Peter DeLorenzi is a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, having served a 1968-69 tour of duty at Vandegrift Combat Base in Quang Tri Province in I Corps. He lives, works, and writes on beautiful San Juan Island in the state of Washington.
DeLorenzi, a member of Vietnam Veterans of America, has a rare way with a turn of a phrase. He displays that to great advantage in Paper Airplanes and Serial Lovers: The Making of a Poet (Outskirts Press, 126 pp. $14.95, paper; $6.99, Kindle), a collection of fine poems.
Here is one from DeLorenzi’s prison years:
the bare concrete floor
meets my naked feet
time after silent time
as I traverse
my steel enclosure
and let my mind rappel down
the glass smooth face
of the distant cliffs
This poem is called “Sleepwalk-1980.” That year, DeLorenzi writes, “found me on trial for my life for the killing of a man in Oregon that was assaulting a woman. It’s a long story.”
He goes on to tell the reader that there are not a lot of events about prison life he cares to share with us. He does say, it’s “a tough way to wake up each morning. Stay free.”
That’s good advice for those among us who can envision being in such a place. I can, and I thank Peter DeLorenzi for his vivid poems warning of what can happen faster than you can imagine.
Read this book of powerful poems and appreciate how DeLorenzi has turned his experiences into these verses. He tells us he’s been doing his best “to be a good human being.”
There’s no greater goal for any of us. His poetry inspires me to do the same.