Monday, January 26, 2009
Universe Distrubed (Second Edition)
by Janice B.
Tangled Up In Blue, $14, Copyright © 2008 by Janice L. Babaw
Review by Zvi A. Sesling
Janice B. (Janice L. Brabaw) is well into womanhood, but her poems are recollections of her teenage years, years that if true, are not pretty or happy, years in which she attempted suicide, years in which she was raped, years in which romance seemed to fail at every corner. Reading her poetry – sometimes mature, sometimes not – it is difficult to decide if she is, to be blunt, off, or whether to feel sorry for her.
Take for example: Prom Queen
They called my name and for a moment
just a moment, I thought it was real
me, prom queen – my breath caught.
But then, realization
They mock me – they hurt me
make me cry.
People I thought were friends humiliate me
I'll never be prom queen
and they'll always be laughing at me
Leave me alone to freeze in the cold
the fat pretend prom queen.
Oh, yes, there is lots of blood too in her poetry. If you want to understand Brabaw she makes it clear: "Kill me/Throw me on the floor and stab me/ watch me die/in a puddle of my own blood."
Or there is the poem "escape" in which she lays it out again
white hot suicide – quicksilver
and cold steel blades
white pale flesh
and cold spilled blood ----
that drips from the wound
to a scarlet puddle on the floor
Ah, read on, you will find many a harrowing poem, sad notes like dirges, open wounds, confessions of anguish and occasional happy lines because even sad poems look for hope.
She does, (as you will find in the poems), look forward to old age, or bright light, or romance or love, even if it is all weighted down by the heavy specter of unhappiness, misery or death.
Universe Disturbed is by a poet who tells it as it is from her point of view. It is not an easy read because it hits you in the gut – hard.
Zvi Sesling/Ibbetson Update