A couple of weeks ago, English poet and reviewer Carl Butler reviewed my collection of poetry, "Damaged" for Dark Poetry Society. A huge THANK YOU goes to Carl for taking the time to explore "Damaged" and for writing a terrific review of it! My book being reviewed by Carl is a high honor.
Here is Carl Butler's review of, "Damaged" - it's thorough - and I greatly appreciate it! ______________
BOOK REVIEW: Jimmy Broccoli Damaged
Reviewed by Carl Butler
The look of the book says it all...Black and blue ..or bruised and battered ..there is so much raw emotion between these unassuming covers.
Damaged ..This is not just some slight scratch from a fender bender, this book is full on car crash poetry, ambulances at the scene, blood everywhere, mania and devastation. It is intensive care open heart surgery, skillfully performed by a top flight surgeon. It is battlefield triage.
Enough of the metaphors. Suffice it to say you will not find puppies and rainbows, nor sweet sounding rhyme schemes. You will not find painstakingly counted syllables. Instead what you find is some of the best narrative poetry I have read in many a year, emotional and raw. Dark and disturbing yes.
This book covers the darker emotions and impulses and subjects. It paints vivid scenes as the reader is drawn into each and every poem.
Around 80 pages of some of the darkest feelings, as we are shown a glimpse of the poet mind that is Jimmy Broccoli.
The book interestingly is split into 4 parts, each one being one of the four elements, EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER. Jimmy adds something special ...perhaps even 'The fifth element' POETRY.
Each section has a quote or saying to convey a particular message, after which flows the viscous liquid that is Jimmy Broccoli's unique poetry style.
Not an ounce of pretentiousness, the poems are snapshots of some of the experiences, Jimmy has had alongside some rather gripping story telling The upshot of this is that once you pick up this book you won't want to put it down and here are some examples of why.
I've brought the flashlight so let's turn it on..
Part 1 EARTH
'My mother cleans when she's sad Our tables have no dust The windows have no streaks'
A house full of sadness, a sister who drowned and the only joviality is heard from someone else's house.
The poem ends 'I do not laugh anymore '
A tale of melancholy that sets the scene for what's to come.
Onto a rather more violent poem ..
THE DAY I SAW GERALDS HEAD GET SMASHED IN WITH A BASEBALL BAT
A poem depicting a life filled with Meth, and overweight Gerald who's mother was promiscuous and the angst of first time sex.
'Alex's party was the finale to another dreadful year in high school. His girlfriend knew how to put cheese on crackers with perfection'
'That night i tried Heineken for the first time and Gerald did a line'
This social commentary about surviving into adulthood is a stark reality for so many.
Other titles include
ABDUCTION BROKEN GOD SHATTERED HIM
And more before we get to part 11
MY DEAD FRIEND TRUCK STOP CELLAR DOOR GHOSTS AND SILHOUTTES ALONE
Ending with :
Here Jimmy talks candidly about his experiences with Dementia as he saw it through his mother's actions prior to her death. Another very personal story.
DISFIGURED SONNET #13
'Have you ever seen A little girl Nameless and Homeless And poverty stricken And blue And dead And rotting And forgotten ?
Ends with "Zzzip says the body bag ...... As its carelessly thrown Into the back of a colourless van"
Another stark social statement After all aren't many of us forgotten people and would anyone miss us when we are gone ?
Other titles include
DISABLING THE AIRBAG DOG IN THE PARKING LOT DIARY TRIGGERS
JASON RAID LUNCHBOX MEMORIES OF SHIT
And the final poem
I TOOK MY LIFE TONIGHT
'You loved me, so I will not talk of rope, or firearms, or of sharp objects or pills" 'And I did my best for as long as I could ' Ending: Tonight, I took my life
A stark end to a book filled with the creativity of stories from the mundane and the challenges of every day life.
And of course there also remains a hidden word, a message, a pleading that runs throughout the book Can you figure out what the hidden word is ?
BUY THE BOOK to find out You won't be disappointed
Photo Credit: Briana Botsford of Botsford Media.