Adam Wonders, a personal reflection on love and loss, works its way under the skin
Damascus, Oregon – September 23, 2015 — “Once in a great while—perhaps once in a lifetime—you meet a true Renaissance man.” Thus reads the editor’s inscription on the back cover of Adam Wonders, an unauthorized collection from the heart and mind of Adam Elliott Davis ($7.99, 112 pages, Dinkus Books, ISBN: 978-0-9893580-0-2).
The soon to be released anthology offers an array of Davis’s poems and other musings on love and loss, collected over an eight-month period earlier this year. Largely untitled, the book’s poems and observations are identified simply by the date they were penned, as though they were diary entries. It is an effective presentation; the reader feels that the writer is sharing something very personal and private with her.
Davis, a long-time Damascus resident and alum of Sam Barlow High School, is a born storyteller whose talents stretch far beyond poetry alone. He is at once a film and stage actor, with an emphasis on musical theater, as well as a singer-songwriter, screenwriter, and film producer. The second entry in Adam Wonders succinctly sums up what underlies the author’s creative process:
Communication is a gift: to speak and be heard; to write and be read; to give lines, and receive them with no need for whatever is in between. Between the lines rest mysteries and conspiracies, pain, confusion, endless struggles between heart and head, and sometimes even beauty and love and magic. But on the page, in the ink, there is simply poetry, simply the heartbeat, simply the truth, and sometimes, that’s enough.
And for Davis, the ink on the page is indeed enough. His poetry soars with the joy of new love, dips with self-doubt, weaves with introspection, and plummets perilously with the fear, anger, and sorrow of loss. He has a particular skill for capturing the entire spectrum of human emotion in relatively few words. He is able to recreate a tender moment simply, without elaboration.
“Sometimes when I see you, my brain can’t comprehend it. My mind grows quiet, and simply takes you in,” reads the March 13 entry. “The soft things and the fragile things, you are among them.”
Lest the depth of the emotion in this anthology become too maudlin or overwrought, Davis pokes fun at himself from time to time, even when the pain shows through. One poem is annotated with “sounds best when read with an Irish accent for some reason.” Another reads: “Whatever you break, break it gently, my darling, So I can fix it. —ancient handyman proverb.”
Still another says, “To Love, just throw your heart right at / A wall so hard it sticks. / At worst, at least you’ll leave a mark, / That’s really hard to fix.”
A stifled anger is evident at times: “Oh sweet mercy, / Would that I were / Made of weaker stuff! / For I would bite / Back upon the cruel fate, / With uncommon vengeance.”
Abject despondency resonates at others: “The mark of one given up on life is a certain vacant pleasantness. This is me smiling. Heaven take me.”
Yet Davis bounces back three weeks later with the entry “I couldn’t be happier. The people I love most are right here with me. This is why I’m here.”
Taken as a whole, this volume is a brutally honest ride through a brief period of the author’s life, as seen from the shotgun seat. Davis spares nothing; he hides nothing. The messiness of life is evident. He is completely vulnerable. This is the book’s secret to success. We can all relate. It feels like our own words coming from another’s mouth.