My Time in Paradise (2014)

By Michael J. “Hoss” Barker

378 pages

Hoss Barker may be a self-proclaimed redneck who spent his younger adult years working in the rough and tumble logging industry in the backwoods of Oregon, but he is also a poet in the truest sense of the word. Hoss’ poetry is scattered throughout this book and when he dons his poet’s hat, the words flow from his heart and soul. His poetry speaks of his deep love and respect for Mother Nature’s creations, whether they be the rivers, trees and mountains or the many and varied types of wildlife that he enjoyed while spending six years at the Paradise Lodge in the wild and scenic section of the Rogue River — Zane Grey Country!

Hoss took the job at Paradise so that he could write his poetry while communing with Mother Nature and all of her wonders. While there, he published three books of poetry and prose. “My Time in Paradise” is Hoss’ story of those six years spent in the wilderness that he loved. There was little time during the tourist season when he could write, so most of it was done in the solitude of borrowed cabins during the long, wet and wild winters on the Rogue.

One of the main parts of his job at the lodge during tourist season was overseeing the work of the temporary crew members that “The Boss” brought upriver to work each spring and summer. With much humor and a bit more exasperation, Hoss tells of the difficulties and adventures that were presented to him as he wrangled his “herd of Meatheads.” He struggled to learn to be a little more tolerant, but it was not easy for a former Marine and logger who was used to giving an honest day’s hard work for his pay… who had a work ethic that would not tolerate laziness or carelessness. There was no such thing as “political correctness” in the woods where lives — your own and others’ — were on the line. Either you did the job well or you “hiked er.” In the process, however, after dozens of “sensitivity lectures” from The Boss and The Boss Lady, he began to realize that maybe, in truth, he was the biggest Meathead of them all.

I’ve Got to Go Back

I’ve got to go back to the tall timber soon, 
Back where the big firs saw at the sky. 
Back where I rise to the cries of a loon, 
Back where the osprey and eagles still fly. 
The city and its woes scare me to death, 
The squalor and stench burns in my eyes. 
My heart is pounding, I can’t catch my breath, 
To tell you the truth I’m sick of their lies.

by Michael J. “Hoss” Barker

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Front cover


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