Synkroniciti is delighted to grant our “Ritual” poetry contest award to poet D.R. James for “Rite of Passage,” which explores how many boys, particularly in the American Midwest, became men in twentieth-century America by mowing lawns and fields and thus becoming useful members of society. Beginning in subtlety and quiet nostalgia, this is a poem with a knife in its pocket, as memory of a jarring event causes him, and us, to question whether such socialization, aided by modern technology, is benevolent in nature. The message is delivered with open vulnerability, made all the more powerful by its mundane character and restraint. Small decisions that we make every day, many so commonplace that they hardly seem decisions anymore, have devastating effects on our environment, our fellow species and our own psyches.
D.R. James, a small-college prof for, lo, these last 35+ years, splits his time between contemplation in his deck chair and contemplation in his recliner, each while looking out into the woods east of Saugatuck, Michigan. He and his psychotherapist wife, when not working, decking, or reclining, tend grandchildren and cycle the country roads leading to Lake Michigan. His latest of nine collections are Flip Requiem (Dos Madres, 2020), Surreal Expulsion (Poetry Box, 2019), and If god were gentle (Dos Madres, 2017), and his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at Origami Poems Project. Check out his Amazon author page here.