Rosebud Ben-Oni’s writing is often epigrammatic and memorable. I wish that these epigrams had been explored and illustrated more fully as each one seems a lead-in to an important reflection; but they are strewn in the midst of poems about other subjects, most often, despair. Most of Ben-Oni’s poems are about loss or lack of control, such as “we mark time by losing it,”and told in an ellitiptical style. But when she is straight-forward and specific, the level of empathy from the reader rises. “A Poem for My Niece on No Particular Day” is an example of one such poem: the unexpressed love between this aunt and her niece is clear through her portrayal of her niece, detailing her flaws and past history along with her hoped-for future. Her wish that she be more April than Spring, becoming a “crown of light, as you sing the day — into night” is a poignant wish with which all readers who have children, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren will identify.
Ben-Oni’s best poems reveal her sense of humor, especially in the latter half of the book. Her description of ineffective window blinds is one example: “The blinds have never been gentle/with the dawn, the harsh glare stabbing through like an evangelist jumping up and down to move millions.”
The comparison to an Evangelist is both original and fantastic. And in (“don’t call it returning”) her experience at JFK Airport is captured beautifully and identifiably in her opening stanza: “…sometimes all sound/seems ramble in bramble/jet-fueled. Alighting from planes with the rumbling of planes and airport noises in deafened ears comes to mind.”
The poems in Solecism are rooted in this writer’s past and current experiences and provide vivid pictures in carefully chosen images. Worth browsing through.