Wiggle Room – a fistful of verse

What folks is saying:

“Rex Stocklin has pulled a poetic rabbit out of his hat, squeaking just past expectations of what poetry should be, in his aptly named Wiggle Room. Each poem in the collection is a morsel of wit, without being overly freighted with expectations of what a poem should do or be. There’s little to no punctuation and most people can’t pull that off, but once you settle on the idea that each ‘thoughtlet’ is only a piece in the stream of consciousness the poet shares, this works quite well. An enjoyable read from start to finish.” ~ Christopher Reilley, "Grief Tattoos"

“Rex Stocklin wills a wider gap in Wiggle Room. The wit, word play, and pleasing rhymes that pepper his haiku and limericks don a resolute grit when recounting stroke and seizure. Rex's fluid path between irony and pathos is potent and compelling.” ~ Richard Fox, "Time Bomb"

"I have become familiar with Rex's ability to turn a phrase or two after reading several years worth of family Christmas letters, but this compilation is a leap forward. It boxed a whole bunch of thoughts into little tiny nuggets, hidden inside a printed game or word-play. I wasn't able to speed read them. Nor could I read them just once and parse out the whole story. It often took several times on different days for the 'a-ha!' moment to hit me. Days for my head to unravel the intertwined subtleties of the words and sometimes even the actual point. I think I found all the Easter eggs, but that may change when I read them again. Anyway, I am hardly a creative writing critic, so let me say simply that I enjoyed the read and I am still enjoying the read.~ Jon Rampton, Professor of Dentistry, University of South Carolina

"I have read Wiggle Room multiple times and enjoy it more and get more out of it with each read. The cleverness with words is uncanny, but no surprise to me having heard Rex speak so well over the years. The poems range from hysterical (esp. "Next" and "Computers") to dark and brooding, or simply goofy. Of course, I particularly like "Stroke" and "Broke Ass." I bet Rex would also be quite good at prose and writing short stories (or the great American novel?)! Congrats on a marvelous collection! ~ Jeffrey Hilburn, Chief of Neurology, St. Vincent Hospital, Indianapolis

About your poet:

Rex was born a boy in the mid-'50s in rural South Central Indiana, grew up in the big city of Indianapolis, and upon graduation, set off for college at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. With minimum effort, he still managed to graduate with a a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering. But he was unsettled and hated his engineering job fresh outta school. At this point, he set off West to "find" himself and worked, variously, in the oilfields of Oklahoma, in retail menswear, music and software sales and management, in fast food and full-service food management. Ultimately he ended up as a sales rep for Microsoft, just as the software giant was taking off with Windows 3.0.

Through a tragedy of errors, Rex took health leave from Microsoft after a few lucrative years, met his once and future wife through an online service called Prodigy, moved to Los Angeles, performed a midlife reboot and studied graphic design at UCLA, then of all awful things, suffered a devastating stroke at age 39. From this point getting back into his education track was extraordinarily challenging (though, this time, he was a star student) and turned out to be a wash. He and his bride moved back to his Hoosier hometown, in order to save on cost of living and to gain family support. They've lived in suburban Indy ever since the late '90s. It was then an extremely bored, dejected yet motivated Rex decided to start putting his thoughts to mouse. Verse seemed to flow at will. Some of it lunky, some of it really keen. He spent the next 5-6 years honing his craftiness, and the volume being hawked here is the culmination.

From Wiggle Room:


old man on creaking porch swing
snuck his wry worn look my way
under a lazy fresh-washed sky
as i revisited the halcyon focus
where my youth once took flight
was he privy of a hidden thing
that needed to be revealed?
some wizened speck i'd missed
along my own bleak journey?
his warmth bested the day's sun
compelled, my route altered
i offered my acquaintance
his glee subdued under years
of short-circuited promise and truth
yet, his leather melted into hope
my history seemed a vapor as
the future presently pulsed
our junction had so eclipsed
foiled expectations of this life
now whole and full, i stood
seeing the old man was gone
he lasted the distance to pass
a stranger his gift just found
i travel nowadays without aim
let the winds issue their whim
should you spy me from a far porch
you'd do worse than to invite
this old wayfarer to join in
and share a word, a smile, a spell
Tom, Toonces, Garfield,
Hatted Cat, Mr. Jinx, Bill,
Stimpy, Morris, Socks

The world's famed kitties
Are so burned into our minds
One haiku won't do

Without further ado:
More felines in the limelight
If they only knew

Felix, Puss 'n' Boots,
Sylvester, Cheshire, Top Cat,
Kit Kat, Si & Am


Get ‘em before they are history!
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