Sometimes life kills you before you die. It’s not a death of the body but a slow wearing away of the spirit that you carried from your birth through your childhood until wherever it is that time finds you now. That flickering flame of beliefs and dreams that you somehow knew was a true vision of reality but you had no real reason to believe so, except that inner feeling in your chest that would incline its head in quiet acknowledgment when you consult it. I thought that life had devoured my romantic streak but then this little book of poetry made me cry and I realized that my flame still burns. Some things can never be lost. That’s what this collection made me feel. I suppose all good poetry should make you feel like that.
One little gripe before I get into my favorite bits, the author has a habit of using parenthesis ( ) to accentuate meanings and voices in his poems. I sort of felt like the regular writing was his talking voice and the writing in parenthesis was his inner mind’s voice or whispers. I got what he was trying to do, but it became annoying because it sort of felt like a crutch or an excuse to not put down exactly what was in his head- a flavor of the truth but not the truth, if that makes sense. Say what you’re going to say, don’t ( ) your way through it. We can take it and so can you. Now, on to the good stuff.
What gets me about Josh’s poetry are the one liners in the middle of an innocuous poem about whatever, the weather or some chick’s eyes, and it’s like that one little bit reaches out and punches you in the gut.
Take this example- Complete pg 19:
“Sometimes it seems
as if my life all happened years ago
and now we’re all just waiting here to die.
and rainbows, they might promise me a break
but the pouring rain isn’t flooding yet,
the floors still reach my feet.
the cloud and bolts still keep me quiet
this silence is complete.”
I think that the first three lines are just genius. “Sometimes it seems as if my life all happened years ago and now we’re all just waiting here to die.” He sets this tone of utter despair, then brings in the rainbow to crack the door open for some light to come in to his inner space, and finally ties it to the ending where you feel a bit of hope in the silence. Gorgeous, just gorgeous.
Or this one, the Sunrise pg 69
(“and sometimes, love”
she says, between gasps for air
“your mouth spends too much time on the sunrise
and not enough time on mine.”)
There we get to see the use of the parenthesis ( ). Blah. But, the sentiment just bowls you over. What passion, what fire. Keep writing, Josh. The world needs to hear more from you.
If you enjoy the poetry of Joshua C. Geiger, I’d recommend picking up a book of Pablo Neruda or David Whyte.
Thanks for reading.