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Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite
Live Etah: Dream For Now by Delano Johnson and Callie Johnson (from the Realistic Poetry Reality Series) is a darkly powerful cautionary tale in poetic form – a wrenching reminder that in this world of temptation and guilty pleasures, but for the grace of God, any one of us might make one moral misstep in a weak moment and damn ourselves to eternity in Hell. So much is written in our culture of the benevolent Christian God and so little is written of the real and constant presence of the Devil in our lives that it is easy to forget that our souls may hang in a more precarious balance than we realize.
In this sinister prose poem, Etah, a harvester of souls for Satan, visits an assortment of sex-trade sinners for their respective days of reckoning and ultimately escorts a repentant “model citizen” to the bowels of Hell for a face-off with Etah and Evola, Queen of false prophets and false preachers. Will Jacob succumb to the ultimate temptation and be damned for all time? “Why do they always go left when they should have just gone straight?” Why, indeed? In the battle for Jacob’s mortal soul, readers will find an unexpected, cathartic message of comfort – it is never too late to repent and walk the road of righteousness.
Delano Johnson and Callie Johnson, with Live Etah: Dream For Now, have made hell fire and brimstone leap from the page in a kind of sulfurous symphony to simultaneously horrify and dazzle the imagination. Along the way, there is some truly exquisite imagery: “Tray lifted his head/the sky a purplish blue like/African violets.” Anyone wondering about the road not taken will find compelling evidence for staying on the straight and narrow between the pages of Live Etah: Dream For Now (Realistic Poetry Reality Series).