THE ABSENT - out now!


Out Now - For sale on Amazon and other onlne book sellers


Out Now


My first book of poetry available through Amazon and other online booksellers

Monday, October 24, 2011


POST-DIGITAL REVELATION by my friend J.D. Casten is best classified as book length verse although the last section is partly told in narrative form.

I think the best way for me to describe what this is about is to talk about creation as an artist and as a lifeform.  The first page introduces us to a narrator literally willing himself into being.

$ira la round  de la de da up: I was writhing in the twilight
A wizard of ooze – translucent and snapping open
Eyes burst forth and in precise bisections illuminate
Radiate rotation and in erratic adjustment turn
With confidence and style, stretch, yearn, learn, laugh

Through much of the first 2/3’s of POST-DIGITAL REVELATION, God and devil imagery collide with the conscious perceptions of the narrator.  The devil prepares his hell while God is less of a materially rendered being.

Is your truth evil?

An evil invention?
The invention of evil?
Everything is a lie!  Morality, mortality
They mean nothing to me
Is it moral to feel morally superior?

This often is augmented by his paranoia, his sense of being part of something greater.  His storypoem is one of eternity and machines and one of the mind functioning under external stimuli.  Much of it is presented in the language of dreams.

The collective perspective rediscovers itself
Light eons from the beginning, collecting
Fragmented pieces of an eternal puzzle
That refract and reflect all that prior
To the opening of the inception     

The Big Bang theory and aliens are introduced later.  The aliens in particular represent another part of the dream mind regurgitating back on itself what it knows from pop culture.

The aliens began to shape shift
With chameleon colors changing
Into various human representations
Found throughout history
From E.T. to Mr. Spock and then
Settling on the Great Gazoo from the
The Flintstones cartoon show

It is the last two chapters with the introduction of scientist Dr. Christine Herold where perception and the revelation of the possible identity of the narrator that gives us a twist like something out of a novel by Phillip K Dick.  In fact if Dick had written poetry, it would have been something very similar to POST-DIGITAL REVELATION I imagine.  I am also reminded of a more lucid William Burroughs.  Casten explains himself and his vision in a way that is well thought out not the overly hallucinatory cut-up style of Burroughs.  In his short punchy stanzas (in most of the first four chapters) one is also reminded of Allen Ginsberg and his ability to slide back and forth between scenes of seeming non-reality and scenes of what feels very real.   Of course, the spirit of William Blake resides here as well-man having no problem breaking down the wall between himself and an otherworldly experience and bearing witness to this

To me, as a poet, there is nothing harder than creating book length connected verse.  I am planning a future project along these lines but I know it will be a tough execution.  Even harder is creating something that tells a story using this format.  Throw in the changing perceptions and the answer might be this couplet appearing towards the beginning:

If we cut through this tide of delusion
And got to the real illusion.

J.D. Casten is also my publisher and more information on his book, his music, and publishing company can be found here -


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Here's my latest literary care package coming my way courtesy of my father....

My Home is Far Away by Dawn Powell
The Beauties and the Furies and The People with the Dogs by Christina Stead
The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge
Twenty Four Eyes by Sakae Tsuboi
Shooting Star by Wallace Stegner
The Vodi by John Braine

Friday, October 14, 2011


Tomas Transtromer, the 2011 Nobel Prize winner for Literature, is a poet of the interior.  His descriptive verse is of scenes between people, between nature where the reality of the living being encompasses the setting with the latter enhancing the former.

Usually I hate the type of poet who only paints a picture of the scene using only the barest of words forcing the reader to meet him somewhere and giving off no meaning, only mood but Transtromer is able to transcend this.  He shows us some truth, he can delve into the guts of a scene.

This type of poetry is a bit chilly but what do you expect of the Scandinavian mind?  Knut Hamsun was considerably more human but he was one of a kind.

In the end, Transtromer’s Nobel prize win is good because it brings recognition to poetry an art form no longer in the public eye as much as others.  Good for him and good for poetry!

You can read two of his most well know poems here AFTER A DEATH and THE COUPLE ….THE COUPLE  in particular is striking in its comparison the time a couple have alone and how that is portrayed versus the “mob of people with blank faces”


Had a funny conversation with a friend recently in Facebook and he asked me specifically what I would do if I was a president….So I thought about that and came with up with this list of things.

For me, the operating system here is getting away from ideology.  Ideology creates gridlock and traps people in unattainable positions.  Just because I believe A doesn’t mean I have to believe in B.  I’m trying to fix problems for the greater good and for the long term survival of America as well as improve the world as a whole.


 Within 90 days of taking office, I will pull all troops out of Iraq and the majority out of Afghanistan (setting a strict deadline for the rest).  Within the first year of my presidency, I will pull all troops out of Korea and the majority of the troops in Japan as well as other bases around the world.  I will leave only the bare minimum necessary for the running of these bases and where I can I will close US military bases on foreign soil.

I will shut down Guantanamo Bay by executive order the first day I take office and I will move the prisoners to America where they will receive trials in US courts.

I will de-recognize the state of Israel.  I will end all aid to Israel and also all military assistance.  I will push the United Nations through the International Atomic Energy Agency to demand inspection of all Israeli nuclear sites.  I will only recognize the state of Israel again once a Palestinian state that is free of Israeli domination and contains all land laid out in the original United Nations declaration has been created.  I will slap sanctions on Israel until they comply with this.

I will declare Pakistan a terrorist nation and end all military assistance and aid to them.

I will open up unconditional talks with Iran.  I will renew diplomatic ties with Venezuela and Bolivia.  I will remove Cuba from the list of terrorist states and open up direct talks with them (as well as allowing travel)

I will make the following offer to China – cease aid to Myanmar and North Korea and encourage (pressure) a new form of government in those countries and we will de-recognize Taiwan and re-recognize it as a province of China.  We will also remove all US military presence from Taiwan.


 I will, using an executive order on my first day in office, legalize marijuana federally.  I will give the states 90 days to comply with this order and create their own systems for buying and selling with the caveat that all marijuana sales incur a sales tax of 20% with 10% going to the state for whatever they choose to spend it on and 10% going to the federal government to be split between paying down the debt and funding education.

I will assemble a panel to look into the legalization of other harder drugs and make all decisions on further drug legalization within the first two years of my presidency.


 I will push legislation through congress to eliminate the Federal Reserve.  I will refuse to allocate any money or appoint any new staff for the Fed.  I will work with the congress in creating a fixed asset, a form of collateral, to guarantee US currency be it silver, gold, a combination of the two or something else.


I will create a federally authorized cradle to grave government health care plan with each state responsible for running it themselves under strict guidelines.  This will create government run health care facilities that will bypass private insurance. I will replace Obamacare with this system.

Those currently or about to go on Medicare and Medicaid will be transitioned into this system.  The Medicare and Medicaid programs will cease to be necessary.


I will eliminate all personal income taxes on those making under $100,000 a year.  For married couples with children at home $150,000.  I will increase taxes on everyone else as well as corporate taxes.

 I will give a tax break to manufacturing companies who stay in the US as well as those who relocate back to the US from a foreign country.  I will assess a financial penalty on those companies who move their facilities abroad.

I will create federal “sin taxes” that is higher sales taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and foods that has no nutritional value as well as pornography and firearms.  These monies will specifically go for payment on the debt.


I will completely change current education policy.  Most importantly I will eliminate the current “race to the top program” in particular the excessive focus on standardized teaching and the current abusive policies against teachers.

I will implement a system based on “I Can” meaning certain skills that students have to have and parts of knowledge that students have to know in order to move to the next grade.  I will push for more focus on critical thinking.

I will create a federal plan for teachers to reach tenure in a more transparent, efficient way  and a better benefit package for teachers including a housing allowance or providing housing.  In return, I will ask the teachers’ unions to agree a more streamlined disciplinary process for problem teachers.

The states will be largely free to spend federal education monies the way they see fit however there will be criteria that must be taught in every state.  The law of gravity is the same in California as it is in Georgia.


I will slash the Department of Defense’s budget in half and I will also eliminate the CIA.  Any necessary intelligence functions can be carried out by military intelligence.

I will eliminate the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  Any necessary functions can be carried out by the Department of Defense.

I will eliminate the Department of Commerce.  Any necessary functions can be carried out by the Department of Labor.

I will eliminate the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture.  Any necessary functions can be carried out by the Department of the Interior  


I will support a constitutional amendment to create term limits of two terms for senators and six terms for congressman.

I will support legislation to get rid of the Electoral College and in place have a direct popular vote of the president.

I will push through a constitutional amendment to establish public financing of campaigns ONLY.  All candidates can only spend the money given to them for their campaign by the government.

I will support legislation to create a national primary in which all primary elections during an election year all over the United States for the presidential candidates on down to local legislators from the political parties will be held at one time.

The election campaign season will be officially shortened to 60 days.


I will push for a more streamlined process to becoming an American citizen with a timeline upon application.

I will push for a federal law eliminating driver’s licenses, tuition, and other legal documents or benefits for people who are breaking the law by being here illegally.

I support English as the official language of the United States and also an English Language proficiency test for all those who wish to be US citizens.


I will withdraw America from the WTO.

I will repeal NAFTA.

In return for intellectual property enforcement and fairer trade practices, will allow China to continue pegging the Yuan to the dollar once we end the Federal Reserve system.


While protecting those who are already in it or are close to receiving benefits, I will transition Social Security into a bigger program with greater rate of return, some private investment, and the flexibility to use for other expenditures (such as home ownership) Basically, a citizen’s savings account with the restriction a certain percentage must be saved for retirement.

I will NOT raise the retirement age.
I will create a “lockbox” system so legislators cannot borrow from the Social Security account.


I will convene a national conference on whether it is time to amend the second amendment to allow local governments the flexibility to deal with gun violence.

I will push for a nationwide handgun ban.


I will sign an executive order recognizing gay marriages among federal staff and give them applicable status overriding laws in individual states.

I will refuse to enforce the Defense of Marriage act.

I will use the presidency as a bully pulpit to argue for a constitutional amendment to legalize gay marriage nationally.


I will reverse the privatization of the prison system and make sure every prison in the USA is government (either state or federally) run.

I will cancel all contracts with private military contractors working with the US government.

I will sign an executive order eliminating the federal death penalty.  I will give states financial incentives if they choose to eliminate their own death penalty (if it’s legal in their state).

I will push for the decriminalization of prostitution.


Monday, October 10, 2011


There are two kinds of protests – those that are meant to accomplish a specific goal, that is to end something or get something implemented or otherwise change something existing.  The civil rights movement would be an example of this type of protest.

The other type of protest would be those that are undertaken to draw attention to an issue or a bunch of issues without any clear cut policy demands.  It seems like the Occupy Wall Street protests that are as of this writing spreading to other US cities would fall under this category.

And therein lies the problem.  A general protest like this which is being covered as a reaction to the ongoing recession/depression encompassing the elements -the rich getting richer, the middle class dying out, unfair tax structure and job, jobs, jobs, etc. is perhaps too big and complex a subject to be addressed in street demonstrations.

I do partially agree with those who say that protests would be better aimed at Washington not at Wall Street since Wall Street would never change any of their practices without being forced to by government (in the form of legislation).

I also agree with Ron Paul when he says the Federal Reserve should be part of any targeting by protestors.  The artificial boom and bust economic cycle it creates through control of the flow of currency is definitely a scandal.  End the Fed!

So I’m sympathetic to the Occupy movement but would like to see them focus on something concrete.  In fact, I have an idea for something they could push for immediately.

A continued high unemployment rate is one of the scariest and damaging parts of this recession/depression.  There is now a class of people who have been out of work for a long, long time.  However, many employers will not consider those who are unemployed and will only hire those moving from existing job.  This effectively freezes a group of unemployed folk as permanently jobless.

President Obama has proposed a bill preventing employers from discriminating against the jobless under threat of legal penalty.  I strongly support this bill and it is something that the Occupy groups could get behind and use to build support.      

Friday, October 7, 2011


I just want to be clear that it’s me not PET SOUNDS.  It is a superbly recorded record and I’ve owned two copies of it; one on vinyl and one on CD although I don’t currently own a copy.

However, I’ve never had the intense feelings towards this records that many fans and rock critics do.  It’s a pleasant enough pop album with incredible arrangements but something about it has always left me cold.

When discussing PET SOUNDS, it’s impossible not to also mention SGT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND by The Beatles.  The Beatles earlier album REVOLVER was highly influential on Brian Wilson as he recorded PET SPOUNDS and correspondingly PET SOUNDS was highly influential on The Beatles when they recorded SGT PEPPER.

Both albums share orchestration and beautiful vocals but SGT PEPPER is a whole other level of insight when it comes to the songwriting and therein lies the problem.  SGT PEPPER is a record that could be turned back on the world like a mirror-the characters there are people that may exist and their thoughts and the images in the songs are also very real.

PET SOUNDS, despite all its warm sounds-harmonies, strings, percussion etc. is at its heart a chilly record.  You can feel The Beatles heart, their passion in everything on SGT Pepper.  PET SOUNDS is more about pushing the limits of the studio as far as they will go.  The songs themselves are not that much different from what they did earlier-girl problems, the Pacific Ocean etc. they just sound better but in the end I can’t relate to it the way I relate to SGT PEPPER and other music I enjoy.  It’s all about the craft rather than the heart.

I should acknowledge the exception is my favorite Beach Boys song of all time which ends PET SOUNDS – “I Wasn’t Made For These Times” A beautiful and powerful statement and perhaps Brian Wilson’s signature song.  


Amanda Knox’s release this week brings me mixed feelings….On one hand, I don’t believe the prosecutors proved that she was guilty of what they charged her with –murder and sexual assault but on the other hand I do believe she and her boyfriend Rafaelle Solecito were present in the house after the murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher which would contradict her official story/alibi.

I have my own theory on that happened which I will get to later.

So I think if Amanda Knox had been tried in the US, Accessory would have probably been the proper charge.  What do I base this opinion on?

1.) THE FOOTPRINTS – The defense contradicted the evidence that bare feet imprints detected by luminal were those of Knox but I’ve read what they say and there is reasonable doubt here to assume Knox was in the apartment.  Both sides made a good argument.

2.) THE DNA EVIDENCE ON THE BRA – Again severe chain of custody problems as well as the fact it had lain on the floor for a long time prior to collection. Was Knox’s boyfriend’s DNA  really discovered on Kercher’s bra?  Taken by itself, it is flimsy.

3.) THE BUYING OF CLEANING SUPPLIES AT A NEARBY STORE – A shopkeeper testified that Knox had purchased cleaning supplies in his shop the morning after the murder.

4.) KNOX’S CONTINUALLY CHANGING ALIBI – In the early stages of the investigation, the story of what Knox was doing at the time of the murder changed several times.  This has been blamed on the interrogation she received from Italian police (more on that below).  One thing that is clear - Sollecito’s original claim about being on the computer all night did not stand up to investigation.  

So what am I saying?  What do I think happen?

First off, I believe Rudy Guede committed the murder of Meredith Kercher.  I don’t believe there is enough evidence for the story that was this was some kind of Satanic ritual and that Knox and Sollecito helped hold her down and participated in the crime

But I do think there is a prima facie evidence that they were in the house sometime before (or even during the murder) which contradicts both their alibis and their timelines.

In fact, I will go as far as to theorize that they both participated in a clean-up after the murder.  That is where the evidence leads.

Bu why?  And here is where everyone (the media especially) dropped the ball.

Much was made of “Foxy Knoxy’s” sexual activities, her promiscuity, her wildness but the truth is the even bigger story was her drug use.  The night of the murder she admitted smoking hashish with Sollecito.  Guede the murderer was apparently her drug dealer.  I think her confused and odd behavior the next day is directly attributable to this fact.

In fact, the weakest part of her defense is when her supporters try to explain away many of the odd things she did the next morning and the next day or two.  There is no way to explain these things except if she was very high and in fact had been high for a number of weeks before abusing various narcotics.

This also might explain why she would have gone along with a clean-up perhaps in a paranoid state she and Sollecito were convinced by Guede or perhaps they just did it on their own suffering under some drug-induced delusion that they were responsible.

Knox’s promiscuity and problems with impulse control could also be blamed on the overconsumption of narcotics.  It also explains her pointing the figure at an innocent man originally and also her performance during the initial interrogation.

I believe this in the end was the underlying factor.

Anyway, Amanda Knox has a lot in common with Casey Anthony (Obviously guilty of something but prosecutorial overkill) and OJ Simpson (Obviously guilty but helped by investigator error.  I have as much of a hard  time believing the conspiracy theories about Knox’s set-up by Italian law enforcement as I did about Simpson being set-up by the LAPD ) .  Let’s see how she reacts to her new freedom coupled with fame.  If she jumps in when the chat shows and reality shows beckon, she will not be as sympathetic a figure.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Pleased to announce my novel CRIPPLED HEARTS is out now as a Kindle book.

It sells for $2.99. 

Here's the info....

 With a lucid and humor injected style, Raj Dronamraju’s CRIPPLED HEARTS takes the reader along a series of intimate relationships. His narrative, balanced between detail and momentum, and on the verge of stream of consciousness, depicts the discovery of the very real women found between the protagonist, Gerald Rao, and getting laid. Vivid character portraits give way to graphic love scenes, as Gerald tries to rationalize his complex of attitudes—sometimes admirable, often despicable, and almost always misanthropic and at odds with an American social structure perceived as corrupt.

Although alluding to Japanese I Novels, James Joyce’s work, and Henry Miller’s pre-beatnik outsider novel, TROPIC OF CANCER, this semi-autobiographical novel is culled from real life experiences, people and places. CRIPPLED HEARTS dissects human connections made possible by the internet in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s, turning the traditional romance novel inside out: “romance” from an often bitter young loner’s libidinous perspective. Here, various flawed characters seek affection, especially as we see through a narrator whose own perceptions reveal him as much as his sexual partners as real human beings with more than a modicum of heart.

CRIPPLED HEARTS operates on several levels—as the narrator’s infidelities to his wife parallel his lack of faith in traditional ideals, the American dream, or ultimately even his own moral compass. No: “hope” is about getting lucky. Yet, by the end of this chapter in his life, the narrator emerges not perfect, but improved for the relationships he has sacrificed. Not a traditional Don Juan, Casanova, or even Dracula-type of story, this novel reveals not a confidence man, but a man trying to build confidence; a broken heart on the mend, breaking hearts, and finally seeking forgiveness when faced with solid reality following a climactic fantasy tryst in China. CRIPPLED HEARTS is the first of a series of six novels by Raj Dronamraju, each with a different set of organizing themes and structures that together form a comprehensive critique of not just life in America but Western culture as a whole.