George Criner Green’s volume of poetry, The Special Request, is about putting God and others first, embracing home and community, treasuring loved ones and enjoying life.
Many of its pieces deliver a strong sense of setting. One poem, “Thoughts of Oakland,” evokes the sounds, colors and movements of the city: “Sounds of horns, as vessels sail away. / The tooting sound of the Bart Train”; “The night lights of orange, / Creeps out the hillsides to play”; and “The gulls are gathering, primed for feeding.”
Another poem, “Katy Park,” takes as its setting a baseball stadium, effectively calling to mind nostalgia for lively games through iconic images: “The smell of popcorn and hot dogs, / The sound of vendors selling pops and cold beer. / The hustle of ball boys running after foul balls, / The laughter of the Crowd and Cheer.”
Other pieces abandon setting to focus on men, such as college football player “Jefferson Street Joe,” who was “as quick as a cat, he had many fakes. / He was stylish and elegant, like a swan on the lake.” Another, titled “I’m the Greatest,” highlights Mohammad Ali’s image as a role model who struggled against adversity: “He preached Islam, how to live an pray, / He preached about respect, being Black in the world today. // …Three years they barred him, but he didn’t become a tramp… ”
Green’s topics as well as his style reveal a hearty embrace of a religious life. Though the writing isn’t innovative and many words are misspelled or misused, the poems include vibrant details of place and culture and effectively evoke a lively and optimistic portrait of America.
Also available as an ebook.