It's an amazing day to shine the spotlight on someone I find highly talented. It is with great enthusiasm - on the Jimmy Broccoli page and website - to share with you the poetry of Jared Morningstar.
Jared is a storyteller and a commentator - and he effectively does both - (often) simultaneously. I was introduced to his poetry fairly recently - and am thrilled to include his work within the upcoming anthology, "Encore" (released on January 1st)!
With Jared (and his poetry), there is a sense of familiarity (for me). He reminds me of other friends I've had throughout the years - the smart ones - the ones who live for conversations that frequently continue into the early hours of the morning. There is nothing exaggerated, artificial, or forced about Jared's work - he speaks from his experience, from his observations - and he shares his thoughts intelligently and beautifully. He is an outstanding poet.
Here is Jared in his own words:
Jared Morningstar is a high school English teacher and adjunct English professor at Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College. He writes about his interests and observations of the world around him. Morningstar has published three collections of poetry and prose (American Fries, American Reality, and A Slice of American Pie) through Alien Buddha Press, and he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2020. He lives in Michigan with his wife and children.
Here is a poem by Jared Morningstar - and I know you'll love it as much as I do! ______________ Lost in America
Excuse me, are you lost? Need a room? You look like you aren’t from here, deer in the headlights, like someone who stumbled upon hellfire while looking for heaven’s safe, open arms.
I understand. Surely the rusty sign out front is off-putting, and the neon’s no good: it hasn’t welcomed people in years. But the beds are soft, and if you find any stains on the floor, know they are as old as the carpet.
Truth is we’re good people here: as good as the coffee at the town diner is hot; COVID and population loss couldn’t close its doors. It’s a survivor, for now, and there isn’t a Starbucks around for miles. Good thing, too: their nasty sludge has no heart.
Oh, I am sorry if you like that place. I am sure it comforts you like how a baby sleeps better in his own crib. We like safety, too, the kind that comes from home, a home that is just ours.
Just like the park down the street, the kids still have fun; they don’t care if the paint is chipped on the merry-go-round. Like the local grocery store with ancient floors that we can’t seem to get clean. Like the library, yes, we still read here, where we can check out books about animals, the American dream, about a time when our main street wasn’t a graveyard: abandoned storefronts and shells of motor courts. The bars and churches, we got, but not much else since folks like you stopped visiting. Nope, all we have is the diner, rusty amusements, high-priced produce, and history books, but most of all, each other. We live together, and we’ll die together, but at least we know who we are.
So why don’t you stay a while? Even if just for a night? No, we don’t have McDonald’s, Walmart, and no, this place isn’t the Hilton or even a Super 8, but we have our souls, and until this town finally dies, that’s enough.
Besides, you can feel safe in those places anytime. You can find them anywhere in America off any exit ramp: where a city looks like everywhere else, where your individuality is lost:
as lost as you look right now, in your own country that you didn’t even know existed.
Photo: Jared Morningstar.