“In my father’s house there are rooms, where I might wander,
Finding in each the rubble of childhood- a reading chair,
maroon rug, cluttered toys-
things on which I could place a memory, if only I could return-
(…) I articulate all memories into one: a toy gun, unstrung bow,
desk with owl feathers, cabinet spilling blood, the spines of books
I never had the time to read. If I lose the way back to this place,
lose it at a wrong turn and into a wrong room, it will never be for the lack
of things to stand in place of other things, but for the will to look.”
In this poetry book full of images and memories willing to bring back the time, the poet tries to capture the most powerful moments of sharing, love, friendship and tolerance: family, friends, loved ones, anonymous people, all are immortalized in the poet’s personal geography.
From the raw violence on the military fronts during the civil war to the quiet of a friend’s house, Aaron Brown takes the reader on a journey into a space and time that belong to a longed-for past: the Chad of his childhood, Ati the town of his growing-up years, almost a lost Paradise -even if this Paradise is also violent, tough and unforgiving.
Encapsulating space and time within words, Aaron Brown’s poetry rushes across a land of vivid colours and people. It also depicts a world belonging to another time and place, to another age, to another person; in this poliphonic poetry where French, Arabic and English sometimes mingle and almost echo each other, the poet creates the “memory palace” of his adult life.
Aaron Brown’s poetry is beautifully written and has a strong sense of description, thus transforming the ordinary into exquisite, blissful bits of writing. From the precious time spent with friends come these poems in which not a particular geographic region, but the land of youth, generosity and love is the true mother country so longed for.
Acacia Road by Aaron Brown
978-1878851697 / Silverfish Review Press (May 15, 2018)
Review by Ioana Danaila
Ioana Danaila was born in Romania. She graduated from University Lyon 2 Lumière with a Masters in African Postcolonial Literature and a First degree in French for Non-Francophone people. She published a collection of short stories and translated books from French to Romanian. She speaks Romanian, French, English, and Spanish, and teaches English language and literature to highschool students in France.