Monday, September 17, 2007

CONNECTED VOICES by Natalie Lobe - March Street Press,

CONNECTED VOICES by Natalie Lobe - March Street Press, 3413 Wilshire, Greensboro, NC / / 47pps / 1-59661-044-1 / $9.00

Thrice segmented, the first is steeped in nature, as in "At the Rim," teetering on the edge of the Grand Canyon, a synonym for the peril of life, all enveloping, before being cast to sea in "Glosa" - "where licorice dolphins/play tag with ships and coral reefs" again, a metaphoric play for the citified destruction of our earth. "Every city a landscape of rubble,/every forest smoldering ash./Then imagine the whole/ocean oil-choked and stagnant,/pelicans shrouded in scum." Then "Moon Uprisings" gives us a Pagan slant, albeit the scene "In Beijing Park, toddlers/with full moon faces/and new moon eyes/smile at long nose strangers/with Nikon hands."
Part two offers a glimpse of Jewish history and tradition, from Israel to "Ellis Island circa 1920," where the mix of clothing customs perplexes the anxious wife on board, 9 years after her "Yaakov" made America his home. "The women in New York City, they donĂ¢€™t wear/babushkas or fourteen petticoats" lamenting that "When I am inside all that cotton/nobody's poke can hurt me." And, inevitably, the Holocaust with her evoking poem, in its entirity;


No matter how hard she pulls
the wedding band will not slide
off her finger past the swollen joint.
The thick faced guard scowls,
Gehen, and then turns to the next.
Not worth touching the old Jew.
Clutching her sore left hand
she shuffles on.

Later, in the ash a gold circle glows
incongruous, defiant.

Part three brings us back to a perfect blend of matriarchy, nature and my favorite, "Henrietta's Garden." Lines of note;

She nurtured her garden with kitchen slops:
potato peels, apple cores, watermelon seeds
steeped inside a white pail half full of dishwater.
When the pail grew heavy with liquid muck

she flung her brew on the flowerbeds.
Vegetable seeds from the swill took root
pairing zinnias with cantaloupe, lilies with peas
The crazy quilt of purple, red, gold, green,
the fragrance of rose in zucchini,
finger-length beans, a cucumber's girth
still dazzle my brain.

Snippets of childhood into adulthood with a keen eye for detail and a feel for emotion has this collection ending, appropriately with "Ode to a Landfill" - "Keeper of the past,/cracked vessels,/broken bedsteads,/tarnished crass./Baby dolls/eyes gone" as I fear we all, too, shall someday be. A strong fabric of life, meant to last, to endure, to give history, to evoke and to share.

Cheryl A Townsend/Ibbetson Update/ Sept. 2007

One time editor/publisher of Impetus/Implosion Press. Most recent poetic appearances are in Zygote In My Coffee and Abbey.

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