Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review: The Knot Untied by Patrice Vecchione

The Knot Untied cover art

It has been so long since I read poetry and I have to say that I missed it so very much.  Poetry was once my way to deal with any sort of life circumstance.   I would get lost for hours within the pages of poetry books trying to find the meaning behind any and everything.  There is so much beauty in poetry.  Poetry is also so very subjective and based so much on ones personal journey.  I really enjoyed The Knot Untied, raw, truthful, thoughtful and engaging.  I recommend this collection and rate it 3.5 stars. 

Patrice Vecchione is the author of Writing and the Spiritual Life: Finding Your Voice by Looking Within, from McGraw-Hill ("Trust the voice of Patrice Vecchione," The Writer Magazine) and an earlier collection of poems, Territory of Wind from Many Hands Press. She's the editor of many anthologies, including: Truth and Lies, The Body Eclectic and Revenge and Forgiveness, for young adults, from Henry Holt, Whisper and Shout: Poems to Memorize, for children, from Cricket Books, and co-editor of Catholic Girls, and Storming Heaven's Gate for grown-ups, from Penguin Books. A Woman's Life in Pieces, Patrice's one-woman play, was performed to full houses throughout the Monterey Bay Area.

For 35 years, she's taught poetry to young people through her program, The Heart of the Word: Poetry and Imagination. A collage artist, her work appears on book covers. She teaches both collage and creative writing workshops at community centers, universities, libraries and at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.

For further information on Patrice's work: www.patricevecchione.com. Contact her atpatrice@patricevecchione.com.


What if singing
was how you earned your living—
each day, year after year.
The sky above you is blue.
Clouds billow like white dresses.
They are yours
though you do not own them.
Your voice flickers
like a pinwheel of color.
Old uncle has his tune,
as do your sisters and cousins.
Every answer has its question.
Songs, little melodies,
are your job,
for which you never
earn any money.
You live in a house
in a tree.
Rarely do your feet
touch the ground.

In the kitchen, with the summer party going on outside,
you say, “When the baby was sick,
I climbed in bed beside him,
because it is too easy to forget,
and I want to remember.”

You remember the furrowed brow in sleep,
flushed cheeks, the unrehearsed perfection of his mouth,
the jewel box of a little fevered face.

What will you keep in your purse,
in the zippered clutch of memory?

Everything changes.
And too soon,
too soon.

Once we crossed Broadway at 153rd St. there was the A & P,
the shopping carts glaring in the summer sun, lined up
at the ready like a parade before the start whistle.
And beyond that there was the big hill.
Even at five, I didn’t like exertion,
especially because the top of the hill hadn’t  much to offer,
except the cool interior of the big, stone church
that I preferred to the heat of city sunlight.

For a moment I’d be relieved to be inside, happy even.
The cool darkness made me so, and the surprise, each time,
though I always knew what was coming,
when I dipped my fingertips in the holy water
and the chill startled my forehead awake
and made me forget about outside, the climb
that had tired me and quickened my breath.
After blessing myself, not that I ever felt blessed,
my hand would fall back inside my mother’s hand,
clasping it,, the way one holds something
she’s afraid of losing.

Of course I couldn’t have foreseen a loss of innocence,
but I did sense change was on the horizon
like cats know an earthquake’s coming and prick up their ears
before the ground’s slightest tremor, and I knew I would endure.
I would not blot out like my vision did for a moment
upon entering the dark sanctuary from the glare
of shopping carts, the sharpness of the sun.

But something in me would want to shut, would be inclined to,
like the bold  church doors, heavy on their hinges,
a compelling desire, to not have to keep standing and shining
as I was driven to by the slight but insistent push of my mother’s hand 
on my back as I approached the altar of my life.

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