A review of We Walk Alone by Mariah E. Wilson

 Reviewed by Elvis Alves

We Walk Alone
by Mariah E. Wilson
Writers Amuse Publishing
Paperback: 56 pages, July 16, 2014, ISBN-13: 978-1927975398

The poems in We Walk Alone by Mariah E. Wilson, remind me of the great writer John Edgar Wideman’s description of one of his characters in his Damballah. Wideman writes, “He has the gift of feeling. Things don’t touch him, they imprint.” Wilson, too, has the gift of feeling. Things don’t touch her, they imprint. For evidence, read her poetry.

In You Remind Me, Wilson warns that the universe can “be heavy on your shoulders” (15). One gets the sense that this weight comes about due to lost, “a song of things forgotten and love gone too soon” (Too Soon, 10). Lost is a prominent theme in the collection. It is what Wilson does with this theme, and others in the collection, that brings a sense of magic to her work. Wilson is a dexterous writer, her pen is a scalpel that incises the human emotions in concise ways. And in doing so, she takes ownership of her feelings—not allowing them to power over her, or the reader.

This sense of control is eloquently posits in poems like Not for Sale and in The Myth of You. Wilson affirms her self-worth in the two pieces, stating in the latter “but you take to the wind/your empty laughter/your strange self/your smoke rings/were never really here anyway” (30). Therefore, Wilson seems to encourage, self-preservation or survival should be a natural consequence of a lost, as in a relationship. One of my favorite pieces in the collection that gracefully deals with the theme of pressing forward is Holding it in (32).

A series
Of pregnant pauses

All waiting
For the next
Big Moment
To exhale

The poem gives the impression that whatever it is that one maybe going through in life, it is a pause, and life will move you into the next moment. She wants you to take a pause in the moment—a behavior that is yogic—and know that life is moving you forward.

I must admit that I, at times, enjoyed the shorter poems in the collection compared to the longer ones. Maybe this affinity is biased in nature ( I have a thing for brevity). But I do believe that Wilson is a poet that does more with less. I look forward to reading more of her work, and do recommend that you pick up this latest collection.

About the reviewer: Elvis Alves is the author of the poetry collection Bitter Melon (Mahaicony Books, 2013). Find out more at http://www.poemsbyelvis.blogspot.com