Thursday, January 14, 2016

In 2015, Jameson Bayles, Dianne Borsenik, John Burroughs, Joan Koromonte and Michelle Roberts decided to collaborate this project, A Case For Ascension, published by Asinimali Publications, Inc. These poets will be gathering in April for National Poetry Month in Kansas City, MO at a literary festival and decided to write/gather poems in honor of a recently constructed staircase inside the bookstore, Prospero’s Books, where the literary festival is to be held. Each author used the title as their muse for the poems inside and while they all wrote separately I couldn’t help but notice similarities. There are words used from Buddhist and meditative teachings or practices such as karma, OM, bodhisattvas, sage, incense,etc. in several writers’ poems. Perhaps because of the idea of heights via a staircase can also translate to a higher sense of enlightenment. Others spun out a tale through their poems. It is an enjoyable read and best read over more than once. It is a short collection, easy to sit with over a hot beverage and a restful moment. Here are a few samples:

Excerpt from The Five Breaths by Jameson Bayles

IV. Rechaka

…and the pendulum keeps on

As benevolence evolves, uncontested
karma reciprocates.

It’s a surgical carving of your soul.

Not a repairable tear
An erosion of causation –

It’s a deliberate


In retaliation,
the evaluation of your heart is not

on the typography of your scars
but in your mockery of each swipe
from the blade.

…and the pendulum keeps on

Bayles let me know that this poem is based on the need to rise out of cyclical and dysfunctional relationships. This poem causes me to pause and wonder about the main character’s story and which side of the relationship they were on: Did they leave or were they left? Which side has them contemplating a drastic measure and then seeking to rise above it? It is a piece that shows that whether or not blood is let out, the “pendulum swings,” time goes on whether you participate in moving with time or stop your own clock. We can all relate to heartache and the struggle to move onwards and upwards when it feels as though we can only curl up and give up.

Excerpt from Sutra for the Four Monkeys by Diane Borsenik

2nd Monkey

Humor is a precious resource.
Energy—positive and negative—wells from
Allow yourself time to breathe.
Relish the extant moment.
Nothing can prepare you for what comes
Open your heart to possibilities.
Enter through the exit.
Variety is the vitamin of life.
Is this where you want to be right now?
Lennon had it right: imagine.

There are four monkeys and they have life lessons to share. From a personal perspective the 2nd Monkey poem hit home for me since I had a radically unexpected change of plans in early Fall 2015. So for my background and for you to relate: Imagine feeling solid in your existing life and career—you’ve settled into the right home, you have perfect neighbors, a job you have the rhythm of with a team you adore working with, people in your life who you adore, family nearby, etc. Then an opportunity arrives: one you had wanted YEARS ago. It happened to us, my husband landed a job in Texas and so we took a leap of faith and I had to trust that I would find a job soon after selling our home and moving after him—and I have.
So that is why I picked THIS poem. The poem above exemplifies everything about the unexpected journey. Have you ever gone through a major life change and took a leap of faith? Variety is indeed the vitamin of life, while it can be a large vitamin to swallow, we all grow in unexpected ways when we allow ourselves to live in the moment, find the humor, and open up to possibilities we weren’t ready for. Ms. Borsenik gives us a seemingly simple poem but if you take it into your heart you will find so many layers.

Since this is a short book, let me assure you there are wonderful poems that take on a variety of tones, some hard, some tongue-in-cheek. I don’t want to give it all away, so please be kind and purchase a copy for yourself to discover the rest: A Case For Ascension: A collaborative sample reader by Jameson Bayles, Dianne Borsenik, John Burroughs, Joan Koromante, and Michelle Roberts is available for $5.00 at

You can find many of these writers on social media, be sure to engage them. When so much of social media can be plagued with the negative I believe it is vital to find inspiration and positive energy through those whose work you enjoy reading. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogspot, you name it, take advantage and create an inspiring world for yourself by connecting to those who inspire YOU.

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon.

1 comment:

dharmabum1945 said...

Thanks for the review Paula! - Jameson