Sweet little darling
Sipping tea from her cup
Deep thoughts on her rocking chair
Nose stuck in a Dickinson book
Style in her fingertips
Turning page after page
Wrapped up in forever
Coddling lukewarm memories
Counting grandchildren and lost ones
Guided by an inward candle
Unforgettable and refreshing

She blatantly ignored the gun shots in the forest of her mind

She stumbled across the hidden bridge squeezing a bottle of time

She carried a picture of temptations with her lips high and dry

She drank from the inkwell of resistance to justify her words

She dropped to her tattered knees shouting “Forgive me”

She fumbled for a candle to see her shadows in the dark

She carved out a statue to remind her of her past

She spoke to the flames of the king in a delicate language

She leaned on the shoulders that could carry her forever more

She stared into the mirror for hours recognizing her flaws

I read this book in paperback. This is a unsolicited review.

What I Loved:
Braeden Michaels is another one of my favorite poets. He is a master at creating imagery with his varied and vivid lines. Somehow he combines these images to create a scene and that scene, if we allow it, gives us a view deeper into our own humanity.

He writes with such depth and his lines make you really think about who we are as humans and our place in this world, our emotions, and our different perspectives. I find that I can read nearly every piece over and over, each time walking away with more meaning than the time before.

I also appreciate his creativity and his titles are dynamite. Things like “Coughing Up a Smirk”, “Psychobabble”, “Tangled Snowflake”, “Marmalade Boots”, and “The Blush Vertebrae”… how does he come up with these names??

I didn’t find a single grammatical error or misspelling and that made me very happy (because if you know me at all, it is that those are pet-peeves of mine). Also, the paperback quality was very good. A nice size in your hand, great overall length, and the front cover art for me was great.

What I Didn’t:
I honestly have nothing negative to say about this book. It now happily sits on my shelf to be read again and again.

My Overall Score:
5 stars – This book is exactly what I want from a book of poetry. Excellent length, quality writing, professional and engaging cover. Worth every penny and minute invested.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy unique modern poetry that makes you think and feel.

Check out where “The Raven’s Poison” is available! The review can be found on Amazon.

I drank rain from a malevolent cup
and I couldn’t touch the terror in the wind
I distinctly felt the extinction in the air
and the intruders inside me left fingerprints
I anticipated the rumblings, jitters, and
the despair to rest in my esophagus

I stood in the fog seven miles away from
the shadows and the vile from the hill
I swallowed ignorance with a blend of
dismay, concern and suspicion
I fell before the behemoth’s sins and
I stared at the tarnished wisdom

I inhaled the scent of darkness
and I could feel the breeze of agony
I witnessed my logic, quirks, and talking
Skeleton disappear into the clouds
I was consumed by crisis oriented faith,
misplaced psychology, and charades

I stared at the dementia with my lip
quivering and with the aftertaste of sorrow
I stood six feet apart from the quicksand
and the rattle swimming in the sea of chaos
I severed the gospel from my identity
and I muttered words of inadequacy

I stepped on the carousel of deception
and shrugged off human decency
I became one with the vile from the hill
and detested the color of my pupils
I was obsessed by the anxiety and the
venom in my stomach turned into stone

I was crushed by my weaknesses
and the stench of loneliness dispersed
I devoured the indecisions, complexity,
and the tears in my eyes evaporated
I despised the grave of my haunting past
and ignored the road to the sunrise

A part of me is mangled
A part of me is incarcerated
A part of me has no meaning

A part of me is ruptured
A part of me is poisonous
A part of me has fragments

A part of me is dismembered
A part of me is misrepresented
A part of me has a disease

A part of me is severed
A part of me is slivered
A part of me has lived in a smog

A part of me is a siren
A part of me is annilihated
A part of me has lost color

A part of me is ruptured
A part of me is an invisible soul
A part of me has died on Mangled Iron Lane

Antidotes tasting like black coffee
A chalk outline of Patterson’s grumbles
China dolls parade 13th street with
residue on the corners of their mouths
Adversaries hack up off colored jokes
under a jagged and teary eyed sun
whispering forgotten fairy tales
“I can’t shine, I don’t have time,
I’m lost and forgotten in these rhymes”

And the ghost of Patterson counts his secrets
Smears his name at the gates for attention
Picking the lock, shouting at the kingdom

Romantics playing hopscotch on
cracked and overused sidewalks
Protagonists and thieves banter
in the smog at Jameson’s bar on Kingsman
Cynics and skeptics erasing evidence
of hope on belligerent walls
Butterflies flying over restless Samaritan’s
chained to oxidized dumpsters
Walker struts with a nervous alibi

And the ghost of Patterson counts the bullets
painting his name on the golden walls
Crouched down, yelling at the kingdom

Walker stalks the neighbors, wrestles with friction, and turns into a killjoy
Leaking out minor details and spilling of a lethal homicide filled with inquiries
Butterflies swarm the garden, surrounding a sealed box
Sounds of an ax break the venerable crate
Intriguing signatures, bag of money, and a letter from Patterson to a world class criminal
Conviction and Walker go hand in hand

And the ghost of Patterson sheds its feathers
Staring up at a dot of light,
Staring down at a dot of black,
Cemented in a glass underworld

Scarlet’s Sin

Once upon a secret breeze
thirst and hunger tasted like transgression
Unhinged rage sought out an odyssey
from a provocative voice

And I swim into the deep of the saliva

A voluptuous silhouette in the sky
playing with precarious flames
splash of kerosene, a fatal match
Entwined in intoxicating magic

And I swim into the deep of the cravings

Disoriented from a hazardous touch
A forgotten goodbye evaporated
Dumbfounded and flabbergasted
Sucked in from a beloved sin

And I swim into the deep of the desire

Glazed from the saturation
Distracted and preoccupied
Falling in a pitfall of a fascination
Sinking deeper into the scarlet

And I swim into the deep where I may drown

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am left with an odd sense of warmth after reading “The Raven’s Poison”, Collected Poems, by Braeden Michaels. Each poem flows beautifully into the next and the sections are well executed. Michaels has a brilliant ability to invoke each of your senses with his thought provoking words. His creative mind keeps you engaged and enthralled throughout the entire book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection. I am enthusiastic about future published work from this writer.

I know it’s Thursday when the nurse brings the little paper cup with five pills instead of three. A sip of tepid water and I go back to staring out the window. I can’t abide small talk. Never could. Better to observe my surroundings than spin idle words. My wife understood that, why don’t these young kids get that? Always on about the weather and am I comfortable and did I sleep well. Of course I didn’t sleep well. I haven’t slept well since I was brought to this place. I keep quiet, I know when to keep my mouth shut. It’s Thursday and she always made meatloaf with gravy and fresh baked rolls on Thursdays.

I constantly see him gazing. I can see memories crawling up and down a mammoth hill in his mind. I can see his mind slowly deteriorating as the seconds go by on our grandfather clock. I often glare at the Roman numerals on it and think of the precious years our love glowed. It breaks every piece of my heart to see him in a hospital bed. I thought I have embraced every minute with him. The last few years we have gone through the motions and hate the tears that fall into my lap. I’ve thrown away countless hours giving him the bare necessities and nothing more because of the silence that pierces through the friction of our marriage.

As soon as I close my eyes, I open them again to the sounds of a young woman opening the curtain. It’s no longer dark outside and I remember Sarah rose early during the week but slept in an extra hour on Saturdays. The nurse smiles at me and asks how I slept. She knows I haven’t slept but a moment yet her mundane prattling eases the sting of being away from my wife at least for a few minutes. I wonder when I saw her last. I miss her hand in mine. How her eyes sparkled as she laughed and smiled. Saturday mornings were made just for her and me.

He gawks at that nurse like he used to at me. I gave all of myself to a man that knew how to take but struggled to give. Parts of me cry like a baby. He never raised a hand or cheated on me. More often it felt like he was going through the motions. Parts of me are frozen. I often watch him sleep and watch his favorite television show. He was enthralled with details, crime, investigations, interrogation, lines of questioning, and trying to figure out the culprit. Benjamin Matlock was his companion more than I was at times. Parts of me chuckle saying that. Sometimes I even stare at that young nurse.

I remember this one evening, this evening when my wife, Sarah, was so upset with me because she had asked me to fix the sink in the kitchen, we were always having problems in the old house with it and she asked as soon as I got home please fix the sink but I was tired from work and I just wanted dinner and to watch the television, my favorite show came on right after dinner and I was so fascinated with the characters and the mystery and I was tired and I ended up falling asleep in my chair and when my wife woke me up she was so cross with me because I didn’t do as she asked and I remember I always liked to guess the ending of the show before they solved the mystery.

As much as I love him, too many times it came across in our marriage he was consumed by things that weren’t real. It was almost as if he was engrossed by make believe to avoid the realities going on in our marriage. He neglected confrontation and was absorbed by the simplicities of life (sex, television and food). I was marveled by his ability of not needing anyone. The appearance of being fulfilled by “things” fascinated me. I know there is more going on underneath but was never one to display that.

She sits and waits for me to say something. Anything. I know it. I can’t say a thing. What will she think? I was five when I learned my lesson well. Danny was eight. Daddy beat him until he fell off his chair, beat him until he couldn’t get up off the floor. Daddy said he’d learn his lesson. Daddy lifted the iron from the hearth and burned the sin from Danny’s hand that evening. I begged him to stop. Surely Danny would be good now! Daddy turned with dark, dark eyes and asked if my tongue needed the sin burned from it too. I closed my mouth and stopped my crying. I didn’t need the glowing red iron to brand his rules into my mind. I learned my lesson that day. Keep quiet and never get caught stealing. I never could say a word. How would Sarah look at me, knowing she married a coward. I stole the candy that day.

Danny hugged me tight. The tears were endless. William passed away at 67 years old and have been married for 41 years. Just like any other marriage we had our ups and down.

He was slowly decaying for the last 15 years of them. Our love was like rain – it poured, drizzled and sometimes it was dry. I can’t say he or even myself showed love consistently. I loved our memories but as the years went on both of us were going through the motions. Here I am sobbing creating more rain – the love we should have made. Perhaps it wasn’t just him falling apart in the last 15 years, it was myself. I took him for granted. I walked away with my hands clenched trying to be strong. Everyone stared at me. I needed a breath of fresh air and all I could see is rain. William loved the sound of the rain.


Check out Tara’s blog if you haven’t! This was a fun collaboration.

She’s dressed in compromise

with a splash of anaesthesia

Lost in the scars

She’s wreaking ruins

with a touch of benevolence

Tangled up in a mess

She’s covered up in scotch

with a hint of animalism

Disoriented in the haze

She’s cleansed in affection

with a pinch of pandemonium

Invisible to the

She’s laced in anarchy

with a shot of jangle and bedlam

Slipping in oblivion

She’s cauterizing affection

with roses in her palms

Scatterbrained colors

Love was just an insignificant occupant making me gag
Love was just a bad joke I heard in another language I couldn’t comprehend
Love was just a citizen that held me down and raped my soul with a jagged knife
Love was just a stench I couldn’t wash out
Love was just a word created by Hallmark
Love was just four letters thrown together to serve a ridiculous purpose
Love was just a shadow so I can feel myself
Love was just a bruise on my shin to prove I exist
Love was just a song written by a billion dollar jester
Love was just a death wish waiting in the wings
Love was just a plant I didn’t water
Love was just a black eye with covered up lies
Love was just a watercolor I can’t see
Love was just mascara running down my face
Love was just a cloud of obscurity
Love was just a gram and a kilo of voids
Love was just a room of emptiness
Love was just a shattered mirror I look at every day
Love was just a pile of poems that made sense one day
Love was a just a pile of poems that I threw away the next day
Love was just an adolescent that claimed to know it all
Love was just an adult with an addiction that didn’t know a damn thing
Love was just a bomb that exploded on planes, in buildings, and in schools
Love was just a clan, cult, gang, a war of losses
Love was just a book that millions don’t read
Love was just a doctrine of stolen beliefs
Love was just a pile of divorce papers
Love was just a trigger pulled by one finger as the other four were staring at him
Love was just an overused word
Love was just ten minutes of causal sex
Love was just an irrational scream
Love was just the sun not seeing the moon
Love was just a down payment for an item I haven’t touched
Love was just a puzzle piece that doesn’t seem to fit anywhere

Trembling demographics

Stretched out fuzzy landscapes

Distorted mountains clench

Sounds desensitized and flutter

A mangled government howls

Ministers pleading with statues

Arguments swing from branch

to branch like a diabolical monkey

Sentiments sealed in a box

Hungover debates swallowing

OxyContin and sleeping pills

Insomniacs chatting with graffiti

between Sinister Lane and 5th Street

Cigarette smoke flies like a bird

and shadows dance with loneliness

Laughter turns stale like a cracker

Cynics and pessimists fall in love

Innocence is submerged in flames

A place of cracks and haze

Wanderers and drifters circle