Change as a Constant

Drax is Unafraid to Play with Poetry

Change is a constant in this 2019 collection from Latasha Drax. She constantly experiments with form throughout Metamorphosis of Rhythm but still retains her unique voice as a poet. She plays quite a bit with the duplication of words and word sounds. She even makes an attempt to update the acrostic style with mixed results. Some of the more well crafted poems in the collection include “Double Consciousness” and “Afterthoughts Again.”

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As they scan though Metamorphosis of Rhythm, readers would be remiss to cruise by her prose piece, “A Mother’s Lullaby.” It is a beautiful ode to the speaker’s son and it is a particularly unique piece in the realm of poems which speak on motherhood. Not only does Drax’s piece extol the virtues of the speaker’s child and paint the grand visions this mother has for her offspring, but it also speaks of the mother’s future as well.

Motherhood is not depicted as a shutting down of the caretaker’s own life. In fact, the speaker opens the poem by stating, “My son, my strength, my hope—when I look at you I see the future. Not / just yours, but my own.” Modern society is slowly starting to come around to the idea that motherhood can be a major facet of someone’s life without swallowing the whole individual and the presence of this poem gleefully adds to that argument.

Drax’s speaker obviously is proud of her role as a mother and takes the care of her offspring seriously, but what makes the piece particularly moving is the immense inspiration her child provides:

You motivate me to accomplish what can be seen in your starry eyes and I /
am afraid to fail and destroy the image you have created in the heavens of /
your imagination.

The speaker strives to live up to the fantastic image her child has of her. Her child does not see her merely as a waitress and maid but as someone far more grand. He wants her to achieve her own dreams because she in turn will inspire him to become “…an archaeologist, engineer, church pastor or / acclaimed Broadway thespian….” There is a beautiful sentiment of cyclical inspiration present. The birth of a child does not have to mean the death of a parent’s individuality – it can be his or her greatest motivation.

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The closing poem of Drax’s collection, “Metamorphosis of Rhythm,” contains six movements but it is the fourth stanza of the second movement which soars out to the readers. It is almost a pity that it is buried in this lengthy piece as it could be showcased as a stand alone poetic work. The cold breeze of nature’s, even time’s, indifference to the lives of humanity spirals through the verses. The speaker’s remarks are haunting: “I’ve decided that the ocean is a pool of tears and in its rage, / the flesh of what was are drowned…”

While Drax’s “Opposites Attract” presents a narrow view of men and women, her willingness to play with form and test out new poetic deliveries is commendable. Latasha Drax has also published another text for those curious to learn more about her style. “From Dusk to Dawn: Ordinary Devotions for Extraordinary Souls” is a collection of prayers and meditations released in 2015.

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