Talking Smack to The Dead —by Walt Peterson
I’m not sure when I’ve enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this one.Amazon USA
Talking Smack to The Dead —by Walt Peterson
Nonfiction / poetry / prose
ISBN-10 : 8182539048
ISBN-13 : 978-8182539044
I’m not sure when I’ve enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this one. Mr. Peterson mixed his delightful poetry with his equally enjoyable short fiction. Reading it was like layering calorie-free chocolate, peanut butter, and pretzels a few times, chilling, and eating for fun. The book is divided into five parts, starting off with Part Of What We Pay Is For The Car… The lead poem, Two-Lane Blacktop, begins with, “What I need to know, country boy / —are you in or are you out?” If that first line in the book doesn’t tell you the good ol’ boys are getting together, nothing’ will. With this poem, our engines are started, and at the drop of her arm, the race is on. The diesel fumes get a tad thick now and then, suggest you read in a well-ventilated room.
There is a great deal of humor in these pieces, and knowledge. I believe I read somewhere that these are working men’s poetry. And they are. There is music in every poem, in every story. In Appalachian Suite, “Music … is winter rain hissing from eighteen wheels / on the interstate.” I could not only hear that symphony, I could just about smell it!
Peterson is a natural teacher, and a paid one. So, of course, there must be a test. They do love their tests, don’t they? And in the section titled, Someday Your Life Will Pass Before You, is “Interactive Memory Blitz”. This piece of prose is also a test. Go ahead, take it. I don’t think there are any wrong answers. Oh, and there are also directions on how to cook an opossum on the road.
The last piece in this section is “The Chicken, The Road, The Widow. Fair warning don’t be eating or drinking while reading this, or you stand a good chance of snorting said food or drink when you start laughing. This story alone is worth the price of admission, several times over.
He does have some serious pieces, and “Shanksville, Flight 93” is one of them. “And the wind bears no witness / for me.” It is serious, but neither maudlin nor preachy. It will make you pause, stop, and perchance think.
The last section, Belt In, Shut Up, Hang On, brought back some great memories, starting with “Clark’s Lotus Grabbing Air, “…Jimmy Clark’s Lotus grabbing air / over the jump at Nurburgring.” I saw him race his last race at der Hockenheimring. And who among us hasn’t read and enjoyed Mark Twain’s short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”? Peterson’s title, “The Completely Unheralded Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” is almost as long as the laugh-out-loud poem.
Red Solo Cup introduces us to Sweet Pea and Granddaddy in West Virginian Appalachians. It is a coming-of-age story of a young girl who must drive her Grandaddy through the mountains on narrow, twisty roads, chased by bigger trucks and less patient drivers. She’s scared, but her Granddaddy needs to see the doctor. She’s also a mountain girl. ‘Nuff said.
This book is a way of looking at the lemon’s life tosses us now and then, and instead of tasting only sour, he shows us how easy it is to celebrate life with humor. Some a tad dark, but all the humor is funny. I laughed out loud several times while reading. Even if you’re sure you wouldn’t like the poetry, that’s okay. Buy the book and just read the stories. But remember there is poetry and when that odd mood sits on your shoulders, try a poem or two. Poets are patient. Many are starving, so support your local poet, buy this book.
Lenora Rain-Lee Good recently returned to her beloved Pacific Northwest from Albuquerque, New Mexico to dance in the rain and write. Part Native American (Catawba) she is fascinated with history, and often incorporates historical events in her writing. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Quill & Parchment and Five Willows Literary Review, both online literary magazines. Washington 129, anthology of Washington State Poetry, chosen by Tod Marshall, the Washington State Poet Laureate, 2016-2018 and her collection, Blood on the Ground: Elegies for Waiilatpu published by Redbat Press. She has been an Author-Editor in the aerospace industry, and an Instructor in the WAC. Besides writing and selling her poetry, she has sold novels, radio plays, photographs, and even a quilt. However, she's joking about dancing in the rain. One, she doesn't dance, and two, she lives in the desert part of Washington.