Rhonda and I were born just over four months apart. We met just after the start of our sixth grade year at Avenue B Elementary School in San Manuel, Arizona. That would have been 1984; we were ten.
We were acquaintances. We were innocent explorers. We thought we might be lovers. We were dreamers. We were enemies. We were rivals. But most importantly we were friends. The best of friends.
Through the years sometimes we talked daily, other times weekly, and sometimes maybe yearly – but we never lost each other. Rhonda used to say we left that crappy little town and did exactly what we said we would do. She was right. Up until the end.
My dear friend took her own life in March of 2008. She was almost thirty-four years old. Her father, Leonard, and her sister, Mindy, had the love and kindness to share with me some of the fragmented pieces my friend left behind. Rhonda and I had always planned on publishing a poetry book that showed how strangely parallel our lives had been. It was going to be an exploration of life’s twists and turns from two perspectives at the same time. My friend left this life before we ever got to realize that dream. In May of 2008, I went to Mindy’s home and she lovingly and with great trust, handed into my care an old red suitcase decorated with a cartoonish drawing of two children holding hands on an adventure. It was titled “Going Places”. I was unemployed at the time, and used entire days to sift through the pieces and fragments and tales of my friend’s life. The first poetry in that case was dated 1989. Rhonda would have been fifteen; we were looking at starting our sophomore year at San Manuel High School. The final poem was dated 2008. That case held a nineteen year history: written down, titled, chronicled and dated.
My poetry was cataloged very differently. Most of it was lost when certain websites that I had stupidly trusted went under and vanished from cyberspace. Luckily, through filing on my computers over the years, and keeping several books I was able to rival Rhonda’s collection. After the days that I spent spreading our verses across the floor of my Mesa, Arizona home – I felt that I was able to capture a piece of proof that shows Rhonda and me to be soul mates. Dark reflections in contrast of a similar soul.
Rhonda and I lived very distant lives, at least physically, but as I perused her words, bittersweet and tortured as most of them were, I saw how uncannily similar our lives had been. We were never, ever that far in spirit and we were always within the distance and connection of our own voices – written or spoken. This collection of verse is my attempt to make good on Rhonda and my dream. We were poets. Shakespeare wrote, “Poets, lovers and madmen have such seething brains.” Never has that been proven to be more true.
I am not going to interrupt too often. I would prefer the verses to speak for themselves. What you hold in your hands is the mapping of almost two decades of two lives. What you take from it is up to you – this is the beauty and power of poetry. How is it possible to measure the legacy of a life ended in tragedy? Much of Rhonda’s poetry resonates with the pain and anger of the human condition. That said, my hope is that our journeys resonate enough to make your own journey seem less alone, more understood, more cosmically connected, and ultimately – more full of hope.
My friend would appreciate that I think.
|Publisher:||Ghost Writer Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.53(d)|
About the Author
Rhonda Rae Holcombe took her own life in March 2008. She left behind many friends and family who are only left with her poetry to try to understand.... why.
Kyle Blalock is an artist and jack-of-many-trades living in New York State. He was once one of Ryan's top students.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Part I Forward – “Rhonda Stolen”
Part II Explorations of Self Awareness
Part III Visions of Hope
Part VI Frailty, Fragility and Loneliness
Part VII Reflections and Reminiscings
Part VIII The Changing Faces of Love
Part IX “Going Places” – Epilogue
Part X About the Contributors
Part XI Afterword
“Poetry is Necessary”