by Will Medeiros.
I have read more than my fair share of poems about hope. I do not remember nearly so many that are about how utterly terrifying hope is, and this is where Tucker Lieberman’s “Melt” distinguishes itself so finely: in being about “a fractured faith in yourself” (emphasis mine) as an artist and as a worthy human being.
Lieberman effectively weaves together the abstract and the physical, the imposingly cosmic and the grittily biological to convey the quivering, explosive potential of a deeply held yet simultaneously self-aware faith in what your own future may hold. There can be a blackened, deadly self-assurance in self-hatred and despair, and in reminding you that “it would not be fair to your art to trash it”, Lieberman shows how this feeling fading away is as bright and burning as lava. A reemerging wonder at your own being and capabilities is necessarily coupled with fear: you are a contingent creature, physically fragile, and by daring to “return to the start of the circuit” of your passions, you become emotionally vulnerable as well. Through a rapid-fire yet focused and crisp series of images and ideas, Lieberman keeps all these ideas at play in remarkable depth.
“Melt” captures what is to realize that you once again wish to not only survive but thrive, that you will weather the eruption of the volcano so that you can witness the island that coalesces from the molten rock. It wields every bit of the power it invokes with the name “Krakatau”.