Before the Distance
Virus Poems by Pasquale Trozzolo
The COVID-19 pandemic had us all sheltering at home, and with all that shelter comes time to reflect, and with all that reflection comes truth. From that truth, if we are lucky, comes poetry. Before the Distance visits what we miss, our longing for whatever normal once was. It also visits our fears and helps us conquer them. And yes, among our longing and fears there is optimism and hope that all the missing will be for good. For good: that would be good, maybe even better than Before the Distance.
About the Author
Pasquale Trozzolo is an entrepreneur and founder of Trozzolo Communications Group, one of the leading advertising and public relations firms in the Midwest. In addition to building his business he also spent time as a race car driver and grad school professor. Now with too much time on his hands, he continues to complicate his life by living out as many retirement clichés as possible. He’s up to the p’s. Before the pandemic Trozzolo only shared his poems with a handful of close friends. Since sheltering-at-home he has begun to share what he calls Virus Poems.
Early Praise for Before the Distance:
Before the Distance will take you farther than you thought you had energy to travel in a pandemic . . . to memories you didn’t know you had, and through longings you kept secret, even from yourself. It will take you back to the color blue and to the fragrance of lost love. The collection both inhabits and sets free the goblins of uncertainty: free-floating worry, off-kilter encounters, mind games, and coping skills. We can tell Trozzolo is not a young man. He knows shortcuts. With sure-footed prose, he takes us by the hand and shows us to shelter, in places like backyards and morning kisses and winter’s end. You will leave his verse infected by questions: “When is my party?,” “Does dust make choices?,” “What wonder could have flowed?” And eventually, “Did you find your way home?”
—Becky Blades, author Do Your Laundry or You’ll Die Alone
Pasquale Trozzolo’s Before the Distance is an invitation. Here, we enter the life of a fully lived man in a time of social and global upheaval. But unlike today’s social media or news feeds, this is not a rant, and it is not a call for anything. Rather, it’s an introspective dialogue between peace and chaos, love and instability, joy and fear. Like a conversation, the poet casually speaks to us, sharing his innermost self as if we’re gathered around the table, each truth spoken in the shape of a stanza. They’re measured words that carry tenderness and purpose, and they examine the state of our place in the world, the doubts we all carry, the rites of passage we must go through, and the social norms we must now question more than ever in response to COVID. Ultimately, Trozzolo reminds us that we are not in control, and that we are simply navigating our circumstances as best we can. The poet writes, “Everything seems so big and hard and dangerous/ that we often forget the scale—the one that measures us like a pebble of sand.” In this gorgeous debut chapbook, we are reminded to look at our catastrophes and celebrations not as good or bad, but simply, as reality.
—Alan Chazaro, author of Piñata Theory and This Is Not a Frank Ocean Cover Album