By Lynette G. Esposito
In the 161 page soft cover poetry book, Logos by Gil Fagiani, the reader learns from Fagiani himself in an author’s note that his poetry is of the people.
This poetry of the people, this song of the streets, has been
the most influential element in my literary pursuits, and why
my first impulse has been to write about the world with addiction
and treatment by means of poetry rather than prose.
This book fulfills Fagiani’s literary pursuit.. For example, his poem Believer on page 15 is only one stanza but powerful in both image and storyline.
On a muggy
inside a courtyard
reeking of diapers,
mice-filled glue traps,
take-out tins of rice and beans,
he stands behind a long line
of sick junkies
until it’s his turn
to push his last ten-dollar bill
through a hole in the wall,
a dynamite sack of dope
is going to be pushed back.
The title suggests faith but takes an ironic tact on the “belief” of an addict with a questionable outcome for the deliverance of a product that would allegedly lift his spirits. The language used is clear and common in a setting that speaks of squalor and desperation.
Fagiani divides the tome into sections Shooting Dope with Trotsky, White Uncle Tom, Siding with the Enemy, and A Single Spark. These titles also represent Fagiani’s approach to heal the reader with street song and poetry. Jose’ B. Gonzales, Ph.D., editor of Latinostories.com, says: This collection is full of lyrical grit. In the first section, Shooting Dope with Trotsky, Fagiani uses images in the poems talking about the black section of town, anti-poverty volunteerism in Harlem and skin popping until he almost ODs. In the section, White Uncle Tom, Fagiani tells the stories of an interview in the South Bronx, the feds busting Mikie for a pound of pure in his trunk, and teaming up with a girlfriend to scam guys. The gritty storylines represent imperfect lives in imperfect and desperate situations.
In Siding with the Enemy, Fagiani shows a party group made up of Black, White, and Puerto Rican men walking arm in am down a street in an Italian neighborhood singing at the top of their lungs until the narrator realizes they could get hurt and they need to leave the neighborhood when bottles start flying and exploding. A Single Spark shows situations in the subway, in the bedroom and behind the Paradise Theater with the play on words successfully executed. The subjects, the storylines and the images use their figurative eyes to look directly into the face of reality.
The book is a pleasurable read especially if you like looking at images that aren’t afraid to roll in the dirt and stand up to shake it off.
Gil Fagiani has many poetry collections to his credit including A Blanquito in El Barrio, Chianti in Connecticut, and Stone Walls. He was a social worker and worked in a Psychiatric hospital and a drug rehab program in downtown Brooklyn.
The book is available from www.guernicaeditions.com
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. Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences. She lives with her husband, Attilio, in Mount Laurel, NJ.