Review of Scraped Knees by Kristine Brown – Michael Rush

Michael Rush has written quite a thorough review of my collection of poems and flash stories. I give Mr. Rush and Forage Poetry great thanks for their time in receiving my work and sharing the goodness others create. Forage just released their last issue. Please give them a visit and peruse the entire archive. The showcase is truly something.

Additionally, if you’re interested in purchasing a signed copy of Scraped Knees, feel free to let me know. Again, thanks for your support. Happy Monday.

++++It would be easy to label Scraped Knees as a collection on growing up. It would be easy to see its poetry and prose about someone finding their voice, then connect it to your own upbringing and drift back into personal moments of discovering the world. Yet for me Scraped Knees is much more; it is a book of contrasts. A collection of poetry and prose which can speak from the perspective of the young, but do it with a more mature voice. Wonder is mixed with rationality and realism. Expectation mingles with disappointment. We experience some lighter moments, but there is a weight to carry with us both before and after that lightness.

++++Anemic Disappointment would be an example of that weight as the speaker’s uncoordinated efforts are further highlighted by her Mother’s reminder of her own athletic exploits. Yet it’s not the rebukes or even the…

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milky nostalgia

bring back a good day.

you know, when kites were cool
and lemonade painted bedroom walls
in a not-so-crass way, and no one
seemed to give up so much and
pick at points lacking lead, graphite,
or whatever stains a callused thumb
rubbing on tabletops, over and over
while a phone gets lost in cranberry
cushions and mice start to sing
parodies of songs that we couldn’t
imagine capable of graduating
to something even more ridiculous.

it can’t hurt to smile more, I hope.

Cat No. 87 of the 500 Cats Project

at the office

“I’m intelligent. I listen to Bach.”

And so the ridiculous could never touch you.

It wasn’t so long ago, when you sat on a couch with cushions left sticky. Your mother’s planner poked out of her medium handbag, cyan Post-its murmuring dates upon dates of appointments you both wished weren’t necessary. Your laugh rang clear while her face remained blank and still like the walls that stood for nearly four decades. Still unattended. No one in town knew how to paint.

The TV lodged in the dustiest corner played Chicken Little on repeat. It didn’t annoy either of you, because only someone who was hopelessly out of this world would disagree that the sky was falling. Your mom tapped the pen against her cheek, resolved to prove that one day, you would become more than the world while of course, you knew everything about what it could offer.

Does the child show a fixation with violence and gore?

She sighed and you counted the ant bites around your ankles. A big red marker might’ve worsened the itch. You loved connecting the dots. You loved drawing dashed lines on faded corduroy. Somewhere at home, she kept your drawing stashed in a folder. The teddy bear resting on dehydrated clouds.

The more she circled “yes” to all those questions, the louder you laughed when she walked away. You expressed, but you did not speak. You heard, but you did not answer.

Eventually, she talked to more people, hope wilting like wet shoestrings.