Many people may not feel the urge to have an outlet that helps them process life’s struggles. Others feel that urge. And some of them use poetry to try to convey the landscape within themselves.
In the first stanza of the first poem (“Anything but Sane”), N.F. Mirza likens herself to a “restless lioness.” A powerful image. And the description comes through the poems in this book, particularly in the restlessness of emotions and thoughts.
Some of these poems are difficult to read — “Celebrating the Curse” describes self-harm behavior. I can only begin to imagine the difficulty of writing them. Not only that, but drawing the portraits in the book. Each section of poems begins with a drawing and a quotation. The drawing for “Anything but Sane” shows a face with wide, expressive eyes — perhaps filled with anxiety.
Through the poems and drawings comes a vulnerability of Ms. Mirza being open about her feelings. And with that vulnerability, a courage of making them available to the public. That courage creates the possibility of readers realizing they are not alone in experiencing similar emotions.
Some poems include contemplations with touching descriptions. Like the poet blending with water in “Ocean and I Become One.” Then her soul sitting on a bench, its back positioned toward the world, in “The Day I Sat by My Soul.” These descriptions are moving. Also, they offer inspirations for having our own contemplations about where we might find a bit of understanding and moments of peace.
From a friend’s advice, May and her parents planted milkweed in their yard and there grew a little forest with pink blossoms magical themselves which expanded when Monarch butterflies arrived and flitted off in orange clouds like flying lanterns
I was wondering that question, lying on a floral beach towel, a speck in a crowd of swimsuited people— all of us lumps of cookie dough glazed with sunscreen and coconut oil baking in this oven.
I lift a handful of sand, watch the grains cascade in the spaces between my fingers, thinking there’s got to be metaphors for time, uniqueness, perseverance— maybe insignificance if you’re in that kind of mood.
But above the ocean, a small plane flies before us, towing a banner advertising a restaurant’s all-you-can-eat buffet, and the sand falls from my hand, forgotten.
This is the last poem in the project, as we’ve reached the last page of the Dover edition of Joyce’s Ulysses. As luck would have it, the words lent themselves to come up with a poem about Odysseus and his journey home. Well, very roughly about the journey. And, who knows, maybe one of the sailors on the ship was named Raymond.
Mediterranean philosopher bearing formidable years: migrations on windy sea.
Land leavetaking, recurrent snakespiral movement with smellow course, everchanging travelled.
Wonder somewhere, he lost the ways, madly crossing where tattarrattat music (like breathing) brought trouble, snapped careless men.