I know I read When the Ghosts Come Ashore. I am just not sure what I read. I mean I know what I read. Jaqcqui Germain is obvious: she explores the issues of race, gender, and violence. She talks about St. Louis and sees it live, laugh, love and bleed. She hits you in the gut and smacks you, too. But same time this is a love story.
Germain is not for a one sit reading. You need to read each poem. Chew on it. Digest it. Regurgitate and chew and digest again. And repeat as many times as needed. She has lovely lines. Images just caress the eyes and there are some ugly things too. Not everything is lovely images. St. Louis is torn apart. People are dealing with being who they are in a world that does not always welcome them. Germain describes love and sex and passion and hate. There are some amazing stories and some sad ones, too. She hits all the points.
I love Germain’s work. I am just not sure I like it. There is a lot going on. The words are hard and not forgiving. She does not want you to hide from the truths or facts. There are ghosts of people hanging in the air. Nat Turner makes several appearances. Lovers are users. History comes alive and today becomes history.
One of the more interesting parts is some of the placement of words. Some ramble across the page while others huddle off to the side. Nothing is by accident and Germain is a master at this.