Shades of the Same Skin: Ryan Vallee

ryanIntroducing Ryan Vallee

From and currently resides: Michigan, USA

Michigan, born and raised. If I lifted an outstretched hand to you, and pointed to the thumb, that’s exactly where. 4 miles from the beach of Lake Huron. 4 miles from farmlands.

 You can run from the Motor City, the steel presses and hot sparks of industry, to the calloused hands of farmers digging at the fields. You can climb Sleeping Bear Dunes to scoop sand that rivals that of any Florida beach. You can walk north through Mackinac, and stand in the humid heat of the fudge shops, watching as they flip and flop chocolate layers on big slabs of marble before sampling it fresh. Cross the bridge to the upper peninsula, travel highways cut through unpolished lands, heavy forest, to find places with names such as Paradise, and the Lake of the Clouds.

 It really is paradise at times, in a “crazy ex” kind of way. I’ve worn flip-flops and snow boots in the same week. I’ve built sandcastles and snowmen just days apart. I’ve walked the beach on Christmas Eve and ran the furnace on the Fourth of July. I kind of like it though. It’s built character in us here.

 We are hardworking folks. Blue collar. We’ve been brought up with edge and merit. We accept the cold just the same as we embrace the warmth. Our soul doesn’t just swim on the skin, it’s as deep as the Great Lakes themselves.

ryan pic

This picture is my 3 kids Fayth, Ava and Ivan, at the tip of the thumb of Michigan.

Some days the lake looks like the ocean up there. Here you can watch both the sunrise and the sunset over the water.



Ryan’s pages:




The Boy Who Buried His Dog in the Sand


There was a boy that buried his dog in the sand.

he was just playing.

it was incredibly warm in the sun, one of those

afternoons where it seemed even the air was crying out.

his mom told him so.

“you’re going to lose him burying him like that” she said.

there was no other way though, you see, the enemy troops

were advancing quick and the dog was just showing our

good guys where to hide. he barked a few warnings, burrowed

into the sand (down deep where it was still cool) and that was

the last he was seen.

in life we call this a casualty of war.

tell this to the boy digging frantically.

mom says I told you so.

but as a good mother does, she’s digging  just the same.

the boy doesn’t cry over much anymore, but he does over this.

each time they return to the beach, he paces out the rough area

like a foreman ready to break ground, and digs.

 less and less, of course.

time has had its lessons, and it has healed almost as well.

he still wonders after the dog, and what became of him.

 is he still under the sand somewhere, lying in his gritty grave?

 did the tide finally reach high enough to pull him free, finding

wave after wave, cold under every sunset?

 did some other boy, near his age, happen to dig him up like a buried

treasure, or stub his toe on him, picking him up and playing on in some

new battle, some new imagination?

 he likes to imagine it the latter, like some strange reincarnation.

and thinks that would be nice for us all.

Shades of the Same Skin Cover

Shades of the Same Skin is an anthology of culture. The world is in need of a vigorous seasoning and it is why the poets in this book are willing to share their ethnicity. Each one will give some insight into their culture, music, clothing, food, traditions, and even share a few recipes. Some will engage in unique stories and folklore. Others will take us back to their childhood days and compare it to the experience of children today. A few will even welcome us into their homes to share items from their heritage.

This is also a book of unity. Its purpose is to show that without diversity, the world would be a boring place. Each poet in this anthology has a unique style because of where they came from, their experiences, and who they are. Their words are printed on these pages to inspire why we belong. We are all vital ingredients for the recipe to keep the world stirring.

Shades of the Same Skin is Available at the following Retailers:

Create Space:


Creative Talents Unleashed:

100% of all proceeds from this book are being donated to the “Starving Artist Fund” to assist writers in becoming published authors. Purchasing this book can help a writer become a published author!

Categories: Anthology

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