|An Incomplete Sentence
not scarlet tanager;
Some other red bird
brushed in the woods
where the naked body of a woman
formed a cross between bleeding trees;
some other red feather
slit her throat,
And sixty years
is an incomplete sentence.
In loving memory of Connie Gagliardi.
22 Nov 10
Rated 8 (8.5) by 12 users.
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I can read it but I can't comment yet.
WHOOa? true story?
Hey, ghost. Yup. True story. Had 2 get it out of the notebook and onto the screen. Now I feel better. It kinda sickened me for years. :-O Thanks 4 readin'! :-)
wow. this one goes deep. must have been a challenge to pull together. i saw it being developed over the past couple of hours and it seems to read incredibly well now. very good!
Hey, tanx! Ugh! It was a BITCH to pull together! I was tryin' 2 work this shit out for HOURS! Anyway, glad u like it and thanks 4 da crit and da dime. I apprecia-ma-cate it! :-)
heavy and sad but well-written.
Actually, it was more disturbing and haunting than anything else and just by writing it, I was gettin' the creeps. :-O
JKboo! Thanks! :-)
really great starr, as per usual.
Thanks! Glad u like it! :-) xo
Starr, I wish your serotonin levels were mine.
Was the killer a transient? or did he kill transients? just curious.
Awww...Empty. I'll share my serotonin levels WITH u! The killer was a transient him/herself. A 1/2 way transexual. I don't wanna give too much away just yet and thanks 4 the uplifting props, every-1. xo
I would change Not to No in line 1. Sometimes it takes courage to face things enough to write them.
It's "not" in L1 because I'm referencing the KIND of feather/tail of the bird in this poem; the killer being the bird. His Native American names (that he went by) were Red Feather and/or Red Tail. An "8?!" You betta get back up in here and "10" this, sweetheart! LOL! xo
I just can't believe that the person whom I thought was so nice and who helped me in the soup kitchen for three years turned out to me a murderer. How scary izz DATT?! :-O
very thoughtfully and skillfully opened, starr.
i might strike all of s3 as accurate but adding unneeded detail and taking away from the poetry of the piece.
i like the tension between roots (the crime scene) and transient (the killer). that's masterful.
19/20 loses me. i'm being obtuse, i guess, not sure who's being fossilized, the victim or the perp, both? could work for others better.
thanks starr for working this out. (nicmichaels)
Hey, Nic. Thanks 4 stoppin' by and givin' this a sniff. Thanks for the comments, crit and compliments too. In L's 19 & 20, what I'm referring to is that he got a 60 year prison sentence for the murder, so by the time he gets out he'll be either 103 or very old, hence, "a nameless fossil." I struggled with those last two lines because I wasn't quite sure on how to help the reader(s) know that 60 years was his sentence. I'm still workin' that out though. xo
I DO BELIEVE I'm gonna make u PROUD, Nic, with THESE changes. Thanks 4 the good lookin' out. I apprecia-ma-cate it! Happy Thanksgiving with love, my friend. Stay warm out there. xo
I think you need to add something about red hands.
He only got sixty years? Perhaps some helpful person will help him on his way to the REAL justice.
Red hands to depict his Native American roots, I'm assuming? I DO NEED to include THAT in here somewhere. Good point. :-)
...and yes, 60 years was all he got. But by the time he's eligible for parole, he'll be either dead himself or 103 years old. He was 43 at the time of the murder 8 years ago, so now he's 51.
This is as red as the pimple on my butt
I meant bloody hands but yes, that would reference to his heritage also, though it's ugly for any othe Native Americans.
Try some Prep. H, bbmb and Isabelle, yeah...I figured by juxtaposing his heritage with the roots of the tree and the blood that the point would be well taken and the metaphor effective. Thanks, Isabellicious! :-)
hey starr, came back to it, after finding it top rated, brotha!
the is a weak word to end a line on, kick up bloody or end it on drank
i like the change in the last stanza, must less clunky.
try a fragment there, dropping the is and the elipses. fragment frames the thought more cleanly, and this is a sparing write. i think the ... are melodramatic, and the subject deserves the plainspoken.
How's DATT, sista? Better? :-) (Thanks!)
'drinking' in L6. is out of place. needs something else there
i reckon you could do without it altogether
Thanks. I'm still tweakin' this. I got rid of "drinking in" in L6, replaced it with "that hung between" and gave cause for the trees 2 bleed. Good catch. "Drinking" is cliche anyway. 'Precia-ate-it. :-)
Starr--this is beautiful and so sad. I was unfamiliar with this tragedy so consulted the Google--you've done a fine, fine job with your tribute. Succinct and haunting write. The title is perfection.
Thanks, syb! Hope you're well. Glad u like it. You always make me smile when u drop by. :-) xo
I know how you like to tweek your work, so I watched the metamorphisis for the last couple of days and like a butterfly leaving the cacoon, this has turned into a real beauty. Nice work.
Awww--Thanks Starr--I am happy and well and hope you are the same!
Paul! Hey, buddy! Haven't heard from you in AGES! Good 2c you're still around and thanks 4 the assuring comments! Syb, fine, thanks. Busy at the hospital and my Spanish classes will be coming to an end in about 3 weeks. I'll take the Medical Language Interpreter's exam in late winter and hopefully enter into the program in the spring. Happy Holi-DAZE, u guyz! xo
great stuff starr.
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Glad u like this, unk. #1 and unk. #2, you can purchase any of my works from my Facebook page through Paypal. I only use the BEST paper as I'm big on presentation.
i'm sure you're done with most of your edits - but of course i'm going to give you some suggestions!
l5 - leave out 'year old'.
l6 - 'forms' instead of 'formed'
l7 - 'hanging' instead of 'that hung'
you could compress 8-11 too -
walking in (her) shoes is often used - replacement is the idea, no? perhaps you could have him imagine he is her instead of 'understanding how/what she is' by walking in her shoes?
although, all the suggestions i'm getting right now aren't too great. maybe i'll think of something...
l12 - might work with a full stop, and then l13 would need that 'n' capped.
i'd switch 12/13 and 14/15 - might work better?
An amazing and frightening little piece of criminal writing.
Varun! Hey, buddy! Glad 2 hear from u! It's always an honor when u drop by and surprise me! I have used a few of your suggestions and thanks for them. I appreciate your eye/ear here. Tricky, tricky poem. I do realize that "to walk in her shoes" is cliche, but it's real. He killed her to obtain her identity and he was in the midst of a sex change from a man to a woman b4 she was slain, so I'm trying 2 keep it as relatable as possible where it's so complex. Happy Holidays, my friend! Unk., thanks for the comp. too! Appreciate it. :-)
And also, V, I'm always open 2 future edits. That's the joy of the mechanics of good writing; all that tunin' up. :-)
I did it, Varun! In L8, I gave the murderer a gender (himself) and a faux empathy which I juxtaposed with his premeditated crime, thus reducing the original cliche slightly. Thanks again for your help! xo
Take it as you will; I know how you guys are about constructive criticism from an unknown source.
Look at the language. Not a cardinal/some other red tail/ brushed in the wood where...
That's pretty tight, flowing and the words are relating comfortably. The next part is kind of "too much information and not enough wordplay" in terms of the heartbeat you established for the poem thus far.
I can't tell you how to say that more poetically. I'm not a poet! But I will say that "Forms a human cross hanging between two bleeding trees." Could easily be "Forms a cross between bleeding trees." The rest is taking away strength from the image, in my opinion.
You've already established that it's her body. You said woman and body. No need to repeat human (what else could it be?) Hanging is slightly implied but could still be put in there. Still, the cross image seems more powerful than hanging... more akin to crucifixion than, say, noosed (which is the instant image that hanging implies, although you do logically push it out of your mind; it's kind of a wasted picture.) Between... how else would it be and two... hard to imagine how something could be crossed between more than two things. Possible but not plausible.
There still is "Where the naked body of a forty something woman" that needs to be addressed. Forty something, especially, is ugly. But I think it's a good piece and that it WORKS... but it's bogged down by that part.
Peace and have fun disregarding my advice. ;)
"Disregarding your advice?" What choo TALKIN' 'BOUT?! I LOVE your advice! It makes complete sense and has bettered this poem immensely! Thank you!!! For someone who "isn't a poet," you sure do KNOW IT! Good lookin' OUT! xo
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...and your point IS? :-O
not IN THE BLEEDING TREES. BETWEEN. That's vital. BBT. between bleeding trees she ate a B-L-T before she was unduly crucified.
NO "RED FEATHER SLIT HER THROAT."
I forgot what this looked like before, but it had that "this could be great with editing feeling." now it has... this lost its soul to editing and might never get it back.
Now I'm pissed... lol. Not really, but you should be.
I feel that my comment was partially responsible for you beating the shit out of this poem.
wow, starr this is probably your most carefully put together piece yet. But in reading the comments, you say you knew her killer? I would try to put that in or hint at it somewhere. The piece is great as it stands, but it could be even more poignant if we got a hint of that. Great metaphors, great ambiguity. Heartwrenching story.
Oh, aliar! Don't be so hard on yourself! Your initial comments were intensely helpful to this piece! I DID put "between" back into the mix though. You're right about that, so thanks again. Somehow, I missed it the first time around. And Ananke, Happy New Year, buddy! Yes, I DID know the killer personally and I don't think I can bring him anymore to life than I have. If u read really closely, there's a couple of clues: L'13 give a name and L15 a community. Hope this helps and thank you SO MUCH for acknowledging the incredible amount of hairpulling work that went into this piece. xoxoxo!
^ Oops! I meant "gives" a name in L13 and in L15, a sense of community or lack thereof after the murder. Let me know if u figure it out and if NOT, I'll indulge u then. How's DATT?! xo :-)
happy new year to you too :)
yes, I got those clues, but it's no more information than someone reading a news article would no, you know?
You're right. I DO KNOW. I'll email u. :-) xo
On second thought, I'll do it right here where it can be seen and maybe somone can offer some help in doing this.
Okay...this dude was a transient who was 1/2 way to becoming a woman. He wanted to have a sex change and preyed upon Connie, who was pretty trusting and naive. Why not just kill her and steal her i.d, right? So that's what his objective was. He was also known in his reservation as Red Tail and Red Feather. He only got 60 years which is where I got the title from. Most, by the heinous nature of the crime would have thought that he would have gotten a lifetime sentence. Alas, he did not. If there IS a way to bring him more into the light, I'd LOVE your suggestions as this is still (unfortunately) a work in progress. Thanks! Hope this helps u out a bit more. xo
Ah, see the connotation of transient for me is someone who was just passing through. In fact I've never heard of it used in that way, although I'm sure it is. I guess I've more often heard transitioning or...
Regardless, this is a well written and sadly touching poem.
Thanks, Ananke! I hear ya. Must be a "regional" thing. Up here, we say "transient" and it pertains to a homeless person. Thanks so much for the comps. to this poem. Made my day! :-)
A very difficult subject, but handled with grace. Well written, you have given gravity to the situation without giving up any dignity belonging to your friend. It took me a moment to understand the last two lines, but they do work. Congrats.
Thanks for your awesome comments. lorlye! Appreciate 'em! This poem was soooo difficult. Probably my most difficult EVER. Happy New Year! :-)
I too feel this is one of your most developed pieces.
However, I happen to be fond of what the language is doing. The content and story is perhaps the kicker riding along, but what the language is doing itself, outside of all of that, is pretty damn nice.
Not cardinal. Not hawk. Not robin.
Some other red tail...
On a purely linguistic level, I am enjoying the aspect of defining by antithesis. One might think it is rudimentary at first, but for me it is much more than that. Along the angles of odes to opposites and within the vein of how we work with language and perception in the first place. You can boil it down to how a child comprehends by direct relationships, "this is like this... is like this" and more often than not in writing we find those relationships to be within the stream of direct simile.
"like a... " etc.
However, there's something connective to the correlation of eliminating what something is not, that brings a fresh feeling to the language.
This of course may not have been completely intentional from the bird man. But that it does somehow exist in the mix of this caption is quite refreshing.
I believe using a reference of elimination also plays well back into the theme with the development of tone.
Not cardinal. Not hawk. Not robin.
Some other red feather...
Provides an ominous tone.
OldShoe, thanks for that AWESOME breakdown! You always make "Da Birdman" feel like he's headin' in da right direction. Happy New Year, my friend. :-)
Aye, starr, grim stuff but what cheers me up is the quality of crit feeding into the revisions that's pared it down to this version. OldShoe and others are awesome as is this now! Mitch :-)
Awww! Thanks, Mitch! Glad u dropped by! Made my night, buddy! :-)
Now take out "two" PLEASE I PROMISE I WILL NEVER MAKE AN UNHAPPY COMMENT ON THIS AGAIN. And I'll give you a 10! Just take out two. It's that serious.
It's not about the "10" rating, aliar, but thank you. It's about the reader being able to envision the picture I'm painting. If I take out the "two," I think it will take away that clarity. I have to remain true to my poetic sense here. :-)
Two works musically and as a narrative marker. The killer, the victim. Also two realities, and two worlds, living and not.
Like the revision.
As for defining through what something is not, it's a great tool, and one Billy Collins uses often. So the birdman flies in good company.
Thanks, Nic! YOU always know where I'm comin' from! Happy New Year, sista! xo
Fair enough, but... between is going to imply two 99% of the time. Especially in that context. Look up the word in the dictionary.
You can keep the 10.
Hey, aliar. Thanks 4 yet another visit. :-) How about "the" bleeding trees? How would that sound? Y'got me thinkin' (again) now. :-O
testing out "the" in L7 as opposed to "two" per aliar's suggestion. What'cha think, y'all? :-O
Nevermind. I took out "the" in L7 so it just reads "between bleeding trees." I think aliar's right about this sonically. :-)
is there a reason, other than the death complex, that there are so many poems to do with blood, gore, and otherwise gruesome imagery from poets in general. Whats your take?
I think that there are some wounds that time cannot heal, they only scar over. And when we brush over it we feel a hurt that is akin to pain.
words are the sole temple of my art
this is a strong poem, however i don't feel like the last two lines are earned yet.
The whole poem is playing with the images of birds and colors and then out of left field comes a sort of linguistic-analogy. It is a fantastic line, but it lacks continuity from the rest of the poem, perhaps if you integrate something earlier in the poem using the same type of allusion, dealing with sentence or story or language. That way the last line has something to stand on, something to push against, then the rest of the poem is strengthened as well.
As it is now, all the work you did building up these wonderful images of color and birds is just lost in the end when you completely break from it, and go to another analogy. It is a good poem ending with a great line from a different poem.
I love this it is so sad:( very deep and the reader can see that a lot of heart went into this poem. Truly sorry for your loss!
Hey, every-1. Thanks for the reads and the comments. Mattpat: Though it may seem that a lot of poets dabble in pain, I think that there are just as many who dabble in life's other items too such as love and joy too. Myself, I go wherever there needs to be a cleansing. If something affects me to the point where it racks in my brain for days and weeks, that's when I know that if I write it out, I'm putting it "somewhere else." That's my take on that. Subject matter is always different for each poet. Elzie, I agree with you. Sometimes, we are scarred forever. Bookworm, thanks. She was a lovely human being and Josh, there's more to this than birds and Josh, it's pretty cohesive. I've worked for a month on this poem just to get through all the red tape of creating the scene and building up the murder. The last two lines say it all. I'd read it again and pay closer attention to what the others are saying here; maybe even Google it so you can actually explore the awful story behind the poem. I hear ya though, but I don't think you're seeing the whole story (yet). And you will. Thanks, guyz! xo
A great poem.
LOL. you're kidding right?
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Thanks, danny! Glad u like it. :-)
i think you missed my point. i see the poem is very tight, and it is a very good poem. and im proud of you for spending months on it, i just think it can be even more cohesive. Spend more time.
Also, a small thing. you need to mess around with the punctuation L14-19. Maybe a comma after 17? not sure, as it reads now you are saying her wrists are without reservation, and I think you are trying to say the act of slitting is without reservation.
nice work overall starr
Hey, Josh! Thanks, buddy, for the props and the suggestion. I fixed up that punctuation oversight in L17 (Good lookin' out!) and as for spending more time, hmmm...yeah...I'll do that and see what comes of it. I see what you're sayin' tho. It's as if there's sumpthin' missin' in the mix, right? Maybe down there around L18. Love to ya, brotha! :-)
Maybe sumpthin' that references the act of "hanging?" Anyone wanna jump in on this? Feel free. Thanks in advance. Nite nite. I'll be back in the mornin'. :-O (Yaaaawn...)
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It's not that I'm not paying attention 2 your crit. I'm just ignoring it. :-)
Every poet has the prerogative to ignore criticism, choosing to wallow in the adoration of those who are less knowledgeable, however such accolades soon wear thin when he enters into the company of real poets, and you seem to spend a lot of time bragging about relatively small achievements. I think it fairly true say that you would hardly be noticed on real poetry sites.
See...it's like THIS with me. If I don't know you and I get a bunch of lip from someone I don't know, I become very leary of them. Such is the case with you. I don't know you and by the tone of your writing, I don't trust you either. Email me with an identity and then we'll talk. Otherwise, spare me. You're anonymous for a reason. What is it?
You sound like a small mind to me. Bragging? What bragging? That's just you internalizing the fact that I have something under my belt and it probably threatens you for some unknown reason. Again, if I don't know you, I don't play the "back 'n forth with an unknown" game. C-ya.
Wow. I owe u an apology. I thought u were one of the infamous "spammers" that plagues the site. Not that I know anything about what you've even said previously because I'm not into the mechanics of Poetry or all that "Classical" Poetry stuff. I just write what's in my heart and the words dance to the music I translate onto the page. Again, sorry for having come off as disrespectful/ignorant. Hope you'll forgive that. Peace. :-)
p.s. I got rid of "nor" in L2 too. Thanks 4 the political correction on that. :-)
don't pay no mind to the dip-shit starr.
pay no mind to the dip-shit.
Keep the dedication and start over without relying so heavily and unsteadily on psuedo ornithology. Thanks for the read.
I wanna be in your gang. Please tell me what I should do in order to be in your gang? Please let me in. I am a white woman. Albino in fact. You, poet, have saved my life. Literally. Not figuratively. Forever endebted to your devoted attention to headress and foot apparel. Thank you, Christina.
Proganda posing as gander. Honk Honk!! Get real. Tonker Toy.
I wish I were protected by the moderators, I could top rated too.
Last line makes up for the rest. Not bad at all, but nothing a bird couldn't do better.
An Incomplete Sentence
Not cardinal 1
not scarlet tanager. 2
[omniscience to rule out possibility: why not go with "no" over "not" ? Why limit the artificiality when you could exploit it?]
Some other red bird 3 [ some other? why play games when you could simply call the Pope? I hear he carries a cellphone around in his back pocket nowadays.}
brushed in the woods 4
where the naked body 5
of a white woman 6 [why have you included this information? ("white") you give us the google ref. Why do you dumb down your reader? Must we drown in down?]
formed a cross 7 [Yes of course. we already saw that coming. not because of the munificence of the omniscient voice hoisted upon the reader but because of the manipulative lengths gone to to conjure highly charged images. I admit I've not googled nor read the thread above . . . I read poems first and foremost for what they convey within the logic of their own framework . . . obviously a naive posture that enjoys the freedom of its own reticence ]
between bleeding trees 8
A transient killer 9
imagined himself 10
in her shoes 11 [Lofty stuff. I hope you're casting Anthony. Either Perkins or Hopkins will do. Any residually cynical pun intended without undo burden of pastiche proof]
Not hawk. 12
Not robin. 13 [love the dramatic effect. MIght add more white
space to the page though -- possibly accented with face paint]
Some other 14 [ repetition is interesting. As with other dramatic devices used . .. propels the poems myopically stingy agenda alsong very well]
red feather 15
slit her throat 16
her wrists, 17
without reservation 18 [passive aggressive pun calls way too much attention to itself and inhibits blood flow to the rest of poem, retroactively, phantomly not to mention wontonly.]
And sixty years 19
is an incomplete sentence. 20 [wraps up opinion succinctly. And honestly without indulging in manipulative maneuvers in the dark as rest of poem does. would start here. Sorry I meant black not dark.]
In loving memory of Connie Gagliardi. [Right. Left. Right Right Right]
thanks for indulging us. My name is Albinoni. Albinoni Nnot. Thank you and Peace to you and Yours.
22 Nov 10
Rated 9.8 (9.7) by 17 users.
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(define the words in this poem)
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Great poem. I love the play on words that you've created with the title. Really hits you at the end. Very effective!
Thanks, ab! Glad u like this! It was probably the most difficult poem I've ever written in my life! Lots and lots of revisions as u can tell from the crits. More like a strenuous WORKout! Take care! :-)
I like it better without the 3rd strophe.
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Thanks! I think you're right! I got rid of "not hawk, not robin." Flows better. :-)