"Memories become real when the mind can remember it so."

Through five poetic chapters, readers journey through a life balanced with struggle and heartache, joy and contentment. The initial chapter harbors the stark “A Day in the Welfare Office,” a depiction of the sterility involved in dealing with bureaucratic systems as inhumane as the circumstances that force people into their offices. In the second chapter, “The Me Who Should Have Been” utilizes the repetition of “Look upon this face, which cries no tears” to create not only a command but also a plea that makes readers return to the poem again and again. As the collection progresses, prose poems like “What Remains is Not Gone,” “Dream Picnic,” and “Miracle of Life” feature evocative images such as “listening to Tina Turner and Nancy Wilson” and awakening “out of my strawberry and ice cream dreams.” By the collection’s end, readers have found themselves immersed in personal conversations, detailed confessions, and friendly advice.

This work reads like a long conversation with an old friend. The prose poems especially add to this tone. The more formally structured pieces like “At this Moment” are nostalgic, dreamlike, and fleeting as they taper like a contrail, full of reflection at the beginning and concise at the end. Other poems utilize fragmented phrases or sentences to create a patchwork quilt of memory and deep reflection. For novice poetry readers, and even for readers seeking an inspirational read, this collection provides accessibility verbally and emotionally. The poems offer courage, displaying confidence in the face of adversity and brutal challenges. For readers of any age, this book gives difficult-to-find confidence in a vibrant, loud, clear voice that resonates page after page.

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