In Take a Walk With Me, Southern Californian Rudy Calzada, who retired after working for 43 years with the United States Postal Service, writes about the moods and memories of his personal life without ever getting too personal. The result is a jovial and generous collection.
Framed by two poems that elaborate on the title, Take a Walk With Me explores childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. An early poem, “The Altar Boy,” dates to 1956. Others, such as “Richard,” a tribute to the poet’s brother, are dated in the 1970s. In “Bullfrog,” Calzada recounts catching a frog and bringing it home for a pet, at which point his mother screams and orders him to release it. In a narrative poem, “Day at the Beach,” Calzada savors a youthful experience of love.
Calzada leads us on a journey through a happy life filled with family, friends, faith, and music. It’s hard not to be charmed by a poet who says, in “The Music Poets Play,” “Pour me a beer, / and play me a tune! // I’ve plenty of time / to spend with you.” Calzada is at his best in the unrhymed poems that honor his friends. In “For Joe and Angie,” the simple details are disarming and endearing:
To dream of things
so yellow gold, and
maybe things you’ve
Your favorite poem.
A can of Coors.
or maybe Vikki Carr!
Poems such as “Last Supper” follow through on the religious theme introduced by “Altar Boy” and help unify the book while displaying religion as a familiar aspect of cultural life. Filled with gatherings and celebrations–chess games, arm wrestling matches, attending the opera, “dancing in a crowded room”–Take a Walk With Me is a warm appreciation of everyday life.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.