Often I run into someone who is a softball parent, sometimes I see someone who is a college instructor. Occasionally I meet a military spouse or caregiver. I even get to chat with other veterans from time to time.
Often my worlds of mom, parent, teacher, wife, etc. collide with something and it will blow my mind.
This happened in my small world of military spouse and freelance publicist.
Recently I began work as a freelance publicist. In my short time, I have been connected to some amazing writers. An author and her work came across my desk and it was one of those moments that was just “meant to be.” The world of the military spouse, composition instructor, and publicist—well—it just all clicked–and for that I am so very, very glad.
The book: Dots & Dashes. The author: Jehanne Dubrow.
Why is this so special?
Jehanne Dubrow is a military spouse, and this book is about being a military spouse, the expereinces one has a milspouse, and the emotions—isolation, separation, silence, I could go on and on.
I shared one of Jehanne’s poems on the 4th of July. What I love the most about these poems, this collection, is the movement between language and love. It is so hard to understand the military experience if you have not lived it–and I still feel like an outsider at times. This book changed that for me.
The communication is different in the military. It is hard to understand acronyms (I’ll write about the acronym-free zone I get to enter in another post), the culture is one like no other—and it can be conflicting because as civilians we may not recognize the challenge, the problem with the divide or difference between the culture of the military and civilian.
Dubrow is a Navy wife. Her poems reflect her husband’s service and her view on being a military spouse. Some of her poems are posted below:
Distress is signaled by a run of threes:
three dits three dahs three dits, and then it all begins again. The meaning of this call
for help can be discerned in its reprise.
No matter where the listener starts, the pleas
for help—please help me please—repeat their small alert. The ship is threatened by a squall.
The ship is lost, has suffered casualties.
If we are ships we too have signaled land
or called each other in the dark. We’ve scanned
the sky for help. We’ve said emergency,
a sequence made of silences and tones.
And when it ends, we’ve said seelonce feenee.
The sea says nothing back. The anchor groans.
From the Pentagon
He brings me chocolate from the Pentagon,
dark chocolates shaped like tanks and fighter jets, milk chocolate tomahawks, a bonbon
like a kirsch grenade, mint chocolate bayonets. He brings me chocolate ships, a submarine descending in a chocolate sea, a drone unmanned and filled with hazelnut praline.
He brings me cocoa powder, like chocolate blown to bits. Or chocolate squares of pepper heat.
Or if perhaps we’ve fought, he brings a box
of truffles home, missiles of semisweet
dissolving on the tongue. He brings me Glocks and chocolate mines, a tiny transport plane,
a bomb that looks delicious in its cellophane.
How wonderful to read this book. I am so thrilled that Jehanne will be visiting the campus of Southern Illinois University for the Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival in the fall.
You can get Jehanne Dubrow’s book, Dots & Dashes from SIU Press. Check out their website at http://www.siupress.com