Pressured Speech

I don’t read enough poetry so I jumped at the chance to check out a chapbook written by the one and only @germlynnlives

What’s a chapbook? A small book of poetry, often handmade and stitched together. It’s a scrappy, romantic throwback and I’m tempted to try making one of my own since scrappy and romantic are two of my keywords.

Pressured Speech begins with overture and a declaration:

i will always need a story

i will break my own heart!

With those two opening lines I knew I could relate.

Another line, from ubiquitous – ‘TV dinner people’ – just made me smile. I know these people! It’s just one of many moments where germ lynn’s gaze and observant nature shine through.

While reading din I wondered is this a poem or a short story? “i prop the cereal box up like a tv screen” caused me to time travel. It’s been decades since I did the same, reading every word, studying every picture on the box of Frosted Flakes or Rice Krispies, but in an instant I was back at the dining room table “for the mask on the face of it, for the game on the back” This is one of the poems I read over and over.

I don’t pretend to understand all the poetry I read and enjoy, and I think that’s okay. Interpretations are personal and can change. I prefer to go with the feelings the poems evoke, the lines that jump off the page and into my heart.

The violence of tacit reminded me of both the Ozark noir author, Daniel Woodrell as well as the songwriter Fiona Apple:

my shotgun of a heart 

at fifteen was already cocked

The poem is deeply personal and it feels like intruding to read it, but it also feels like we’ve been invited in to share.

germ lynn plays with words and punctuation and space on the page. It’s all accessible and original. Sure, poetry that rhymes might be easier to read, but there is an ease to these pieces as well. Pressured Speech challenges but is not pretentious or unbearable in any way.

glossolalia is another poem I kept coming back to. It begins:

the sun is really a castle made of sunflowers 

i know because i went to heaven 

just had a strange thought 

that maybe everyone who has ever hurt me 

is maybe changing 

maybe for the better

decade feels like an anthem. A chronicle of 19-29, matter-of-fact, in your face. I smiled for this person – introspective, growing, unashamed, fierce.

The chap book ends with grown, which feels the most personal and asks some beautiful questions.

“Can you see past all this texture and color?”

Yes – through art and poetry and photography and stories and music. This is how we see and make ourselves seen. It’s scary and revealing and empowering and powerful, and we’re better for it.

How long has it been since you’ve read a poem? Pressured Speech is a perfect path back to a medium that’s all heart and soul. Check it out here or see more on twitter @germlynnlives

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