LATE Review

The phases and ages of Eros are the theme of Cecilia Woloch’s poetry collection Late mixing traditional lyric forms with prose poems in flash fiction style, creating a poignant and passionate portrait of a woman’s inner world. Addressing the men in her life, Woloch speaks as daughter, young girl, bride, lover, wife, mother, teacher — in poems rich in evocative, erotic language tinged with desire, regret, and self-irony. The book opens with an “Aubade” offering a prayer for love... “ Oh world, hold us up to the light” — then moves through a succession of moods and styles mirroring the complexities of human relationships.

“Bare Back Pantoum” expresses the joyous physicality of a boy and girl riding bareback through a burning wood, with the rhythm, flare, and fire of the gypsy culture to which Woloch proudly traces her origins. “Custom” recreates the dizzy elation of being in love “ Some days you wake up and find god in your shoes and don’t know who put it there....And the windows, my god the windows have gathered absurd amounts of sky... “Hex” instead conveys the black bitter mood of a “wrong love” — “As if my heart, that box of shadows, could be locked against itself.” “Los Ninos” deals with a woman’s cautious appreciation of teenage vigor “At any moment they could strike the match of touch, they were that close” The ironic “1978" is the story of a youthful amour gone sour.

 

“That winter we were so broke

we siphoned gasoline from the other’s cars

lived on tea and cigarettes.

You let me wear the moth-eaten mink

your last lover, the stripper, had left behind.

(Or was she a fire-eater, that Rose, an exotic dancer

heading west and sure you would follow her?

You did)

.

Interwoven with these stories and lyrics are elegies for a father lost, among the most moving poems in the collection including “All Hallows,” “After World,” and the brilliant “ How It Works.”

Woloch’s intent is a whole portrait of a whole life, in which insignificant or even unseemly details ... the smell of piss in a Paris street ... find their place and add to the richness of all. This is the theme of “Filth” in praise of the soot, smoke, and dirt of Paris, a city Woloch knows well, of the worn interiors of its cafes and of the rumpled shirts of the waiter at “ Le Chien Qui Fume.”

Running through the collection is a thread of occult imagery....hexes, dreams, ghosts, wishes, omens, graves, signs, and pervasive images of fire... the underside of Eros where death and love are linked in a magic vision of the ties between bodies and things. Intense, darkly glinting, and sensual, Late celebrates the body of love in its many forms.

~ Linda Lappin