Depth of beauty in Tim Seibles’ “Fast Animal”
© Max Zamor
Even those of us who do not like to read poetry, because we claim it is difficult to understand, may find the writings of Tim Seibles, at times, too simplistic. But do not be fooled: his poetry has an underlying sophistication that forms the basis for its beauty. Reading a few poems from his book “Fast Animal” is nothing short of a journey sweeping the landscape of his life experiences. Complicated that may seem, until we find that he is not any different than all of us: A human being who dreams, hopes, discovers, hurts and exults. Continue to read, then we rediscover ourselves in each poem and as a whole, the collection forces us to look into our mirror. After reading this book, cry, we may. Laugh, we may. However, we will never see ourselves in the same light as before.
The imagery Tim Seibles presents to us is one to admire. It is raw and honest as it caresses our sensibilities until we are pulled into its grasp and held firmly, yet gently. He opens the book with “Later”, a poem in which he speaks to what we want to say out loud through the cacophony of life. A robin becomes his voice, yet it is also our voice. The robin does not fear criticism. It does not adhere to social etiquette. Anytime, day and night, it says what is on its mind, regardless of who listens. A metaphor for the freedom to be honest with the innocence we wish we had. We are thus disturbed until we find that it is our mind releasing its frustration.
In “Allison Wolf” there is much we are familiar with. This poem is more than two teenagers exploring their sexuality. It is more than a timid interracial relationship. Tim Seibles talks to the hesitation of a young couple who kisses when the parents are not home; accentuating yet once again the danger and excitement of biting into the forbidden fruit. This time these young adults do not have only the parents to worry about. Society’s angst or the ugliness and consequences of racial discrimination in an era of hatred are still tender. This forbidden fruit is much more poisonous than their broken virtue.
One would think that walking among mutilated bodies and dilapidated buildings is only reserved for movies; or in stories and lectures aimed to brainwash, depicting religious Armageddon. Tim Seibles takes us there, matter-of-factly in “Faith” as his subliminal voyage into our own existence. Questioning God is not just philosophical; it is what makes us grow as humans. Not that the answer matters much to him or humanity. Questioning why we would go through our normal routines of life despite witnessing gross calamities is a test of our faith in the human spirit.
“Some day one night,
when the city lights go out for good,
you won’t believe how many stars.”
And life goes on. Just believe that as long as you’re alive, there is cause to be hopeful; a powerful message, delivered by using the symbolism of God’s creations. After all, are they not eternal?
© March 2012 Max Zamor
“Fast Animal” by Tim Seibles