The book Tough Boy Sonatas by Curtis Crisler is one of the most thrilling and inspiring books out there that speaks the truth about the many obstacles minority groups face on a daily basis. When I was introduced to this book, I was expecting to encounter another book filled with well-written poetry and beautiful pictures that complimented the visuals of the book. As I continued to read, I was able to realize this poetry collection when in depth with the issue of racial tension and racial inequality. Crisler does a great job in each of the poems by actually depicting different situations that can easily be relatable to the readers, and it can easily be adapted to our modern times. What I found very attractive about Tough Boy Sonatas is that it didn’t just speak to one demographic group, but it instead spoke to other minorities out there. Overall, all the poems are amazing and very graphic, sometimes difficult to comprehend, but there are three poems that really caught my attention by its depth and emotional appeal, as well as the revival of topics that are unfortunately re-surging today in our country.
From all the poems in the book, I chose to expand my analysis on Chocolate City. This poem really has a strong but delicate message that in many ways reflect us in a community that is not only limited, but is full of desires and needs. The difference between these poems and many other poems out there that speak about similar topics is that it does not try to victimize the Black community.
Chocolate City is a reflection of the society’s insufficiency to adapt and accept “The other”. In other words, this poem is a reflection of the society’s bias toward a visible minority. The reason why I find this poem to be pivotal is because it is referring to something that we see and most of us still struggle with. In this poem, the main theme is discrimination and segregation in modern times. I was mesmerized with the use of tone and description, and it actually allowed the reader to fully indulge in the emotions of the narrator making it our own frustrations. The use of Imagery and tone are applied wonderfully in the following lines:
Oh city,City of misfortune
City of layoff industry,
City with adult children on abandoned playgrounds,
Pregnant city with no father, - (1-5)
These lines are expressing the misfortune and hopelessness of a city that finds itself being neglected by those in power. The tone of the poem opens the door to a feeling of desperation, frustration, and anger. The thought of living in a city where as a community, we are the constant target creates a mood of heightened awareness. The imagery is also well developed in the poem as it helps the reader to have a visualized notion of the precarious living conditions of a city. As a reader, I was able to instantly connect to this poem because unfortunately, this is something that is vivid in my life. The lack of opportunities for the middle class, immigrant families and women is becoming every day and ravaging the country.