Poetry, Prose, and Reflections

The poetry in Taylor Made: Poetry, Prose, and Reflections is more than merely “poetry”: the poetry in this volume is a love story between a man and his cherished family—past and present. Between these pages, Dr. Ray Taylor pays tribute to his ancestors, caught in the destructive maw of the Jim Crow South, who, by dint of sacrifice and hard work, escaped its confines to follow brighter prospects in the North.

Taylor Made: Poetry, Prose, and Reflections represents an outpouring of heartfelt creativity from a young man on the cusp of adulthood; all the more valuable for their scarcity, each of these poems carries with it a crystalline quality of honesty and valor, clearly built to last this lifetime and beyond.

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“I had decided to set up my oral surgery practice in Gary, Indiana, for two reasons. Initially, I thought the city, which had a thriving steel industry and a majority black population, needed me. My second thought was that my father, who had given his life to his God through church ministry in our hometown, needed me as he aged.”

When I was two years old, my mother told me that my father decided to move our family from Samantha, Alabama, to the south side of Chicago. This emigration was a part of what historians call “The Great Migration.”

I began to notice some doctors in the operating room and on the wards. They talked to nurses and technicians as though they were children. These were the people who helped to ensure smooth surgeries and calmed their patients through the night. Without the janitors, housekeepers, dietary workers, technicians, nurses, and, oh yes, doctors, our hospitals would collapse.

Chester drove home in a brand new 1955 yellow Chevy 210 2-door hardtop. That was it! Studies were out, swag was in. Chester was the uncrowned King of Froebel. I was just his little brother, but, there were fringe benefits.

He also had the habit of saying exactly what was on his mind. In the South, this usually led to death or institutionalization for a black man.

The true lover is one who takes that largest of risks: to expose all tender and vulnerable places of himself. He is a giver who, at times, is made honest, helpless, hopeless; to be in Heaven or Hell, but always hopeful.


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