Written by: Vitina Molgaard
The manufacturer of sorrow
Bled across her nights
Through cracks in the wall.
-From Michelle Scalise’s poem Mouthful of Thorns
This collection of forty-one poems is filled with dark avenues of pain, grief, insanity, anger and so much more. There are no simple, easy, happy-go-lucky places to travel here. Be prepared.
I’ve personally read this a number of times now and have found myself deeply engrossed in the macabre mood and bleak territory in which the book takes me. It is now officially a part of my collection that I will re-read time and time again.
Two of the included works are co-written with her husband, Tom Piccirilli, and they simply add a slight edge. But Scalise’s solo material is certainly nothing to scoff at.
Now to mention just a few poems that stand out for me, and for a variety of reasons. ‘She Sings Eternal Madness’ rings out a true feeling of madness, with lines that chill to the bone. ‘The Blue Rose Tattoo’, touches a lonely emptiness with lines like, “I suspect the waters much colder down there in the past where your sins clog up a stream like dead trees.” ‘Her Little Blue Pills,’ will leave one wondering about the motivation in constructing this one, as we deal with the mother in this and how anyone could survive such a life. Lastly I want to mention one that is a definite favorite of mine, ‘Recede’. This one is amazing, and will last with me for a very long time.
I would be remiss not to mention the excellent photos that are sprinkled throughout the collection.They are also dark, but have a very real feel to them.
There are countless poems here to get into, certainly too many to list here. Do yourself a favor and get this book and read, read, read.