Chapbook Review: Wild by Melanie Bikowski

Chapbook Review: Wild by Melanie Bikowski

‘I am the architect of my space. I am the powerful creator of my reality.’

– Melanie Bikowski, Wild


Melanie Bikowski’s Wild takes me into the multi-faceted kaleidoscope that is her cosmos for an emotional ride that is just as the title promises it will be. She begins this collection with a letter that feels deeply personal and intimate, in spite of my never having met or spoken to her. The passion of this initial missive is unmistakable. This poet demands to be heard. Her voice is passionate and full of wonder, all at once. From the beginning, I can see that this is a woman with a clear statement about who she is and what she wants out of life.

On my best days, I don’t have this kind of surety. It makes me wonder what it might take to get me there. I am a student here and I am listening, taking notes along the way. It is her poem Revenge that hits me hard enough to catch my breath. She dares to say the things I never want to say for fear of the anger that might eat me up inside. I read in wonder at how she does this without blinking, and all at once I cheer her on while I turn my face from the pain I know lies beneath the words.

‘I said goodbye to the sun
like a dying flower I returned to the dirt-
Plucked petals scattered all over the ground
Screaming He loves me, He loves me Not-
moldy mantras’
-Melanie Bikowski, Wild

Bikowski drags the reader into her world and rips back the cover of emotions with flair. The desperation of dying flowers and plucked petals juxtaposed with screaming at that age-old game I used to play with daisies is brutal. It reminds me of how I was taught early about the game of love and how it was a simple binary equation. Girls are expected to pluck petals and wish whilst boys are given license to hand out love with enough power to elate and crush. These are, indeed, the moldy mantras she references.

‘I want to hold your heart in my hand
and watch your face as I crush it into ash
and put you in the dirt where I would pour cement-
so you’d never grow back’
-Melanie Bikowski, Wild

This is pure venom vitriol and I know this kind of pain. This poet pulls no punches when it comes to calling others out on the pain that they’ve caused. As I turn pages, I am presented with strength and pain in balance. She holds up the kaleidoscope for another twist and turn where the colours shine in similar light, but take on a new pattern— new consequences. Sometimes her anger turns in on itself and I understand this, too. She reminds me that my voice has space if I choose to make it so and inspires me to plumb the depths of my own well.

there is a lot of storage
inside your lungs-
holding space for air
servicing your body to have a voice’
-Melanie Bikowski, Wild

Melanie Bikowski takes us through the many shades of her wildness and offers an unapologetic look at her emotions. This book is a tumultuous ride through neural pathways created by love, loss, pain and recovery. During my reading, I returned to these poems multiple times. I felt that no matter how slowly I read them, there was something more intended for me. Melanie doesn’t know me, but in some ways she does and I am grateful to have had a glimpse into the wilderness of this woman.

About the Author

Melanie Bikowski is one with the many-faced God. She wears many faces in this life: Poet, Mom, Wife, Artist, Dancer, Traveller, Hiker, Friend, Lover. She has poems published in Elephant Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, GERM Magazine, and Quail Bell Magazine. Her abstract paintings can be found on her website along with her blogs on personal realizations, meditations, journal entries, and a frame of her life in Alexandria, VA.

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