A Soundview writer has penned a book of poetry that is an unflinching look at all aspects of life on the street.
Akeem Trujeque, a fiction writer who has penned three short novels about life on the fringes, has just published his first volume of poetry titled Mind of a Menace.
The poetry, which is not for the faint of heart, should be available in paperback on Amazo
The poems build on novels he wrote called ‘Poppa, Bucktown’ and ‘Yes I Do’ while he was recovering from being shot when he was robbed while he lived in Brooklyn.
Those books are about love and the drug trade, the latter a topic not typically addressed in novels.
He was left a quadriplegic when a bullet ripped into his spine after entering his body through his stomach, said Trujeque, adding that he was shot five times in the incident.
Trujeque said he took to writing because there is not much that a 27-year-old man can do in a nursing home, and it helped him put his thoughts in order following the traumatic event that would define his life.
“Writing poetry [and fiction] is like a therapy for me,” he said. “It allows me to let loose and remain active.”
The poems in Mind of a Menace seek to portray the loss that often accompanies a life on the street, such as the loss of love from mothers and girlfriends who do not want to be a part of illicit activity, said the author.
It also seeks to offer a more well-rounded portrayal of what the life of a street hustler really is like, with Trujeque saying that modern hip hop is good at showcasing fast cars and gold chains, but not so good at showing what it takes to maintain such a life-style in terms of the toll on the person involved and their families.
“I just wanted to touch the crowd in a new way,” said Trujeque of Mind of a Menace, adding “I tried to make the poetry as raw as I could possibly get it.”
And indeed, it is raw. One of his favorite poems from the short book is called ‘Can’t,’ which is an ode to persistence in the face of adversity and the poor treatment sometimes accorded people with disabilities or those from rougher backgrounds such as Trujeque.
“I am going to make [good] no matter what happens,” said Trujeque of theme of the poem.
In keeping with the dark themes presented throughout the book, all of the pages are black with white print: instead of the norm.
The graphic design of the book of poems, which includes several drawings that accompany the poems, was done with help from the Women’s Press Collective, which offered to do the work after Trujeque met members of the group at a street fair.
“Out of all of my books, this one is my best one,” the author said of his latest accomplishment.
Sales from his books help the author supplement his income, said Trujeque.