Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: The Bridge is Gone! A Common Man's Must Read!

2007 PowwowImage by Smithsonian Institution via Flickr
The Bridge is Gone:
Poems by Monolin

By Monolin "Manny" Moreno

Perhaps it was because we are around the same age and have many years to look back on that I so much became involved and appreciated the poetry in The Bridge is Gone by Manny Moreno. Actually, he set me up right from the first page by adding a beautiful image, "Time." In fact, each image throughout the book took more time to study, than to read his words--they are that compelling.

Each of the five drawings, especially the one on the back cover, are worth the price of the book! Each is intricately created, with a basic collage of Indian faces, but then, somehow, nature, God, people, and love radiate from the overall effect and we, who are privileged to see them, are filled with wonder as we stop to study the symmetry, the detail, and imagination flowing from each...

As with his other book, soon to be published, Manny also includes photos from his life and his surroundings, which provides readers with a cultural "inside" that would not easily be found.

Now I must tell you about his poetry! Readers of my reviews have always wanted a sample, so I will include the last one in his book, which, in essence, seems to represent the man I am coming to know:

Common Man

There's a lot of things
I don't understand
I'm just a common man
ask me how the world was created
I'll direct you to the sky
ask me about politics
I'll say lie   cheat   genocide
Imperialistic pride
ask me about religion
I'll say man's plan
ask me about spirituality
I'll say Creator's plan
ask me about anything
I'll say who wants to know?
There's a lot of things
I don't understand
I'm just a common man.

And it is within this poem that we find the essence of this poet--he is a commoner, just like most of us, and his words easily become those that we might think or say, if only we had the gift to poetically share our thoughts. Manny takes us back to our childhood and points out so much of that time has disappeared, with what it is called progress and perhaps it is progress, but it also means that part of our memories no longer exist, except in our minds.

Manny talks of lost love, that keeps him awake, "can't sleep, for a hurt that hurts like hell..."(p. 21) and goes on to say, "I cannot love anybody if I cannot love me..." ((p. 91). But remembers well of his early life, "mom's cooking beckoning us into the house with love. (p. 65)

The most dramatic work must be "Sleepless Night in Stockton" which has 14 parts on 11 pages. Picture a single man, alone in the city, coming home to the quiet apartment, no noise, no people, only his words to help create an escape, trying to unwind, realizing how old he is, remembering his past, his family, yet  his "thoughts find themselves in travail and pow-wow in circles...A Yaqui/Tarascan maneuvering in this reservation of modern-I-zation, everyday a warrior." For he, like all of us, must hold on to what we are..

And then Manny Moreno sings, prays...and catches some z's...

An Introduction provides readers with a little of this poet's personal story, along with over 50 beautifully written poetic stories to complement his days. Now he is an Elder--he has his hand drum, a rattle, sage, sweetgrass and cedar for the fire and will continue to celebrate and pray for our world--where The Bridge is Gone! A Must-Read for we who are the common people of America...
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