Charlie Becker sees life in pastels. In a world often dominated by brash
flashing colors, his eye slows things down and observes the muted shadings.
Only when one gets past the blinding blaze of the sun you can see its true
complexion of corona and freckled spots. His gentle poems and drawings in
his book, Friends My Poems Gave Me, invite us to slow down, our eyes to
take a relaxed, better look.
In his poem, "What We Believe", Charlie lays in bed at night, slowing down,
trying to make sense of a troubling day. He writes,
"At night I would listen to the sound of mist
sinking into tree branches
jacarandas growing crown shaped purple buds
over the streets…'
and perhaps, finding some peace manages to
"make friends with my heartbeat
anything to make me feel safe
In one of my favorite poems, "Gumbo 101", he gives us stop-action photos of his
Creole partner laboring to make gumbo. He tells us,
"A good gumbo, like you
has a New Orleans skin
you come from."
And then later, as the partner furiously dices vegetables, he writes,
"You sweat the tears
as your T-shirt sticks
against broad shoulders,
biceps flexed with a hunger
creamy and thick."
Whether Charlie is reveling in the beauty of the human form, celebrating the
nourishment of love, discovering what it is to be a gay man, or dissecting
the mind of a bully, we are swept away by his poetry like a dandelion in the
breeze and fortunate to catch the seeds of wisdom and beauty it disperses.