Thread: Rafael Campo
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Old 12-02-2001, 09:35 PM
nyctom nyctom is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New York, NY USA
Posts: 3,699

Well, I was intrigued enough by this thread to take out both of the Campo books--<u>What the Body Said</u> and [u]Diva{/u}. I don't think it is so much a matter of shock/schlock as it is schtick. He has three subjects: medical and homosexual and Cuban. And that's about it. Some of his poems, especially in Diva, are flat Alicia, and often painfully so. And he has fallen for all the postmodern tricks. Almost half the book, for instance, contains prose poems. They didn't particularly strike me as interesting. It's almost as if some editors collared him and said, "Prose poems are very hot right now." But there are a number of poems in What the Body Said I did find interesting and even moving, especially this. It is from the same sequence as "Lilacs for My Mother."

The Very Self

Another end-stage cancer patient came
For hospice placement yesterday. It seemed
As though he'd lived forever in the same
Misshapen body, starving for a name
To give each new-found bone. It seemed as though
He'd run until his muscles were consumed,
Until his gnawing hunger had subsumed
In it his very self. I need to know
The vital signs. I want to know his fate.
I need to hold his heart, the stone beneath
The endless, bone-strewn desert; while I squeeze
for just one drop of blood, more dying waits
Downstairs for me. I almost hear their groans.
Same hunger, bones. Same face we all consumed.
As I examine them, I find the tomb
Toward which they lead. I know it is my own.
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