A Question Of anger

To be or be not?
Still these questions remain,
And the sad situations,
To which they pertain.
If it be be ever noble,
In Heaven or Earth,
To resort unto violence,
Or even give birth,
To the thoughts which precede this,
And collide in one's head,
To give in to such weakness,
Over what's done or said.
If in truth it produces,
In affairs of adults,
Then perhaps it has uses,
If some good thing results.
But if it then does not,
Dost one think it not so,
That one's answer must be,
Not to be,
And just let it go?

Charles Ramos, Jr.


Early on one fine afternoon why I believe t’was only last night
I sat down to wok my doggerel, Trite by the dark of the dawn's full moonlight,
Thought I perhaps I’ll wear me a cote for the Forsythia forewarns of snow,
The dust bunnies are all burrowed way down deep,
And the weatherman denies that it’s so.
‘I’ll wok my Trite to the parka I said to myself,
Where Shirley we’ll be safe and warm,
For any cote is a good one, thought I, when seeking shelter inn a storm.
But where or when I choose to wok my doggerel’s trivial though,
For Trite my puppy doggerel cares not one wit for the reign, sleet, or snow.
I dangled his leash like a participle and I told my Trite “Let’s been going,’
‘For the noon sun is blazing down hot tonight and it’s already started to snowing,”
At my past preposition my doggerel, Trite leapt straight up into an ark,
He threw out his hips, did two backward flips, and let out a loud joyful barka,
(Me thinks that my Trite takes little delight in going to the parka)
Then out through the front door (Which was closed) my little Trite doggerel ran,
I pursued him immediately, five minutes later, as fast as I possibly can,
Across the front porch and down the front steps my little Trite doggerel flew,
Then he charged right out through the open front gate,
Even though it was closed too!
Over the sidewalk my little Trite ran on his little trite doggerel feet,
Right out into the heavy traffic of our deserted dead-end street.
“Why he’s safe thought I, as I heard the brakes cry, for nowhere is safer than Parma,
But my pooor little doggerel, Trite was his name, got run down by a big speeding karma.
I snatched up a sandwich, and a bag of stale chips,
Then out through the closed door I flew,
across the front porch and into the street where the thinning crowd rapidly grew.
“Oh! The poor little doggerel!” some little girl cried,
As I slowly hurried to my wounded Trite’s side,
“I never saw him I swear it.” the blind driver lied.
While despite my worst efforts, my doggerel died.
“I believe his name was, Trite.” the paperboy said,
While some fat lady sang, “Oh, the poor doggerel’s dead!”
Well folks, that’s when I knew that it was all over,
For the same thing had happened to my last doggerel, Rover.
“T’weren’t much of a loss,” the blind man observed. “or so it appears to me.”
“Not much of a loss?! I opined. “My GOD man are you totally blind?”
“Well my poor little doggerel, Trite was his name, may not have been much to sea,
But from wee little pup I raised this one up, and Trite meant the world to me.”
Yes that is what I said,
“But your karma ran my poor doggerel down now my beloved Trite’s dead.”
“I can see your point,” the blind man said,
“so I’ll tell you then what I will do. I’ll give you six bits and a warm case of Schliz,
For the doggerel, and your sandwich there too.”
Then I wailed, “Are you daft?!” (Well, I could use a good draft)
(But to say so would sound insincere). What kind of heartless monster are you?
For my beloved Trite doggerel you offer six bits, And a case of some crappy warm brew?
Well my poor little doggerel, Trite was his name, why he meant so much more to me.
Sir your luck is just tough for one case ain’t enough.
For the sandwich too? Make it three."
Well we all took Trite’s death quite hard as those who love doggerel’s do,
And the funeral affair, agreed everyone there,
Was the best one they’d ever been to.
The mourners all cried, and the eulogists lied, and somebody stole my TV,
But we laid Trite to rest in the cigar store’s best beneath the old chestnut tree.
The crowd dissipated when police came and stated, “We’re towing your karma’s away”
Me I sat there all night drinking warm Schlitz by moonlight,
And throwing the cans in Trite’s grave,
(Hell at two cents a throw why I’m telling you, Joe
They’re just not worth the trouble to save)
Well old Trite was my friend but this ballad must end,
as we all know such good things must do,
It’s been so much fun but Trite’s stry is done, and this moral I shall now impart,
Don’t look down your nose at doggerel prose,
For therein lies some poet’s heart.
What’s trash to you snobs might be gold to us slobs,
And even from trash can come art.
What about Robert Service, or old Doctor Seuss?
Can you truthfully say you can’t quote Mother Goose?
Even dogerel Trite has it’s place.
Here you call yourself poet, but your name I dont know it,
And so the defense rests its case.

Charles Ramos Jr. 2005

I wrote this poem in response to all the ads I saw in Poets Marketplace who felt the need to say “No trite, or doggerel verses.” I felt it was discouraging to poets and could cause one to think their work would not be accepted when there was no set standard for what constitutes rtrite, or doggerel verse.

Stranger Paths. The magic in the madness poetry collection. In review.

Dr. R.J. Zarkani – Poet

Greetings sports fans and welcome to the first ever independent edition of Vegas Valley Sports Beat. The little sports column that now stands alone in the wake of the sudden and unexplained demise of Vegasvalleynews.com.

In spite of what may be, I am determined to carry on the name until the ownership figures it all out or hell freezes over.
Given the weather that we’ve been having lately that could very well be tomorrow. But for now, it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day here in the verdant Las Vegas Valley.

So let us turn our attention now to the wide world of literature and today’s featured author, Dr. R.J. Zarkani and her anthology of poems titled Stranger Paths. The magic in the madness poetry collection.

Stranger Paths provides its readers with a unique window on the world of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the Iraqi war as seen through the eyes of a child growing up in its shadow as war brought stark reality home to her. Literally.
The book is divided into three parts and each one paints its own vivid portrait by dint of RJ’s economic usage of words which invoke those mental images. 

Part 1- Of Childhood And War.

This section of Stranger Paths “contains more than 30 poems shining a light on the untold truths of war.” It looks back to RJ’s childhood and the shock of a young girl who discovers that her life has been built on a foundation of lies and propaganda as bombs begin falling and she has to avoid soldiers, barricades, and wild dogs just to get to school.

Part 2- Of Positivity & Philosophy A Spiritual Journey.
The second section of Stranger Paths contains poems that RJ says play with positivity to show the good in the bad and the choice of happiness. Which she hopes will inspire thought and happiness in her readers. Such as this poem which conveys a simple yet profound truth called growing up.

GETTING OLDER By R.J. Zarkani The things you were dying for, Are the things you don’t want anymore.

Part 3- Of Magic And Madness
In the final section of Stranger Paths, RJ writes more about coming to America and the culture shock of trying to find a place within a foreign world where hopefully she can find herself.

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with, Dr. Zarkani on several occasions and I am still under her magical spell. In the sense that she is a very lovely and personable lady who has been through hell and made it to the other side. 

Not only that, she’s a Pharmacologist just like my best friend and mentor, Dr. James Belvin. She also works with juvenile cancer patients in a hospital I helped build years ago. That makes her a super-duper superhero in my book.

After reading her prosaic tale in Stranger Paths she’s even more of a superhero than ever in my estimation because I was born with a tumor on my left eye, and I recently lost my left kidney to cancer. She’s a warrior fighting childhood cancer on the front lines. Physicians diagnose diseases but it is the Pharmacists who actually treat them.
Doctor Zarkani told me that it was her desire to paint visible pictures in the mind of her readers and I can say, for myself at least, that she succeeded admirably. In Stranger Paths, Dr. Zarkani expresses that in her own words: The author wishes to share her story through poetry in hopes to inspire the survivor in you, the reader.

In the starkness and minimalism of the words she utilizes to relate her emotions and the austerity of her simple black and white photographs and pencil illustrations, you get the feeling of being in her shoes. But without a lot of clutter to dilute the vision and cloud the emotional imagery of the thoughts she expresses.

Dr. Zarkani says it best herself:
“I hope you join the child I was, as she stood watching missiles brighten the darkness of her village, smiling as she hopes for a change. I hope you see the positivity leaking through my pages bit by bit as poems continue on. I wish to share the untold story of my people, of the civilians at war, of the children that had no choice but to accept their fate. Our days are numbered but those numbers mean that we have survived so much, that we’re all the same.” –  R.J. Zarkani

I got my copy of Stranger Paths on Amazon and I read it nearly all the way through in one sitting. I skipped a few of the poems to get an overall picture of the journey but I read most of them. And I am reading the book right now. As this goes to press, Stranger Paths is the #2 ranked poetry offering on Amazon. I have no doubt that it will soon be at #1.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Stranger Paths, and I have no doubt that many people will enjoy it just as much as I did. All things considered, I believe that “Stranger Paths” is more than worthy of five of five stars.

Thank you, Doc. Both for sharing your work with me and for being a wonderful friend.

The Numbers (Working Title)

I thought R.J. Zarkani’s poem, “The Numbers” was very provocative and well-written. I can’t wait to read the future episodes, Doc. -Charles Ramos Jr.

Stranger Paths

Draft 1

Episode 1

The explosion would have been heard miles away, if the laboratory facility wasn’t hidden in remote woods somewhere in this earth. Trees burned bright as the metal-enforced concrete shattered extending beyond the dark forest to the mountains surrounding the laboratory. Ashes filled the night sky as we rushed out of our cells. Might have been thousands of us in that vast pale-yellow building, but I only saw few of us run outward. The rush of the escape left us no time to look for our mates nor count how many of us survived the explosion. I ran fast, forgetting that I can teleport. And as more and more of us escaped we joined in a group. We don’t know our birth dates but Four was our leader at the moment. He was pointing us to a safe cave miles from the explosion. We had been running…

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