Welcome back to my tribute to Poets and their voices.
This week, I’d like to introduce you to a man I first came across a year ago. His poetry spans the chasm of heartfelt, enlightened, honest, eye-opening and hilarious.
I’m talking about the award-winning, uber-talented Collin Kelley.
Collin Kelley is the author of the novels Conquering Venus and Remain In Light, which have just been re-issued in new editions by Sibling Rivalry Press. Remain In Light was the runner-up for the 2013 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Fiction and a 2012 finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction. His poetry collections include Better To Travel (2003, iUniverse), Slow To Burn (2006, MetroMania Press), After the Poison (2008, Finishing Line Press) and Render (2013, Sibling Rivalry Press), chosen by the American Library Association for its 2014 Over the Rainbow Book List. Collin is also the author of the short story collection, Kiss Shot (2012, Amazon Kindle Exclusive). A recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year Award, Deep South Festival of Writers Award and Goodreads Poetry Award, Kelley’s poetry, essays and interviews have appeared in magazines, journals and anthologies around the world.
I admire Collin for his honesty and fortitude. In an age when we are persecuted for not being P.C., I stand up and applaud Collin for being himself and choosing not to let anyone else force him to be someone he is not. Collin inspires me to be true to who I am, geek that I am, and not give into pressures from others.
When I asked Collin if I could feature him on my blog this month, he gave me an emphatic yes. And then, he gave me the very difficult task of reading through his latest collection, Render, and picking out my favorite poem.
It took me a few days (OK, longer than that) to narrow it down to the one I wanted.
And now I give you:
TO MARGOT KIDDER, WITH LOVE.
I spent the summer of 1980 with Margot Kidder,
made her my surrogate on those hot Friday afternoons
when my mother would dump me at the movie theatre,
flying off to her other life faster than Superman.
They all knew me at the counter, asking
for the same ticket every week. I smiled,
perfected my act of comic book geek,
but even those indifferent teenagers had x-ray vision.
In the dark, I mouthed the dialogue
like a Shakespearean tragedy as Margot Kidder
beamed down at me from the undercarriage
of an Eiffel Tower elevator commandeered
by terrorists, jumped into the raging Niagara River,
hung from wires for hours as she pretended to fly.
I pretended not to care what my mother was doing,
but I was cashing in part of my childhood to keep up
the charade, as she tucked money in my pocket
for popcorn and a strange phone number
where she could be reached in case of emergency.
Margot Kidder eased me through rising panic
every Friday at 1 p.m. as I was deposited
on the sidewalk and mother’s car shimmered
like a disappearing mirage, moving bullet time
away from me.
Margot Kidder was Lois Lane.
Feisty, brave, stubborn, in perpetual need of rescue.
Her dark hair, un-PC cigarette dangling,
whiskey voice, in love with the one man
she could never truly have.
Years later, when she had her publicized breakdown,
was found dirty and wandering the streets,
I cried in front of the TV, wishing I could give her
even a fragment of the comfort she gave me
when I was ten and in need of rescue.
If you think reading his poetry is powerful, try hearing him read it. Check Collin out on his YouTube channel for readings, Vlogs and more. Also, you can connect with Collin on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Red Room and Goodreads.
Collin, thank you so much for letting me share you with my readers. You have no idea how honored I am to know you.
“To be nobody but yourself in a world
which is doing its best day and night to make you like
everybody else means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
― E.E. Cummings