“Three Lines” A Review


This collection of ink splattered in brevity — three line poems — is dedicated to “you.” The “you” being anyone that’s experienced loss, heartache and pain, which makes reading this a surefire exhibit in bleeding monuments to those memories, as most people can relate to those emotions, I imagine.

The author, Grace Black, dabbles in the dichotomous pull of love: its ability to take and give pain in equal measure, as she noted in a recent interview.

Many of the three line poems are visceral, as she intended, and engage in wordplay or play off of nature themes (ships at sea, for instance, get a few mentions, as does the moon). Others are, in a sense, meta-poetry, playing on the act of writing itself and/or still connecting it to love-loss. Spilling ink, often a metaphor for spilling blood, is woven throughout many of the pieces. Such as…

He was living poetry

Marrow clinging prose

Lying heavy on the lungs


Others meditate on life itself and dance within the parameters of Big Questions, like “Eye”:

We see the world but prefer to stay 

One step removed, one step away

We sit, we see, we write our view

Brokenness, deception, betrayal and defeat are all common threads upholding the tapestry of painful poetry here. In one sense, Black has given us an “out,” with the brevity. We only suffer briefly, experiencing whatever manifest the poem in question, but in the other sense, that “out” is brief as we turn to the next and then the next. It’s brevity, but brevity that’s unrelenting — in a good way. It’s like drive-by-shooting prose.

Time is also a theme, which there’s a meta conversation to have again about the aforementioned brevity, but one of Black’s favorite sayings is that there is no forgotten love. Such is evidence by the lackadaisical way in which time crawls by through the puddles of blood left in love’s wake. “Retrograde” is a great example of this:

Sleep doesn’t take

Time merely ticks

Ballet of shadows on my soul

In the interest of not replicating all of the poems here and doing the reader a disservice of experiencing these on their own, I’ll suffice it to say my favorites (in no order) were, “Unobtainable,” “Supine,” “Deadline,” “Abject,” and, “Garden.”

Let me put it this way: If you’re a fan of poetry, as I am, this is like a pocket-sized grenade of explosive ink and if you’re not a fan of poetry, perhaps this’ll be a great introduction for you to see what the medium is like. After all, it’s not as if you’re tasked with reading 40 lines for one poem. Three lines. That’s it. But there is so much in that “it.”

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