- Kind: Perfectbound
- Pages: 80
- Language: English
- Date Published: March 2018
- ISBN: 978-1-939929-97-6
If you choose to read Martin Willitts Jr.’s collection, The Uncertain Lover, do so at your own risk. Be prudent, read only one poem at a time. Then rush to the window and follow the lightning streak of your consciousness, now awakened, as it crosses the sky. After you read many of these quietly bold incantations, you will know that a poet has shared time with you. Be grateful. —Jan Keough
In The Uncertain Lover, Martin Willitts, Jr. presents love in all of its richness and flavor from the wistful yet resolute title poem to his remarkable poems that inhabit the art, mind, and soul of the passionate painter Frida Kahlo where she “hold[s] [her husband and fellow artist Diego Rivera] in [her] forehead like a third eye,/ like a gypsy’s curse.” Willitts’s depiction of love goes beyond romantic and sexual love to familial love and love for humanity and nature, especially in “The Ancestry of Maize” and “Speaking the Language of Deer.” This symphony of loves builds to the crescendo of “A Love Supreme,” the poet’s tribute to jazz giant John Coltrane, a poem that blends incantation and insight to transport the reader beyond music and biography to the meaning of Coltrane’s phrase. —Marianne Szlyk
The Uncertain Lover
“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved” — Pablo Neruda
Who among you understands the guitar? If you do not know
how it makes a woman sway, then you know nothing.
I sing under her balcony as a cricket in a torrid season.
Let others suffer their internal struggles. It is not for me.
A man can do only so many things badly. Love is one.
I will strum on her neckline until she dances feverously.
For what is a man, but a musician of the soundless air.
Too many men carry their dares on their lips. Not me.
I had the scent of mistakes from love and not loving well.
I have washed myself until I was no longer alone,
for there is a lack of comfort twisting empty sheets,
uncomfortable as random cards. I want none of this.
Men find gloom is dependable when other things are not.
I am not such a man. I want the light from a certain woman.
Martin Willitts Jr. is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, NY. His poems have appeared in Blue Fifth Review, Inflecionist Review, Perfume River Review, Bitter Oleander, Nine Mile Magazine, Comstock Review, Stone Canoe, and others. He is the winner of 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; 2014 Broadsided Award; 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award; and, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has over 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press), plus 11 full-length collections including “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016) and “Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed” (FutureCycle Press, 2017).