Dah’s poetry collection, Say This In A Whisper, should perhaps come with an advisory: there are sexually charged poems such as “How To Love A Lover”, “Summer, Ocean”, “Pulsar” and “Underwater, Still Breathing”.
Their nexus is the relationship between lovers which leaves you in no doubt about where the potency lies. “Summer, Ocean” carves out physical intensity in an almost predictable way yet doesn’t strike you as being facile:
“You, the matador
drinking the bull’s blood
Me, the bull goring you into ecstasy
until we lay finished off
our bodies trembling
smelling of ocean summers”
The collection’s first poem, “Oceans Of Rain”, sets a kind of framework by disavowing religion. The speaker is “an old inmate” with the gravitas of age:
“Now, I’ve seasoned
to this gray winter
an old inmate
waiting for light
to reap darkness
waiting for darkness
to bear down
Dah writes with disarming physical candor in his love poems. There is so much light and shadow in them, that it’s most certainly spiritual while being physical. But after the ecstasy comes the agony. The lover’s absence leaves the speaker emotionally stranded. The poems segue to a requiem. Every poem shines a different light on the grieving process of remembering. There is savagery in “you were the feathers/plucked from my mouth” (“A Missing Story”) to distraction where “we drink wine each night/to reach that neon glow/in the dark of a cloistered room” (“Pictures of You”).
Sure, there’s pathos there, but someone has said, if you haven’t loved deeply enough, haven’t had that kind of physical experience, you don’t know anything much. Such pathos may be another path to transcendence, if not through religion. Why, to speak of eternity as “a strange fracture/always breaking/before one reaches the line/the mood variations, another farewell” in “Another Picture of You” to the discernment of trees in “Pulsar”:
“I look through the grille
of bare trees
through the mineshafts
A tender, riveting read for all lovers!
Download the collection here.
Red Wolf Journal’s digital collections has a dedicated new site at Red Wolf Editions here.