Verses Defiant in Their Unshackling
Attacks on racism and patriarchal religious structures abound in the strong, bold verses of this 2019 publication from Trio House Press. Poet Tamara J. Madison’s armory includes a deft understanding of poetic influence and a clear, powerful voice. Her champion is the Three Breasted Woman, a creature of the cosmos who shares a space within the pages of Threed, This Road Not Damascus with a second speaker, a mortal poet. These two characters combine their forces, resulting in that travels eons.
“… And in the 7th hour of the 8th day, the universe poured herself / into herself,” begins Threed, This Road Not Damascus. Madison reaches back to the creation of the world in order to emphasize just how long the human race’s feminine members have regularly been crushed by their more masculine counterparts and to illustrate the ridiculous length of time that the darker contingents of humanity have faced persecution by those of a paler hue. “Oh, the black/brown/red/yellow breast drained by blue-eyed greed / and pinked cheek!” mourns the Three Breasted Woman in “Beatitudes: Three-Breasted Woman’s Sermon on the Mount”.
A poem that will not fail to catch a reader’s attention is “Poet’s Arrival”. The poem’s stanzas are steeped in such a violence that the poet Lauren Scharhag is brought to mind.
Ripped the foreskin of my fathers’ dreams.
Thrust from ragged wombs,
nursed on battered breasts,
whispered from my mothers’ severed tongues,
here I come
That is certainly one way to make an entrance. What is so intriguing about this piece is just how fun it is to read.
The aforementioned poem carries the hair raising thrill of hearing haunting chants echoing on the wind of a moonless night. There is a danger in these words that ups the tempo of an unsuspecting heart, causing it to thump like a war drum. There are many poets who will be licking their teeth with fierce appreciation when their eyes find this piece.
Threed, This Road Not Damascus is a work that requires effort. It is a text of rebellion, of protest. This poetry is not going to let readers lounge on couches and soak in pretty phrases for nothing. Readers must not be afraid to research the references they do not understand as they make their way through Madison’s work. Their dedication, their effort to create a unity with the text rather than falling into a system of simply taking what they can get, will prove to create a far more energetic and satisfying reading experience.
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