Book Review of “A Time To Cry”

The US Review of Books

A Time To Cry

by Paul Kloschinsky

Trafford Publishing

reviewed by John E. Roper

“I used to have peaks
and valleys in my life.
Then the valleys got deeper
and the peaks shorter.
Until it was all averaged out,
by medicine,
and I’m stuck with a
sub-par life in a rut.”

No one’s life is a complete joyride. We may be cruising along on smooth asphalt for a few days or even a month, but eventually even the most peaceful of life’s journeys encounters a pothole. Unfortunately, our highways also contain more severe road hazards, ones often resulting in personal loss, which can sometimes cause us to spin out of control and leave us stalled for a time in the middle of nowhere. In this first collection of his poetry, the author chronicles a time when he was stranded by his own road’s difficulties in a place of madness, depression, and unrequited love.

Kloschinsky’s musings reflect a soul in turmoil, a mind and heart that cry out first against his mental illness and what it does both to him and those who love him. A trained physician, he suddenly finds himself the patient forced to endure the probing of psychologists and hypodermic needles. Depression follows, and poems with titles such as “Despair,” “Useless,” and “Suicide” reflect the poet’s mood during that period. But the theme that the author revisits most often and which pervades the entire last half of the book deals with the bitter loss of love.

Although obviously well-educated and familiar enough with classical literature to include the occasional reference or allusion to a poet or a specific literary subject, Kloschinsky’s own verse is unpretentious and uniquely his own. While thematically reminiscent of the works of both Rod McKuen and Sylvia Plath, his poetry’s relation to theirs is due mainly to a similar life’s journey. As painful as his subject matter may be, the author’s emotional transparency and competence in his craft make his poetry a pleasure to read.

 

A Time To Cry

Here are a few excerpts from my book A Time To Cry:

My Mind Howls

 

My mind howls at the night.

Ablaze with vibrant colors,

in conversation with ghosts,

attacked by bands of thieves,

a withdrawal into my labyrinth,

in heroic struggle with slippery beasts,

grasping women who vanish,

the urban lights a sensuous seduction.

Leading me to wander

through cold city streets,

where my hunger is unsatisfied,

and irritable from my failure

I become autistic and perplexed

and they drag me to the hospital

and put me on medicine.

 

My Parent’s Grief

 

I was too busy chasing demons

to even notice them.

 

The shining lights of the city

reflected on the water

like a candlelight vigil.

 

Then the attacks by the rabid beasts;

with the fights,

and crucifixions,

and confusion.

 

It was only later

in the hospital,

bound and medicated,

that I noticed –

 

my father’s graying hair,

my mother’s wrinkling face,

and the deep sorrow

 

and concern

in both their eyes;

 

blanketing me like

Mary at Jesus’s death.

 

Lost Love

 

Your splendor lives on in my mind tonight,

The soft glow of your face as you climbed the stairs.

No harsh lines leaped forth in the dim moonlight

Or ungraceful moves, just the curls in your hair.

We laughed and we danced and you held my hand tight,

With a bond that I thought should never end,

Soon the music ended and something so right

Was left hanging in thin air, a prayer to send.

So how was I to know you were attached,

With husband and child that both hold you dear,

All I knew is that we were perfectly matched,

My heart leapt though they say I can’t draw you near.

I didn’t know what to say or how far I’d get,

But your face drew first blood from the moment we met.