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.

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

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.

Under her breath she uttered “Life is as beautiful as a forehead kiss”
Joy dances like a ballerina on her spellbinding tongue
She squeezed tea parties with her doll Delilah with her artistry
Quietly adoring her childhood books on the shelf from the tallest to the shortest
She painted love with the ocean with her steady hand on her prized canvas
Gazing at her innocent imagination
Memorized the pattern and pastel colors of her quilt
In a whisper she mumbled “Beauty is inside, not in the eye of the beholder”
Climbing inside her mellow perception
She glided across the beige carpet with an ornament of a smile
A sphere filled with crayons, lite bright, easy bake oven, and ballroom dresses
Cherishing the extraordinary recollection,
Embracing the collage of photographs in her heart
Drops fall to the floor as she glances at a hollow room on Wildfire Lane

Vigorously illuminating

She’s overworked

Quite compelling

She’s overtired

Completely potent

She’s giving

Magically robust

She’s asleep on the couch at 1AM

Forever lovely

She’s precious

Make up less

She’s still captivating

Deserves everything

She deserves a forehead kiss

Instantly my judgements were casted. I sat at a table for three. I sat between a pessimistic dreamer and a carefree non stop smoker. I digested painted ideologies and exhaled nostalgia from my vibrating lungs. I scoffed at the handwritten kindhearted gestures. It was as if I had read them on a greeting card as a child. I tried to be engaging but was caught off guard by the long winded interrogation. Sidewinding questions, sarcastic remarks and complex theories were thrown at me like punches. I took a beating like a boxer.

Inside my head all I could hear was the regurgitating water downed clouds of systems.
The formulas, schemes, and strategies plotted by short sighted leaders of this self centered generation.

I nodded my head as the clarity dispersed. I was not treated like an equal. I sat between arrogance and a rattling jaw. I barely touched my grilled California chicken. I only took a few sips of joy. I was tired of the pointing fingers and criticism of my status. I was ridiculed by plastic snakes with their golden ideals in a frame.

Inside my mind all I could do was to assess the situation. I could sense I was a pawn in their chess game. I couldn’t shake off the smirk. I coughed up their sour and misplaced words.

I sneered at their ancient glossy wisdom. I could feel the itchy tickle in my throat. I hacked up a two hour disgusting stomach aching conversation after walking away from the table.

Photographs stir inside
Grasping a birthday wish
Thirst and hunger subside
Frustrations built like a wall

Slowly, yet with sated ease,
Allowing you to enter,
You break the walls of slicing past
And pull me from my centre

Staring at what I should have done
Gravitating to a brand new me
No longer sipping on cravings
Voices stretch out to you

Allowing words to touch my sense
It may have left me long ago…
And in the midst of innocence
I tremble as new wings grow

Sweet fascination spreads
Leaping for your finger tips
Throwing away could haves
October skies open up

I let the rain pour over me
Cleanse my doubts and cure my mind,
Cast out shadows of bruised yesterdays
Tiptoe through days I’m yet to find

Reborn and teary eyed
Appreciation drenched in our song
Fallen and tattered
Still seeing and clenching on to you

My voice cries notes of you and I,
You heal my wounds, I will not die
In storms I hold you, beat your heart
A molten canvas, whispered art.


Braeden – Non Italics

Fiery – Italics

Check out Fiery’s blog if you haven’t! This was really fun and enjoyed collaborating with her!