Jona Colson’s Said Through Glass poetry collection (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 2018) transports one to the internal life of things and feelings – the Bay, mourning, want, loss. The fifty-five poems in this collection explore behind the surface of things, offering surprising, wistful, unexpected images.
“Dive,” on the surface describes the act and sensation of diving into water. It may also describe falling and not catching love. A delightful example of Jona’s mastery in using few words to conjure worlds of meaning.
To step beyond the ledge, arch
and fall into water.
To be worth your weight:
You need to take your last breath
as if it were your last
so you cut the surface and leave
no bruise. Align your fingers,
your arms, your elbows
and curve your body for break.
At any temperature the depth
may begin to feel warm and soft,
and you may mistake this for love until
you try to breathe.
Said Through Glass is divided into four sections, the 3rd of which includes eleven parts dedicated to Las Meninas, the painting by Diego Velazquez. These represent wonderful examples of the power of ekphrastic poetry, how dynamics and subtleties of previously unrounded lives can be built within the frame.
From “IV. Dona Maria Augustina”:
I will love you no matter what atrocities
The first time I held
your hair because of the sudden wind
was the first time I remember anything...
Perhaps my favorite poems in this collection are imagined dialogues, with one person — a passport control officer, doctor, realtor — asking questions to which the communication partner responds with shocking candor and vivid imagery. Take this short excerpt from “Job Interview,” for example, “...Why are you planning to leave your current position? / My mother taught me that meat is cooked when bone is removed easily from flesh. / What do you do in your spare time? / Kisses often fall and stain like pollen in a breeze…”
As I flip through these pages, many pieces jump up to be shared because they’re beautiful; make me perceive the world somewhat differently, or provide new understanding. I quell the impulse to transcribe more and recommend you read Said Through Glass. As ends “A Room as Cool as Pearls,” “This is our time to amaze each other.” Jona has done just that for me with Said Through Glass.