Please enjoy the sample poem below from my upcoming release, and remember–there are more ways to connect than you realize. – J.A.
from my earliest memories
whether i was with friends
or family or just roller-skating
in front of my house,
waving at passersby in tan
i remember feeling alone.
the way you feel
when you say something
and the person responds
what are you even talking about?
no, i’ve never thought that before
i’ve never felt that way
the walking in a crowd
with nowhere to go
the quizzical look on your teacher’s
face when you give the right answer
but not the one she was looking for
and i remember when i went
downstairs into the family room
and fished out a dark red book
from the bookcase.
i was too young for it, but i read it anyway—
and Holden Caulfield and i, we bonded.
the oppression of solitude slipped away
for two days as he and i walked the
streets of New York together, but
i suddenly knew a feeling i’d never had before:
and alone ceased to be when Miller wrote,
so intimately, seemingly just to me,
i have no money, no resources, no hopes.
i am the happiest man alive
and i cried, then.
there have been others since.
if hearts could weep,
drip tears of blood down
for me to wipe with white knuckles,
tears of undying gratitude,
my guts would have a pool of blood-tears
with names attached to every drop.
thank you i whisper, and
a whisper is the only way
it can be done,
David Foster Wallace and i—
we share intimate sniggers
behind our hands while the world,
unaware of our connection,
rushes past us. he’s a soft, tangy candy,
melting on my tongue,
exciting my mouth to water
we snigger (because that is different than “snicker”)
together long into the night.
Philip Roth is a meal
made by loving, familiar hands,
one i eat
until my plate is clean
and i am so full.
John Steinbeck is everything right
in the eastern seaboard with crab bakes
and pie and dust-in-mouth, sunburned
foreheads and peeling sweat-soaked
pages from an embrace.
their words, all their words, erase
the words they shared
ground me and fill me
if i could do it too—
even just one.
one of the
if i can give them what i have been given
i will share a kind of love
that goes beyond
the banal definition of love,
and transcends into a kind of
breathless with wonder.
–j.a. carter-winward, from work in progress: dialogues & poems
COMING SPRING 2020