Underdog Days


Must read 🏆

Don't miss this heartfelt collection of poems and their accompanying illustrations.

Carlos Lerma is a poet, and he knows it. He is also an artist and letter writer, and you, lucky reader, get to experience Carlos in all of his imperfect perfection. 

The collection has numerous standouts; eventually I had to stop highlighting favorites.  “Dependent,” a poem about self-esteem and loneliness in a social media society, and “Dear Cafeteria Ladies,” a heartfelt letter/poem of thanks and appreciation, are not to be missed. Another letter/poem, “Dear Guy That Compared His Body to Mine,” paints an effective, concise word picture.  I enjoy the letter format; its form does not contain the sometimes slightly forced rhymes that appear in a few of the traditional poems.

About that rhyming: Yes, it's sometimes awkward. However, Mr. Lerma often abandons his rhyming patterns for the last stanza or so of his poems, and this is very effective at delivering his message. He's stopping the music to speak his last thoughts - and everybody knows that's when you listen.

The poet often writes about his desire to have friends, to be invited – included.  I think anyone who has been a child – and especially anyone who has loved a child - can feel the pain and want in these poems.

Underdog Days ends like my midwestern grandmother's visits; she would say her first goodbye, put her coat on, talk for fifteen minutes, say her second goodbye, open the door, stand in the doorway and talk some more, say her third goodbye, and leave. Readers, just keep scrolling and reading; you’ll eventually be waving goodbye as the poet drives away - and he'll be waving back. (Don’t skip the Acknowledgments; they are a poem all their own.)

While I wouldn’t say that every single poem is worth five stars, the overall synergy between poem and visual art, and the sweetness of the poems in letter format, especially, justify my five-star rating for the overall collection.

And Carlos – your punctuation is perfect in my eyes. Wish granted. (Everyone else - read the book and you'll know what I'm talking about.)

Reviewed by

I am a reader with ten years of bookselling experience who is passionate about sharing my love of books with others. My goal is to be direct and relatable, with hopefully a little humor thrown in.


Immerse yourself in confessional-style poems ranging from heartbreak to friendships, challenges & mental health. Underdog Days explores what it is to live in the stage where there are constant changes in your person, in your life, and in your world.

From the author of Identity Thief and The Wright Way, Carlos Lerma offers deep, thoughtful poems as well as letters written for people who will never write back, paired with five uncomfortably honest stories from Carlos' life.

In this visually exciting installment of poems and illustrations from the mind of Carlos, Underdog Days takes you on a journey of finding yourself and accepting everyone's imperfections and personal mistakes along the way. Between poems and illustrations, the topics of false friendships, fury, mental health, discovery, friendships, love & more are talked about. This new collection speaks to the indescribable feelings of displacement and longing for company. Carlos brings his contemporary insights and powerful honesty to bear on topics many are too scared to talk about.

About the author

Carlos Lerma is a poet, author, and illustrator of the new poetry book Underdog Days. With almost a decade of writing videos, films & books, Carlos has a uniquely eccentric voice that shines through in his newest collection of poetry, as well as his fiction book collection and short films. view profile

Published on April 20, 2022

20000 words

Genre: Poetry

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