A Knight Without His Lovers
by Jamel Gross
BookVenture Publishing

"Please explain, what I'm doing
I'm in love with you
Our time apart is killing me
Please don't understand what I'm going through."

In A Knight Without His Lovers, Gross expresses the various shades and states of love, but primarily dwells on the feeling of falling in love. The poems exhibit an air of authenticity and spontaneity that allow readers to look past the highly experimental nature of the sentence structure and lack of any consistent rhyme scheme. From the get go, the titles of the poems make Gross’s “cinematic” vision and mindset quite apparent. Poetry titles like “Mirror in the Sky,” “Wedding Showers,” and “Summer Sun” already help the audience conjure the respective images and are enhanced by the poet’s use of resplendent imagery.

The sparks that fly in the midst of the first love are beautifully captured in “When Love Feels Like the First Time,” which undoubtedly takes readers down memory lane and rekindles the magic of their high school sweethearts. Similarly, “Can You Get Away” explores the coming-of-age theme of love; however, Gross digs a little deeper and starts a discussion about what a woman looks for in her partner.

While the central theme of the poetry is love, there are many underlying variations: the love of a daughter for her father, love for the military man, the eternal nature of love, and inevitably the loss of love. In “My First Love, You’ll Always Be My First Love,” Gross captures the unique, yet fleeting seasons of love: “You’re the sunshine of my world. As seasons grow love never dies. When time to mend let’s take hold? Can’t capture time in a bottle.” Though this is an ode to sweet love, there is an almost heartbreaking quality to the mortality of life and, to a degree, love.

Gross juxtaposes images of the sun and light with poems of darkness and pain. In “Shadows of Darkness” and “You’re Always on My Mind,” there is a glimpse of the speaker’s grief as he buries loved ones and ruminates in the cemetery. With respect to themes, Gross is extremely thorough and diligent with his exploration of the respective topics.

Perhaps one of the more chilling poems from the compilation is “Talking Heads,” which describes the feeling of finally finding a soulmate, but “draped in blood, from feet to head.” Other poems that are sure to catch the audience’s attention include, “If Heaven were Mint” and “Hour Glass.”

In many ways, poetry is simply a medium of expression, but this compilation unquestionably exudes the feeling of a narrative. The story of love that is told within the undercurrents of Gross’s various themes is alluring and helps offset the shortcomings of poetic style. When experiencing the energy in poems like “Scarlett’s Blood Love” and “I’ll Never Let You Go,” it isn’t far fetched to imagine the poet completely consumed by his sentiments and frantically transforming his emotions into words on paper. This energy and genuine delivery of so many variations and complexities of love is truly intriguing.

A Knight Without His Lovers is a compilation of passionate poetry that can be a worthwhile endeavor for those who can look beyond the grammatical shortcomings, and simply enjoy poetry for what it’s meant to be: words that make you feel.

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