Monday, October 19, 2015


front cover of Corner of Birch Street
Back in 2008, Border Press published a verse retrospective of the 1940’s by me entitled Grandma’s Good War, a collection of poems reminiscent of a time when people felt that WWII was a “good war” because it would end all wars. I enjoyed writing the rhyming verse that I called “doggerel” —rhyming verse that I haven’t felt the need to write again, since free verse is my preferred way of expressing poetry.

Recently, I expanded the idea of a Forties retrospective in a collection of poems that is a mini-memoir of a close-knit southern neighborhood during the 1940’s. It’s entitled Corner of Birch Street and was intended to inspire feelings of nostalgia for young love, games of marbles, paper dolls, five-cent Hershey bars, and Mom and Pop groceries in readers who grew up during this period of American history. Inevitably, the poems also show social changes brought into focus by laws forbidding segregated movie houses, bullying among children, and child molestation.

Poets often mine their dreams for subjects, and many of the poems emerged from dream consciousness. They showcase memories of growing up on a city street where “gangs” of the offspring of blue collar workers instigated outdoor games that had nothing to do with drug wars and street murders.

An excerpt from “Birch Street:”

We were an elemental diversity
Stuck on a plain of asphalt,
Street urchins bonding during WWII,
Security and chauvinism operating
In the shadow of the Big Bomb,
Incaution riding the waves
Of a cold war headed our way.

The artwork on the cover of Corner of Birch Street was designed by my grandson, Martin Romero, and depicts the infamous Ford coupe that carried my family off to Diddy Wah Diddy (California) with … “one last look in the rearview mirror/at a street I will not walk again.”

Available on or by ordering from Border Press, P.O. Box 3124, Sewanee, TN 37375,

No comments: