Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Amanda Oaks' Hurricane Mouth

Amanda Oaks’ Hurricane Mouth is published by NightBallet Press and is a powerfully emotional collection of poems that describe the impact of words, thoughts, actions on relationships within the poet’s life. They are beautiful and hardscrabble, delicate yet tough in sinew. The poems are honest and brutal and life-affirming. It is another collection where I have “dog-eared” the majority of the pages and had to settle for a select few to share with you, dear readers:


Late summer, picking peas
cornfield just feet away,
I would tiptoe with the words
of warning looped ‘round
every strand of my hair.

When wearing pigtails,
all those locks acting together
could be thunderous
but I would plug my ears & run
in any one direction
until my lungs felt like the tires
of that far-off tractor
I overheard many a time
was plotting my death.

Out there though,
I witnessed the wind
unearth harmony.
The way the stalks
would touch,
sliding against one another,
hissing like plastic bags
clothespinned to a wire
& dangling from the mouth
of a paper-winged crow.

I found safety in the squeeze,
stuck between clear-cut emotion.
There’s something in there
that you can’t close your ears to,
like barn rats
or the secrets I found
in the laughter of ghost children
jumping from rock to stone
in the creek bed
behind my house.

Standing still,
before walking in silence
all the way back to the alarm
in my grandmother’s voice,
looking up to the clouds
for a way out—
twenty-seven years later
& I still have yet to find it
outside of these words.

I love the landscape of this poem. I picture the poet as a young girl lost in the cornfields, her grandmother searching for her as the tractor plows on indifferent to a child’s presence. All the sights, sounds, the feelings, they are all captured so well in this poem and reminds me of my own childhood adventures.

--after Heather Sommer

If you were a city, every day at dusk
I’d fill my pockets with packets of seeds
to pepper the rainwater rivers running
through the cracks of your asphalt

If you were a city, I’d let your air sweep
over & under & over my hand hanging
from a car window, pedal pressed to 60
on your reckless boulevard.

If you were a city, I’d never drag my feet
on your sidewalks, I’d never love you


because your light drowns out the stars.

If you were a city, I’d never judge you
by your infrastructure.

I’d never ask you
how well you think we
stack up.

This poem is sweet and tender to me, packets of seeds to grow life into asphalt of the love interest’s heart. The light of the city “drowns out the stars,” making the love interest seem complex and full of life in a way that cannot be captured any other way. I cannot do this poem justice, only that I just love this poem for all that it is.


I boil water. I pace the floors.
Cold kitchen tile under feet.
I look out the windows.
I curse the cold. I want to pull
all my teeth out one by one,
seal them in an envelope
with a note to you reading:

For you, dear,
my last true smile.

This poem is eerie and makes me smile anyway. I have had my own moments of “lunacy” where doing something like the above would be appealing. When someone drives you to the brink in your thoughts of them and you want to pull your hair out—or your teeth. Love this poem.

If you enjoyed this review you may purchase a copy of Amanda Oaks’ Hurricane Mouth for $8.00 here:

To learn more about Amanda Oaks, (writer, Kindness Advocate and female extraordinaire) please visit at:

Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon…