poetry critical

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on the plastic horizon of better living

Jesus could you resurrect my ignorance?
My flat-tire broken records
and ticker tape sleeves
litter the gutters of city streets.
I run with pack animals;
Once voted most likely to succeed,
now I cough the Nietzschean dream
eating chinese from dumpsters.
I walk through boroughs with wagging shoes
and coddle blues on a waxpaper comb
kept in limp pockets, with limp trepidations.
Jesus could you vivisect my assonance?
I stumble to the rhythm of jackhammer fat;
I am lost in sky-scraping laundry lines
and every time I close my eyes I see
the shape of cheap wine in hazardous neon.
The street-sweepers float as their clouds unfold
and this october air is fair, but cold;
Jesus could you transfigure my disease?
I'm tired of searching for you in the city streets.

9 Oct 04

Rated 10 (8) by 1 users.
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sappy bastard!
 — unknown

i'm not gonna argue with that.
 — root

"i run with the pack of animals,
once voted most likely to succeed,"
interesting point of view here.

I'm a little confused with line 16.  Not sure where the "Postmodern posterboy" comes in.

I feel like you end with a different poem then you start with.  The mentioning of "suburban utopian principle-based living" seems to be in need of elaboration.

Lines 15 and 16 i think could be more effective if made into one question. e.g. am i onle a postmodern posterboy?

Line 17:  I'm not sure if i know where october air comes in...or what it means in the poem...beside the fact that it is october...my mind's blank.

I'm hoping this poem gets bigger. I think it's a good idea but it needs elaboration.

i think my comment's a little vague. My apologies if I just wasted 5 minutes of your life.
 — peanut

An interesting effort. I definitely think it would be best served by expansion, it could be telling a larger and better story.

What I liked:

Ll.1 grabs me immediately- I like the equaling of ignorance and innocence. While many would ask for their youth and innocence back, the speaker asks merely to be less, for less vision. I like that.

L.7, I like the use of "nietzchean shell" (although, just to mention, it should be nietzschean"). Nietzsche is so often just used to symbolize amorality, the ubermensch kind of concept, one forgets that in order for one to be overman, there are also undermen. That Nietzschean can also mean one destroyed by fraility instead as rising above it.

Overall, I thought the angry desolation of this piece was well crafted and mostly smooth. Evocative.

What I didn't care for:

ll.12-14, you seem to lose the shifting images that I liked in the rest of the poem, like "flat-tire broken records", the description of modern, moral life is just a little to flatly stated, I think.

I agree in part with Peanut about 15-16; not so much about making it a question but condensing it into one line would serve it better, I think. Also, while I have no issues with using "fuck", I don't think it really serves a purpose- there's already a feeling of frustration present, I don't think it improves it that much.

I'm not sure that the lack of capitalization serves a purpose. Again, as above, I'm in no way against it, however, I think every part of a poem should be serving some kind of purpose and I can't see one in the lack of caps here.

Overall, very nice. Good to see you back.
 — dandy

In the second stanza, l7 doesn't quite sem to link in with l5 and l6, it feels as if one more word is needed, just to affirm what the persona is saying. The third stanza is my favourite, especially line ten. That conjures a lot of melancholic imagery, the sounds I can think of are really fresh and tugs on the hearstrings. Love the sound of combs.

It feels somewhat incomplete though, as if the persona should have a final thought to wrap it up. I quite like the (lack of) capitalisation. Adds to the "fall from grace", demoralised and all but crushed type feeling, if it's supposed to be that?
 — wendz

this has been massively edited.  thank you so much to peanut, dandy and wendz for comments--i hope you like the edit better than the original.  (i certainly do)  here is the old version, for those curious:

jesus could you resurrect my ignorance?
my flat-tire broken records
and tattered shirt sleeves
litter the gutters of city streets.

i run with the pack animals,
once voted most likely to succeed,
now this nietzchean shell
eating chinese out of dumpsters.

i walk through boroughs with wagging shoes
and play the blues on a paper comb
my parents bestowed as a gift
right before i jumped the lift
of suburbian utopian

fuck, what am i?
a postmodern posterboy?
the october air is fair, but cold
and we're not getting any younger
for the better of our blunders.
 — root

i feel like a kid, holding his breath, waiting for someone to notice
 — root

Only brief comment, just for a moment. Will get back.

Think most of the edit is good, tightens it up immensely.

l.11, I don't like the repetition of limp, seems more uncreative than rhythmic. "Trepidations" seems like an awkward turn of phrase, for some reason. It doesn't roll off the tongue for me.

l.19, I think if you're going to have the the repetition three times of the line beginning "jesus...", they should completely reflect each other. l.1 & 12 do that nicely, "vivisect" and "resurrect", "ignorance" and "assonance"... if you're going to start it that way, it'll probably work better keeping on.

l.16 "seraphim" seems a bit self conscious. Just a little unnaturally significant sounding, like it's trying a little hard. I'd think it over.

Will get to my full opinion soon. Ta.

PS: Think of a title soon, I loathe "untitled"s :)
 — dandy

yes this requires a title.  gentle nudge.

i like 9-10.
i like images about blues, though call them pinks and playing a paper and comb.
i like things about playing the spoons and acordians too.
i like the repetition of limp too.
limp is becoming a favourite word

that i wanted your jesus to be something is personal preference, i like pocket jesus, and plastic jesus and things like that. i believe it brings faith into relief. but then i see god with triturated lips.

i'm thumbing this up.

things that were a little stodgy expressively
are 7-7, maybe punctuation might sort
do you need the only in 15, really?
20 reminds me of a line in a film
 — kaleidazcope

that was a bit garbled.

title suggestions

My own pocket jesus
face-nine of the city


i much prefer the original above. if the one in the comments is the new version
i don't strictly like seraphim either. it has poetic overtones
 — kaleidazcope

Great, insightful comments so far.  I want to do more editting, but have run out of time just now.  Will get back to this soon with more thanks and ideas--particularly I am going to edit the last stanza.  Thanks!

Bugger--I just saw another poem commented with plastic in the title.  Should I change mine?
 — root

on the plastic horizon of better living may make it more distinct from plasticine
 — kaleidazcope

i like the edit a lot better than the original. Particularly liked the extra references to Jesus here, it adds a touch of desolation and quiet irony to this piece. The only thing I don't like is l12 and l13. Can't really pinpoint why, except maybe that l12 is a touch too wordy and I don't like the words "jackhammer fat". It just sounds offputting. =P

*laughs* Line 15 reminds me of that Britney Spears' song "Everytime". But I like that line, it flows well into the next. It's the last stanza that make me love instead of merely like this though, how it wraps up with the first stanza, and how the images are so lovely, yet separate. I love the rhymes in l17 and l18, as well as the words, and I love the weariness of l20.

I actually like the way l19 is different to the other "Jesus" questions, it makes it feel as if the persona is all spent and weary, and just needs a break. Very, very good edit.
 — wendz

oh goodness. i just stumbled upon this poem again and it was like reading it for the first time. er...until i got to line 5 and i was beating my head on the desk trying to remember when i had read it last. haha. anyhow, i read the old version that you so kindly supplied and I adore the edit. it's much much better.

 — unknown

I just reread this, and feel like peanut. All I can say again is this: "Oh, my". Wonderful.
 — wendz

if there is one i'd like to see go into the anthology, it is this one.
but i'm not nominating so i'll print it out and save it.
wonderful writing, root.
 — unknown

I wont add anything to the critical comment - they say it better than I could however I have more than a vivid picture of you (as represented in the poem) as my brother a viet nam war veteran who thinks the world has ignored him as an artist lives on the streets of Barcelona eating from cans and drinking what he can find.  the world is so sad.
 — unknown

i feel like this is a little careless, but i've also had a year and a half to look at it critically.

thanks for the comments to all of those i've ignored until now;  i appreciate your reactions to this one.
 — root

I love this, and miss your words.
 — unknown