There’s a lot of living packed into the pages of Roberta R. Blango’s Dipping Down from Deep Within My Soul. The strength in these poems is in the raw hurt that seems to tear apart the relationships at the heart of the poems.
Blango has a keen, sympathetic eye for the many things that can go wrong between a man and a woman and delivers her observations in simple rhymes. In “Here We Go Again,” she notes, “It’s time for us to go our separate ways / And realize the pain we’re causing each other / Is not just a phase.” She can be blunt and funny: “Don’t run now, the fun / Has just begun / You started this crap / When I caught her sitting in your lap…/” Or just plain blunt: “I know you love him and you want it to work / But sweetheart, he’s not worth it / He’s nothing but a manipulating jerk.”
Though the difficulties of love are the main focus of the poems, Blango also writes about hurricanes, snowstorms and blackouts, moms, dads, sisters and friends — even Santa Claus and mermen!
The problem with the book is not its breadth but rather its depth. Too many of the poems read like notations from an advice column or self-help manual. Over and over, readers are told that something is wrong rather than shown with vivid poetic imagery. When we read, “Why does life take us through / So many changes / So many upsets…” we want to know what life is meting out in concrete images. Without the grit of real life, readers’ eyes pass too quickly over the steady flow of Dear Abby advice.
Frustratingly, one suspects that Blango has lived much of the life she writes about; to improve her poetry, she needs to show us, as her cover art does, the very veins and arteries of the heart in action.
Also available in hardcover.