Wordspeak by Kirk Dematas

first published 2008, paperback

"Wordspeak" delivers candid and subtle commentaries on both the emotional and mental mechanics through which we grind, as well as our interactions with society. Kirk DeMatas is by measures both uplifting (when he reflects on pride, faith, and the individual risk-taker) and fierce (when he critiques prejudice, racism, and other vices).

In "Hungry Mouth," he writes, "His secrets and truths remain within- / safe from the scrutiny of others. / His vulnerabilities remain known only to him, / for how could he bear to suffer the shame / of having others know him?" The paradox of this lyrical lament is that in this thoughtful collection, he allows us to see and experience his vulnerabilities, truly opening himself-and society-to scrutiny.

DeMatas finds a voice that is deliberate, strong, real, and arrogant. By his own pen in "Words as Peacocks," he states, "If my words were Earthly creatures-to you, / they would appear as peacocks perched high, / loud and bright, / ridiculously bold and audacious."

The material in this seventy-three-poem collection is written from the perspective of a twenty-something individual just trying to understand himself and his place in this world, something we are all searching for.