Newport Ave

I stumbled upon an Amazon contest and thought, what the heck, I could use a few quick bucks and the name recognition Amazon can provide if it chooses to. Besides, I have an available novel that seems to fall into a crack between genres, which makes it a hard sell to most publishers. So a contest may be the way to go.

The novel, Newport Ave, is a favorite of mine, and it began with people very dear to me, one of them my cousin Virgie. She inspired the Newport Ave character Olivia.

Here’s a poem I wrote about Virgie.

Long Ago at Warner Springs

Outside in the mineral water pool,
our mothers, one widowed, one divorced,
and a mob of kids float and splash.

My cousin Stevie’s dad, a widower,
died last year. Now Stevie and I
are in the rec room, slouching
against the pool-view wall between
the swinging doors and the jukebox.

Our cousin Virgie,
two years older, ages wiser,
like the girls on American Bandstand
or in news clips screaming their vows to Elvis —
Virgie reigns in here, commanding reverence
with her silky moves, tight pedal pushers, bare
feet, and her fleecy sweater,
pink and sleeveless.

A boy with glossed black hair,
his chinos pleated and pressed, has her favor.
They dance belly to belly, to “Twilight Time.”

Stevie and I twitch and squirm.
Because we too are boys, we know of his plot
to steal her away in his fast car.
If we could, we’d banish him
from the world
but we’re only thirteen.

The jukebox lifts the record from the turntable.
The boy’s hand rides low on Virgie’s back
as he steers her toward the far door and
his chopped Mercury painted to match
her scarlet lipstick and nails.

But she knows. Dismissing him
with her royal smile, she spins
toward Stevie and me.
The boy freezes. Only his throat moves.
He’s swallowing a lesson
about class, as in classy,
about love,
about family.

Please help me out with the contest. When Amazon publishes, you get the ebook, free.

Simply follow this link:, read the description of Newport Ave and as much of the preview as you feel like, then proceed to nominate.

It’s a mighty good story.


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