish to seek this book out, you can find it for sale in Michael's Kindle store along with his other works.

Let me say first off that this was a fascinating read on many levels for me.  I will not go too much into depth on the similarities between the poems in this book and my own writing.  Hindsight and memories of my own past played upon my brain, much of it for the first time in years, as I found many passages that I could relate to.  The image that Michael creates for himself, as a poet and narrator, is one of a hopeless romantic, longing for the eternal love and devotion that we all dream about, while simultaneously getting lost in a dark haze of thoughts and emotions deeply rooted in pagan spirituality and an almost Burton-esque world of fantasy.  Even after being disappointed over and over again, his faith is strong that his "eternal bride" is out there, and continues his quixotic search for her.

My favorite poem in this is called "A Letter to My Future Forbidden and Eternal Love" (page 91), a declaration of pure love to a woman he hasn't met yet.  It is something every woman wishes to read from their beloved.  He lays his heart and desires bare in this book, it is hard not to fall in love with his words.  Other favorite poems of mine are "Space Travel," "The Wicked Daydream," "The Dangers of Reality," and of course "Seasons of Heaven and Hell."

That said, this is not without its faults and errors.  There is the occasional typo which is common among many self-published authors (myself included) that was no doubt missed after a lengthy editing process, and as a spelling freak I had trouble accepting the word "Gothick" in several poems.  However, none of this took away from the overall experience the book gives, which is that of an emotional roller coaster.  Upon reaching the end of this book, I felt as though I'd been on a journey that hadn't quite ended, and indeed it hasn't.  You can sense influences from Rimbaud, a touch of Jim Morrison here and there...an example of the latter is found in "Ceilings of Thought" where the line "Where are the treasures that we were promised after life?" reminds me of the last lyric from Morrison's Ghost Song, "Where are the feasts we were promised?"  I thought it was a clever, though possibly unintentional, homage.

If you are interested in Michael's work, I suggest you start with this one.  You won't be disappointed.

Monday, April 21, 2014

What I See First

Eyes...brilliant eyes!
At first glance sad and mournful,
Then sparkling, laughing.
Always the intense pair, I enjoy
Being looked into by them.
I feel naked in his stare.

Tall legs.
I like to see a man's thighs.

Strong shoulders
Sure arms and capable hands
Covered in auto grease or acrylic paint-

A body that creates.

Lips...soft, sensual, full.
Watching him talk and smile,
I silently preview his kiss.
I like a rich voice...an actor's range.
Certain tones trigger a craving.
Even better when carrying a tune.

Hair...tousled, careless curls.
Begging my fingers to run wild,
I can see water from the shower
Dripping off, or is it sweat
From an afternoon of hard work
Or love making...
Hints of cologne!
(My nose, the primal seeker)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Driving home tonight

There were many scenes that I caught glimpses of while driving home from work tonight.  Thought I would share them before I forget, in case they spark something later.

A rainbow followed me to Toledo...kept popping up three or four times at various spots.  I got a couple of pics with my phone, this is the best one:



The first time I saw it, I had pulled over to the 76 station to put fifteen bucks worth of gas in my tank.  Times are lean right now, it's all I could afford.  It was across the highway facing east.  Big, bright, beautiful.  I pulled out my phone and snapped a pic before it faded, then went on my way.  The second time was just before I took the photo above.  I pulled over into the little strip mall where Mai's Asian Market is and took the pic, then uploaded to Facebook before heading home.  The rainbow disappeared for a time as I made my last drive up highway 20, got lost in the color contrast of the trees, which were being hit by sunlight but the sky above was deep gray, which made them pop out.  I always wish I had a better camera on my phone on times like this.  Better than Technicolor.

The rainbow appeared again as I passed the marshes near McNary Lane and the old farmhouses.  It was much closer, very grand and so brightly colored and vivid.  I could see the end of the rainbow.  I felt like a girl again, and smiled in spite of myself.  Sadly, there was no pot of gold sitting there for me.  It shifted further off as I approached the lowered speed limit of 45mph (down from 55), then as I turned off at the Dairy Queen exit, it was gone.

As I was driving up Graham Street, I noticed for the first time that all the fruit trees that were nearby had gone into bloom.  Petals were scattered daintily on the road and the sidewalks near the water tower at the top of the hill, and I saw a picturesque couple walking their dog through it.  They were dressed warmly, wearing jackets and winter hats.  She had dark hair and glasses.  They were smiling, enjoying their time outside.  They quickly left my view as I made the right turn onto Elder and finally reached my street.  More petals from the apple tree had littered the way to my apartment building, tiny white flakes on dark wet asphalt.  The alder trees were luminous.

The drive to Newport is always a beautiful one, but I am usually either too rushed or too tired to enjoy what is around me every day...the gorgeous trees, the sight of the Pacific ocean as I enter the city limits.  I even love it when it rains.  Very soon, I will have to take a break from my usual weekend routine and take my camera all around town and play tourist...take photos of every imaginable haunt and places that have caught my interest over my lifetime living here.  There is a friend of mine in California who I especially want to share these sights with, but mostly I want to share with everyone my idea of paradise, and it is right here on the Oregon coast.

A small bunch of nothing.

I see letters jumping from the keyboard, words illuminated briefly and keep changing.  I don't know what to write about, except maybe...

Looking at my fingers, pensive and frustrated.  My stomach is aching from the futile brainstorm, and the clock flips me the bird every time I look at it, because another twenty minutes has gone by.

I could write about the tiny barrettes of light, the rainbows refracting off a crystal in my kitchen window, how it sparkles and turns the little area into a daylight disco, making it magic.  I could write about the growing pile of clean laundry on and around the death couch, the clouds of heaven to my cats and a source of daily AM frustration.  Trying to find a matching sock, or a fresh bra.  Steaming the wrinkles out of my work shirts as I shower the past two nights of stagnant sleep sweat, accumulating in a damp puddle under my thighs and ass, and then I wonder what the hell am I not remembering from my dreams?

I watch my own actions, the way my hands seem to have a life of their own, bringing before me distraction upon distraction...nights are fruitless, and maybe my days would be better spent here or in a cafe with my notebook, instead of a job that has me running the hamster wheel for eight to nine hours a day for the privilege of staying exactly where I am, never ahead but not behind either.  Escape is a fiendish plot twist that threatens to seduce me every day.  I want to have the sheer courage (or stupidity) to stop, look up, clock out and then walk out, then spend the ten dollars I have saved on my Starbucks card on coffee that I'll drink while writing the novel that will make me rich and solve every problem I have inside.  It will be an emotional tour de force that will bring me back and forth to Hell and Heaven in so many aspects that I will faint upon standing to leave.  The fever will overtake my tense, aroused body and I will crawl like a mad fool to the exit door.

I have the faces of people from my past, living and dead, staring at me in expectation.  Well?  What are you waiting for?

You'll sleep when you're dead.  Get to it.  
It's too much pressure, Grandma.  I love you, but back off.

One day it will come.  Maybe then, so will I.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Broken Silence

It's the stab to the heart
of a successful transplant patient,
The green light to die-
You had released me into Purgatory,
I began to like the dark!

Your instinct is uncanny
But I am tired of these words!
Out from the twisted wreckage
I tore myself free and bled you from me
But the banshee's wail kept me entranced
Floating, burning into the night air
All the strings that tied you to me

But the final one, that kevlar sewn into our chests
Still threatens to rip me open
Upon the event of a broken silence-
The taste a junky needs
To trigger a new relapse into hell.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Another big milestone for the old blog.

I did some quick research before posting this.  On October 2nd, 2011, at 3:24pm, this blog reached its first thousand views.  I am happy to report to you that as of April 7th, 2014, it reached 8000 views.

I am very humble right now.  Thank you so much for your continued support, encouragement and ego strokes over the last nine years.  I really wish I had more time to write and share what I have with you.  I've been reading so much these days, at least I've been able to do that.  I am deep into my fascination with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady.  They draw me in stronger than when I discovered Anais Nin or Sylvia Plath.  Hope that gives you an idea how much of an impact Jack and Neal are already having upon me.

My Facebook page is very close to reaching its first milestone as well.  It is at 99 likes right now.   If you are on FB, please visit me here and be sure to like and share me to your friends.