Thursday, August 02, 2007
Poetry Tyrant reviews The Haitian Firefly's collection
A review by Doug Holder, the founding publisher of The Ibettson Street Press
Sparks in the Dark: Lighter Shade Of Blue. A Poetic Memoir. Jacques Fleury. “The Haitian Firefly” $12. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacques Fleury writes that he was born with a humongous head. He reflects: “When my mom was birthing me, I was told that she ran out of the hospital just as I was coming out of the darkness of her womb, valiantly striving to reach the light. So just as I was coming out she made a giant leap for ‘pain kind’ out of bed and bolted out of the door and caught a cab home.”
To this day Fleury has a dramatic head both physically and metaphorically. He often adorns it with large hats and outrageous sunglasses that he wears in the dead-of-night. He is an exotic even in Cambridge’s teeming and diverse Central Square. And so is his writing. His poetry is not sedate and understated, but much like a lush, colorful, exotic plume; at times gaudy and blinding, and for the most part joyful in spite of the pain he has suffered in his 30- something years.
Fleury was born in Haiti and is a working journalist, poet, columnist, and community TV host. His first full poetry collection: “Sparks in the Dark…” is large, ambitious, and covers a lot of ground.
It’s hard being a Blackman, much less a Haitian Blackman in a white society. Fleury rages against this inequity in his poem: “Unrequited Rage:”
“How dare you judge me/ my color does not define me/ you should be appalled for Dissing me! / unleash your dirty heart/ you will find me!... / I am only a mere man pregnant with error/ a walking Disaster!!!/ So use me like a mirror, / if you want to see the reflection of your Brother!!!/
And Fleury knows that the “womb makes the man,” and he urges mothers to treat their children well, or else it’s a short passage to a worldly hell, in his poem:
“Women! Women From Your Wombs!”
“Women! Women from your wombs/ you gonna yell to break the spell/ women! Women from your wombs/ you too one day/ face drooping dripping down in the dumps/ with creases like beaten down leather/ established breasts hardened, eager and perky/ like the buds of spring./ swollen like balloons since in your mouth men/ blow bubbles…/ since from your wombs babies are born/ bearing your sins/ and looked down as / fools for sucking in anger/and resentment seeping from/ your congested chests/ have come into this world/ entangled in your mess.”
Fleury’s work is provocative and evocative, but at times it needs pruning, because it grows like wild jungle vegetation. Of course that might be the point.