No More Hallelujahs

by Mark Kodama

photo credit: pixabay


No More Hallelujahs is a beautiful and ruminative work of memory and emotion and of lost chances and hopes by poet Ann Christine Tabaka. It is her tenth book of poetry.

Although at times melancholy, the twenty-one poems of the chapbook seem to me to be an honest and truthful look in the rearview mirror of journey we call life. They are great stories that speak to our deepest selves.

One of my favorite works was “Be Who You Are,” which takes the standard cliché on being authentic and standing it on its head into a wonderful paean on aspiring to be something greater than oneself:

“Be who you are” they say.
But who I am
is not who I
want to be . . .
dream to be . . .
need to be . . .
I desire to be so much more.

I also enjoyed the haunting rhythmic sadness of “Beyond the Pale”

Truth that tells beyond the telling,
A past that fades beyond the past
Turning away from myself,
I hide within my skin.

Here is “I Remember Her” about the author’s mother. I love the wonderful details:

She held no malice,
spoke no hate.
though tortured was her lot.
She faded from existence
just as she arrived,
alone and unnoticed
by all but me.
I remember her
standing there
with outstretched arms.

Perhaps that should be all of our epitaphs in these days of celebrity worship and narcissistic self-gratification. We all can aspire to making this a better world in more modest ways and it would be an additional bonus to be at the same time truly appreciated by at least one person.

Here is another piece called “Forgotten Man” that I found particularly moving. The use of metaphors and the imagery was absolutely magical:

Dust motes dance on sunlight
streaming through a dingy window.
Rusty mailbox, empty, always empty.
Cadaverous cobwebs mocking
back at him from a peeling wall.
He sits alone in his room, sifting
through dim memories of a once
vibrant life. His wife is gone, adult
children too busy to visit, friends
moved far away. Yet in his hands
proof that his life was once
real . . . .”

If you love poetry I think you will love this chapbook. I close with “Lessons Learned”

I live my life in lonely solitude,
Remembering what could have
been, if only I knew then . . .
never let go of what you love.

The chapbook is published by Allen Buddha Press and available through Amazon.

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I'm a self-proclaimed aesthete, an amateur literary critic and a history buff with a BA in Political Science and History from Wesleyan College.

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