Monday, January 26, 2009

Universe Distrubed (Second Edition) by Janice Brabaw

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

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