DIRTY BEAUTIFUL WORDS is a collection of poems by Brooklyn Brayl that deals with the journey to self, the discovery of the true identity hidden beneath what society in general, and those around us in particular, tells us who and what we should be. Brayl’s message, according to the “fellow traveler” who wrote the introduction, is thus: “Whoever you are and whatever your gender, orientation and sexuality, Brooklyn has a message for you. It is this. The journey to integrity and alignment with all its challenges and pains must be for all of us and is the only way to be truly alive.”
Brayl’s poetry is provocative and raw with no stone left unturned, no bit of darkness left unexamined. The themes threaded throughout are easy to relate to, and her choices of words aren’t cryptic enough to be undecipherable, but are interesting enough to keep the reader’s attention. Her verbiage, however, does belie the author’s youth, and while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, her offerings might prove to be rudimentary for poetry aficionados. Brayl’s ability to analyze life around her is evident. In “Blonde Bubblegum,” for instance, she begins: It’s a peroxide world/Where more plastic is found in humans/Than recycling bins/and last year’s faces/Can be found in suburban garages, perfectly capturing not only the perpetual search for beauty, but also the need to recapture youth and the disposable nature of modern society. In “Canaan” she explores the idea of how people serve as a reflection for others: Mirrors for each other/Beautiful, misunderstood, shattered glass/I’m your hopeful future/And you’re my tragic past.
More attention might have been paid to the presentation instead of streaming everything together, which makes it difficult to keep the poems separate and distinct so they each pack the intended punch; but there’s still plenty of social commentary to consider.
Reviewed by K.J. Pierce for IndieReader