Cozzi’s (Handful of Memories, 2014, etc.) new poetry collection dwells on the intoxication of romantic love.
Built from short lyrics, typically 20 lines or less, these pieces contain a lot of feeling. As if to cement this point, clip-art-style hearts appear at the bottom of each poem, drawn sometimes in a thin black outline, sometimes in a row of brushy, interlinked shapes. A poem titled “Framed Moments,” about the desolation felt after a breakup, finishes with the image of a heart cracked open. This decorative touch of typescript seems unnecessary—the lines themselves never leave the subject of love, compelled by its seductive totality. Take the poem “Desire,” for example: “Sifting through your magical gleam / Is like a dance with the surreal / The night has induced its spell / And a scent of promise has arrived / Spilling desire ravenously.” Love is more than just situational; it is the poetic subject and reason for living in “Pictures of You”: “I sit everyday / Pen in hand / Recording the intricacies of life / Pondering whether love has arrived again.” Never brooding yet always contemplative, the lines seem imbued with softness. Grief over loves lost marks the pages here and there, but anger doesn’t. The state of being in love is superlative in “When Everything Tasted of Ice Cream”; it doesn’t allow for bitterness: “The sunlight rising through my window / Conjures up these memories I have of you / When everything seemed quite perfect / And we were in love.” In that poem, an attentive quietness generates concrete pictures of the past and reveals the moments that are harder to see: “Today / I remember / Things that have faded / Things that are / In between my words.” Spun out on short lines like this, the act of remembering takes on a profundity that makes it the most important work of the day. The poet can speak of vigorous, active joy too, writing in “Flashes of Mad Happiness” how a “tidy bed” begged for a wrinkle: “And we wrecked it / Slaying loneliness / With flashes of mad happiness.”
The sentimental focus of this poetry volume remains both its strength and limitation.