If anyone asks,
It was cold turkey
I exorcised my pain,
spoke the words,
sent it into the world
and out of me
I haven't touched
the stuff since
I wanted to quit
that's not a thing
The world is coming
into focus now
Color stops me
in my tracks
I don't remember
how to do this,
how to get out
of the way
It all feels new
My inner critic
is louder than ever
I'm just trying to find
my footing again,
to get steady,
a version of myself
before the hurt
Real Big American Zen – 1 Month
It’s been a month since the release of Real Big American Zen, and I’ve done a terrible job of staying in touch as life and work have conspired to keep us apart.
The truth is my indecision in how to best spread the word about the book has left me at a stand-still, and some life changes have taken the rest of my mental energy. Whatever I have left at the end of the day belongs to these two future leaders of the world, and that’s non-negotiable.
I’ve managed to jot down a few new pieces in the last couple of weeks, and the third collection continues to progress. I’m hopeful that life will soon slow down enough that my spirit can catch up with the rest of me, and the path forward will reveal itself.
I miss hearing from you. I hope wherever you are; you’re happy, healthy, and hopeful.
If you’ve finished the new collection, please consider leaving an Amazon or Goodreads review (or both if feeling generous) as it’s a big help.
Reassurance – A Poem by Brandon White
of little bodies
that beg to be held
of little hands
in the night
blankets and stress
on opposite ends
of the couch
the twitching of toes
says I'm needed,
and you don't know
how dark it gets
in this living room
when you go to bed early
and it's just me
and that little voice
that turns every
shadow into a
For Tony, Wherever You Are
It’s 10:10 pm as I begin to write this. It was a busy day, my usual responsibilities dragging me away from the page, the words, the work I prefer.
The day was as I expected – heavy.
Today marks three years since the passing of Anthony Bourdain, who I (like so many) considered a personal hero. The day still reverberates from the quaking of so many diaphragms, bodies physically rejecting the shocking and painful news that a man of such an enviable life had decided he’d had enough.
Anthony was a rebel chef, a silver-tongued bad boy with a checkered past that spent years living on the fringe before slowing down long enough to show the rest of us what an amazing world we inhabit and just how little there is that separates us all. A recovering addict, a father, and a true citizen of the world.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here. Perhaps I just wanted to say something to mark the day. Maybe that’s enough? The idea that a person I never met had such a profound impact on me by doing nothing more than sharing their spirit in the name of bringing us closer together.
Thank you, Tony, wherever you are.
Real Big American Zen – The Road Forward
As I turn the page on the release week of Real Big American Zen, I’m reflecting on a time of high, swinging emotion that I’m glad to put behind me. I’m incredibly proud of the new collection, the poetry, being able to include a few visual pieces that complimented the written works, the presentation as a whole exceeded my expectations.
Unfortunately, the release has not been without a few hiccups. There have been issues with the availability of the paperback edition through Amazon that’s responsible for a growing number of headaches. My publisher and I continue to monitor the situation and are hopeful for a resolution. I just checked a moment ago, and the paperback version is again available, so don’t wait!
I feel a bit directionless at the moment, which isn’t unusual. There’s a kind of grief that has accompanied the completion and release of each project. The definitive ending of a chapter. A jarring realization of time passing.
I read a piece recently that said writing a poem and hoping to change the world is like dropping rose petals into a well and waiting for a splash. I have no such expectations for my work. I’m driven only by the need to create, to connect. Hoping these words of mine resonate and find a home beyond the one beating in my chest.
There’s work to be done. Talk soon.
Real Big American Zen – Available Now!
Today marks the release of my second collection of poetry, Real Big American Zen, and I wanted to share some thoughts and this sweet picture of my beautiful girls captured by their Momma, Kenzie White.
Sending this collection into the world feels almost cathartic. When I reflect on the impossibly long year that inspired the pieces, my mind immediately snaps back to the uncertainty, the empty store shelves, how my children kept me anchored and focused.
I never set out to write a collection of poems about the headlines of 2020. Still, I was interested in capturing a snapshot of being a parent, a partner, a citizen hoping that the chance of a peaceful life had not vanished.
I hope these pages, these poems, serve you in whatever capacity you need. They’re yours now. Pain, humor, reflection, uncertainty, it’s all there – patting the empty seat and looking at you.
Dylan Turns 80 – A few words
As I lie in this dark room, listening to the soft breathing of my children as they drift to sleep, staring at an endless swirl of red and white stars on the ceiling above, I feel in my bones that it would be a shame to allow this day to pass without a few words for Mr. Bob Dylan on this his 80th birthday.
To myself and so many others, Dylan represents a level of artistry and mystery that feels beyond the reach of mere mortals. A shapeshifting prophet. A boxcar hopping troubadour and supercharged rock ‘n roll icon. Perhaps most importantly, for myself at least, a poet.
Dylan made the language I’d spoken my entire life feel brand new and dangerous. He permitted young writers to create wild impressionistic tapestries with their lines and, by doing so, set free the minds and souls of so many.
Somewhere in the world, someone is doing a much better job than I of paying tribute to the man that so many of us owe so much, so I won’t ramble. Happy Birthday, Bob.
And thanks for everything.
Real Big American Zen – Thoughts pt.2
Greetings from a dark room. There’s a title if I’ve ever heard one. I hope this finds you healthy, happy, and ready for the challenges of the week ahead. I know that I feel completely unprepared for the chaos of another Monday morning, but it’s coming either way. My mind is saturated with orphan lines waiting for the spark that brings forth another poem, a home. I keep them close as I know their time will come.
It’s hard to believe that we’re so close to the release of my new book, Real Big American Zen. I’m so grateful for the kind messages and comments I’ve received from folks telling me they’re excited about its release – I’m hopeful the work will resonate and that you’ll find it worthy of your time.
I flipped through the book last night for the first time in a while, trying my best to see it with fresh eyes, and I’m proud to say that I feel strongly for this collection. These poems are as personal as anything I’ve committed to paper, and I believe they capture the spirit of the moment from which they were born. I know that most of us would prefer the shitshow of 2020 to fade from memory as quickly as possible, but there were beautiful moments, beautiful lines waiting to be noticed, and I’m hopeful that some were captured in these pages.
Anyway, I’m off to research new and exciting ways to spread the word. Wish me luck, and let’s talk again soon.
Be – A Poem by Brandon White
It’s a wonderful life.
Though there’s sickness,
and bodies melting
in trailers outside
It’s a wonderful life.
and division threaten
the stability of our country,
and the house is rotting,
and I feel like a walking
It’s a wonderful life.
The river rushes on.
The cardinal watches
through the window.
The mystery remains.
Real Big American Zen – First Copies Have Arrived!
This evening I opened a box and pulled from it the first copies of my new poetry collection, Real Big American Zen.
It hit differently this time around. When I wrote The Year that Stole the Light Away, all I could think of was my grief. When I held the first copy, I felt pride in what I considered a worthy tribute to my Father. This time, I stare at the cover, into the darkness of my own eyes, and feel sure that I will inhabit this skin, this life, fully.
This week I was so wonderfully surprised to find Real Big American Zen on Amazon’s Hot New Releases chart in multiple categories, a result of the support from so many of you purchasing the book and being kind enough to help spread the word. You have my gratitude.
June 1st can’t arrive soon enough.