Pasadena, California—great weather, old money. Every January 1st, city of the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl football game.
An obnoxious, ambitious blue-collar from Boston arrives in... More > Pasadena in the 1920’s with his young family and starts a trucking business; but by the 70’s it’s mostly gone.
The point-of-view in these poems is that of his grandson, reflecting on his hometown, his tragicomic family, and his mixed-up life. The usual happens--the death of a pet, Boy Scouting, first car, first love, eccentric relatives, high-school victories and defeats.
Pasadena endures, with its remarkable climate, punctuated by earthquakes, Santa Ana winds, smog, and, on wonderfully rare occasions, snow.
Maybe we don’t have a choice as to who we’re born to, or where we grow up. But maybe we do.< Less
Our lives are often determined by a single, defining choice or experience. In Rick Robinson’s case, it was his decision, as a teen-ager in the 1950’s, to join the Mormon Church. ... More > Everything that followed was the result—more or less—of how well and how poorly he kept that commitment.
Six stories comprise the bulk of this book—snapshots of Rick from youth to late middle-age, from different perspectives and points of view. The effect is discontinuous, and sometimes disturbing. What’s the worth of a life that’s mostly a “running away”? What’s the value of art that merely describes it?
the fiction provides no answers to these questions. It simply embodies them. Rick Robinson is not a “made-up” character; he’s the author’s fictive-self. In the seventh story all the masks—and the gloves—come off, and some truths are laid bare, on the TGV to Paris, the City of Light.< Less
Mortality is messy—there ought to be a better way to get through life. Because imperfection abounds, in ourselves and in nature, some have concluded that the Creation itself was a colossal... More > mistake.
Accounting for evil and imperfection has been the task of philosophers and prophets. Finding faith to keep going is the challenge for all of us. Whether we blame ourselves, God, the devil, or Nature for our shortcomings, the outcome’s the same. We suffer, we die.
That some might prefer the perfection of Nothing to the imperfection of Something should cause no surprise—nihilism attracts the mind, resentful in its physical fetters.
A Satanic paean to Nothingness winds through these messy mortal poems, like the coils of a snake. The result is a contrast between what often occurs in life, and what Satan wishes had never happened.
The Serpent doesn’t have the last word here, or the first; but in between he has some great lines, and causes no end of trouble.< Less
Wherever we live, there’s usually signs that the land was once under water. In Utah, the shoreline of a vast, ancient lake stretches for miles across the face of the Wasatch Mountains.
We... More > live out our lives on these lake or ocean beds—in between deluges, of water or otherwise. Our geologic settings are reminders of how temporary and hazardous life can be.
We navigate (so to speak) this formerly wet ground in autos and on highways. Driving has become symbolic of modern life. Even out of our cars we “breakdown” and “run out of gas.”
These poems are statements of one man’s experience driving on Utah’s lakebed. He survives his wild youth and two divorces. Married a third (and hopefully last) time, he comes to terms with his Mormon faith and culture, and contemplates an awesome landscape.
After many miles he learns a great lesson—not to stop, no matter what—to persevere, to keep “driving”—to the end.< Less