This book reverberates with a passionate, yet lethargic voice of pain that isn’t afraid to confront their imperfect reality, despite the heartache and mental anguish it may cause. The idea of true love is noticeable throughout the book with romantic poems that embody sentiment, compassion, empathy, desire and fantasy- others show us merely the fragments leftover after all has been shattered to pieces... just like broken glass.
Poems such as "Broken Glass" remind us of a classic Lifetime movie drama, using the similia "broken glass" to represent the significant damage that has occurred between two hearts and lives due to the grueling effects of alcoholism.
In this poem, as with several others, Mikhail's words are evocative and feel real, exposing some of her inner weaknesses and vulnerability to life, as she’s out on a thin limb clinging to the past and dear memories of when she once recalls her house truly being a home.
Emotional-based, the author's style of writing is like prose poetry and uses the literary elements of symbolism, metaphors, and situational irony to compare and depict real-life circumstances to figurative scenarios; an example of this is the depiction and comparison of her own internal battle to the idea of being lost at sea.
Mikhail uses the figurative depiction "lost at sea," (also the title of a poem) to embellish and emphasize the stormy rapture of turmoil and turbulence impacting her relationship with her partner, in which she is quickly plummeting saying, "…I'm drowning in the waters I know." We take this moment to truly imagine the depths of the author’s fear, lost without compass in a world that has the potential and power to swallow anyone and anything in its way, such as the mighty sea! The feeling is nothing less than devastating. And the fact that the author makes a point to use such a dramatic and intense illustration tells us she is more than overwhelmed, isolated and dubious- she is going under. Will she survive?
Living miserably in the gloomy shadows of her own self-loathing and contempt, the narrator struggles greatly with finding inner-peace and finds it nearly impossible to gain any sense of contentment, severely discouraged by the tempestuous winds of adversity. She furthermore accentuates this unforgiving reality when she openly defines the color of her spirit as, “black.”
Behind this thought is a poem entitled "Black Soul" that shares the author’s honest viewpoint on how she connects and relates to the color black while figuratively defining its emotional impact and obscurities. The poem is written as an extended metaphor and possesses an intriguing, cryptic vibe and is no coincidence, emotionally, as black as a day with no sun.
We must add that from a technical perspective, Mikhail really shows off the usefulness of metaphors in this piece by means of multiple detailed comparisons that stem from her own personal pain, sadness and depression. Each depiction is intimate, and just like the color black, “lack hue and brightness,” ultimately drawing a shadowy portrait of her distressed spirit and consciousness. The poem takes an ironic turn towards the end when she says "Black makes me feel alive. Black is the color of my soul," attaching herself and her very existence to the bleak and mysterious nature of the darkness.
Author Jamlila Mikhail’s poetry can speak to so many broken spirits and suffering hearts and I can definitely recommend this book to others. More than a presentation of conflict, adversity and pain, this book reads as a poetic testimony of perseverance, heart, love, courage and transition in which the author digs deep down into her soul and embraces her hearts innermost.