I almost let it get away – April – National Poetry Month

I am thrilled to announce the two winners of the book giveaway from this post!! Congratulatiaons to Yvette Calleiro and to Vashti Q! Your books will be on the way soon!

I would be remiss if I let this special month get away without celebrating a very beautiful book of poetry and art.

After I finished writing my four biographical fiction novels, it needed one more piece to complete the circle. And, that piece was a book of poetry accompanied by pen-and-ink drawings that Rick Sikes compiled in the years between 1975 and 1985 from inside Leavenworth Penitentiary.

Writing poetry and doing this incredibly tedious artwork were a small part of his determination to be, think and do only positive from a terribly negative place.

So, it was extremely satisfying to me, to get it edited, and published in 2017.

From the artwork that graces the cover, to the poems and artwork inside, you’ll find little pieces of the heart and soul of Rick Sikes.

The Foreword, written by Connie Nelson (Willie Nelson’s ex-wife) gives a brief glimpse at the level of respect Rick earned, even while in prison. In her words, “…what inspired me and drew me to build a friendship with Rick, was his love of beauty and his never ending, unbroken spirit. He never bought into discouragement or despair – he exuded only beauty…”

The original title of the poetry book started out as “Etchings in Stone.” But when we released a music CD in 2003 with that title, I knew the poetry book needed a different name.

For a copy of this CD, visit http://ww.jansikes.com

The first poem inside the book, “Discovery,” was truly a turning point in Rick’s life. He told the story about how the poem came to be. He was locked in the “hole” (solitary confinement) for some infraction, as often happened when he first arrived. After they escorted him to solitary, three guards went inside with him, and beat him, and kicked him with their boots until he was almost unconscious.

He had a dream or as he liked to put it, a “vision.” In that vision an angel with a broken wing came to him and spoke words that truly changed his life. The poem, Discovery, tells that story. Here’s a small snippet:

Through life’s wilderness I wandered aimlessly seeking my way

Seldom looking up to see the light of day

Stumbling blindly, ’til so weary, I could go no more

In total exhaustion I fell to the earthen floor

My eyes focused on a wounded but lovely thing

Seemingly an angel felled with a broken wing

Said I, “Stranger what will be your name?”

A voice spoke softly, “Yours, for our names are the same…”

Not all the poems and stories in this book are serious. There is a good mix of humor and satire, such as “The Title is Too Damned Long or (When Aunt Bessie Rode a Bike to the Belly-dancer’s Ball).”

So, if you’d like a one-of-a-kind book filled with poetry and art, including some of my poems, here’s the Amazon link. :https://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Poetry-Art-Rick-Sikes-ebook/dp/B072KXYHVY/

One reviewer had this to say, “Discovery by Jan and Rick Sikes is a powerful testimony of the human spirit. It is crafted such that the reader accompanies the writers not as a spectator but as a partner. “

As I approach the anniversary of Rick’s death, I am compelled to share his work with my readers. If you’ve read my novels, then you already know about Rick through the character Luke Stone. But a more personal look can be had through Discovery.

In honor of Rick’s memory and as a part of his legacy, I am giving away one hard-back full-color copy of the book (US only) and one copy of the ebook. Just share the post and leave a comment below for a chance to win!

Thank you for visiting! It’s always an honor!

Winner of Poetry Book

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It is with red-faced embarrassment I realize I never drew for a winner of the poetry book, Discovery from my April post.

Could it be that perhaps I am trying to juggle too much? Nah! Never. 🙂

Anyway, the winner of the eBook format of Discovery – Poetry and Art by Rick and Jan Sikes is none other than TINA FRISCO.

Tina, watch your email. The book is on its way and I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Meanwhile, back to your regularly scheduled program…

Poetry Connection #RRBC #RWISA

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As we wind down to the end of National Poetry Month, I am compelled to share a couple of excerpts from our Poetry and Art Book, “Discovery.

I chose this first poem for many reasons, but mainly because it is such a pure organic expression of longing and love from within a prison cell. I hope you enjoy it and take time to FEEL it.

The Dream By Rick Sikes

I dreamed I was out of prison last night

The long awaited time to set things right

You were a picture of loveliness in my sight

For hours we kissed, as I held you tight

Soaring, orbiting the heavens, souls in flight

No windows barred in this world of sunlight

Tears of joy did I weep

So happy, I couldn’t go back to sleep

I thought of a rose, though the prison yard is deep in snow

Feeling great, awakening from a beautiful dream, you know

It seemed that I had touched you, it was grand

Tenderness of your eyes, the caress of your loving hand

Tasting of honey were your sweet lips

My eyes traced your soft body like fingertips

You snuggled up to me so warm, so mine

These moments totally divine

No light, no dark, no time, in this dream of ours

Filled with love scents and of wild-flowers

Talking about the many things we’ll do

My antics bringing gay laughter to you

Smiling, drifting into sleep; cuddled, you and me

Sailing peacefully into tomorrow’s reality

 

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ARTWORK BY RICK SIKES

 

I chose this next poem because it is written from a base of truth. Rick has been gone now for nine years and at times I think maybe I should try opening myself up to have a relationship with someone else. But, then I read this and know it can never be…because “I am you and you are me.”

I Am You – You Are Me by Jan Sikes

I don’t know how it came to be

That we in spirit love were joined

Somewhere out in eternity

Then split apart like a germinating seed

And placed on earth each other to seek

We looked in many stranger’s eyes

Only to turn away and recognize

That this was not the one we sought

You and me

Then at last, fate heard our plea

And now forevermore we’ll be

Bound in love

By satin chains and golden threads

And endless love where we make our bed

And never again will we part

For we are joined heart-to-heart

From Spirit World to earthly plane

We’ll never need to search again

In love with you, I am set free

For I am you and you are me

I hope you enjoyed these excerpts from “Discovery.” I’d be honored if you’d pick up a copy and ecstatic if you read and review it.

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In print and eBook format on AMAZON

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I will give away one eBook of “DISCOVERY” to someone who leaves a comment and shares the post on social media. The winner will be chosen at random.  Thank you!