Friday, November 24, 2017



(Indolent Books, 2017)

James Diaz’s poetry collection, This Someone I Call Stranger, captures seasons. He shows you winters made, not of snow but, of heat. He warps love into sunbeams, and explains sorrow through logic and defeat. There is discordance and simplicity in these pages. Anarchy, and a warmth conjured by so many ghosts. If there is a song that could sum up the ink spilled, it’d be Philip Glass’s Etude No.2. Mostly through its controlled chaos.

The managing of nostalgia and melancholy stands erect alongside the womb. You can feel the contraction and expansion of each word. Fires are lit and gently put out. Love is at the center stage, and inevitably, it’s the main character. There is loss, and sorrow, and the soaring of wings.

In the poem, “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Homeless By Now,” we are shot into light. There is a sense of being enraptured by a darkness that illuminates. There are doubts and silver-linings. A pregnant moon of hope. He reminds us to “keep both hands on the wheel, there are bones in the front of your soul.”

Spectres are present throughout, beckoning some reconciliation. A test of time and space. He invites us into territory barely opened. A world where he has lived, and lived alone. His words are bathed by the moonlight.

There is a sense of danger in “Happy Endings”, where he so nonchalantly speaks of, “how we shuddered with relief, to be unfinished things, standing by the side of the highway.” It sends our palms to itch, and burns the guts. His humaneness is palpable and oozing like an open wound.

We come to know of his spirit in, “The Stuff of Small Towns,” where he insists that, “I have sight and I don’t know what to do with it.” But through the journey of these poems his vision is a pilgrimage. An honest look into one’s psyche, and the regurgitation of oneself. Making a body of what had undergone a vivisection.


Ingrid Calderon: Salvadoran refugee residing in Los Angeles. Printed in Dryland, Occulum, Bad Pony, Moonchild Mag & Gut Feelings Zine among others...Guilty of three full-length poetry books entitled 'Things Outside', 'Wayward' & 'Zenith'. Go stalk her on Twitter @BrujaLamatepec

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