Since Mohamed Ali?then Cassius Clay?announced that he had written ?The world?s shortest poem,? I have known that I would be a poet. ?ME? WHEE!? His triumphant proclamation evoking shivers within my troubled teenaged identity, for I reasoned in rhyme.
Everyday, hundreds-of-thousands of seemingly sane souls satisfy some innate need to bare their concealed character via atrocious alliteration or in delusional doggerel. As in Kris Kristofferson?s early works, the marvelous magic masquerades within sweet musical lyrics, providing us with eternal material transcending generational barriers.
Even if none but we are ever allowed to examine our hidden essence, an inner longing is unleashed?only to be squished?should we presume to be published.
In1978, I self-published my first poetry book, Beacon?, to an enthusiastic reception of some uninformed who didn?t realize, fearing rejection, I had never submitted my musings to somber publishers. After all, Rod McKuen, suffering countless rejections, had self-published. And he was said?at that time?to be, ?The world?s most widely read poet.?
To the accolade of local yokel fans, the following year, I followed up with Imperfections?, Verse by Russ Miles, songs and thoughts reflecting who, where, and what I was?at that time in my life. Even more well received, I was enjoying the affirmative attention of a metropolitan newspaper poetry editor insisting that I co-chair a college invitational symposium for wantabe poets with the State Poet LaTourette. My books selling well, a youthful, insatiable ego was being satisfactorily stroked.
Then, a strange thing happened. I caught a case of conscience. What if an unforgiving God held me accountable for my wanton actions or the impact of foisting my unholy understandings upon innocents?
Frightening purgatorial?or worse?reprisal prospects triggered instantaneous actions. Removing all remaining copies from the marketplaces which I had developed for distribution, I stopped penning poetry for the next twenty-five years.
Disabled at age fifty-three by Multiple Sclerosis, I found myself writing another book, For Sale By Owners:FSBO?. A mystery thriller novel evolved offering some insights that only a self-absorbed, worldly man of three messed-upped marriages could possibly convey.
I continue learning that God is so forgiving. How He can inspire good to come of all things. Even some of my old songs are once more awaiting discovery thanks to Red Haring, the song-writing, truck-driving character appearing between the FSBO covers.
By today?s standards, Red Haring?s vivid verse words and wayward rhyme renderings are no longer abysmal. Rather they reflect the subtle ?It?s all about me? immoral fiber of a masculine male?wrestling with post 9-11 internal issues?choosing to make changes in his so self-consumed life. Red?s songs emerge to stimulate reflections within Brooklyn Best, the no-saint heroine, real estate agent with whom he becomes romantically involved.
They end up working together to unravel some horrific homicides~in this reality based mystery~thriller novel. Through its use in a sub-plot, my poetry is being reborn.
As for Beacon? and Imperfections?, perhaps I?ll offer my few remaining hand signed & numbered ?First Edition? & ?Limited Edition? poetry books on e-Bay?. After all, John Grisham?s originally published novels are now collector?s items aren?t they?