Monday, January 11, 2010

Come Monday...Mice Verses Man

“Come Monday…” is a weekly series that will involve a review of, or commentary about, websites, movies, documentaries, television shows, sports, music, and whatever else may tickle my fancy at the time. Be assured that these reviews will be generally positive, as in accordance to the Jimmy Buffett song “Come Monday.” This is subject to change, however. In fact, I would be most derelict in my duties to neglect going on a rant every once in a while. For rants promote change, and change can be good—right? Therefore, since good is generally considered as being a positive force in 99.3% of the parallel universes that I am aware of, even a rant could be considered as being something positive, and a genuine hissy-fit would be even better (so I’m told).

R Jay Slais is someone whom I have been blessed with the privilege of meeting over the internet—at first as CalderHawke of [Feather On The River Flow] and then a little more personally as Bobby. CalderHawke is a very talented poet, and Bobby is the father of an incredibly beautiful daughter (we’re talkin’ drop-dead gorgeous here, folks) and a quite handsome son (although not as pretty as his sister). It would seem that those two identities have combined to make R Jay, and it is in regards to his talents as a poet that this piece will be focused.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I am not sure about just how flattering a piece this will be. For I am certainly no expert on poetry. In fact, some may have trouble believing that I can even read. I am, after all, an Arkie who spent my formative years in the backwoods of the Missouri Ozarks amongst hillbillies who would make those from Appalachia shake their heads in disbelief.

Therefore, methinks it would be better to let him express himself by including a few poems from the book. I will then add some commentary afterward.

R Jay Slais
After the emergence, a held breath
until whatsound on acoustic gland flesh
tremble of fern leaf like a flight feather wisp

hastens the formation of tough-skin layers
until desensitized, the barkwood surrounds.
The rings are not circular, though some say

they are, more like a three month sap squeeze
then settle for the year gone by in waves.
Theology of the splurge, to high on land for sun

and the rains that fell, yearn for nothing but escape.
Finally well rooted, with thick arms along the dirt
into the black depths, soon shadow vegetables and verdure

until the ice storm fall, pruning of great branches that will rattle
an acre on impact. Await the taking by beetles and birds,
the ones who carry all the tiny pieces of my mud to rest.

Middle Of The Night We Weep
R Jay Slais
Son, too young to fully understand
how a marriage could break,
unlike the table full of precious
things, now dismembered figurine shards,
picked up one piece at a time by him and I
after mother assaulted the peace
in an out of control moment of rage.
Our family in the pile, framework separated,
shattered glass poking into our bodies;
the marriage bond is invisible, untouchable.

He is like me,
a mama’s boy.
He wears many labels,
L.D., A.D.D., Special Ed,
little brother, that boy
His whole life,
mother had done
everything for him,
yet, she was doing him
no favors in the end.

After my new label single father stuck,
the trial is over, my instincts still intact,
my actions are places on that empty table
for everyone to see and judge. One night,
well after midnight, he came unpeeled,
lethargic, fever shooting bullets of sweat.
I knew what to do, give medicine, a tepid bath,
comforting words, still he cried. He was incoherent,
inconsolable, all he wanted was to be held close,
rocked back to sleep in his mother’s arms.

Mice Verses Man In This Time Of War
R Jay Slais
The mice are fat and happy at peace
with the furry little creatures they are,
in terms of mouse happiness dreams at least.

Mice chew and mice are happy.
Mice swallow and mice get fat.
No human stomps on them

and mice will remain fat and happy.
One day, mice may sleep underneath
a homeless man’s cardboard box bed,

take a few tongue-licks of liquor
from inside his discarded jug cap,
carry away a nibble of end crust

that has fallen off his soup kitchen sandwich.
The next day, mice may mouse through an opening
under the sink in a suburban ranch style house,

chew through the corner of a corn flake box,
empty except the half-bowl-full
left in the bottom by a child. The flakes

are stale yet mice chew and mice swallow.
They mouse along the baseboard unseen,
But the next cupboard is bare, and the next.

The mice stay fat and happy, while man is at war,
living on stale cereal rations and cardboard.
The child is asleep in her bed upstairs,

dreaming that her mommy and daddy
will not fight about money tomorrow
and a fine supper of salad, steak, and potatoes

will be set on the table at 6:00 P.M.,
the whole family there, happy as a mouse
just like she has seen on television.

Melancholy comes to mind as I ponder the meaning of his words, but no, sorely damaged is a much more accurate description of his state of mind. For those three poems are rather mild in comparison to some of the others in this collection.

Nonetheless, should not R Jay be a good example for the rest of us to follow? For instead of crawling in a hole, he has opened up his heart for the whole world to see that there is life after martial death, and it is a life that is surely worth living.

You can purchase Mice Verses Man at [Big Table Publishing]. You can also go [here] to get an autographed copy. I hope you do.

Please Also Visit: [FishHawk Droppings]


  1. Hello my friend,

    thanks for the kind review of my book, I am very honored. Take care.
    Peace and love,

    aka R Jay

  2. You are most welcome, and thanks for being so considerate, my dear Bobby!!! I hope it doesn't upset your son that I do not consider him to be as pretty as his sister.

  3. hmmmmm, MICES !!! looks like a good "sitting waiting on an airplane; and in flite" read. Thanks FishHawk.

  4. Thanks for stopping again, my dear BadGal!!! Yes, I do believe that this book of poetry would be one that you would throughly enjoy. For he doesn't hold back with the rawness of his pain, nor of the tragic situations that he has had to witness--not to mention participate in.


Since the Blogger spam filter has been found sorely lacking lately, I will start moderating comments. Be assured that I am only interested in deleting spam. So, if you feel a need to take me to task over something—even anonymously, go ahead and let 'er rip, and I will publish it as soon as I can.