These riveting poems, prose, short stories and thoughts depict every day life in a vividly creative way that is sure to touch the heart and mind of the reader.
Includes two of Carmel S. Victor’s award-winning poems Loving Me, and Why Love, along with her newly acclaimed poem Haïti, My Heart Bleeds.
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Dedicated to every man who has stepped
up to the responsibilities of fatherhood.
Congratulations for a job well done.
The Tireless Blanket
He gets up before dawn
And hurries to earn the family's bread.
He tries his very best
To please a wife who needs him
And children whom he may not have fathered.
He takes on his fatherly responsibilities
With dignity and pride.
He needs the world to let him know
That he is "indispensable."
He is the father that keeps it all together;
The one that keeps society sane
And the family protected.
He is the father that should be
Praised at all times;
The stranger who made himself comfortable
And became the blanket of the household.
Blessed are all the men who stepped up
To the duties of fatherhood tirelessly.
For when God asks for more angels
He expects them to take over.
Carmel S. Victor is an award-winning poet with a “…unique vision and talent…Her poetry sparks the imagination and presents the reader with a fresh, unique perspective on life.”
The Haitian Times
Short, Sweet Slices of Life
Poetic Tome Resonates with Real-life Drama
By Katheline St Fort
Haitian Times Staff
“Every Day Again: Real Life Through Poetry and Short Stories” (Lemrac Press, $12) is a reflective, gripping new release from poet and author Carmel S. Victor and follow-up to the novel Facing our Skeletons, released early last year.
The poems range from odes to the blissfulness of parenthood, from nationalist haikus to the somber weighing of much more personal situations. The short stories in the collection read like affirmations from a personal journal that came with a self-help book. However, what they lack in structure, substance, and development, they compensate for in resonance.
In “Light at the End of the Tunnel,” Comfort, a 39-year-old woman who has not found Mr. Right, is the object of speculation in the eyes of many in her circle. “Comfort came from what one considers a ‘functional family,’” the text reads. “She never saw her father abuse her mother, nor did she ever see her mother disrespect her father...” So, why is she single? What the neighbors don’t know is that Comfort’s spinsterhood is self-imposed.
A Phil had entered her life and exited right into the arms of another, devastating Comfort and paralyzing love veins in her being. The camel-through-the-needle’s-eyes expectations that she had for subsequent men in her life reduced the pool of potential mates to nothing.
One passage in “Light at the End of the Tunnel” reads: “See, the man that would be right for Comfort would have to come down from heaven on a platinum tray with Comfort’s name written on his forehead. Better yet, he would have to come in a nicely covered gift box, with instructions on how Comfort could change whatever she wanted to change in him as per her preferences.”
The light at the tunnel is Comfort’s realization that she’s imprisoned herself in this fantasy cell, and that she’s the only one who can grant herself parole.
In “Against All Odds,” Roberto, 21, graduates from college and gets set for a bright future not the least dimmed by a dramatic back story: his mother Vivian, had been an HIV and AIDS-infected prostitute. She made a career out of spreading the disease to lovers. The story may be about Roberto’s triumph, but much of its bulk concerns his mother’s reckless life.
“Vivian was a gold digger by nature,” Victor writes. “The most important thing to her was that her bills were being paid and her shopping sprees guaranteed.” Vivian’s love for the high life leads her to many men, including Big Al, a notorious narcotics dealer who “made a promise to God that anything that wears a skirt would get to meet his private part before he dies.” Vivian had on a skirt, and had Big Al’s HIV infection passed on to her.
Victor is a mental health counselor in her non-creative hours, so it isn’t surprising that some of her counseling sessions find themselves in Every Day, Again. In her poem “The Voices that Never Screamed,” an obviously autobiographical narrator speaks of a drug addict, a tortured soul who enters her office, cannot find the mouth to speak, but his prolonged stare at a sexual abuse poster on her wall, articulates volumes. “Those voices murmur,” reads one verse, “They yearn to be freed. For they have become prisoners of their trauma, bystanders of their future.” In “Tales of Motherhood,” a woman expresses her ambivalent feelings about the future of her daughter, of pains to come, while in “Too Young,” the premature single motherhood of a teen is dissected. “As I looked at the bottle,” thinks the narrator of the latter poem, “I remembered the responsibilities I had to commit myself to, and the necessary duties that came along with it too.”
“Tireless Blanket” is a tribute to the men, who honor their duty as fathers. “He gets up at dawn,” observes Victor of such a man, “and hurries to earn the family’s bread. He tries his very best/To please his wife who needs him/And children he may not have fathered.”
As Every Day Again progresses, the verses shift to cultural matters. In “Folk Tale”, Victor makes reference to the revered griots in African villages: “A group of them danced/To the beat of their heritage.” In “An Unforgettable Nation,” she mourns the state of her homeland, musing: “Who would have thought/Who could have guessed/That such a great nation would be/Appealing for so much attention.”
“The Strongest Man I Have Ever Known” is dedicated to the poet’s father. Its reverent verses laud a father who, Victor asserts, “gave me the wonderful gift of believing in myself/A priceless gift that can never, ever be returned.” This same pre-woman’s suffrage-like, man-worship is replicated in “Only a Queen” in which Victor writes: “A queen...she respects herself. And, a king is most proud of a/Queen who knows how to/Manage her castle and/Help him stay on the throne.” Even the most diluted feminist would probably raise eyebrows at this picture of domesticity and female submission.
The search for self is explored in “Loving Me.” One of its couplets states: “In the potter’s shop is where you’ll find me/Molded through but not yet ready/...Yet in the mirror I see, a beautiful pot that/Is still in the making at the potter’s house.”
The strength of Victor’s works is their familiarity- but, it turns out, it’s also their weak point. Moreover, there is too much exposition in the short stories, and some of them are too brief, even for the short story format. No more is this more obvious than in “The Essence of a Strong Relationship,” where the story of long lost love is so predictable and so run of the mill, its concept could have been thought of by a junior high school language arts student. Despite these foibles, Victor, a Brooklyn College graduate and a Poetry.com nominee for Best Poets of 2004, is certainly a strong, lucid voice and may perhaps prove to be the next Danielle Legros-Georges..
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Reader Reviews for "Every Day Again: Real Life Through Poetry and Short Stories"
|Reviewed by Cathy Delaleu
|Carmel's book is great to review over and over, whenever I'm looking for a boost it's right there at my fingertips|