In “Ordinary Inspiration”, Brian Wayne Maki offers a collection of poems that asks readers to pay attention to all the little gifts that exist in their daily lives; As many of Brian’s most nostalgic poems reveal, the ordinary moments are often the ones that turn into the most fond and meaningful memories.
In a straightforward and honest introduction, Brian, who is a computer science teacher and poet, expresses his dismay and concern over how technology is pulling people apart, filling their lives with largely pointless communication as we allow the days and the nights spent in front of a computer. screen to replace our opportunities to learn from nature and from each other through personal interaction. For example, on “Tiny Cell Phone,” Brian comments, “The cell phone has made us a lazy collaborator / We are really reflecting, driving, and meeting less.”
However, Brian does not insist on technology, but instead focuses on the positive moments in life. The vast majority of his poems highlight moments that might have seemed ordinary but became extraordinary for him, moments that bring back fond memories, life lessons, and perspectives on personal growth. The poems continually focus on a personal connection with nature and also the value of personal relationships, from friendships to being a parent to finding love. The value of relationships is especially highlighted in “White Doves Flying.”
Most of Brian’s poems have a sweetness and nostalgia, although at times he drifts into the scariest moments in life, as in “Night Stalker,” when he writes about a drunk following him home from work. Although, like Brian, I tend to be optimistic, perhaps my favorite poem in this collection is “Tough Love” because it has a sarcastic touch reminiscent of the work of Thomas Hardy, through the last recurring line of each stanza: “But you you will soon learn how hard love can be. “
While readers will find their own favorite poems that resonate with them, ultimately all of these poems are a reminder that life is a journey filled with meaning when we seek that meaning. We could find meaning in a sunset or a snowy day, but we could also find it in what Brian calls the “Potholes of Life”: “You have to make mistakes to learn and move on / And you must learn to avoid the potholes of life. “It reminds us that we are all searching and trying to find meaning and inspiration in everyday life; In “Life Skills”, he writes, “For those who have been able to forge a solid life / Don’t forget where you came from and how you did it.” Brian firmly believes that ultimately good results in life and because we learn from our difficulties, he asks readers to share what they have learned with others who are struggling. For that same reason, Brian writes his own poems, hoping to inspire and give hope to others.
As Brian reminds us in the title poem, “It’s amazing where inspiration comes from / A barren old road in the early morning / A single tree standing in the grove of the meadow.” Readers will find magic in their ordinary lives when they seek it out, and Brian’s poems can help point them in the right direction to find that magic.