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Timons Esaias


Why Elephants No Longer Communicate in Greek


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Main Stree Rag Review of Why Elephants No Longer Communicate In Greek

From Main Street Rag issue Volume 22, Number 4, Fall 2017

To live is the rarest thing in the world.
Most people exist; that is all.
~ Oscar Wilde

In this time of broken attention spans and the abbreviation of the everyday, Timons Esaias' most recent collection of poetry stands as both representative and reminder of the truth that while erosion may eradicate, it also creates fallow ground for the introduction of something new. Esaias speaks to his readers with a voice that blends cynicism with cautious hope, which places him among those modern voices capable of chastising and charming simultaneously.

He is at times quite heavy, even world-weary in his tone. In "Things I'm Tired of Excusing," he insists: "I am tired of accepting your ignorance / as the excuse / for the crap they feed me." There is exasperation there, even anger; but there is also that refusal to become complacent in the face of the 'status quo.'

Whatever his topic, there is a sense of urgency beneath Esaias' every word, one which enjoins us to live, to open ourselves beyond the familiar, which has for him become droll and unwelcome. In "Eight Iniquities," this energy burns flame bright as he instructs that

To think that one can only love
when one can explain is error [....]

and goes on to admonish:

To fail in alms to one's local library
is abomination; to not see Istanbul
almost as great. To throw away
a loved teddy bear, Greatest of all.

Esaias composes his verses to shake the senses of his readers--to pull them out, resistant or otherwise, of the 'same old' rut into which is so easy for many of us to fall:

I'm sensing resistance
I'm getting a vibe,
right through the paper,
or the screen, or the air,
or however this is reaching you
that you'd rather not.

You'd rather read about somebody else
taking the journey.

   (from "93 Lines Wasted")

Such ideas may be difficult for many to accept. We are surrounded by change in every corner of our lives. The pace of today's world is intense: we are pulled along in the wake of so much information that it is all we can do to keep our heads 'above water'. We are blinded by the urgency of living by the demands of the moment; like striders, we skate the surface of our existence as opposed to diving beneath to explore. As Esaias expresses in "We Used to Have Faces", "the weather-beaten among us/play golf."

For all his seeming cynicism and sometimes biting wit, Esias (sic) also evokes the ephemeral with the subtlety of a master. "Not for Love, But For Something Else" reaches beyond the tangible to the ache of hope which lives within each of us:

....that word, that phrase
the melody, the song,
the analogy, the perfect metaphor
which lures love, or revives it,
or pin it to the wall for all to know,

That, that formula
would be worth the world
and more.

"Much has opened to us since the plow first broke / furrows back and forth..../ but other doors have closed to us." The title poem evokes the importance of communication, of simply asking, seeking what we wish to know. "We seem to have asked them/ nothing", he writes, the broken phrase evoking the wound in our modern perceptions which blinds us to the potential within ourselves, the majestic creatures we may become should we allow that growth to take place.

Esaias evokes all the dimensions of the human condition in poems which blossom on the page in a myriad of shapes. Some are soft and yielding; others have thorns, and bite or scratch when experienced. In every shape, his capacity for description and intuitive grasp of emotion inspire the reader to read, and re-read, every one. He seeks to inspire us to bloom us (sic) well—to explore, to seek understanding. For Esaias knows—and believes—that there is power in words: "[E]ven these," he writes in Concise Credo". "Even these."

-Leanna Stead