bright dead things review.

Happy Halloween friends. Today is one of my favorite holidays. I love autumn in general, but something about Halloween is just so great. The pumpkin carving, apple cider, watching cute and spooky movies, decorations of ghouls and witches, and yes, eating candy corn (I know I fall in the minority on that one).

In honor of the day, I decided to read through the poetry collection of Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón. The title felt appropriate. But in all seriousness, this poetry is stunning.

It is a book of introspection, heart, and loss. Limón’s work feels intricate and breathes life into the words she writes. This collection delves into the chaos of living and the beautiful complexity of what it all means.

If I could, I would have quoted the whole collection, that’s how enamored I was with it. Instead, I chose five that I loved most. Her other works immediately went to my TBR list.

I haven’t given up on trying to live a good life,
a really good one even, sitting in the kitchen
in Kentucky, imagining how agreeable I’ll be –
the advance of fulfillment, and of desire –
all these needs met, then unmet again.
When I was a kid, I was excited about carrots,
their spidery neon tops in the garden’s plot.
And so I ripped them all out. I broke the new roots
and carried them, like a prize, to my father
who scolded me, rightly, for killing his whole crop.
I loved them: my own bright dead things.
I’m thirty-five and remember all that I’ve done wrong.
Yesterday I was nice, but in truth I resented
the contentment of the field. Why must we practice
this surrender? What I mean is: there are days
I still want to kill the carrots because I can.

“Here it is: the new way of living with the world inside of us so we cannot lose it, and we cannot be lost. You and me are us and them, and it and sky.”

“…this life is a fist
of fast wishes caught by nothing
but the fishhook of tomorrow’s tug.”

“If you live, you look back and beg for it again, the hazardous bliss before you know what you would miss.”

“I’m learning so many different ways to be quiet. There’s how I stand in the lawn, that’s one way. There’s also how I stand in the field across from the street, that’s another way because I’m farther from people and therefore more likely to be alone. There’s how I don’t answer the phone, and how I sometimes like to lie down on the floor in the kitchen and pretend I’m not home when people knock. There’s daytime silent where I stare, and a nighttime silent when I do things. There’s shower silent and bath silent and California silent and Kentucky silent and car silent and then there’s the silence that comes back, a million times bigger than me, sneaks into my bones and wails and wails and wails until I can’t be quiet anymore. That’s how this machine works.”

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