Prose and Poetry

There's nothing like a good story—well told—with a point that lingers and beckons you into the waters of a deeper, richer life. I've known that since I was a kid staying up long past my bedtime listening to my father or one of my uncles elaborating some adventure they'd had. Even after I was driven to bed I'd sneak out of my room and lurk in the shadows of the living room, all ears to the voices recounting tales of characters and situations that gripped my interest and set my imagination racing.

They were usually simple stories that had transpired in the Brooklyn that I knew, stories connected to their jobs and the people they rubbed elbows with, often spiced and sparked by some unusual twist that events had taken. They were genuine, real life adventures that had taken place that day or the day before, and they were told with a verve and immediacy that made them unforgettable.

Not all the narrators were equally adept, but they all had their own personalized flair. My Uncle Vito was the one with the most stories and the most exciting ones, too. He was always on the go, always up to something, and he got himself into the most thrilling situations. Like when he and Joey-next-door went off to California or when he had to weave through the fallen hot wires along hurricane-devastated streets to help a lady in distress. A lot of his stories, now that I think of it, had ladies in them. All in all they were tales that came alive in my imagination; they held me, a delighted captive, and they stuck with me.

Through the years I've worked at telling a good story, letting it unfold moment by moment, watching the light click on in people's eyes, knowing they're getting something to take home.

Here are some to take home.

A Renegade Of Birds - by Frank Crocitto

They say poetry is a pretty tough sell in these times, in this country. Maybe that's why Frank—who has a penchant for bucking the current—decided to let loose his Renegade of Birds. (Then again Dylan Thomas didn't do too bad, and neither has Rumi.)

Once Upon A Dog - by Frank Crocitto

Here's a dog book to end all dog books or maybe to begin all dog books. Frank takes us on a ride through his heart, where most of real life takes place. He leaves out none of the ache and uplift, the exhilaration and ecstasy that loving contact with man-and-woman's best friend invariably brings. He subtitles his book,rather appropriately: Tales of dogs that ran away with my heart.

May I In The Merry Merry - by Frank Crocitto

This book—admittedly—is outrageously small. If you're counting pages. All it contains is a single story. But what a story! A story that can blossom into all sorts of possibilities. It's a jazzy, poetic, tender, outrageous and funny fable of old Manhattan. In it Frank captures the pure, sweet spirit of the Sixties through his depiction of the head-on encounter and instant romance of that truly great character—Vinnie Sciaputo (of Bay Ridge ) and the gorgeous, brilliant but bored, Regina Holloway  ("of Hoity-Toityville" ).

Insight Is Better Than Ice Cream - by Frarnk Crocitto

Though the title he gave his book is snickered at and often blithely disputed, especially when the tongues talking have never tasted the ambrosia of insight, Frank insists on it. And slyly invites you to take a taste of his take on topics as varied as love, teachers, death, cars, money, fist-fighting, education, traveling, work, coffee--he goes on and on.

It's stories and straight talk straight out of his experience. Here's a snatch at random: