When I was fifteen I fell obsessively, passionately in love with a girl named Kay. She was the kind of girl that my mother would hate. I’m sure that added great luster to my blonde goddess, this Schicksa (that’s a girl who isn’t Jewish). I did insane things in the pursuit of my goddess. I invaded a Bible Camp in Green Lake Wisconsin, just to be able to see her. That didn’t work out very well. Kay’s mother was there. She was on the camp’s administrative board. Kay was mortified and her mother was filled with wrath. Anyway, the greatest thing Kay gave to me was poetry. She was that tweedy sort of intellectual teen who read e.e.cummings and T.S.Eliot. Thus it happened that my career as a writer began.
I don’t have any of the poems I wrote for Kay, or any of the poems I wrote at that time, none at all. It’s no great loss. I’ve written thousands of poems and most of them are lost. Some of them were stolen or destroyed. A complete stranger stole three of my notebooks from a stage while I was performing. A pissed-off dope connection burned two of my manuscripts. Still, I have a big fat book of poetry bound at Kinko’s. And I have eight backups on eight hard drives, at the very least.
There are all kinds of love poetry because there are so many ways to love. When love poetry appears, we all know it.
Here’s Pablo Neruda. I’m sure it’s better in Spanish
I do not love you except because I love you;
I go from loving to not loving you,
From waiting to not waiting for you
My heart moves from cold to fire.
I love you only because it’s you the one I love;
I hate you deeply, and hating you
Bend to you, and the measure of my changing love for you
Is that I do not see you but love you blindly.
Maybe January light will consume
My heart with its cruel
Ray, stealing my key to true calm.
In this part of the story I am the one who
Dies, the only one, and I will die of love because I love you,
Because I love you, Love, in fire and blood.
Here’s Arthur Rosch. I’m sure it would be worse in Spanish.
Last night I counted your breaths while you slept.
Towards morning, I lost count, but you soon awoke
so I rounded the number and privately recorded
your many thousands of sleeping breaths
in the journal of love I am making for you.
the night I counted your breaths while you slept.
I wanted to have a secret way of loving you,
a place where love is always new and mysterious.
I know that you count my breaths while I am awake.
Somewhere, inside the busy pain of your mind,
you find a peaceful grotto, and there
you count my breaths, unaware of what you do.
Your love is so constant, it is a place where my fears vanish.
I must practice harder than you, to love.
I must lie awake and keep vigil
so that while you dream, I am doing something important,
being the clock of your breath,
helping you sleep.
I can do nothing more loving for you
than to help you sleep.
You always wanted someone to watch over you.
You felt abandoned and alone. With this secret, I heal you.
I count the long slow breaths, I catch at the sudden twitches,
I invent words to accompany your dream-mumbles.
I wanted this poem to be a secret but I know I’ll read it for you.
Tomorrow night, or the next,
I will do it again, or find another way to love you,
something only I could think of doing,
and only you could know why it was done.
A Midwesterner by birth, Arthur Rosch migrated to the West Coast just in time to be a hippie but discovered that he was more connected to the Beatnik generation. He harkened back to an Old School world of jazz, poetry, painting and photography. In the Eighties he received Playboy Magazine’s Best Short Story Award for a comic view of a planet where there are six genders. The timing was not good. His life was falling apart as he struggled with addiction and depression. He experienced the reality of the streets for more than a decade. Putting himself back together was the defining experience of his life. It wasn’t easy. It did, however, nurture his literary soul. He has a passion for astronomy, photography, history, psychology and the weird puzzle of human experience. He is currently a certified Seniors Peer Counselor in Sonoma County, California. Visit his blogs and photo sites. www.artrosch.com and http://bit.ly/2uyxZbv.
The Gods of the Gift is a space adventure reminiscent of Gilamesh, the legend of Atlantis, and Bilbo’s journey combined into a universal oddyses of epic porportions. From the planet/person of Calakadon who inadvertantly barks like a seal, to the Viztar the futufu drug lord, to the flatulent language of the inhabitants of the planet Shoms, to Kringmar the fallen Dzujhdu who hangs out in his skull, it’s a wild ride which you’ll be tempted to binge and gorge yourself on, but it may be better digested in small, but frequent doses with time to process and savor, providing you can wait to see what happens next. No matter how you read it, you’ll be wearing a smile that will grow larger as you spend more time with Rosch’s crazy characters and their wacky antics.
Arthur Rosch is a masterful storyteller crafting his tale, which rivals the epic legends of old, along the lines of great storytelling traditions. The omniscient POV can be difficult to pull off, but Rosch does it with skill and eloquence, with only the occasional head hop. Garavel, the story’s protagonist, takes us on a hero’s journey to the farthest reaches of the universe and our imaginations in search of the planet Wayuzo. Rosch’s world building lies in the tradition of Tolkien, creating unique languages, rituals and customs for the inhabitants. He uses his uses his own descriptive powers with language to paint visual images which are clear and defined. His memorable and unique characters are bold and unusual, with odd habits and mannerisms, and deftly described appearances emblazened upon readers’ minds.
The Gods of the Gift keeps readers entertained for days on end. A masterfuly crafted story, which brings us into strange and unexplored worlds where anything can happen. I give it five quills.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read in exchange for ARCs at no charge. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.
From the 1960’s to present day, Confessions of an Honest Man, by Arthur Rosch follows young jazz musician through the streets of New York and San Francisco through the jazz circuit of bars and clubs with famous musicians such as John “Avian” Coltrane and Zoot Prestige. It follows Aaron through the struggling childhood where he has to fight for anything that matters to him to become first, a mildly successful jazz musician, then a washed up heroin addict, into a recovering addict trying to straighten out the mess that his life had become, and miraculously overnight, a very successful jazz musician through a turn of fate. Aaron Kantro has some help along the way as he learns to love and be loved. He is guided by his mentor and fellow jazz musician, Zoot Prestige, then from a little dog, named Diz, who was for a while, his only friend and companion, as well as Zoot’s spirit once he passes and the spirits of others whom he has known in life.
It is a thought provoking story of a family afflicted by abuse, mental illness, depression and drug addiction. It’s the story of what can happen when we chose to defy the odds stacked against us and struggle to survive, and maybe even thrive, if we’re lucky. It is the story of Aaron Kantros, a boy who fell in love at a very young age, and his emotionally abusive mother, who was an abused child herself, his father, struggling to hold all of their lives together without a clue of how to achieve his goal, his younger brother, filled with anger and resentment, and his two sisters, illustrating their very different, individual methods of coping.
Confessions of an Honest Man is not just about the characters. It’s about a time, an era, where there is very little knowledge about, or help for dysfunctional families and doctors freely handed out whatever pills they thought might make your problem go away, and if those pills caused other problems? An era in which you looked after your own and people didn’t look too closely at one another. An era of racial biases, sexual biases, hypocrisies and prejudices. An era of jazz in its purest form.
Confessions of an Honest Man is written with compelling honesty and soul. He creates characters that are so real and relatable, that the disclaimer, “All characters are fictional”, is necessary because Rosch makes it easy for us to believe that they lived. He captures the essence of time and place, creating events with vivid clarity within the mind’s eye. This story will move readers with emotion, touching hearts and stirring the empathy in all of us. I give Confessions of an Honest Man five quills.
Other books by Arthur Rosch include The Road Has Eyes – An RV, a Relationship and a Wild Ride, and The Gods of the Gift.
Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read, and she never charges for them. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.