Love Poem

I have never been one for
sweet saccharine endings
or passionate lip locks to a
background of fireworks.
I would rather know that you
are going to stand by me
in the trenches and when
the sky is black and we are
taking fire from every side
you are going to tell me that
we are going to make it out alive
because when you love each other
all you have to do is survive.

 

BB

The Sisters Brothers Review

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To be read with: copious amounts of ale, drunk from the can with dirty hands and paid for with the money you earned killing a man.

loved this book. It was like a Cormac McCarthy that was infused with humour. It’s the kind of book you would want the Coen brothers to adapt to film, with Josh Brolin playing Charlie and John C. Reilly playing Eli. The book is about two brothers who are infamous hired guns, on a journey from Oregon to California to kill a man over a mysterious “theft”. Charlie is strong and quiet, the brother with the darker side. Eli seems like a lot of the time he’s just along for the ride, and he has greater aspirations than just being a hired killer. The dialogue is fantastic, the eliminated use of contractions has you subconsciously reading it with a Western drawl. Fantastic.

Their trip through the U.S on their quest is illustrative of the Gold Rush and has great descriptions of the towns crushed by the depression and the cities flourishing with gold. The quality of characters that they meet along the way, major or minor, have a depth that is quite lovely. They are all memorable, even if only in it for a few scenes. The book is humorous yet tragic, beautiful yet simple. It was an easy read and a page turner; definitely a good pace for those who get bored easily. I won’t say that the killers “have hearts of gold” because they definitely do not, but I think it’s more easy to root for them because they don’t. They’re likeable, but you still have a healthy fear of them. DeWitt does a great job of very slowly revealing bits of the brothers past, allowing you to understand just how someone could become the people they are.

I will definitely be reading more Patrick DeWitt, and I like that he’s a Canadian-born writer as well! I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys Cormac McCarthy, the Coen brothers movies, Westerns, or dark humour.

Let Me Swim

Getting to know you was like wading
in a river filled with nails;
the surface looks so calm and glassy
welcoming and refreshing
but the deeper in I go
the more likely I am to get pierced
by the rusted steel you tell yourself
you’re keeping for protection.
You think that this world is
do or die
kill or be killed
and you can’t see that the majority
of the casualties you loved
have died from your own defenses.

Coalition

I knew I loved her because
she could have asked for anything-
I would have sworn allegiance
to the colour of her eyes
and launched war ships at a flick
of her ruby crested lips
delivering her dynasties and empires
to rule as she pleased
I knew she loved me too
because she asked for none of these.

Her and I were a nation at peace
in a world constantly at war

 

BB

The Godfather Review

Godfather Review
To be read with: A glass of red vino made with grapes from the old country. Chianti so red it would make your ma weep and the Don kiss the tips of his fingers.

I decided to read Mario Puzo’s The Godfather a little while ago after I was instructed that my beloved Jane Austen was a poor reading choice and that I should be reading Puzo instead. I was informed that “in other novels there were deaths, but in The Godfather, there were tragedies” (Michael Vecchio, 2015). Having completed all 479 pages, I shall now split my review into three sections: my opinion on the plot, my opinion on the writing itself, and how I feel if fares in comparison to Jane Austen.

Reading The Godfather is like being privileged to watch a beautiful game of chess unfold. It was fun and exciting to observe the powerful families of New York’s underworld battling it out for power and respect, trying to predict the outcome before the pages tell you what happens. Mario Puzo is a very intelligent writer in that he makes the Corleone family relatable to the reader and semi-honorable in their goals. They are a family that does not believe the law has the citizens best interests at heart and instead provides a different kind of protection and justice. By opening the book with the godfather, Don Corleone granting requests of an honorable nature that the law could not provide, Puzo is ensuring that the reader will be rooting for the Corleone family from day one. The Family subscribes to a code of ethics that the other Families lack, which puts the reader at ease with all of their other dealings. Also providing Michael as the insertion point for the reader (a point in which the reader could see themselves in the story) is a great move. Michael Corleone is the favourite son that shunned his father’s “ olive oil business” for years but is eventually drawn in when attacks on the family become personal. This allows the reader to justify rooting for Michael, because he is presented as a good person who has to do the best he can with bad situations. The story kept the pages turning for me, and would be immensely satisfying to anyone who appreciates strategy and calculated warfare.

The writing in The Godfather was a little heavy handed for me, and that could probably be attributed to it being published in the 1960’s and and set in the 1940’s. It fell short of being either noir or thriller, instead being general fiction concerned with crime and revenge. The prose tends to applaud itself and you can tell that Puzo appreciated himself as a writer very much. Reading this book, you could imagine Mario Puzo in front of a typewriter, a heavyset man with oiled hair chomping down on a cigar and taking bites of a genoa salami sandwich in between pages, smiling at his own work. I am not Italian, so maybe the over-the-top writing is authentic for those readers; I failed to overly appreciate it. However that being said, his description of food and wine is excellent. After reading a couple chapters I would invariably make myself some dish to eat that involved olive oil and pasta. In this day and age maybe Mario Puzo would have been a food blogger, waging war against other bloggers in the internet regime.

Reading The Godfather as a female, was invariably underwhelming. It is completely devoid of a female character worth supporting. The female characters do contain variation; some are vapid, some are beautiful and vapid, some are vapid and superficial, some are just ignorant, but all of the characters are in turn submissive and dependent. The amount of times it was written that “he had to have her”, “he had to possess her”, “he had to own her” made my stomach churn. And please do not tell me that this was satirical, that is an insult to my intelligence as well as yours. Even Kay Adams does not have worth or a definition of self without being Michael’s wife. Come on. The women in this book are presented as warm bags of meat that exist to provide sex, offspring, and food. Now comparing this directly with Jane Austen when speaking to me is a bit problematic. Pride and Prejudice was written in 1813 and provides the reader with examples of both positive and negative males and females. It demonstrates that women are not the property of men (or vice versa) but complex individuals with different aspirations and needs. Now we have fast-forwarded 150 years and take about 25 steps back in terms of positive female characters. Pride and Prejudice may not be as fast-paced of a page turner, but it is a little bit sad that when compared with The Godfather, I feel as though if I were in the book, I would have had much better options 150 years earlier. Capisce?

All in all, I think I will be reading the other two books in The Godfather franchise, if with the sole interest of finding out what happens to the Corleone empire. The book was a quick read despite its thick stature, and it read moderately well as crime fiction. It would be interesting to see how the “olive oil business” would have fared differently if Michael Coreleone had met and fallen in love with Elizabeth Bennett instead of Kay Adams. Thank you Michael Vecchio for recommending this book to me, as well as lending me your personal copy. Hope you enjoyed the review and it did not end our friendship!

Priceless Artifacts

I want to etch you into my mind
like the Neanderthals carved
and painted their memories on
the insides of cave walls.
I want to remember you in
hieroglyphics so bright and
vibrant that they will
withstand the winds of time
and every possible future
civilization will know
that when you looked
me in the eyes
I felt it in my knees

 

BB

Scotland

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These days more than not
I am missing Scotland and
being steeped in Highlands air

I am craving lochs and craigs
tartans and crests
and hiking as far as I dare

I want to eat my fill
drink dark beer and sip light tea
while wandering through Greyfriars

With trips to Inverness and Glasgow
fish and chips and haggis
and all of my Scottish desires

 

BB

Winter Wondering

Sitting by the window
reading a book and
watching the snowflakes
drift past the light post
at the end of my drive
and I wonder if I am really
living in a snow globe
and if so who was it
that decided to
give my world a shake?

 

BB

Airplane Vignette

There was a couple sitting across the aisle from me, a beautiful girl asleep leaning back in the centre seat and a handsome boy reading against the window. Outside the plane the sun had risen above the clouds and shone its orange glow on the girl’s face. She stirred and her closed eyelids twitched against the light. The boy noticed and gently pulled down the shade so that the light spilled over her nose and mouth instead like sweet, warm honey. She relaxed deeper into sleep and he smiled softly at her and turned back to his book. He glanced again at her, briefly, a few minutes later and his body relaxed well, and his breaths became deep and synchronized with hers. Once our plane reached the airport and our row was finally departing, the girl turned to the boy and told him it was really nice to meet him and maybe they’d see each other again. He and I watched her walk down the aisle and off the plane. I wanted to yell at him.
“Go get her! She’s your soulmate!”
But the look on his face told me that he wasn’t the person he wanted to be at this moment and letting her walk away was the kindest act of love he could give her. She wanted to give him her love, but he wanted to give her the world, even if it meant he wasn’t in it.
Some people are too focused on the happily ever after, but I have seen true love exist in the space of a few stolen moments.

Stay Weird

A unique life
is one of short expectancy
which is why I approach it
with such a sense of hesitancy.
A shooting star is nothing but
tired beauty burning down
a snow flake is one in a million
destined to melt upon the ground.
Why is it so ephemeral
to be different from the norm?
Society kills brand new species
to dissect and inspect the form.
They need to understand why
something different dares exist
are they worried that the strange
will be too hard to resist?
I prefer in times of perfect harmony
to sing just a little bit too loud
or am I more likely to survive
if I just blend in with the crowd?

BB