Khyrin Green’s debut book of poems, Soulful of Me (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018) is plainspoken and unfiltered. As readers, as surveyors, we are granted intimate access to dwell within the caverns of his heart and mind, ponder the hallowed hieroglyphs. We are given flashlights of pithy wording to examine artifacts of empathy, rage, encouragement, despair, love, doubt, naiveté, intimacy and optimism. His poetry is a breathing diary, the inked evidence of a young man coming of age. Page by page, his epistles lay bare his contemplation of many ideas exhaling, inhaling, dry heaving and phlegmy coughing, making the path for one to come into one’s own and owned self. Evident throughout this collection of poems is the author’s elucidation of the classic conflicts of man versus the world, man versus self, man versus other. His poems are deliberations of whether to live by the heart or mind, whether to heed their disjointed advice or encourage a dialogue in pursuit of a harmonized council.
Soulful of Me demonstrates an author of emerging craft, in the pursuit of pushing the sinews of lyricism to strengthen and tighten his muscles. Examples include his use of religious allusions (“We know each other more than a church/knows the words of Jesus/You let me go one time and I broke into/pieces”). Another is of his use of simile to aid the reader’s understanding by providing graphics of emotional struggle, in lines such as “Regrets bringing you down like a swim with heavy boulders” and “guilt is now picking at you like a field filled with hungry vultures.” Another is intriguing oxymora like “Rotten apples must be the flavor of your tongue,” “A Mother’s Cry/Is an orchestra of unstableness/vulnerability/A soliloquy,” “Backstage in the movie of being me,” and “To beauty she feels a decline.”
Where the work needs microscopic precision is in the mining of words and phrasing. Many of the poems are pronounal declarations, reading more like a litany of statements than a cohesive body of ideas thematically breathing together as one (“I can only listen/I can only see your pain/I wish I could help you get through it sane. Sadly, I can only reflect your nightmare in actuality.”). For his future works, a solid editor could take care of pushing the author in clarifying as well as integrating ideas, providing archaeological admonishment for how to remove the bones from his drafts and assemble them in preparation for their debut within the museum of our minds. As well, mow the swaths of grammatical errors and unclear syntax.
But Green’s work harbors potential. As readers, we have an unobstructed view of the wide scape of the possibilities of his poetry, witnessing the expanse of poems standing bright and solid as icebergs. And, in knowing the nature of icebergs, we know that for what we see, there is a massive accumulation of layers, underneath the water, upon which each iceberg rests. Yet unseen. Waiting to emerge and rise.