I Hear It the Way I want It to Be by David P. Kozinski

i hear (2)
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David P. Kozinski’s, I Hear It the Way I Want It to Be, is seventy-nine pages of modern-themed poems divided into three parts. Kozinski explores universal themes of loss, love and regret with contemporary twists and subtitles (quotes) from well -known writers such as Jimi Hendrix, Mark Twain and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
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On page twelve and thirteen, he presents his title poem I Hear It the Way I Want It to Be.  Kozinski takes the reader back to when he was in sixth grade and references boys of his age during Dickens’ time who were factory workers creating figures for chess, sometimes endangering their digits. Sixth grade is an age of both innocence and becoming aware. He says he and his friends were coddled and soft studying fractions and a map- changing Europe. Then the poem changes and the viewpoint in the three-stanza poem switches to a more mature view. The final lines read:
          But from somewhere far above
          and not too far in the future
          I felt the squeeze coming—
         to manufacture a more amusing game,
         a better strategy for knocking down kings.
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Sixth grade is pivotal in the phases of growing up. The poem shows this by moving from the production of pieces for a game to implied real-life understanding of war. The poem is successful in presenting, in common language, the complexity of time frames, place, and situation.
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In the poem Find and Seek on page twenty-nine, Kozinski speaks of another kind of change in one’s life. In repeating the words, I call for you in the first three stanzas of the six- stanza poem, Kozinski has set the tone and mood of loss and details where the you is and cannot answer. The you is in the yard—then in her sick bed. He skillfully changes the phrase from I call you to I call for you to I call out for you. The poem clarifies in the third stanza.
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          I call out for you
         And you are there for me
         until you are not.
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The last two stanzas detail the narrator discovering the many doors in his house after his loss and says it is in a dimming light.  He closes the poem trying to make the past real by remembering the smell of her perfume and the touch of her skin. but succeeds only in memory.  He again calls out: I called to you at dusk and again this morning. She comes but the final stanza reveals it is not real.
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          I called out a warning, a prophecy
          and it was a claim cordoned off
          and conveyed, an alias
           of ill-fitting clothes.
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 His images in this poem are strong and although low key and controlled, carry intense emotion which is clearly felt.
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Kozinski’s final poem, Planet of the Uncluttered Mind, makes a comment on the writing of poems and his attitude toward it. I find it funny.
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         There is a distant place
         where the one-word poem is highly valued.
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We can skip the two stanzas in between for you to read later.  The last line reads: I’m not going there.
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Although Kozinski’s poems are generally of medium length, some run onto the next page which weakens the power of his words when the reader thinks the poem has ended when it has not. This is just a layout criticism and not about the wonderful work he has produced.  The poems are sophisticated and layered with meaning. They are a pleasure to read and to think about.
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Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University, Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.

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