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Walkin’ with the Beast is a collection of poetry and prose by Danny Valdez — an author that Dan Fante said, “…will cut into your heart — open your eyes — and put a lump in your throat. This guy’s the real deal.”

The 228-page book features a range of stories and poems that chronicle Valdez’s life as a young man trying to find his way as a human being and writer when faced with a variety of internal and external challenges.

Kudos to Al Berlinski at Sun Dog Press in Northville, Michigan, for bringing out Valdez’s debut collection, which addresses subjects (poverty, relationships, the act of writing, and menial subsistence jobs) associated with authors such as Charles Bukowski and Hubert Selby. Here’s an excerpt from the collection…

A TEN & A TWENTY (Excerpt)
by Danny Valdez

Flat broke.
Eleven bucks to my name.
But I didn’t care,
I was gonna get a pack of smokes
and a burrito anyways.
A guy’s gotta live sometime.

Walking past the dirt lot
behind the gas station,
I spotted a ten-dollar bill
smiling up at me from the dirt and rocks.
I snatched it up
and ran with it held up in the air.
“Woooo hoooo!” I hollered,
running and skipping
all the way to Losbetos.

Walking back,
a bean & cheese in my hand,
smokes rolled up in my shirt sleeve
and a shit-eating grin on my face,
I passed the dirt lot again.
There was a guy with his head down,
scrounging for something in the dirt.
“Ya lost something?” I asked…
***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Danny Valdez was born in the low-end suburb of Mesa, Arizona. What is so astonishing about Danny is not that he triumphed over an unconventional childhood filled with guns, alcohol, and some neglect, but rather how he embraces and cherishes his complicated boyhood, with all its flaws. His story is heartbreaking, comical, and insightful—an openhearted and audaciously honest portrayal of a mixed Mexican/white boy emerging into adulthood.

Walkin’ with the Beast by Danny Valdez is available at Amazon.com or Sun Dog Press.