It is so damn hot today, and every
unhappy woman walking downtown
in sunglasses and uncomfortable shoes
looks like you,
and I wonder if you might have
gotten married in Las Vegas again,
lost another baby
or gone back to Indiana,
what little I've achieved since
would seem such a weak greeting
were we to trip over each other's feet
and exchange spiked pleasantries:
we might mention a few new lovers found and lost,
comment on the same old cigarette jones which has
seriously begun to kick my ass,
and, of course, my crippled poems.
Every year our imaginary daughter
gets taller, and I hope
she never meets a boy like me
when the asphalt blisters on days like these,
when the cats sweat under porches
and birds bake in the trees.
19 Aug 06
Rated 10 (7.6) by 2 users.
Active (2): 10, 10
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I like the slant rhymes and assonance. I like the spacing in 8-9.
Why is jones capitalized in l. 15?
l. 12-13 feel a little bit overlong... maybe remove "on the sidewalk"? Thus revealing the assonance between feet and pleasanTREES?
I was shocked (shocked!) by ending a line with "has" -- I believe that violates a rule of proper line breaks ;-) -- until I saw the next line ended with "ass." So the assonance (ahem) makes it ok.
Does the pavement really blister (l. 21)? Is there a more accurate word? I've seen pavement bake, even steam, but never actually blister from heat.
Do you hope that she never meets a boy like you on Sundays like these (but other times it would be ok), or do you hope, on Sundays like these (but not at other times) that she never meets a boy like you (at any time)? Eh, don't bother rewriting, I like the confusion.
This is powerful, esp. l. 18-19. Good work.
leukothea, thanks for the close read and the comments.
I altered line 21 to read "asphalt blisters..." instead of "pavement blisters." It may still be a bit sketchy for some readers, but I'm guessing that many would associate "pavement" with concrete, and that a fair amount would better associate "asphalt" with the tar that bubbles up on long, hot days.
I wasn't quite sure how readers would take "cigarette Jones" in line 15; I've never had to consider whether or not "jones" (meaning addiction, of course) comes from someone's proper name. When I was putting this into the computer, I thought that an uncapitalized "jones" might throw some readers off, and even looking at it now like that makes me think it means something in Spanish, LOL, pronounced "ho-NAYS," but I may change it after a while.
I really struggled with the line breaks in 12-13, "were we to trip over each other's feet/and exchange spiked pleasantries on the sidewalk." I'm prone to keep "on the sidewalk" for the sake of the downtown setting and rhyme of "lost" (14), but I agree it is chunky. I'll keep staring at it, I promise.
Thanks especially for your comments on the final stanza. It is hard to explain, but in a lot of ways it was frightening to write. Some day I might decide to blue-pencil "on Sundays like these," but as you're okay with the slight confusion, I'll keep it for now; I like the sound.
Thanks again, leukothea. You're a peach.
i'm struck by the formality of "interim," though maybe that's what you're going for. it's very lovely, and i wouldn't change a thing. great point of view.
I find no such confusion relating to 'on sundays like these', as it seems more to refer to the type of day it was, rather than directly relating to when or when you did not hope your fictional daughter would never meet a boy like you.
Boy, that's a mouthful.
But no, no particular confusion; the line seems to roll in a sortof languid lazy-afternoon's-reminiscence that fits the poem like a glove, and your choice of language is impeccable, though I agree with the suggestion that interim feels a mite out of place. I can see where that might hook up with the end of 9, though, continuing that loose rhyme that you've got going.
Overall, a beautiful piece.
For asphalt blisters, I defer to your greater knowledge of heat and hot places. I'm living in cool, rainy Seattle, and even though my childhood was spent in Minnesota, which can get pretty hot in the summers, I've never seen tar actually bubbling with heat.
For the word "jones" (lower-cased), see http://dict ionary.reference.com/browse/jones
For a more thorough exploration of jones/Jones, including origin, see htt p://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=jones
...keeping in mind that this is a user-constructed dictionary, so there are a lot of duplicate or garbage entries.
Hey there mikki,
Line 10 -“Interim” somehow sounds very technical, consider replacing interim with “gap” it gives two connotations: a break in continuity and also refers to a breach, a rift, a lack of balance which seems to be what the speaker is expressing regarding his lull from this woman’s absence.
Line 13 - I’m unsure about the word choice “spiked” as a descriptor, does the speaker imply a cutting (as in sarcastic), bitter or wounded exchange? The definition of spiked as an adjective is limited to the literal quality of being sharp.
Line 17 - the speaker doesn’t seem to have moved on from this failed relationship and it may reflect in his work, crippled seems too harsh, the speaker doesn’t sound like he’s devastated by her absence but more like stuck, here’s some alternatives: underdeveloped/inadequate/stunted/ flawed/imperfect
Line 7 - I had a problem with this line, the voice sounds very nonchalant when wondering about a possible miscarriage, I also feel that this detail is very important to the piece since you talk about an imaginary daughter in the last stanza, so by placing this line in between the lines of getting married and moving back it loses credibility. My suggestion is to either start with that detail on line 6 or end with it on line 8.
Last consideration, I really love the last two lines but think about this: what is the relevance of the last two lines with regards to the rest of the poem? Is the intention to leave the reader with those images of a sweltering day or do you want to convey the mood of the speaker by way of these images? If you’re intention was the 1st, then leave it as is but if it’s the 2nd, then find verbs that will carry the mood: eg cats tarry under porches/birds brood in the trees ßthese are examples of course, you’ll probably find better suited words to fit the speaker’s mood.
enough said about the critique, I really enjoyed reading your piece, the line breaks are nicely down and the piece has a good rhythm. I like the way you handle such a sad subject, it’s very honest and heartfelt. Great poem from a great poet. thanx for sharing . . . ;-)
Thanks, folks; I have a few edits now, some I'm sure of, some which I'm going to sit with a bit and evaluate, which might revert back. I apologize for not getting back to this sooner, the fall semester has started and life will be a bit unsettled for a while.
leukothea -- thanks again, I de-capped "Jones" and deleted "on the sidewalk" from line 13, and that had a ripple-effect, which I'll note later.
livella, thanks -- I changed "interim" to "since," but I'm not sure I like that so much. I like the distance/formality to a certain extent -- the speaker is distant from the ex- after all -- and redsky, I also get the sense that interim implies a bit of continuity as opposed to a break; I considered "gap" and "meantime" as well, but I made some alterations to lines 14-17 which draw the speaker and the "unhappy woman" closer, so the formality of "interim" would be more pronounced if I left it.
WindingRhyme, thanks; I've just a minor tweak in the final stanza ("days" in place of "Sundays" line 21), I'm just glad it works for you.
redsky, thank you so much for your comments; you're lovely. This is a tough poem to edit, and even post. I'm keeping the last two lines, as my intention was the first you mentioned, to leave the reader with the image of the day. In this poem I may be outsmarting myself a bit, but I want to stress setting more than mood here. Lines 7, 18-20, are emotional dynamite, but the mood is more the futility of such considerations, how strangely pedestrian the world really is; for all the personal tragedy which exists, life goes on, and every day is normal. I did look a long time at the placement of line 7 ("lost another baby"), but neither option seemed stronger.
I'll continue to look at line 17, "my crippled poems." That slight alteration from "more crippled poems" came about because of the cascade effect of deleting "on the sidewalk" in line 13. It originally read
and exchange spiked pleasantries on the sidewalk:
a few new lovers found and lost,
the same old cigarette jones which has
seriously begun to kick my ass,
and, of course, more crippled poems
and now reads
and exchange spiked pleasantries:
we might mention few new lovers found and lost,
comment on the same old cigarette jones which has
seriously begun to kick my ass,
and, of course, my crippled poems
somehow deleting "on the sidewalk" made the following line less about the setting and narrator and more about the "pleasantries," thus the edit which engages the two of them (narrator and ex-).
Urrg, I meant to get to "Of Guilt and Other Battles" this morning, but have run out of time. Thanks again for your help; you're the best.
mikki, it seems that you write with such depth and
each of your poems has such
a tragic undercurrent that
it seems impossible you're not writing without experience.
having said that, i'm
glad you've chosen to share this with us,
the mangled pc community.
as always, i'm very fond of your rhyme,
the way that you slant your words into phrases
that work together. (such as "shoes" in l3
finding its counterpart in "looks like you" in l4,
or at least that's how i hear it.)
mm. let me rewind a little bit.
your first damn line IS SO DAMN HOT.
maybe one of the strongest openings to any pome
i've read in a very long time.
up-and-coming poets should have to look at your lines 8 - 10.
perfect example of how indentation/pauses/white space
should be utilized.
(also, again in lines 16 and 17. marvelous.)
i should also mention that the second stanza hits me in the gut.
20 - 21 are interesting. your use of the word "when" implies that
the narrator began his troubles on the same type of day that he
is reminded of. sort of like a cycle. haha. that didn't make any sense.
so anyway--mikki, as always, lovely work.
Mikki, I forgot to ask whether there was any significance to the number 2,939, or whether it merely represented a very large number (as I suspect).
Watch out, or you will be asked to write 2,938 more.
I like the revisions. I admire people who can revise their work; I have a really hard time doing it. For me it often seems better to just throw the whole thing out and write something fresh.
Oh, and I like "spiked pleasantries" because I know exactly what you mean, and also because the word "spiked" reminds me of the uncomfortable (spiked?) shoes in l. 3.
midare, thanks. Undercurrents, hmm... well, I'll just say this is one of the poems that I seriously debated posting on PC. Journals are one thing, as is my webpage (which has even my throw-away poems on it), but somehow after two years here, some poems cut too close. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.
Indeed, I'm a bit of a freak for internal rhyme, hard, slant and soft. While I wouldn't want to insinuate that that moving from formalist, end-rhymed poetry to free verse is "natural" or "right," I do credit countless hours working on end-rhyme with those elements appearing in my free verse. I even count "every/(un)happy" and "(un)happy/(sun)glasses" in the soft/slant category. The downside is, of course, that I now find critiquing formalist poetry very difficult. Thanks again for your visit, and your close read.
leukothea -- I love those brown pies of yours, and am glad the revisions sit well. There are times when I feel a poem comes fully-formed from my pen, but I would see no point in posting if I felt closed to suggestions. Revision is tough, indeed: it feels like surgery, and deleting an entire line (or three) does feel like pulling teeth, I know.
As to the title, well; it isn't random, but neither are there 2,938 others sitting around. I know this is only half an answer, but there were (are) 2,939 days between this poem and July 27th, 1998. I'm sure you can guess the rest, but if you don't like guessing, e-mail me and I'll go into detail. Thanks again for visiting.
my favorites list is quickly filling up... after i promised myself i wouldn't add *too* many to it. :0
Oh, I absolutely adore this poem. It has such a great rhythm. Excellent work.
Thanks, colormehappy. You're a gem.
This sounds so real, so authentic, like the thoughts in your head threw themselves down onto the page. Line 18 is a killer.
it describes cuba really good...
do you live there?
wow, a fav.. thanks.
The format on the page and the way it made my eyes move about the screen as if taking a different stance or position I found fascinating. 'Spiked pleasantries,' though I've seen it phrased similarly in other writing never fails to hit the spot. The imaginary daughter quite moved me and gave the poem its fantastic dénouement - as if there is a parallel world where you and she did make the relationship last - reminded me a bit of the premise behind 'The Time Traveller's Wife.' I also fell for the poor, boiling animals - I imagined some poor perspiring sparrow cooking away amongst the leaves. It has that beautiful idle aimless melancholy that desultory summer moments bring - tone - wonderful, voice - cynical yet sensitive. i love it.
^^ that's what i meant by wow! especially re the imaginery daughter..
imaginary daughters & spiked pleasantries. your poems are definitely not crippled :)
Isabelle, thanks; somehow I thought you'd find the final staza poignant.
baby_gurl, thanks, but no, I don't live in Cuba. I've been there (Guantanamo Bay) but that wasn't exactly a relaxed moment :(
oracle, modern_nomad, thanks as well. I'm pretty happy with this poem.
opal, thanks so much for the close read. Most of us have engaged 'spiked pleasantries' every now and then; God, life can be sour sometimes, LOL, and by the bye, I think a line in your critique is worthy of being bronzed: "that beautiful idle aimless melancholy that desultory summer moments bring" is a jopy to read in and of itself.
i love it :)
Perfect; a favorite.
I found this to be interesting. It would of pleased me more if you would of found another way to express yourself in Line 1 with the use of “damn hot today”
Line 16 in my opinion should be rephrased.
Other then that I did enjoy the subject. It almost reminds me of someone who would kill that person to make past events eternal.
xxArson, leave it to you to wish there had been death...hahaha
Thanks, guys. I wondered about line 16, "seriously begun to kick my ass," but am pretty solid on keeping the vernacular/conversational tone there.
exchange spiked pleasantries... gotta love that!
Haha I sometimes cant help myself from looking for the morbid sides of life.
"...and birds bake in trees..." WHAT a beautiful ending to such a POWERFUL and beautiful poem! Absolutely awesome! Here's lookin' at the #1 spot with a "10."
p.s. I HAD TO DROP BY one more time because this is soooooooo good. This time, I heard a torch song from L18 on. Congratulations on the #1 spot again. This is beautiful writing. Thanks for the gift of reading it. Peaceout.
almost chopped prose. and why does everyone have to cuss?
this is one of the few poems I've read on this site that has actually done anything to me. it is lush with insight.
Look who's #1 on top rated now, it's so deserving . . . hope ur doing well and writing lots more poems ;-)
another poem where animals or nature are used to create a dramatic ending. it s getting to be a stale technique
I really liked this poem. reminds me of my family :(
i agree with unknown
the ending of your poems are pretty predictable. always emphasizing some residual dissonance by way of nature or animal or insect etc
brilliant. in love with this one.
Oh my fucking god.
this has made me cry.
there was something significant i wanted to say about you, mikki, but i don't remember. you are beautiful.
ah yes, mikki. what can I say that hasn't already been said? this one is great. more poems please.
this is great you have catched it
you shouldn't use bad words because my CHILD just read THAT!!!!
there is not a whole lot for me to say, that han't been mentioned about this.
i could nitpick, but there is not much to nit or pick. practically nothing. the break in lines8/9 are a bit off-putting, but i think that be more of a problrm with pc, than you.
after that point, this is practically flawless. especially the last six lines.
I know it’s often not advisable to start or end a line with “and”, but your first line is interesting enough to allow it to serve as a cliffhanger. And it’s such a natural place to pause when reading aloud. While I was at it I couldn’t resist seeing what a different order might look like—not saying my way is better.
It’s so damn how today, and
every unhappy woman in sunglasses
and uncomfortable shoes walking downtown
looks like you, and I wonder
if you might have gotten married
in Las Vegas again,
Regardless, lines 6 through 8 (well, maybe make that 10) twisted my gut. Very well done.
If I hadn’t already cheated—looked to see who the author is—I would think that too little thought was put into the break between 15 and 16. But it’s you, so I’ll just admit that I don’t get it. I think the flow would benefit from breaking after “jones”.
In 16, consider putting “seriously” in front of “kick”.
I really like the crippled poems mention.
And the ending.
I remain a steadfast admirer of your work.
The idea is good. The beginning and end are good. I feel like the end isn't any sort of conclusion, though.
The beginning makes me smile.
Thanks for the comments. I'm sorry I've been missing out on PC recently, life's just been a bit out of hand. I've been gathering acorns as autumn progresses, and miss reading & critiquing. Soon, though, soon enough I'll have more time and energy. Until then, thanks again.
I can't wait for letter #2,940. This was phenominal! 8/10
one of the best poems i ever read. just so beautiful.
The 18th and 19th lines, for me, conveyed the most emotion.
This is awesome. By far the best thing I've read on this site.
i really really enjoyed this...the last stanza especially....wow wow wow :)
one of the best poems i've ever read. thanks.
one word: humbled
wow, i don't know what else to say! reading poems is quite a new thing to me, i think i never liked them cause of the types of poem they made me learn by heart at school. but this i really like, i have short flashbacks as i read it, and i can feel so much..missing, loss feeling. fantastic.
very nice. what stood out to me in this poem was the honesty and how the reader could relate to this. job well done. my only suggestion is to possibly strengthen your ending.
wow, I just discovered this poem.
it made me smile, wonderful rhythm, sincere content
I'm so glad I came across it- thank you for sharing!
a good poem the ending seems desperate however
I just... wow.
ah, Mickey. You outdo even yourself here. Everyone dreams of writing a poem like this one -- one that sums the whole beautiful, tortured, defeated, hopeful mess up.
Again it rather pitiful observering mikkirat’s ignorance.
His reference to blistered asphalt is one of pure ignorance.
Concrete Asphalt is a composite mixture of bitumen and graded mineral.
The bitumen acts merely as a binder for the mineral they being either hot or cold rolled to the required degree of compaction.
As Asphalt concrete, contains no less than five per cent bitumen by volume and rarely ever more than ten per cent by volume.
It would appear that Mikkirat has confused asphalt with tar macadam an entirely different road building process altogether, where a percentage of tar was used as a binder.
This type of construction though superior in durability has now been almost universally abandoned in favour of the asphalt concrete type of construction, it being of a more environment friendly type of construction.
Asphalt that had a tendency to blister would be useless as a pavement or road surfacing material and would never pass the Highways Authorities stringent requirements on surface safety.
It is strange that people that probably walk on asphalt concrete every day of their lives yet do not have a clue about its composition,
True poetry is about observation, not fanciful notions by the writer.
mor is an amalgam of meconium and smegma
Well I would rather be a homogeneous union than a chronic case of spermatocele such as st3ntorian.
wow. it is great in every fucking way.
It seems quite incredible that so much ignorance should exist on a single poetry site.
All these clever knowledgeable poets praising rubbish to the high heavens
Not one single person on this site has seen rolled asphalt concrete blister, nor have they ever seen a cat sweat, cats are incapable of sweating in the normal sense; they lose heat through their paws.
This site and poem is a joke of ignorance
Fortunately, not everyone is as literal and one-dimensional as you Mor.
Staying with the one dimensional, why would a bird bake in a tree.
Surely, birds have more sense than poets do.
Got it in one, the bittersweetness of this situation. Awesome.
I am not a critic but i like its ryythm
Choke me please, these top rated poems read like a bad cold. If you have ever watched American Idol (or whatever country you hail from), believe me, Simon is correct, I'm correct...it is terrible.
im speechless. this is really spectacular
boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
I adore this. Simply brilliant.
the uncomfortable shoes, I love that you used this. It makes me smile in thinking of my own girlfriends who have so much faith in their shoes... and the sunglasses top it off, reading "imaginary daughter" hurt a little bit. and I like imagining asphalt blistering