I have enjoyed The Skeleton’s Magic very much. All the poems have something in common: they are very sensual and emotionally vibrant.; the play with words is fantastic with very elaborate language and imagery that give all the poems an incredible musical flow. To me the skeleton is a metaphor that suggests looking at the very inside of a person, staring at the naked truth of a human soul. Sometimes this is a pleasant experience for the narrator of each poem, but others it is horrible and leads to tremendous delusion. In this respect, I see two main groups of poems in this book according to the aforementioned. Thus some poems are the expression of a delicious experience or dream like “Sweet Adoration”, “Hopelessly Drowning” (even though the word hopelessly might suggest the impossibility to fullfil a love relationship) and “Piece of Peace”. “Crooked Thunderbolts” and “Radiant Insomnia” still describe pleasant sensations, feelings and thoughts even though the two titles of the poems show contradiction. However, the pleasant feelings dominate all through both poems.
Other poems, instead, belong to the second group as they show blatant delusion in a person and even resentment in the poem’s narrator because of having got hurt (“Tasting Resentment”, “Salty Lust”, “Gripping Oblivion”, “Tarantula Skull” and “The Blush Vertebrae”).
“Ocean of Tears” is another very intense poem showing the first person narrator’s almost complete desperation.
“Sugar Fascination” is a poem belonging to the group of those speaking about delicious experience. All the images of this poem are very beautiful, sensual and of great emotional intensity.
“Whispering feathers” is also beautifully crafted with a combination of words that make it very musical.
The next coming poems of this book possess great sensuality and eroticism with a dark touch that makes them profoundly appealing (“Lady Hex” and “Reservation in Ink”).
Some more poems deal with love’s delusion like “Spite and Residue”, very heartfelt, and “Expiration Date” that describes delusion in a person and the horror of this experience.
“Gust of Clarity” is a lovely poem that talks about self-repentance. The first person narrator thanks the beloved person for lending a hand. The I-person recognises the own mistakes and sees the beautiful things of the beloved.
“Ballistic Eyes” forms part of the group of poems dealing with love’s delusion as well as “Dark Love Song”, both very beautifully crafted.
“Falling into Twilight”, instead, is a delicious piece belonging to the group of poems where the narrator finds pleasure either in the act of loving or falling in love. “Breathtaking Religion” belongs to this same group. I love its great sensuality and eroticism.
“Forever in the Afterglow” is another poem expressing the desire to experience love and lust at its highest point. Very passionate, sensual, intense and beautifully written.
“Weeping Daydreams” is also about the pleasure of experiencing love fully. However, the title and also the verbs written in the past suggest this love might no longer exist because the relationship could have failed in the end.
“Scared to Death” as its obvious title shows, belongs to the horror poems and keeps a vertiginous rhythm. The many repetitions of the words “I’m scared to death” at the beginning of each verse give this poem the beautiful dizzing effect love produces. On the one hand, we want to experience it fully but, on the other, its uncertainty scares us most.
More erotic emotions are very well expressed in “Crimson Queen” and the theme of horror reappears in “Leaking Disarray”.
The last poem that gives the title to the whole book, “The Skeleton’s Magic”, is a very turbulent one, beautifully written and vibrant.
Finally, there are a few poems that do not seem to belong to any of the two groups (pleasure or delusion-horror) like “Paper God”, which poses spiritual questions, and a few others. However, they are also very well written and enjoyable.
The Skeleton’s Magic has very rich and elaborate language as well as great ability to combine all these words to produce most beautiful imagery where the reader feels immersed in each poem with all senses. In some poems there are frequent repetitions of a few key words at the beginning of each verse intended to reinforce the message and to give more emotional intensity. The frequent use of verbs ending in -ing also contributes to this intensity enabling the reader to linger in each verse. Sometimes a poem does not have more sentence construction than a set of nouns plus adjectives or participles, which gives this kind of poetry beautiful concision.
© July 2018 Marta Pombo Sallés