Lisa Anina Berman received her M.A. in Creative Writing at Chico State University “as a single mother in her 40s.” Her Master’s project has now become a book, “a compilation of narrative, lyrical and form poetry that loosely follows a path of loss, recovery and redemption.” The poet’s simple words are worth pondering.
The second poem, “Deep Blues,” begins with a romantic dinner in South Lake Tahoe. “Our blue eyes danced,” the poet writes, “smiles doubled,/ in lifted glasses/ of chardonnay.” Too perfect? “In deep/ layers of blues,/ I followed a false light,// and got lost in his dark.”
It’s clear that this relationship, which blossoms into marriage and family, includes something else. An addiction. In “Tahoe Haze,” “I dumped out his pain/ pills in our driveway/ while he watched,/ and I stomped/ them, pulverized them,/ to a powdery pulp,/ the color of our panic.”
Then, later, in “Phone Call From Rehab,” “The sky was numb, grey/ as a dial tone, the day my parents came// with their pickup and trailer./ My husband, in rehab// again, had just called./ ‘I told them I don’t belong here,’// he boasted, ‘everyone’s a loser.’”
And now a new chapter, and the reader is invited to “Huge Yard Sale Today!”: “I walk up to the yard sale, the things that I left him/ when I left him, spread out on tables and the sidewalk.” The poet is coming to pick up the kids “for my week.”
But life must be lived. In “My Son’s Swagger,” the poet writes: “My son, know that I would dive/ into icy waters for you/ wrestle a bear for you, and yet,/ we have to feel the pain// of our own skinned knees,/ experience the strengths and failures/ of building our own character,/ and find the armor that suits us.”
“I wanted to see Jesus/ in my cup of coffee this morning” the poet says. “I wanted to believe that/ it’s all true.// … That He teaches,/ heals,/ forgives/ me.”
Lyon Books in Chico will be hosting a reading and book signing Tuesday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m.