Mice Verses Man
Bobby Slais
Binding: Chapbook
Where to Buy: Email Bobby at RJay61@comcast.net

Review by Janet K. Brennan

I was thrilled to review poet, R. Jay Slais’s first book, Mice Verses Man, from Big Table Publishing.

Slais is a poet with true grit who writes of life in multi-dimensional style. I had the impression from page one that I was about to be taken on a poetic journey and Slais did not disappoint. This book is not simply a book of poetry, it is an experience. The R. Jay Slais style is to expose his emotions and lessons that he has learned in life without being afraid of bearing his own soul in the process. This is the sign of an excellent poet. He will never allow his readers to feel that he has left something out of the mix.

His tell-tale opening poem, The Lake Has Not Changed,” metaphorically describes his place in life in the following lines:

‘enjoying the feel of granules
as they quicksand

Between my toes
Sometimes minnow schools’

And then ends the poem with:

‘I stand in place a long while
before finally going under.’

Poet Slais has a way of weaving his lines into one another with a survivalist enthusiasm that I enjoyed. I felt as if I was traveling along his road and watching for the street signs that were not there; yet all the while finding my way home.

In his touching poem “Middle Of The Night We Weep” he tells of the journey of raising two small children without their mother.

‘ knew what to do, give medicine, a tepid bath,
comforting words, still he cried. He was incoherent,
inconsolable, all he wanted was to be held close,
rocked back to sleep in his mother’s arms.’

There are so many wonderful poems in “Mice Verses Man” that I found it difficult to single out just a few In “Obscure” he tells of the pain and humiliation of a life with a partner who could alter his very own personality and soul and force him to wonder who the real R. Jay Slais was.

‘The roots must have spread
deep into the earth by now
on that grave-like patch of ground.
Sometimes I have to go back
even when I do not want to.’

In his final poem Slais writes of the death of his mother and the trauma that it caused not only the poet personally but how it affected his own endeavor to help the family survive In the poem, “The Search,” poet Slais writes:

‘Each half day alive
the other half died
morning would wake
with a wish
to go backward,
to search for the place
I let go of her hand
and took my first step.’

“Mice Verses Man,” is a unique poetry book in which R. Jay Slais goes back into the woods of his own life unafraid to face the past and many lessons this road teaches if we but step up to the plate.

Highly recommended.

R Jay Slais can be contacted through his email address at RJay61@comcast.net

-- Janet K. Brennan