Real Big American Zen on Amazon’s Hot New Releases Chart!


Thanks to all of your help in spreading the word about the new release, Real Big American Zen is now #15 in the Family Poetry and #5 for Inspirational Poetry on the Amazon Hot New Releases Chart! Thank you all!


Real Big American Zen – Thoughts

Hello Friends,

It’s the beginning of a new week, and as we’re drawing closer to the release of my new poetry collection, Real Big American Zen, I wanted to share some thoughts on the new book and how it came together.

The first poems began to reveal themselves in early April of 2020; I was gearing up for the release of The Year that Stole the Light Away and experienced a roller coaster of emotions revisiting the loss of my Father. Covid had only been considered a global pandemic for a few weeks, and while promoting my then-new collection, I was wondering where I’d go next? I intended to continue writing, creating, but now that my still present grief wasn’t fueling my every thought, I felt a bit directionless.

I knew early in the process that I wasn’t interested in writing pandemic poetry. We were all experiencing this together; we knew the stats, we saw the press conferences, we all had friends who were suddenly experts on infectious diseases. I’ve always found writing to headlines to be a dull and lazy way forward.

As the days passed and the world fell into lockdown, I became increasingly concerned about the effects these things would have on my family and mental health. I knew I would do everything in my power to keep them safe, but was it possible to protect them fully? How would I keep myself above water with depression always lurking just out of sight? What would become of the life we’d worked so hard to build?

These thoughts became the fuel for the poetry that would come in bursts over the next several months.

There are no political lines drawn in the book’s pages; there were/are enough of those everywhere I look.

I worked at these pieces to make sure there was room for you, that you could take and use them as needed, that they would continue to feel vital long after the pandemic had faded from memory.

I’m now trying my best to spread the word about the book and find it more and more challenging. Word-of-mouth means the world to a writer, so feel free to share these posts with your followers.

Talk soon,


The Calling – A Poem by Brandon White

Hello Friends,

A new free verse #poem to kick-off the week.

 The Calling:

This morning, there was nothing new
about the world
The same routines carried out,
the same blue sky,
and I felt nothing for it

Perhaps I should switch
back to coffee,
maybe switch up what I eat?
I'm calling for an end
to this numbing

I'm calling for the poems
to find their teeth,
I’m calling for the death
of my need for validation
I’m calling for the end
of every forced smile

I'm calling for good whiskey
and better company
I'm calling for the wild beating
of my heart
I'm calling for some goddamn

and a respite from my
eternal dissatisfaction

-Brandon White

No Explanation – A Poem by Brandon White

Hello Friends,

Today marks two years since my Fathers passing. A free verse poem waits below.

No Explanation:

Outside this window,
the cycle continues
without my participation,
without my permission,
without regard

Inside its heartburn
and headaches and silence
only interrupted by my phone
dancing across the nightstand
with condolences

This morning, I tried
to explain heaven
and stopped

-Brandon White

Poetry From Scratch – A Poem by Brandon White

Hello Friends,

Each day I bring up a blank page, take the raw thoughts of my mind and give you a piece of myself. Below, a free verse poem born from trying not to take the creative process so seriously.

Poetry From Scratch:

Arrive with nothing
No refined ideas,
no expectations,
no pen,
absolutely no fucking paper,
no clothes,
no memories,
no joy,
no sadness,
absolutely no fucking love,
no sex,
no hatred,
no adverbs,
no long fingernails,
absolutely no fucking screaming children,
no silent children,
no algorithms,
no fake friends,
no real friends,
absolutely no fucking family,
no powder,
no needles,
no booze,
no sleep,
absolutely no fucking pills,
no prayer,
no meditation,
no little statues of Buddha,
no crucifix,
absolutely no fucking crystals,
no music,
no paint,
no clay,
no film,
absolutely no fucking textiles
no magazines,
no blogs,
no tabloids,
no books,
and absolutely NO fucking poetry

-Brandon White

Weather – A Poem by Brandon White

My friends, another fresh free verse offering for your reading pleasure. Feedback appreciated. Enjoy!


You bubble up
like strange weather

A few harmless drops
of rain

from a darkening sky
gone unnoticed

Be sudden
and send me spinning

and without warning

Some things were made
to be pulled apart

-Brandon White

Repetition – A Poem by Brandon White

Hello friends! I’ve got for you today, a new free verse poem, fresh from the mind to the screen. I hope you enjoy it!


Choke on thoughts of hands
and flesh

and know that I have come to despise
these cheap displays of passion.

On the endless backroad
of my numbered days

I speed screaming into the mouth
of the beast that swallows my years.

Every wrong turn

I feel I've been

-Brandon White

Book Recommendation – The Road by Cormac McCarthy

As some of you know, this space is primarily for sharing my poetry and other creative endeavors; however, I will occasionally share my thoughts on works and artists that have enriched my life, hoping the work sparks something in you.

“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”

McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Vintage Books, 2006

If someone were to describe the basic plot of The Road by Cormac McCarthy, it would likely leave most people uninspired and unlikely to look into the book for themselves.

In 2021, the idea of another story about the struggle for survival in a post-apocalyptic setting is yawn-worthy at best, and how could you possibly blame someone for such a response? The market is beyond oversaturated, with thousands of titles born of the concept. Though there may be the occasional winner, for my money, The Road stands alone as the work closest to perfection.

We join the central protagonist, simply known as The Man, and his son, The Boy on The Road, pushing a shopping cart containing all their worldly positions down a stretch of desolate highway somewhere in America. The sky is gray with ash, the trees dead and falling, wildlife, like most of humanity, virtually wiped out. A full explanation is never offered as to how or why the world came to be this way, which only furthered my curiosity for the story.

We’re quick to learn that the state of the world and the many challenges and dangers encountered by The Boy and The Man are secondary to their father and son relationship. It struck me as powerful in 2006 when I first read the novel, and in 2021, now a father of two, I find it devastatingly beautiful.

“He knew only that his child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.”

McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Vintage Books, 2006

The exchanges between The Man and The Boy are simple, real, and perhaps the most underrated aspect of this book. The dialogue between a father and son facing impossible odds. The emotional investment of the reader comes quickly, the story rooting itself in the mind, the heart.

McCarthy’s use of language is masterful. Using as little punctuation as possible, his words find the page with an authority known only to a select few. All at once, beautiful and disturbing. Moments of extreme violence followed by a brief reprieve from the nightmarish landscape to be reminded of the beauty of a child’s curiosity and how we parents try to explain the world’s cruelty without crushing their wonder.

If you’re looking for not only a new read but an experience, I cannot recommend The Road enough. This is a book that will stay with you for years to come. You’ll revisit it when you’ve felt removed enough from the cold grip of its world, and you’ll hold every book that follows to a higher standard.

Safe Travels.

5 Stars.

“People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.”

McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Vintage Books, 2006

Gift – A Poem by Brandon White

A short, newer free verse poem that arrived fully realized while driving my daughters to school. I hope you enjoy it!


I live not for risk
or adrenal rush

not for company men
or brass rings

I live for the song

For that perfect line
of a poem

where the muse rips
open the box of mystery

like a Christmas morning gift,
raises it to me smiling and says:

For you, the world

-Brandon White

Ghost Rider – A Poem by Brandon White

Another recently unearthed free verse poem, written a few months after my father’s passing. I was inspired to write about the comfort we find in art during times of uncertainty and pain. I’m happy it’s found a place.

Ghost Rider:

You’ve been the ghost
in the seat next to me

for more miles
than I can count.

Your voice rises
from the speakers

to illuminate
the road ahead,

to make yourself known
once more.

God knows
I could use the company.

We’ve never had much use
for conversation,

so let’s fill the air
with a song once more

and build a fire
by the roadside.

I’ll stretch this body out
and turn my eyes

to the western stars.

-Brandon White