Title: The Long Body that Connects Us All
Author: Rich Marcello
The Long Body that Connects Us All by Rich Marcello is a large collection of poetry divided between three parts. The entire collection of poetry seems to look back on the past and all the changes one experiences over the course of their life. Marcello uses the three parts to separate the poems by overt themes. Yet, despite the division, the reader can be carried smoothly through the entire collection.
The first part is entitled “In the Coming” and it includes poems with a theme of growing up and facing significant life moments, including moments of love found and moments of loss. It also highlights the ability to move past even those painful moments in life when one’s past is no more and the future grows short. In truth, each of these poems tells a powerful story in an abbreviated form.
For example, there is “The Erie Lackawanna” that tells the tale of a train-ride back to a person’s home town, which in reality is a place that no longer exists outside of one’s own memories. Yet, this section is not all sadness. There are also moments that offer great hope.
The second part is entitled “Yab Yum.” It includes poems with a theme of loss as inevitable, a state many face as they grow older. These poems offer moments of nostalgia. Yet, they also offer a caring warning to the reader that one must live in the present, enjoy life while you have it, and stay the course no matter what may come. In this section, Marcello offers some of his most powerful imagery.
Marcello frequently references flowers here and with a bit of research the reader discovers that the nature and meaning of these flowers adds to the power of his poems. For example, in “Senior Year English Class,” Marcello references the Kadupul flower, which takes a year to bloom and only lasts a few moments. This image is conveyed alongside the tale of a love found slowly and love lost quickly.
With these types of references, Marcelo brings in a traditional means of subtly conveying messages. He also seems to nearly give the reader this information in what one might call an “Easter Egg” format because it does take a bit of hunting and research to fully unlock all his meanings. Marcelo’s approach is clever; yet, it also allows for some critique as not every reader will happen to know the messages of these flowers, nor will they be inclined to research, which means some could miss the full meaning.
The third part is entitled “Aether,” and it focuses on themes related to relationships, while continuing to weave in the themes read elsewhere. In this way, Marcello is able to bring cohesion to the work, as he presents new content and provokes new thoughts, while also calling back to those thoughts and emotions that he has already elicited in the reader.
As Marcello brings his focus to relationships, he addresses all forms. These include romantic, familial, friendly, and casual relationships. He also addresses painful ones too. At times, Marcello conveys a longing, a wanting to go back and reclaim those moments he has lost, yet he continually reminds the reader you cannot. Instead, you can only accept each day and experience it as fully as possible.
The Long Body that Connects Us All is a powerful collection of poetry. If you want to think and feel about your life and future, read this book alongside a box of tissues. In sharing his poetry, which reads like a memoir, Marcello has really written on elements of the human condition that do connect us all.
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