The Tower Journal

Armadillo by Deborah Fruchey

Cyborg Productions
ISBN # 978-1-493758777
182 pages

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This collection of selected poems from 1979 to 2009 is entirely unique. Here we have poems that shoot from the hip, rough and rugged and entirely Deborah Fruchey.  The title "Armadillo" is appropriate, for that creature is encased in armor as is this tough, solid poet.

So many poets imitate others, not Fruchey. When she writes of relationships (and this collection is filled with poems that deal with them) there are few sweet moments. It is real, uncooked and direct. Here is her poem “Advice from Eden”

Most of our lovers
are wearing too much
even if all they have on
is their skin.

Love means being
with someone
whether or not
you ever get undressed.

And here is her poem, “Post Traumatic.”

After she died
he slept on the floor for years.
He had discovered that there is an edge
and everything
falls off.

Fruchey uses figures of speech exceptionally well. There’s only one quote on the back of the book and it provides a simile: “The best times of the heart are summer evenings when all the stars hang upside down like bats.” Her personification is delivered in a down-to-earth, matchless fashion. Take for example her poem, “Where the Skin Ends.

Underneath it is busy, directing traffic.
But on top, where the skin ends,
sometimes it gets lonesome.
And it would like to go looking for
another skin
to go swimming with
or have a soda with
or play Canasta
and so forth.

But alone on the street by itself,
the skin would be arrested;
so it will settle
for kitty fur
or a bubble bath
or a velvet robe
twin sheets,
if it really has to.

If you like poetry that delivers reality straight up, this collection is for you. The poems in this collection are direct, unflinching and staunch.  Fruchey's take on life is immediate and as tough as an Armadillo's casing

—Mary  Ann Sullivan

The Tower Journal
Spring/Summer 2014