John Martone's book, a skeleton key, is a symbiotic combination of word and image. Both are by the poet himself, image every bit as stunning as word. There is much I could say about this work, but I must demure and let the work largely speak for itself.
a skeleton deer come to comfort you
This is no desku; the brilliant white bone, the whiteness of death confronting you like no other whiteness.
New meaning is given here to sight, to sound - do you see it, do you hear it?
One of the great virtues of the short poem, the haiku-like poem, is its engagement with the reader, demanding that the work be completed by another - this, for me, is a novel in 8 words.
Ah, now here is another layer of story, a veil seen through to an other meaning - here is the key, right before you - do you know which door it fits precisely?
Closer, closer, closer still ...
thru skeleton deer
nothing at all
& all gone home
You can hear it now, can't you? It's singing to you, it might be a little nursery rhyme, a bit of a jump rope jingle, something of a truism deeper and more profound than words themselves?
now a trillion
A trillion lives ... seems almost just a handful, really. Find this intriguing? Want to read the whole thing? Mr. Martone has loaded skeleton key up on scribd, so just click on through. But bring your A game ...
... not the poetry one. The Other one.
Oh, by the way, skeleton key was shortlisted and received an Honorable Mention for this year's Haiku Foundation Touchstone Distinguished Books Award. So, really, give it a go.
I think Bashō would be proud.
the deer's flute playing
song in the night
translated by David G. Lanoue
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Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 163 songs