There’s a consistent theme stretching across Nicole Lyons’ “I Am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl”. It is felt from the opening poem, “The Next Big Thing”, in which the Canadian native states,
“Darling, I see you,
all twenty years of you,
and I will invite you to my table,
set the prettiest place for you,
to come back to me,
after you have gagged on life,
wiped your mouth
and asked for a second fucking helping”.
This feeling of violation, the siren song that has driven the #MeToo movement this last year from rock slides into a cultural avalanche, permeates and dominates every page of Girl. Even when Lyons is at her most empathetic and forgiving, gentle reminders that women still face immense challenges to be accepted in what was formerly a man’s world accompany. And at her most biting, she never abandons the readers in her care to absolute uncertainty that equality can’t be achieved with love and decency.
The poems themselves are short and digestible, leaving the reader to crave more of her vivid imagery and visceral breadcrumbs of wisdom from page to page. When a poem does span longer than four to twenty lines, it only emphasizes Lyon’s gift of telling whole stories in fifty words or less.
“If my mind
should ever eat
all of me,
the girl I tried to be.”
Marshmallows and Misunderstandings
There is a clear set of traumas that define Lyons’ work, but also a body of blessing that she has chosen to inhabit. Struggles with mental health (“Depression Sleeps”, “I’ve Seen Better Days”) and sexual assault are mirrored by inner peace and deeper bonds that time and perspective have brought her.
Lyons’ greatest ability is effortlessly pulling her audience through each chapter of her most acerbic thoughts and leaving them more hopeful than despairing for the experience.
Review by Nicholas Gagnier, Free Verse Revolution Publishing
“I Am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl” is available for purchase at Amazon.com