Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Poet triumphs through pain

Published:Sunday | November 22, 2015 | 11:00 AM
The book cover of Tangled Emotions *** Local Caption *** The book cover of Tangled Emotions
Ashby
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Book: Tangled Emotions

Author: Charmaine Wallace

Tangled Emotions is a gripping revelation of the many existential crises that beset us. In the vein of Victor Frankl, Charmaine Wallace struggles to find life's meaning. Not that she is unsuccessful. In fact, she proves resilient and unbending despite personal angst and despair. She rises from the ashes, soars - ever mindful that all paths are seldom smoothly paved.

Throughout, we are aware that the mind is a matrix of conflicting thoughts - combative at times, but starkly weak when we need it to be valorous. Yes, we are tangled. No one conveys this better than Wallace. Admittedly, her work isn't original. Far from it. Arguably, her poem Chained is worn, and, others, such as Skyscraper, are a tad banal. But there is an authenticity to Wallace that is unquestionable. Her words are emotive and we feel them; her thoughts are expressive and we are moved; her reflections are transparent and we ponder with her.

Wallace wrestles with life's vicissitudes; she stumbles but never raises that white flag. She leans on the divine and in a psalmic tone she writes many of her more masterful pieces. In Grateful Me her invocations reverberate. "The storms of life rage but He calms the sea. He protects, guards and watches over me. I rest in his arms comfortably forever blessed and thankful. I say this sincerely, Yours truly, grateful Me."

And she can be mystical, straying from the path of tradition as she equates the conscience as the voice of God in The Voice Within.

And in I Met a Man, there is a phantasmagoric feel - eerie, but comforting. This is as cryptic as it gets and written with imagination and piercing knowledge of spiritual manifestations.

Wallace frees herself from life's torment and appears supremely confident in You Can't Cage Me. Here, she is no longer coy or tentative. There is an unnerving hubris. She is uncharacteristically combative, yet sanguine. But this invincibility is ephemeral for in subsequent offerings she is again walking on thin ice - picking up the pieces or struggling to convince herself that she will be victorious as the torrents of life rain down.

expectantly joyous

Wallace's work is doleful but expectantly joyous. For sure, she well captures the enigma of existence. Tangled Emotions soars because we are all Charmaine Wallace. But there is a difference. Sadly, we shut tight our emotional door while suffering silently. Wallace has opted to pry open hers, laying bare her feelings. This bold act quickens her healing and her triumph.

But Tangled Emotions is not all turmoil and mental anguish.

The Kiss is a wondrous demonstration of unbridled passion.

"My heart raced, My belly raced, Curled toes, in a passionate woe, I shivered, I felt the earth quake, Cold sweat all over my face, I almost said I love you babe, Silly ... that couldn't be, How could a kiss do this to me.?"

But on a dime, that innocence can turn decadent. Again, we see that thread of paradox that runs through Wallace's work. "Too much to drink," she writes in One Night Stand," possibly I am drunk ... I think ... This is ecstasy, romance and desire, Confused ... red wine working on my brain like a fuse, I'm all nude. It's my sexiest attire, My body yearns, I'm wet, I am on fire."

And in the eponymous Tangled Emotions, Wallace is compelling with words that scramble the mind and unsettle the most tempered of readers. "Can they see the pain I try to hide? Can they really tell what's going on inside my mind? I wear a grin and mask the pain within. I live a lie. A terrible sin. But for how long can I remain this way. When there is nothing left to gain. The mirror reflects a change but sadly, things remain the same." Oh, Wallace's torture is so beautifully expressed.

Yes, Tangled Emotions drills into the very heart of life. Therein is a sound message - simple but profound. As wretched as life seems we are forever shielded by deliberation and wisdom. Wallace's words couldn't be more lucid: "We are armed with choices, education or ignorance. Which path will you choose today?"

Feedback: glenvilleashby@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter@glenvilleashby Tangled Emotions: Thoughts, Reflections, Moods and Attitudes by Charmaine Wallace Publisher: Create Space ISBN: 13;978-1515267959 Available: Amazon.comRating : Recommended