What Now? by Dean Tongue
While the poet of this collection wears a mask, he opens up his heart here. As the book’s prelude states, he believes expressing himself in “raw honesty.” And that’s what you get in these poems.
The book is split into three Acts, which chronicle his emotions during different parts of his life. He describes a journey within himself, a transformation. This is an intense journey.
In the beginning, Dean Tongue talks about difficulties with addiction, mental health, anger. These poems can make for uncomfortable reading. They aren’t poems about roses, more about how the bush is littered with thorns and the flowers are out of reach.
The poems describe Dean’s struggle with the demon, with one poem titled, “Dean Vs. Demon.” The demon is a powerful opponent, and by reading the poems you get a sense of Dean’s endurance to fight it.
Then an ally arrives, and with her a lift. A lifeline. Love. That love summons added strength to push down the demon and keep him down. The poems in the third Act are the sunrise after a long night’s battle. I could almost feel the sun on my face, and I certainly felt the surge of hope. After reading this book, I’m very glad that Dean found love and hope.