Lisa M. Cole’s chapbook, tinder//heart, published by Dancing Girl Press in 2012, is beautiful and riveting. There is pain, tenderness, beauty and scars among the pages, all exquisitely revealed by Lisa M. Cole’s mastery of prose poetry. Her words appear as free flowing thought corralled into order. It is difficult to share only a few poems so I urge you to pick up a copy for yourself after reading these samples:
that you didn’t love me//knocked flat//love greater than fear//no walls/tear down & conquer do it//not enough love//thinking//quell love//quell it//drawing the eye//clover eyes, pig eyes, frog eyes, zombie eyes//brick house dreams//digging with a short-handed hoe//remember when we talked of wedding dresses & white cake//my mother cradling my face//don’t quit soldier//don’t quit//biding time//driving, driving/she is a white zombie//no voice box//no chords//ships need anchors
This poem reminds me of free-flow thinking and writing your thoughts as they naturally occur before breaking them up into the fragments that they appeared in. I imagine the poet thinking about a recent lover and trying to stifle the overwhelming tide of emotion, hence the italicized words to emphasize the intensity of the emotions throughout the poem. I love the imagery, the different kinds of eyes she names, perhaps the way her eyes look during the ups and downs of the emotions, and the “brick house dreams” where so many of us picture that perfect house to live in with that perfect someone. Her mother “cradling my face” is endearing and heart breaking all at once and then followed by “don’t quit soldier” and you hope the Mom is encouraging the poet through this heartache to come out whole on the other side of the grief. It’s a beautiful poem. I’ve read it over and over again and just find more and more that I love about it.
touching his skin soft like a pear//memory opens like so many tattered maps//empty perfume bottles shattered//teeth marks on all the books//drinking bloody marys till dawn and scheming like chemists//butter cookies in the backseat of the car after sleeping with the horses in the grass//spill ink on your arm//remember the palm trees & the balmy nights//the letters to too many lovers written in long-hand//all the theatres in your mind fall down & then you see it//what you breathe against//a heart full of tinders
I love the images of each line framed by the //. I envision the poet thinking of a man who she loved dearly but has gone on with his own life and she sees the small moments in freeze frames. I love “teeth marks on all the books” and wonder whose teeth made those marks and how does someone end up putting book in their teeth? What sort of pair sleeps in the grass with horses and then either eats or finds butter cookies in the backseat of the car? I love the idea of “the theatres in your mind fall down & then you see it” all the dramatic spins that reminiscing can impose of true memory and then to strip the memory back down to its true nature. Everything about it makes me long to learn more about this pair in the poem, to dig down further into their history.
when grace asks, give her rusted pennies//the lament of the lungs//that we can never breathe enough//give enough//live enough//when grace allows//love an Irishman with a red beard//bruise your Achilles’ heel dancing drunk in your stockings smoking Camel cigarettes//call the horse & chariot that holds your desire//& runrunrun
I love the idea of “when grace asks…” That state of grace which can be so difficult to achieve, and in the poem is the sense that we are never good enough to achieve grace. So when grace allows it, why not allow yourself to love, to dance, to drink, to smoke, to run? That’s what I imagine the poem’s message to be. I’d love to know how this poem came to Lisa M Cole’s mind and what her intentions are for its meaning.
If you enjoyed this review and these wonderful samples, you may purchase a copy of tinder//heart by Lisa Cole for $7.00 from Dancing Girl Press at:
Thanks always for reading, please drop in again next week...