Book Review: Synchronicity The Oracle of Sun Medicine by Tureeda Mikell
In her first full length poetry book, Synchronicity The Oracle of Sun Medicine, published by Oakland’s own Nomadic Press in February of this year, Oakland native Tureeda Mikell is almost as playful as she is critical. I read the poems as liberatory spells against the damage and coercive power certain myths embedded in American culture can have.
“Why alter earth’s altar?” Mikell asks in her poem “SPELL’S LABYRINTHS: DOUBLE TALK,” then soon after asks “Why did the son of the sun worship with warship?”
Like much of the book, wordplay and inquiry saturate language while commonly accepted meaning of words are never taken for granted. She critiques war and seeking dominion over nature but instead of telling the reader what to think, she prods them with loaded questions, and we are forced to deal with both the loads and the questions.
For me, reading Mikell’s loaded questions sparked my own questions, like: What is earth’s altar? and, Who is the son of the sun? and How does he worship with warship?
Since Christianity is referenced so much in the book, I found myself seeing Christ as the “son of the sun.” In a poem just pages earlier called “THE SUN,” Mikell uses an often forgotten Christ quote from The Book of Matthew that rubs against the typical peaceful image many have of him. “Think not that I come to bring peace!,” Mikell quotes. “I come not to bring peace but a sword.”
Through her questions and quote she builds a framework for the reader to consider the final line of “SPELL’S LABYRINTHS: DOUBLE TALK,” which reads “Whose good is sacrificed for concepts of god?” The poem does not, however, provide any answers. It asks us to keep questioning.
What do the myths really mean? Mikell asks again and again but never answers. At times she digs to the barebones of words to push that question, exploring their origins. In her poem “Worship Warship” she points out how the biblical word for “sin” is a “Greek word meaning to miss the mark.” She repeats this commonly overlooked definition of sin in several other poems. In…