Review of Grimoire from poet, Kathryn Fazio

     Grimoire is an extraordinary book of poetry. On the copper skin textured cover hangs two spiders. The spider has long symbolized patience and persistence. Read this book, cover to cover and you will appreciate the author’s journey. Ancient Celtic people created symbols to represent important aspects of their lives, including spirituality. I do not know much about the symbols on this book or if they are Celtic, but two beautiful images quietly adorn the cover. Every health professional, every aspiring poet should own a copy. Examine the truth, beauty, and ugly of what makes a poem magnificent, relevant and universal.

     Jacob R.Moses, “poetic incantations toward self-discovery”, reminds me of an invisible gift a university professor once gave me: to write great poetry you must know more than the rose, he said, you must know “the barbed-wire cock of the devil.” Moses doesn’t hide his challenges but uses his knowledge of himself and the world as tools to take back his authentic self and become a model for others in recovery. In his words, “To be bipolar/in a scattered world/is to be a compass/Demagnetized/and without a clear direction/out of melancholy.

     In essence, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”and no matter what he calls himself, Jacob R. Moses is the real deal, a poet of the highest caliber. He possesses a wide spectrum of vocabulary and uses words like paint or music to compose a mood with meaning. Moods of which he admits, he has many. The author employs lines like,”resentment laced with poetry.” One of my favorite words he uses is, “cockamamie” or a phrase constructed in “Love Poem to Amelie Poulain”. He observes her with admiration: “cracked your creme brulee/and enjoyed its simplicity“. 

     Like gravity, he asserts permanent laws in a mist of ever changing forms in time. Solid, then liquid, then gas are images that permeate the pages; forms changing forms, faithful to science and ancestry. The book is different, and looks different. Titles are on the bottom. I needed to look up, Grimoire, as I had no frame of reference. It makes no difference your educational level, or the letters after your name, you may have to stretch yourself to the dusty bookshelf where a physical dictionary lies dormant. This poet will educate and inform. He calls all those sleepwalking through the day, dragging a morphine drip, to wake up to oneself; there is ancestry, stars in the sky and stories to tell.

     Jacob demonstrates a knowledge of many subjects, music, science, herbology, biology, architecture, psychology, spirituality, mysticism, numerology, to name a few, and magick. He has graduated with hard knocks and knows recovery and rehabilitation. He has a reverence for nature, animals, gem stones, the solid, beauty of amethyst; and like my poetry teacher, the visionary, poet and translator, Robert Bly, Jacob has a positive value of the number 13. He has a keen observation and has a sense of humor. In his poem, 13th Floor, he writes: The Empire State Building/does not have a 13th floor/and those who defend this/have no ground to stand on.”

     The author’s word choice/phrase combinations weave a colorful quilt to express his understanding of the world, his predicament, and reveals a search for meaning and identity. He expresses how obstacles of social placement and isolation can blur a person’s true nature. Moses takes responsibility for the choices he made in life which did not serve him. He writes about forgiveness The “rhymes he spits has many germs.” (pg.43). He knows, “shit hits the fan.” He puts common words in powerful unusual phases, “octets piss on symphonies”. He metabolizes his pain into radiant sheets of poetry, using rare, true and effective language. His poems are beautiful not ugly, although his journey full of smothering smoke. In reading his work, I am reminded of Tupac Shakur and his poem, “ The Rose That Grew From Concrete” and I hear, buzzing in my ear the incantations, the strong affirmations of Anthony Robbins and in my mind’s eye see the peppered butterfly that hugged the bark of trees and survived the industrial revolution. 13 Thank Yous, Jacob R. Moses, for your volcanic energy, for your heart and drum. Peers in recovery will benefit from your bravery.

Kathryn M. Fazio

Former Poet Laureate, The College of Staten Island

U.S.A. Representative Poet at the Fifth World Congress of Poets

Winner of the Silla Gold Crown World Peace Literature Prize

A Former Poetry Judge at Uptown Jimmy’s

Development Consultant/Network Specialist, Baltic Street Into Action

Bring Your Own Books & Bottles (BYOBB)

This will be a reading series where owning our books will be crucial for discussion. I will be featured on 2/10 starting at 8PM. Get your tickets, our books, and this wine. You won’t regret it.

$4 for a ticket 🎟 , raffle entry for a bottle of Amour Genève Blue Wine (https://www.amourbluforever.com/).
$5 for three extra raffle tickets (does not include entry).
$5 minimum to support the poet if you can’t make the event.

This series also features the stylings of Tonii (my illustrator and brainchild behind iiPublishing), Carla Cherry, Michel M. Antoine, R.Sen (R.Sen), Natalie Nascenzi, T.J McGowan, Nora Oz, and many more. Order tickets at toniiinc.com/events

Order our sponsored wine at:

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Code: iiBlue for $4 off the price.

CW: Suicide

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

I haven’t kept a blog in an incredibly long time. This is a routine I need to get back into, because catharsis is incredibly important for me. In fact, catharsis is crucial. There is a sense of vulnerability I know needs to be shown. I need to be more human. I need to feel more human.

I have been plagued by flashbacks. In one instance, they are often triggered by flashing lights from ambulances, police cars, and fire engines. In another, a video in which people were being rescued from situations where they were inches away from death left me crying hysterically. It’s because I’ve had a near death experience. I’ve been there. This is is a story which needs to be written not only for my own peace of mind, but for anybody who has ever been close to death. Specifically, it’s for those who put themselves in this position. It’s for those who have attempted suicide.

I spent a good year suffering from depression. All of the poetry I wrote was centred around how much I was hurting and how much I wanted to die. My room-mate at the time never understood the extent of my depression. My parents were oblivious, as they never detected that I couldn’t speak, concentrate, or even get out of bed.

The turning point was when my girlfriend and I got engaged and we were stressed to the nines. My moods were swinging back and forth while I was looking for a second job and trying to get medical insurance. The open mic I regularly went to at a café in Staten Island shut down and I had lost my ability to cope. It was on that stage where I proposed to her.

Two weeks later, it happened. I got into a fight with my parents and it led me to reach my breaking point. I walked out of my job and went to a bar. The drink I chose was a Long Island Iced Tea, which I chugged. I left and made a B line for the City Hall subway station. Soon after, I went down the stairs, swiped my MetroCard to pay the fare, and jumped onto the tracks with the R train in the distance. I was prepared to die, waving my arms as I was about to say goodbye. As the train got closer, someone pulled me out of this pit of rats, poison, and electricity. The rest was hazy, but I remember being put into an ambulance and heading to the psychiatric ward.

Maybe I will tell the rest of the story on another occasion. Long story short, I spent a month in the hospital and lost my friends. With my now ex-fiancée, it was a blessing and a curse. I am very much involved in my son’s life at this point, so I can shrug it off, as I am not as vulnerable on that front.

According to The Observer, 84 people died from train-related deaths between January and August of 2012. As I look at this statistic, I think of things I never thought of before I tried to kill myself. I didn’t think of how many people I would traumatise. I didn’t think of how I would have ripped apart the lives of my family. I didn’t think of the passengers or those waiting for the train. I didn’t think of a lot of things.

My aunt committed suicide by way of hanging. It destroyed my father when this happened. I’d go onto Facebook groups which cater to suicide survivors. It’s strange to be on both ends and to understand how suicide shattered lives. I have one request that I’ve been wanting to make for a while.

I want to meet the person who rescued me so I can thank him. This would be the ultimate solace. Sir — it is because of you that I am still standing here on this earth and because of you, I have seen what good life has to offer. To those reading this, please make this post viral, as I need to make peace and amends with this great man. It’s with great pleasure that I had a hero in him.