Author J.D. Estrada’s poetry book, Roulette of Rhymes, is a delight. His fiction (Only Human, Shadow of a Human) weaves dreamlike prose with grindhouse grit. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that his poetry has more of the same, but is accentuated by the freedom of verse.
There are gentle musings within, such as with “The Elephant,” bringing to life an idiom that instead of awkwardly enduring a room, decides to forge its own path heavenward. “Brewed to perfection” is an ode to coffee just about every one of us can not only enjoy, but relate to as we partake in the daily grind. Meanwhile the simplicity of a “Fortune cookie” is met with a striking poignancy when it comes to what’s within.
But perhaps the standouts for me are “The Fool’s Journey” and “The Madness of Jonathan J. George.” The former is the Fool’s shuffle through the tarot deck as he passes each card in the Major Arcana. It’s fantastically fun, and as someone who reads tarot, I enjoyed the nod to the artistry of the cards. The latter is an 800-line epic. It’s a real, raw, and honest look at life itself. Or rather, of living our lives. The poem may be about Jonathan J. George, but it’s truly a tale anyone of us can slip inside and be the hero of.
Turning the pages of Roulette of Rhymes is like taking a spin at the table, never knowing if you’ll land on whimsy or the darkness of reality.
Perhaps even both at once if you’re lucky.
Purchase Roulette of Rhymes on Amazon.