4 out of 4 stars
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Unreal by AJ Tedesco is a collection of 19 poems that explore a variety of dualistic themes and interwoven juxtapositions. Readers will encounter mentions of fears, passions, desires, appetites, self-doubt, reckless release, and states of fearlessly confident surrender. Symbolic daggers and collars of submission are referred to in mentions of love and protection. Magicians, ravens, ladybugs, and top hats dance weightlessly amidst carnival rides and pink cotton candy. One of the poems exudes a sense of gracefully oxymoronic contradiction in its title: “Remembering the Future.”
“R.E.A.L.” presents mellifluous melodies of violins and flutes intermingling with aromatic lilies, velvet robes, and moonlit lake ripples deep within a secret garden (featuring a seductive climbing vine). In “Escape,” reverent reflections occur at the end of a hangman’s noose as a soul destined for death dangles helplessly blinded and bound. So much can be conveyed through a poet that excels at the art of restrained verbosity. Throughout these pages, filtered sunlight “covers the ground like luminous confetti” and tire swings twirl gently beneath the branches of a mighty, acorn-producing oak.
I greatly enjoyed the portions of poetic rhetoric that utilized bold imagery, similes, and metaphors to depict powerful personas:
While some of the themes overlap and intermingle, every poem offers a fresh take and introspective analysis of the subtleties surrounding the human condition. The narrative quality remains consistent throughout, and there was nothing at all that I notably disliked about this title. I only encountered three grammatical issues: a homophone error, missing hyphenation in a compound adjective, and one minor misspelling. This compilation of selected writings seems to have been well edited.She will wear her bones on the outside
Like albino armor
To protect her from the obsidian tips
Of the words
That fly like arrows
Out of the mouths of men
As one female character offers her lover “hard pleasures,” clothes “fall like petals” in a state of seductive undress, taking readers deep into the ebony recesses of dark desires and predilections. Due to the presence of sexual innuendos, semi-erotic daydreams, and suggestive scenes of copulation, I feel this book would be most appropriate for (and most appreciated by) mature audiences only, especially those who have felt and experienced some of life’s darker moments. There is no presence of crude language or profanity, but several anatomical parts are given prominent, starring roles.
I award this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars, and I would gladly recommend it to any adult reader who enjoys poetically tasteful erotica that’s been peppered with contemplative scars and moans. Tedesco artistically lifts a passionate pen to remind us “that this is only words and ink and fantasy.”
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