Flesh and Bones / Skin and Blood

I have a friend who once described his ex girlfriend as a “flesh and blood girl”. He said it in a way that seemed to include her among an elite group of individuals – a rare breed of intensely human lovers who can weave a complicated twine around your heart. I know what he was talking about. I have known people like this in my life. They are brave and terrifying and I’m glad they move among us.

I have another friend who once referred to the late Robert Creeley’s poetry as “skin and bones” poetry. He used that description to try to explain why he likes the poetry so much. With this phrase, my friend expresses his feeling that Creeley’s poetry is somehow removed from the cannon of contemporary works that attach themselves to a rigorous apparatus of linguistically innovative poetries.

I’m pretty sure I know what he was talking about as well. It’s about the Power of the daily mundane, the hyper familiar, or as he put it, the “common place”, to catch us by surprise by reminding us that that familiar thing we know as home can sometimes be the most foreign place on earth.

Goodbye
by
Robert Creeley
May 21, 1926 – March 30, 2005
Now I recognize
it was always me
like a camera
set to expose
itself to a picture
or a pipe
through which the water
might run
or a chicken
dead for dinner
or a plan
inside the head
of a dead man.
Nothing so wrong
when one considered
how it all began.
It was Zukofsky’s
“Born very young into a world
already very old…”
The century was well along
when I came in
and now that it’s ending,
I realize it won’t
be long.
But couldn’t it all have been
a little nicer,
as my mother’d say. Did it
have to kill everything in sight,
did right always have to be so wrong?
I know this body is impatient.
I know I constitute only a meager voice and mind.
Yet I loved, I love.
I want no sentimentality.
I want no more than home.

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