Friday, November 7, 2014

Analysis of "My Kind of Love Poem" by Rafael Campo

Poem found here: "My Kind of Love Poem" by Rafael Campo
Author Website: Rafael Campo

So the melody of the poem pulls the poem a little too close and a little too intimate  within itself.  The question being what is "My Kind of Love Poem" -- a more content driven title.  But I contend that this poem may or may not depend on the content rather how the poem adapts to the content.

For example, the first two lines, "Unluckily, the day begins: a bomb / has detonated in Mumbai. Again,"  So the content is grounded more or less in reality, but note how the internal rhyme of "begins" and "again" flow within the poem.  Note how the sound of the poem has this sense of routine.  So the rhetorical question, "we ask ourselves: Is this what we've become?" which is a bit broad, but brings a collective concious to this "love poem."

The speaker repeats "Unluckily" as though to continue the descent, "Unluckily, the night has eyes.  A train makes music of the city's sleeplessness again:"  Here note how the usage of again keeps inferring itself into the poem.  This scene, these things:

     A baby shrieks with hunger or
     the need to have its diaper changed.  Unless
     he finds a job, the man who lives next door
     will have to go on unemployment.

These things repeat itself.  Weirdly, the poem goes in different directions as far as theme and tone go for me.  "My kind" isn't referring to preference rather the lifestyle the speaker leads.  This is his kind of love poem -- unique to himself.  And isn't the best kind of love the most consistent through the worst of the worst? "Bomb / explode in other places, ruining / other lives, scarring other faces."  Again the internal rhyme of "faces" and "places" adds to the generalization (or perhaps rationalization) that these things happen everywhere -- but note that these things, perhaps unique to the speaker are all external and not so personal -- broad strokes on a large canvas.

The last lines seems the most personal -- and the most ambition

     [...] Crumbs
     form constellations in my sink.  The ring
     of doorbells, telephones, and certain phrases:
     The night dies.  Unlucky Saturn rises.

It's not important on the direction the poem is going, what matters is the direction -- outside of the self, the personal, and away from the constant violent setting on the outside.  These haiku-esque lines goes from "crumb" to "Saturn" through a flow of sonic and visual images.

I can't dismiss 2/3 of the violent and depressing lines for this "love poem" though the ambitious end.  What makes this "kind of love poem" unique is not the images, but the lake of judgement on both sides.  As though to accept the constant violence and the unknown beyond.  In unison, perhaps, but both existing side by side, at least in this poem.

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