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© 2006, West End Press
Both a memorial and a call to awareness, these poems were written in response to the death of a friend. Buddy Gray, a grassroots activist and co-founder of the National Coalition for the Homeless, was shot by a former client a decade ago in Cincinnati. Many questions remain about the killing of this man that sparked a funeral march of over two thousand mourners through the streets of the city.
Some of the poems deal directly with Gray and his murder, while others address a variety of topics: grief, poverty, and the struggle for a decent way of life; the effect of homelessness on the spirit; the nature of sacrifice and the creation of a common voice. Weaving through them all, a chorus of watchful crows counts the hours and observes the human participants.
In his invocation, the poet calls on the spirits of heroes and the artists who stand behind them:
Debs and Tubman, King and Neruda
Echoes of their voices, as well as those of Tennyson, Vallejo, Ginsberg, and Dickinson, can be heard throughout the book. Crow Call can be read either as a meditation on injustice or an extended elegy in the tradition of “In Memoriam,” “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed,” and “Kaddish.” However it is read, it touches the heart.
5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches • 88 pages • ISBN 0-9753486-6-3 • $12.95
Michael Henson is the author of Ransack, a novel situated in the Over the Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, and A Small Room with Trouble on My Mind, short fiction of the Ohio River Valley, both published by West End Press.
His chapbook of poems, The Tao of Longing, was published in 2005.
A political activist and counselor, he continues to live and work in Cincinnati.