A fearless first look at a friend’s new book

As a writer, it’s always a great honor when someone suggests that what you have to say has meaning. I was asked to scribe the forward to a friend’s book of poetry recently, and I guess I got selfishly excited. I thought, the book can suck, and no one will blame me!  – I get to be read first, and HE get’s all the pressure to please. So, naturally I got aroused with a dose of good, hard, creative wood.

All writers – I would guess –  find satisfaction, being validated by their peers and those they love. This situation – of friend endorsing friend – is common and natural I suppose, albeit akin to a creative circle-jerk at times.

Again, as writers go, I know it’s the generic masses, whom we hope to snag with our catchy titles and quippy cover designs, but not all writers are willing to share much more than fiction with their dear reader. Few writers have the courage (or is it unabashed lack of shame?) to be completely honest and secure with all their vulnerable bits dangling. Abernathy is one of the brave ones.

His poems are a bit like a well fingered bowl of mixed treats in a dark bar – filled with some salty Charles Bukowski, some chewy Hunter S. Thompson, and a little zap-a-hooty sweetness ala Dr. Seuss (tossed in just for the kiddies … er, ah, not that I’d recommend this one for any mother’s son – at least not until they’ve had that first little talk from a parent first).

Read on for a preview of Dan’s book of self-proclaimed, nonsensical poetry, and the forward I wrote for it – discover for yourself if his propensity for clothing malfunctions, and his own brand of very personal beat poetry, is something you’ll think looks good on your night stand. Contact Danfor a further peek into his loins.

"Looking for security while wearing a loincloth," is not only Dan Abernathy's new book, it's been his reality for as long as I've known him. ©D.Vaughan photo

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I live in a world, MY world, where I am far detached from normal reality. I have built on this story of ME and  I have stuffed it full of life. The things I like, the things I don’t like are what make me who I am. I hope we will enjoy each other.”

“My Story” © Dan Abernathy


(Forward by David Vaughan)

Most of us never have our individual courage called into question. Nearly gone are the days of high noon shootouts between the lone warriors of this world. Back-alley brawls were once the test of a man’s heart. What lies in a man’s gut, can now be airbrushed over. The quiet stuff on the inside – fears which we would sooner die with than reveal – can be colored any way we choose these days. Pick your favorite avatar on line and voila, you’re the pride of your social network.

Few have the courage to show their true face, let alone lift the cloth that clads their loins without a blush.

When your bar stool in a snowy Wyoming boom town becomes as cold as a dead-blue kiss, and you’re asked to exit into the blackness of another icy night, the average man will beg the barmaid to add one more to the tab, sit a bit longer and burn one last log. But then there are those who will welcome the crack of glassy sleet against their teeth and forge on, toward another dank and lonely town where the next chapter awaits.  Most men can’t explore the uncomfortable places for long, but Dan Abernathy isn’t like most.

Dan has gone toe-to-toe a few times with Death and lived to tell the tale. When his shoot failed to open, landing him in the dirt like a lead dart, he could be heard whimsically saying on the way down, “Well, I’ll be damned.” He’s rear-ended himself a time or two – dodging antelope or pondering the shifting clouds above – into unsuspecting persons crossing his path.

Not unlike you dear reader, poised to let him enter your mind from the backdoor.

I’ve been there with him at the brink of death at least once, so I know of what I speak. Toweling him dry after towing his cadaver-like blue-bulk to shore. He’d tipped over his civil war era canoe, shortly after reaching the deepest part of this freshly thawed lake which we were fishing on. His only concern, after we’d finally beached ourselves, was whether I had saved his decades old cowboy hat. That, and the hope that no one nearby would judge his penis size while in its hypothermic condition. Would that we had a loin cloth vender hanging near the dock that day!

Metaphorically speaking, how could any earthly dressing contain such loins anyhow?

Dan feeds on that which calls from beyond the veil of ease. To be a writer means to write. Writing is like dragging hanged nails over the chalkboard of our mind, our memory, and facing our fears; placing them in large enough letters to be seen by those sitting in the back rows and dark corners. Dan reaches for those seats. His poems fly before the reader like box car graffiti at 85 miles per hour – sideways backslaps, parting hairs we’d rather keep fixed, over the hidden bits.

Others might gird themselves with iron attire, wielding swords that whack into oblivion anything otherworldly, but I suspect Dan would rather butter his girdle for yet another dance with decadence, slip down the throat of a buxom she-dragon – whom lesser knights may have failed to make swoon – only to tickle his way back out of her gullet with a new wisdom, uniquely and profoundly his own.

Moreover, to gain the lusty beast as his new pet with whom he is certain to let fly again in a future-verse not far from his periphery.

The sultry Sirens of the Iliad may have beguiled Odysseus and his boatload of brine-soaked shipmates, but had Dan been aboard he would have sweet-talked the witch right out of those haunted hags, taken his fill of their salty sex and proceeded on, dog paddling with glee toward the Gorgon sister’s lair, where he’d heard this hot chick named Medusa lay, just around the next dark ridge.