Fall Books

       At the heart of a proverb is poetry, and poetry has been my art since I was a long-haired young man in the early 1970s. A sound proverb is the epitome of wisdom, as in “Haste makes waste,” or “A penny saved is a penny earned.” The proverb stops us for a moment—true, we think, so very true.” Pennies add up to dollars; shoelaces tied in a hurry soon demand our attention. Proverbs, then, might be cautionary tales without the tales—just thoughtful transcripts without envy—no awards crown the authors, no royalties are dispersed. They don’t take effort to read. They are not riddles or cagey games, but do require an “Aha” moment.
       Thus, my book new book Meatballs for the People: Proverbs to Chew On. Here are a few samples from the collection.

The largest body of water
A tear after the breakup

If you go into the store
You’ll buy

The hotdog looks
The same on either end

Even in the confessional
The priest hears lies

The bail bondsman
Welcomes trouble

At a hole-in-the-wall takeout
Flies cut in line

The gangster steals flowers
For his best friend’s funeral

A spiteful tongue
Is sharper
Than a knife

If you own a pickup truck
Everyone calls

If it’s half off
Not worth stealing

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      Love is a good thing—so true in The Spark and Fire of Itthis one-act romance. The storyline is classic: two young people smitten to the point of delirium and a gruff father who will have none of it. The father, a farmer with vast acreage, sees his daughter’s suitor only as a penniless lad with nothing to offer. But the young woman’s mother sees her own husband in the young man, remembering a time when he, too, was an emptyhanded suitor. Add some internal complications: the young woman questions her own judgment and the young man is tempted by a hooligan called Rascal. Then there is Old Gentleman, who, like a befuddled Socrates, understands this thing called love.  
      The romance contains poems that begin with a line of Shakespeare, which I extend into my own original poetry. The dialogue is written in the vernacular of Elizabethan times—though occasionally it falls into contemporary street slang. The code switching reminds readers that love is a human experience that makes the young go crazy no matter the century! Resonating thematically with The Spark and Fire of It, even Romeo and Juliet voice opinions from their graves! As a coda, eighteen additional poems built on Shakespeare lines further convince the reader that love trumps all.

O, how full of briars is this working-day world!
I’m without a scratch at the start of day.
By dusk I’m scraped, knocked, bleeding,
And limping home with my tooth-bitten coin.

Now by the fire, now with my wife of two years,
A candle on the table, the babe in his crib.
The coin I earn buys bread and jam,
And a place for me in a toasty bed.

As You Like It 1.3.11-12

 

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