30 May 2010

48. A Night Without Armor: Poems

A Night Without Armor: Poems - Jewel (Jewel Kilcher)

This is the first book of poetry I have read in a long time. Why choose this one? I think Jewel is an awesome song writer and musician. I think she puts more into the words of her songs than most people these days and like to hear her voice singing them.

This book is her writings that she felt did not belong to music, yet were worth sharing as written word.

The book is like taking a journey through the thoughts and feelings inside Jewel. It is deeply personal. She bares herself in front of the world in many of these poems. She may as well be standing naked on the stage. It was that open. I guess it could be categorized as autobiographical poetry.

There were poems about finding a losing love. Some about life on the road and the loneliness she feels. Some were about her past. Those written about her father and siblings as she was growing up in a post divorce family in Alaska were especially intriguing.

I will give a few examples of the poems I found the most moving for one reason or another.

The first is a poem written while in a hotel room in Tai Pei. It starts with where she is and how it is not her home. At the end there are the following lines:

“I have no Lover
only my pen and an
answering machine
back in the States which
no one calls

I am told
I am adored by millions
But no one calls”

That really made me feel badly for Jewel. As famous as she is and as big a star as people make her, she is still wanting and needing the most basic of human contact. She just wants to be cared about by someone. That made me shed a small tear.

Then there was a very short poem. This was written after a few where she was breaking off a relationship with a man. She wrote:

“I wrote you those nice
poems only because
the honest ones
would frighten you”

In the context of the book, that poem was very meaningful.

Near the beginning of the book was a poem about what Jewel sees and recalls about herself regarding the way young women look. The last line is awesome.

“I look at young girls now
in their tight crushed velour
skin tight sky blue
hip huggers with the baby doll
tank tops
and I think
I’ve been there.
God, have I been there.

Sixteen years old and
wrestling with an overwhelming
newfound sexuality.
Parading it in all its
raw and awkward charm.

I had a pair of vintage
burgundy velvet short-
shorts that laced up
the sides
from the 1920s
and I wore them
with a tight leotard
and a plastic faux pearl

showing off all my lanky
leggy blossoming
youth on the verge
of womanhood for all the
free world to see
with no idea how to keep
a secret, especially my own.”

When I read that I felt a bit of frustration as Jewel sees these girls and her own past as some futile way to get along in the world. There was and is so much more to these people than their bodies and sexuality. I guess it is a case of “if I only knew then what I know now”.

I loved reading these poems. I even put a pretty cool book to the side to finish these poems.

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