Pillars of Sand
Kent C. Schroer
Kent C. Schroer, born April 5th, 1991, professional poet and editor, has held the privilege and distinction of authorship since age sixteen, the work in question titled “Hopeless” from Alabaster & Mercury: Vol. I. During his three consecutive years as an editor for the undergraduate UC Riverside campus-wide publication, “Mosaic”, Kent had work published in volumes fifty through fifty-two. In 2015, twenty additional poems were published in Alabaster & Mercury Vol III: Following Eternity Into Cold Fire. Pillars of Sand is Kent’s first standalone collection; The distilled adoration and maturity from over ten years of writing have culminated full-force in this effort. With no shortage of sentiment, and a flair for cadence, Kent C. Schroer’s new chapbook not only proves its immensity from the first few pages, but will soon prove to be the foundation from which this author launches his career.
Pillars of Sand, Kent C. Schroer’s first full-length Poetry chapbook, weaves a rich landscape of tragically human tales; The awkwardness of growing up, family ties, loss and isolation, and the harsh duality of our relationship with nature, are all explored here in gorgeous depth. There is excellent cadence, a soft musicality that imbues each poem with an uplifted hope; juxtaposed with their sharp honesty and solemn revelations, creates an experience that leaves the reader weathered and worn, and equally strengthened from it. Conclusively, the book speaks volumes on impermanence, the consequences we face when confronted with our own minute existence, and the whirring forces of fate that create such dreadful situations way beyond our control. Drawing influence from old and new, including such poets as Dylan Thomas, Jane Hirshfield and Philip Larkin, Pillars of Sand stands out as a brief but stunning snapshot of humanity; Our fortune and our flaws, and the pervading grayness in between that doles out the commerce of our daily lives. This is a collection meant for everyone: it confesses the immense depths of our pain, but also exalts the warm, endearing connection between us as a people, both intimately and on a global scale. Pillars of Sand is a lifetime in the making, a decidedly imperfect storm of memories, regrets and reconciliation, and it deserves an audience reflective of its imagination and immensity.
Last we saw home
was before the compulsory phone call
to evacuate. Our family,
after locking all the windows and doors
from the grimy, roiling veins of voracious soot,
that, when inhaled
we hacked up like shards of hot glass-
after gathering, without pause
our microcosm of simple comforts
and sterling memories,
we crammed the car
and watched, as our toothpick stretch of town
drowned savagely in flame;
Possessed by a strange deepsea gravity
so heavy that, had we paddled above
the sparse porthole glow from occupied rooms
and the molten, scabby stratos,
there would be the real thing-
deep stainless blue
with wisps of cirrus clouds too faint to cast shadows.
News reports claimed
the untamed Hell on our hilltop
had finally been quelled,
despite the audible hum that silence feigned
in place of a neighborhood-
raccoons and birds and fenced-off dogs
all gone- the gutted streets
by raining cinders and a sanguine sun.
Our first time returning, we stepped inside to find
the pungent rot of thawed beef,
its fatty blood spattered all over the refrigerator walls,
the seaport stench of old tilapia,
and a spine-biting chill
that gave evidence
to how things are often left
in a flash heat of reckless flight.
In spite of asylum,
fortune reminded us
there lurched the skeletal remains-
the lone chimneys that rose like charred brick monoliths,
the liquified concrete and steel
that could no longer be called home.