Born Geoffrey Charles Parks in Queens, New York, in 1946, I was raised in a lower- class, typically normal, dysfunctional family. Shooting marbles, tossing baseball cards, banging the tambourine for the Salvation Army, and going to Far Rockaway and the Bronx Zoo with my dad and brother were some of the highlights of my early years.
We moved to California for a better life; Dad had a history of incarceration. This move didn’t help as he was back in jail within a year. We lived on welfare in a dismal apartment with no gas or electricity. Mom would send me to the market with a few bucks and some food stamps and tell me to get what I could get. I’d purchase the staples (bread and milk), having first stuffed cold cuts down my pants. I got what I could get. Most of the time, hungry and preoccupied with survival, school didn’t work out for me. In ninth grade, I was expelled for beating up a guy that had bullied me all through eighth grade. I hung out with two equally disturbed youths. We decided to steal a car and head east to Key West. Then we set off for Cuba to free the prisoners of the Bay of Pigs. We were caught breaking into an army navy surplus store trying to steal guns for our mission. We spent twenty-eight days in jail. The big thing I learned from that experience was that, no matter how bad my life was on the outside, I never wanted to be in jail again.
Fast forward three years. I graduated from Pasadena Barber School and began a career I’ve enjoyed for fifty-two years. Along the way, I spent fifteen years as a professional actor, and another twenty writing screenplays. Life’s wild and crazy quest dropped me at my kitchen counter to write my first poem. As a hairdresser, I have met so many amazing, crazy, happy, sad, and broken people who have helped shape who I am today. I don’t believe there is another profession in which people open their hearts to one another as much as in this business. I have learned to listen patiently to my clients’ needs and to offer my creative input with empathy. I feel blessed.
I have lived with my wife and soul mate, Heather, for thirty-three years. I have four children and nine grandkids. I still surf, snowboard, and exercise regularly with my wife. I have had thirty years of amazing psychotherapy and meet every week with a group of loving men. We share our fears and our joys; together we attempt solve the mysteries of the universe with all the humility and humor we can muster.
My poetry is my response to my past and current life experiences. Every poem I write is a cathartic experience for me. I know that it’s me writing them, but I have never, in all my years of writing, felt a presence supporting my words as I do now. Today I believe in my own heart more than I ever have, and if my poetry touches your heart or comforts you in any way, I have done my humble part.
Peace and love,