All the Ghosts We’ve Always Had by Jules Archer, Thirty West Publishing House, 2018
By Robert Scotellaro
Here is a gutsy mosaic of moments. Moments masterfully and poetically rendered. Authentic travels through growth and living. Of family fractures and survival. Writing, that maintains that hard-won balance between implication and explanation.
A mother wants to “fly away with the bats.” Who, under the crush of loss, tears a teddy bear to pieces. “Tufts of cotton skim the air. It’s black, glass eyes pop off. The pink ribbon cyclones to the carpet.” A daughter watches her father kiss a woman at the counter of a gas station. “…my father leans against the counter. His fat stomach grazes her curved hip. Hey sugar, he says. The gas station woman blushes. She’s showing a tendril of neon green bra strap.”
Microfiction? Prose poetry? Defining that middle territory, it hardly matters. Truth is spoken here. Our protagonist, pregnant now, and being robbed, thinks: “I want to tell him I am not here for this nonsense, I just bake pies. But I say nothing because he does not hold the gun right. The angle of it is crooked and cruel.”
These brilliantly compressed, yet expansive pieces, remind us that we hold the ghosts of all the phases we have lived, and the things that we have witnessed. Here is a literary substance Jules Archer has created not unlike a diamond. Hard-edged and multifaceted that can cut through glass, your heart. And stun the eye with what it makes of light.
To order your copy: https://www.thirtywestph.com