Great Balls of Flowers

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Great Balls of Flowers
Steve Abee
2006
Nashville, TN
Write Bloody Publishing

Throughout Steve Abees’s book Great Balls of Flowers the reoccurring themes that arise are sex, love, family and life. Within each poem he threads in a minimum of two themes, interweaving them so all the themes eventually overlap. The themes of sex, love and family are each representative of a major component of his life. His book gives readers insight as to what Abee is thinking and feeling within each poem, making them extremely personal for the reader. The title of the book was seemingly derived from Jerry Lee Lewis’s Song “Great Balls of Fire” which was written in 1957 on the movie based on Jerry Lee Lewis which was released in 1989. The movie discusses Lewis’ controversial life and his rise and fall as a rock star. Lewis suffered from substance abuse and resorted to alcoholism when times got bad. His song “Great Balls of Fire” is purely sexual discussing the arousal of a man, this song was one of Lewis’ major hits. Abee’s title “Great Balls of Flowers” is so appropriate especially with his replacement of fire with flowers. Flowers hold the softer connotation of love and peacefulness as Abee explains how he’s overcome his issues with the love he feels and receives from his family. Within select poems his love for his wife and children are startlingly apparent. He portrays himself with raw emotions that seem unbreakable. In the poem “Poem to my Wife”, he states, “I love you so much that when I touch you my fingers turn into miniature suns shining.” His portrayal of everlasting love and lust for his wife gives the reader insight as to his most personal and inner thoughts and emotions. Because of the rawness and bluntness of his emotions It is evident his poetry was used as an escape for Abee. His attachment to his wife leads the reader to think as a child there were issues with his family. Romance isn’t the only type of love Abee discusses, as he also mentions the love he has for his children. For his youngest daughter, Abee states “her voice opens me like breath.” He continues on to state “I’m trying to be good now I'm trying not to be bad”, this gives the reader the idea that his children are now the motivation for him. It seems as if he had previously struggled with a personal issue that has disappeared because of the arrival of his children. Substance abuse seems appropriate as he refines it in the poem “Sucks” when he says “beer sucks. It’s good but it sucks. Marijuana sucks... Crystal Meth sucks so bad.” His allusions to these substances would tie in as a strong connection to the title, “Great Balls of Flowers.” Abee never fails to insert a sexual innuendo within the majority of his poems. One example of his sexual references arise in the poem “Gas”, Abee states “when I lick your secrets, bombs begin to fall from your thighs.” His continual sexual references tie in greatly with the title, Great Balls of Flowers because it alludes to the 1957 hit song discussing sex. Sex seems to be a dominant theme throughout the book, as it was throughout many of Jerry Lee Lewis’ songs as well. Abee’s continuous blunt sexual references free him from the shackle soft society as he isn’t scared to discuss topics that seem controversial. His direct statements give the book a potent feel and, honest take on life. As the book goes on you can see the meniscal details in life that are typically overlooked are what Abee thrives upon. His poems are real portrayals of his daily routine and it gives the reader a personal connection with him and his mindset. Great Balls of Flowers consists of poems covering the themes of sex, love, family and life. His title is so appropriate these four themes are the pieces of Abee’s life which he discusses in his poetry giving readers in insight into his alternative perspective on life and love. Throughout Great Balls of Flowers Steve Abee uses imagery to help develop his tone and themes in his...
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