Women of America: Poems
Charlie Smith
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Buy *Women of America: Poems* online

Women of America: Poems

Charlie Smith
W.W. Norton
96 pages
September 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Charlie Smith’s Women of America is a journey traveling both familiar and unfamiliar roads, the external and the internal, with incisive glimpses into the heart of a man who uses words as his compass:

I was thinking of a woman I loved,
who wouldn’t love me.
I thought I would never get past this,
and though it was obvious I would,
that we all do, I began to love the pain
that didn’t want to go away, and held on to it. (“Compared to What”)
Love is held to the light for careful examination, but more the love one used to know or the love yet to be captured, the act in constant transition as the author delves into his motivations and desires. There is no landscape that does not spark a memory of love or the wish for fulfillment. Both erotic and transcendent, these perfectly coupled phrases inspire introspection, a moment’s passage into shared emotions, a soulful recognition:
“That is, darling, your turn will come.
I’d walk out on myself if I could.
I love the distant glow in the nighttime desert sky
like a worn yellow spot in the dark
everything might still slip through. (“Late Days: Outside Las Vegas”)
The images are extraordinary, the emotions stark, unflinching, revealing both the poignant and the painful, a self-examination without filters. He walks a worldly terrain where place becomes incidental to the truth exposed but where landscape serves as inspiration. And always the fading footsteps a love gone wrong or not yet known:
Dearest, they are tearing
down the movie theaters-
blackened areas in which
we clutched each other,
leaving marks. (“Talking to Whom”)
Throughout his wanderings, his mind returns again and again to the women who have shaped his heart, the incidental, the passionate, the forbidden, the lost and the mourned.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2005

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