“The Bones of Us” is part poetry collection, part graphic novel, and all well done.
J Bradley and Adam Scott Mazer have given us something we can appreciate from a few different angles. The poetry is moving and relatable…
“We will kiss like passengers
without floatation devices,
Hang on to the side of the bed
like a loose plank.”
even if it is a bit muddled at times by the bombardment of images not brought forth by the words, but instead laid out for you in an interesting comic style (that adds to the depth of the words more often than hides them). The art is at once disturbing and revealing in a way that helps us see into the mind of the narrator without giving away the fun of reading poetry, while still being powerful and poetic images all on their own. The look of the book is dark, which suits the poems as well as the suit fits the skeleton on the front cover.
There is a dark humor that pervades the poetry, and should be looked at with caution. At times, dealing with his lover’s bisexuality plays hell on the speaker’s psyche, and he is unashamed to say so, even when trying to be flippant about it.
“I don’t mind that every woman
at the party knows the taste of your lipstick.
I am too busy pretending to sail yachts,
looking for shore through empty wine bottles.”
What that leaves us with is an at times funny, disturbing, and real portrait of the feelings and pain this person is going through. A valid description of a valid emotion, portrayed with words and images, by obviously talented artists.
Order your copy of The Bones of Us through YesYes Books.
Reviewed by Wil Gibson for both The Poetry Question and Drunk in a Midnight Choir