Looking for Potholes: Joe Wenke
Life takes us in many different directions. Sometimes we follow roads that are smooth, paved and unblemished and at other times we can encounter craters, boulders or even deep natural underground cavities that are formed by erosion. These cavities are called potholes and can create difficulties when trying to drive a vehicle over them. Riding on different highways or roads you can see these hollow or depressions caused by wear or subsidence. Obstacles in life make things difficult for us sometimes and Potholes can create the same things if we do not know how to avoid them. Looking for Potholes is a compilation of poems each one telling their own story. Some will talk about being right or wrong as in the first poem titled: I Don’t Have to Be Right.” The second “Running Out,” focuses on ideas, running out of time, thinking about what you know or don’t know and think about the potholes the writer is encountering trying to find out whether the end is in sight. The title poem: Looking for Potholes centers around exactly where this bumps and curves are, how driving real fast you can encounter one. Potholes can make you angry and the author talks about an axe to grind and other hindrances that are just as annoying or detrimental as potholes.
Simple Question sets the tone for a poem that focuses on issues, character assassination and just who he is to someone and that person thinks they are. Interesting! Followed by a poem that is just the opposite in outlook called Happy Day where the narrator or speaker appreciates being alive, not understanding why he is so happy and be grateful that it’s a great day. Interesting that sometimes when things go right and there are no curves or potholes to avoid we look for reasons as to why!
Withdrawal is once again the opposite of Happy Day where the narrator focuses on all the negatives in his life, the fact that he feels insignificant and invisible you might say. The Puppet reminds him that sometimes we allow someone to pull our strings and do not pull back. I love the poem Counting which says quite a bit: counting on a person, hoping the person will stay and thinking it might last forever. Betrayals, lies, more potholes or a smooth road you decide!
Several other poems that are quite telling and express fear, emotional upheavals and denial: The Stranger, Trouble, Choosy and Ready. I really loved the poem Homage and the way the narrator toots the horn of the person he is speaking to and the analogies he uses to describe his feelings. Stand Up is a powerful poem that talks about being who you are and why some are like potholes you might say and find crevices and cracks to fall into and not appreciate the smoothness of the road. “You make the difference. You create new ways of being for yourself and everyone.” Over and Trapped are two poems that describe how someone feels about when life is over, when things are done, why things are never the same and how you lose what you had. Sad but true the last line says it all” You’ve reached the end and there’s no starting over.” So, why not appreciate it along the way! Trapped talks about someone stuck within him, can’t find a way to untie the restraints that seem to have him confined. Someone who cannot deal with life and wants to hide from realities. The last poem seems to tie it all up and the narrator seems to want to just find a place that he belongs and has no idea where! Finding a mannerism, characteristic or something that is germane or peculiar to a person seems to be the major essence of each poem or message. In each poem the narrator seems to be fighting life, hoping to survive and possibly escape the potholes along the way or not fall in to deeply. Interesting collection. Very thought provoking and definitely worth the read.
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