The poems in Matthew Brown’s book, “Verbrennen,” which is published by Swimming With Elephant Publications, are direct and have a lot of purpose. They are also angry poems, which given the subject matter of the poems is understandable if you have a heart and a soul. The bio on the back cover of his book states that Matthew’s poems “expose social, racial, and economic inequalities,” and that is exactly what they do, except for the first poem in the book, “Jose,” which starts off being about his grizzly grandfather and then twists into being about the narrator himself and his bad temper, which seems to have been passed down to him from his grandfather. “Jose,” is an intense poem; the twist in its direction adds to the energy of the poem.
The second poem, “Choice,” is about abortion, or more aptly about the two sides taken on the issue of abortion. The poem is addressed to a woman named Tara who we learn in the poem’s introduction is “a campaigner against reproductive rights.”
“It doesn’t matter who won
over the ban on abortion
because you and I won’t stop fighting for what we believe in,”
is how the poem starts.
It ends with,
In this poem, as in all the poems in his book, Matthew has a clear voice. You know where he stands on things. He doesn’t mince words, or beat around the bush.
The third poem in the book, “Feast,” is a searing indictment of the white man’s treatment of the Indians in this great nation of ours. Key lines from the poem are,
“Our relatives will flee from their minivans
like the pilgrims fled from the Mayflower,”
“And in the true American tradition
They will take advantage of
other people’s hospitality,”
“Use the water from the Trail of tearsto fill our crockpots.”
By now, we all know that the Indians got screwed by the white man, but Matthew is more eloquent than most of us could be in his description of the cruelty and self-justification that the white man exhibited in “founding” the “new” land.
“Enola,” is a poem that deals with the Americans bombing of Hiroshima. It would seem that the death and suffering of such a large, large number of people is ignored by most of us, but Matthew is on target in his observations of the occurrence in this poem.
“It’s interesting that when minorities are poor
we call it a statistic
But when whites can’t afford to pay their mortgage,
we call it a recession,”
are key lines from the poem, “Recession,” which speaks of the discrepancies and unfairness that exist between rich folks and poor people using the recent recession to highlight these differences.
“Cake,” “Valor,” and “Blood Diamond,” are angry outbursts at Paula Dean, American usage of drones, and the diamond industry. Each is a fine poem, thought provoking, and original.
Verbrennen is currently available through Amazon and CreateSpace for $10.95. Check it out today.
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