Writing Slag River Sins
by Ron Gavalik on June 3rd, 2015

A reader recently asked me, "Where is the next book?" The only response I could muster went something like, "We can't rush these things."

The truth is, penning Slag River Sins, a poetry collection of my past regrets, is the most gut-wrenching writing project I've ever tackled, and reader friends, that is saying something. I don't wish to toot my own horn, but I've been around the block a few times. In a former life, I once challenged a security guard at a coal electric plant to a fistfight after he grabbed for my 35mm camera. I was reporting about mercury poisoning deaths in Southwestern Pennsylvania. That story forced me to interview a screaming mother who'd lost her five-year-old son and a weeping 73-year-old widow. A tough assignment, to say the least. I've also written genre fiction, intense engineering documentation, and insane marketing communications. Hell, even my last book of personal MicroPoetry wasn't exactly a picnic.

Nothing has prepared me for the current project. Slag River Sins is about me reaching into my guts, extracting the most painful memories, and then transforming those transgressions into palatable free verse. Using the words difficult or hard is an understatement.

As an author, my first fear about publishing is losing readers between projects. Successful authors should put out at least one book per year to keep momentum. If all goes as planned, I should have Slag River Sins edited, formatted, cover illustrated, and released by late summer or early fall. That's about 14 months after the release of Hot Metal Tonic.

Hang in there. It's coming. I swear.

As many of you know, I adore my TRUE readers. It's you who allow me to eat and make it through life. So, with that said, I'm publishing here, in this blog post, the lead poem for the next book as a reward for your patience. Thank you.



I’m the degenerate you love to hate,
the unclean sinner who won’t tow the line.
You ridicule my independence at dinner parties,
among similarly dressed cronies,
the institutionalized prisoners
of prestige.

Hate us all, the degenerates.
Scorn the indie musician on the sidewalk.
He colors the dull march of the khakis.
Despise the painter in welfare housing.
She strokes thick lines of anguish
upon uncomfortable canvases.
Taunt the quiet poet at the end of the bar.
He writes raw truth on napkins gone ignored.

Loathe the degenerates you secretly fuck
when fashionable friends aren’t looking.
Eyes fixed upon your contemptuous smirk,
I am unable to cast judgment upon you.
Another degenerate spreads her tattooed thighs
without any hope of acceptance.
She only wishes to feel for a moment
the intoxicating sensation of
temporary love.

The degenerate’s climax is the richest syrup
that briefly covers your vanilla routines.
Debauchery provides you a moment
to feel freedom within slums,
the pleasures of darkness,
and the uninhibited passions of life
without approval.

Posted in Free Verse Poetry    Tagged with American poetry, alliteration is poetry, deep underground poetry, modern poetry, poetry, poem, poems, good poem, free verse poetry, hello poetry, flash poetry, MicroPoetry