Book Review – We’re Going To The Farm by Nancy Streza and Adam Pryce

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We’re Going To The Farm

Written by Nancy Streza

Illustrated by Adam Pryce

 Publisher: Xist Publishing
 Release Date: 2 July 2017

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A really fun to read-aloud book with absolutely gorgeous illustrations! My 18 month old really enjoyed the words because they can be sung to the tone of ‘The Farmer in The Dell’. The illustrations are colorful and fun and have quite a lot of things to point at while reading with your kids. The full color pages include multicultural characters, farm animals, familiar objects and some of the sounds they make.

Recommended for story-tellers at libraries and day-care centers. Also, the rhymes may get stuck in your head, parents!

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Displacement

Mama said my home

Is where my husband is

They nodded and I

searched in all the places I knew

Obvious places; the office with its tie sporting

men and clickity clackity

women,

at his mothers’, no – not in the kitchen

or inside his closet,

I went to his haunts – his hunting spot his bowling place

his burger joint his best friend’s space 

my husband lost, and I, displaced.

My home is where my husband is.

Growing

There is more from where this flows.
A bloody trail, not even red
A blackness – thick tar
It covers you – crown to rump

That’s how they measure you now, isn’t it?

Twisty limbs poking here and here and here.
I should scream but I don’t.

Don’t be ungrateful child.

Peekaboo

Hello

Anyone here?

Who am I kidding? No one hangs around when there is no activity for more than two years. But would you all come back? I’ve missed this place and all that went on here.

So I’m hoping to give this another shot. I might not be as regular as I was before, but I really do need to get back into the writing zone. Fingers crossed to this (umm fourth?) try being a successful one.

 

 

Masochist

I found my drug,

right after that plunging knife

dug deep into my gut

and was twisted

once then twice then another round

till there were streaming tears with a watery smile.

The kind of pain that cripples you.

The kind of love that kills you.

 

Monsters In Her Eyes

Hello. I made this. Bye.

 

Because there was a sinister truth in her eyes,

Hidden behind monsters, her daughter drew,

in vivid colors, reds and blues.

Yellows, greens, purple smiles, toothy byes.

It’s a mask, dear girl,

your cartoons lie,

your childhood’s been corrupted so.

Draw not your evil smiley friends,

they are being used to hide her many crimes.

 

Blaspheming

Because we are all fireflies tonight

dying but bouncing in and out and all around the dirt-stained light in the dusty barnyard.

Because we are the light that will be zapped and singed

by family

by heat

by the holy warmth of the one we worship. What

difference would it make?

Tell me, would it make a difference

if I stagger on to the cliff to make it easy for the one who takes lives, for

the overworked ironic being, the angel of death,

the devil of solitude, irony

in name, in act, in existence.

Would it make a difference to use the air as

the cushion and the grass as the arms that will hold me first and last, forever?

Or would the cliff pivot and deposit

me from where I was running because

who am I to think that  this life I’m living is my own,

it isn’t.

It is a house my soul rents and

will leave when it grows tired of it or it has been filled

with cans and wrappers and bodies writhing with pain or ecstasy

or just the bodies of a thousand broken aspirations.

What difference would it make to beg

for my soul to stay

or to push it to leave before it wishes to leave, because

tonight we are all fireflies

and salvation is but a dream.

The Deal With Death

Death came calling yesterday.

We sat in the parlor, sipping

tea. Even though I like coffee,

you don’t refuse Death when

he asks for tea. Four spoons sugar, please.

I had heard he liked things sickly sweet.

 

I had what was his, he wanted it back

Upon my life, I couldn’t refuse.

You don’t say no when Death asks for something.

I had heard there was never a deal he lost.

 

He set out a pack

of cards, all hearts and diamonds,

no black in sight.

“Queens, you win.

Joker, I lose.

Kings, I win.

Jacks, you lose.”

 

I lost.

 

 

 

High-Maintenance (Revised)

There are things that I need from you.

On a day like this, a black rose with a red ribbon through its single thorn,

which I’ll try to detach only to let more red out. I’ll need you to

mop the fluid off the pad of my thumb,

off your pristine marble floor. I’ll need you to

pretend you’re doing it for the first time. Always.

 

Tomorrow it will be diamonds that I’ll want, rough cut, rose tinged

set across my throat, a million dollar rope. I’ll need you to

pull till the edge digs into your hand,

into my cartoid, where it bulges out. I’ll need you to

let go only when you think I’ve taken enough.

 

A few whispered words, the next. Lies, dripping honey

dripping poison, things they told you. I’ll need you to

bring out your sticks and stones,

use them often, use them well. I’ll need you to

 

Do all this, and do some more, there’s nothing

to lose in loving me.

High-Maintenance

There are things that I need from you.

On a day like this, a black rose

with a red ribbon through its single thorn,

which I’ll try to detach only to let more red out.

 

Tomorrow it will be diamonds,

A few whispered words, the next.

 

Give and you shall receive.

Deny and there will be much to lose.

 

“Crows are Crows, Not Prophecies” – Without A Claim by Grace Schulman

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Another poetry book that had me hankering for more.  Without a Claim had the kind of poetry that I have always enjoyed. Edgy, sharp and with a deeper meaning to it.

Most of the poems were linked to nature and cultures. The poems take everyday things, common-place occurrings and turn them into something that is not very common at all.

Most of them are so good, they are insane. Since the book is still unreleased, I’m not sure if I’ll be allowed to quote verses, but some had such a big impact on me that I went around the house repeating them loudly. The one in the title being an example.

Regardless, I have a whole of ideas thanks to Grace Schulman, whose poetry has opened a million different windows in my mind.

Secrets

Under your bed hide monsters,

slimy, scaly, animated creatures,

your own creations.

You wish them dead, but they are you,

are they not?

 

Like the dread that snakes its way

under your skin

before your pencil hits the paper,

you wish your mind was muslin

unsullied by thoughts that would

stain the paper, and then you’ll be caught.

 

Your closet, with its disarray

is just another disguise

for your totalitarian being.

It’s a disguise so you’re not

accused of crimes you committed

when you were wide awake.

 

But you’re birthing phoenixes

to kill freaks, to pluck them out

like worms in an infested marsh.

To root out rebellions, to know all.

 

See that metal edge of that bolted trunk,

my blood-spewing finger,

her tear-spilling eyes?

Some secrets die defending themselves.

Stone-heart

There are exclamation points in your eyes.

three then four then five and six.

They are what my mother would have called

a quiver full of shooting arrows

meant straight for the heart.

What you and her don’t know

is that poisoned arrows

have a way of avoiding me.

I am the anti-dote

the anti-hero

the anti-thesis to all things love.

I am a waxen maiden,

with sweet nothings slipping off me.

The crystal queen,

fashioned of ice.

Hate me, for all I do is hate.

Fear me, for the flame in me has died.

I Have Found My Calling

I have found my calling

It is the reading of tea leaves,

palm leaves, sick leaves that you write

with healthy mind and healthy hand

with your corruption suit on.

It sits comfortably on your shoulders,

fits you well but you fidget nonetheless

Your conscience with its hands on its cage

shakes it, and so you shake

but momentarily.

 

I have found my calling

and it saves me from being de-tracked

so that when I wake up

at 3 A.M. and stand under the shower

My mind is empty and I read

what the water writes on the wall

The contact of my skin with the drops

lets out steam,

clouds of poetry,

that I read and relay

because that is my calling.

 

My calling is different

from your calling and your calling

because on days when you scribble,

I soar.

It is different because you, with your calling

spill words on pages with deliberate thought

while mine are accidents

that could have been blood on the road

in a parallel world.

 

My calling is different

because it takes my life and puts

it in a showcase with a million other mannequins

wearing frilly tutus and frothy gowns.

It makes mundane fanciful.

 

My calling is just like

your corruption suit.

It cages my conscience

and teaches me how to lie.