Confessions of a Captured Angel

Review by Grace Cavalieri


Confessions of a Captured Angel by Neil Carpathios.

Terrapin Books, 2016. 91 pages.

This is a book I’d teach to any age/any student/ because it demonstrates the worth of poetry. I often repeat what Joseph Brodsky said about poetry being the only record of human sensibilities, beginning in Greek and Roman antiquity. The way Carpathios sees the world is the record I’d like of our time. The poems are chord progressions from childhood remembrances, (stealing a stone at the Parthenon,) to fatherhood (discovering his daughter’s tattoo,) reaching age 50 and feeding his mother Jell-O in the infirmity of her old age. There’s nothing mystical about being as human as possible, but there is terrific difficulty in conveying its essence. This is a defining work of measured impressions that together express the mercy of life. The climate of the poetry is in the shadow of death; but suddenly that seems like an okay consequence to having had the acceleration of this world to navigate, and write about. To reshape occurrences with compassion, humor, and particularity makes everything seem better on earth. Carpathios does this to the good, and gets the best out of words. Give this book to a friend, to your children. Let them know what’s possible in poetry.


What the Leaves Said

That they don’t do birthdays or have funerals.

That the wind has mood swings even they can’t predict.

That the possibility the wind is God is too obvious to discuss.

That the roots of the tree sometimes speak to them in dreams.

That they have never witnessed a mosquito begging

to be forgiven.

That they admire the tight-lipped stones.

That letting go is not a choice.

That the evergreens are boring and self-righteous.

That the only things on Earth smarter than them

are ocean waves.

That squirrel feet tickle.

That raindrops are snacks.

That no leaf is lunatic enough to pick itself up and try

to reattach to the branch.

That in the dark they still watch us.

That being naked is nice.

That they are not ashamed to dance with many partners.

That they know how lucky they are to be here a short time

to listen to the birds,

to notice a cat curled on a porch,

to blow kisses to the garbage men clanking cans at 5 a.m.,

to listen to the crickets.

Available at Amazon