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-   -   The Impediment (https://www.ablemuse.com/erato/showthread.php?t=31066)

Jim Hayes 07-05-2019 05:19 AM

The Impediment
 
The Impediment
Warning, language content
Rewrite
There was a young man who possessed an affliction
wherein first encounters dismantled his diction,
the problem was not that the fellow would lack words
but he was compelled to assemble them backwards.

He went ”Do you do how ?” or “Chap old there hello,”
which resulted in laughter and ridicule, so
he swore to himself by his next introduction
he’d be more conversant in sentence construction.

The following week as he strolled through the park
there was love in the air that ignited a spark
when he spied on the grass an attractive young miss,
a girl he felt certain would welcome his kiss.

He sat uninvited with only one thought,
though he’d practiced and practiced, it all came to nought
as once more he blurted; “Kiss a me give you will?”
His objet d’amour sat there stupefied, still.

He initially thinks her reaction is cool.
His impediment isn’t the mark of a fool,
and concludes that her lack of derision implies
the nature of someone who would sympathize.

He’s thrilled that she knows how his words can make sense
when they are deployed in the proper sequence.
The smile is quite tight and the riposte is slow
on the lips of his angel; “Yourself fuck and go!”






There was a young man who possessed an affliction
wherein first encounters dismantle his diction,
when engaging in small talk it’s not that he lacked words
but was strangely compelled to assemble them backwards.

He went”Do you do how”? or ”Chap old there hello”
which resulted in laughter and ridicule so,
he swore to himself by his next introduction
he’d be fully conversant in sentence construction.

The following week as he strolled through the park
there was love in the air that ignited a spark
when he spied on the grass an attractive young miss,
a girl he felt certain would welcome his kiss.

He sat uninvited with only one thought,
though he’d practiced and practiced it all came to nought
as once more he blurted;”Kiss a me give you will?”
his objet d’amour sat there petrified, still.

He initially thinks her reaction is cool-
his impediment isn’t the mark of a fool,
and concludes that her lack of derision implies
the nature of someone who would sympathize.

He thrills she knows that his words make sense
when they are deployed in the proper sequence.
The smile is tight and the words are slow
on the lips of his angel;”yourself fuck Go”

John Isbell 07-05-2019 05:26 AM

Hi Jim,

An unexpected story told with some brio and fun along the way. I think I'd call it just "Impediment."

Cheers,
John

Jim Hayes 07-07-2019 02:02 AM

Thank you John for taking the time to read and comment, I am much obliged.

Somewhat underwhelming response to this which rather puzzles me.
If the construction is faulty there are plenty here happy to jump on me so it must be the theme.

I would have have thought that the robust response of a girl to sexual harassment, for thatís it was, would have had some approval.

Of course, it could simply be that this is no good, but then again, I would have been told that too.

Jim

John Isbell 07-07-2019 02:14 AM

I think sometimes things just sit. It's 4th of July week here, folks may be busy - not many comments this week.

Cheers,
John

Max Goodman 07-07-2019 03:02 AM

Hi, Jim,

Cute joke. The situation and the fact that the poem doesn't see anything odd about this guy sitting down to harass this woman (as it can't, without weakening the surprise of the punchline) make it a joke. Everyone has their own way of telling jokes. Nothing wrong with yours. I wouldn't comment if you hadn't complained about a lack of comments.

If it were mine, I'd try to make it shorter, I'd try to make the rhythm (of each stanza at least) continuous line to line, and I'd try not to write awkward things like "possessed an affliction," ("possessed" a more formal word than feels natural to me, the diction being stretched for the rhythm). Most of all, I'd play with ways to make the backward lines sparkle rhythmically. This last you've probably already done, with an ear that's different than mine.

Jayne Osborn 07-07-2019 03:16 AM

Jim,
Somehow I've missed this till now, or I would have posted sooner.
I'm drinking tea in bed, and tapping this on my phone, but I'll comment properly later on, when I'm up and doing...

Meanwhile, I'll just say that my Sunday morning has started with a good laugh! :)

Jayne

Jim Hayes 07-07-2019 04:35 AM

Thanks again John, good point.

Max, the thing is, it’s not a joke, alright it’s coached as a joke until the end when it’s deadly serious.
I’ve witnessed , as I’m sure have many others, some appalling workplace sexual harassment expressed and excused as a joke and worse, believed by the perpetrators to be a joke.
I could shorten this readily and arrive at the punchline quicker, but the symptom of the impediment, as it were, is drawn out, not out to fill space but to evoke the casual, normal atmosphere in which nearly all of these assaults occur.

I did reflect on the word possession and decided on it because of the demonic association and considered it apposite in context. I could have used ‘had an impediment’ but I wanted to reserve ‘impediment’ until later.

Thanks Jayne, and when you realize why you laughed, it’s surely at the pithy, spunky response of the girl to the dim witted stupidity and sense of entitlement of the protagonist.

There are better ways to tell a story like this I know, but was it Shakespeare- there’s many a truth spoken in jest?

Kind regards
Jim

Andrew Frisardi 07-07-2019 05:09 AM

Hi Jim,

I have to admit, I felt disappointed when I realized there was a moral to the story, as the absurdity of the speech impediment was so much fun. I really liked reading those phrases backwards and could have gone for even more scenes with them. Itís a fresh idea, Iíve never seen that device in a poem, and I was half-expecting it to spin off into Lewis Carroll-esque silliness.

But thatís not really a valid crit, I suppose, since your poem is conceived to lead to the moral conclusion. I did get a smile with the closing phrase, so itís working on that level.

In terms of the overall poem, I found the last few stanzas somewhat rushed through. When the fellow sees the girl on the grass, before he sits down, Iíd prefer another stanza that transitions to the sitting. It could be a stanza about whatís in his head, what he sees, or even what she sees when she looks at him. I think it would make his sitting down wanting to kiss her, as well as what comes after, more credible/realistic/tangible.

For specifics:

I get an extra beat as well as wordy phrasing in

when engaging in small talk itís not that he lacked words

which could be changed to

when engaging in small talk he didnít lack words

I didnít find this line convincing:

heíd be fully conversant in sentence construction.

since the point at the opening of the poem was that his impediment was foisted on him involuntarily regardless of what he consciously knew or didnít know.

there was love in the air is clichť, especially before ignited a spark

Andrew

Mark McDonnell 07-07-2019 05:58 AM

Jim,

Despite your claims otherwise, this is, basically, a joke, in that it makes light of the sexual advance by placing it in a cartoonish and absurd world. It has the construction of a joke, complete with punchline (I'm not sure I'd go as far as calling it a 'moral'). I don't think it's going to be adopted by the @MeToo movement any time soon. I'm not saying the subject of sexual harassment could never be approached with humour, whilst still making a serious point, but whatever that might look like, this isn't it.

Edit: the poem 'Rape Joke' that went viral a few years back, for example, is very serious and has a certain dark humour.

John Isbell 07-07-2019 06:44 AM

Hi Jim,

Hmm. Well, to me, there are plenty of worse things a man could do (or say) to a stranger in public (not, say, an employee) than "Will you give me a kiss?", and the woman certainly seems capable of standing up for herself without adverse consequences, which is what sexual harassment usually entails. I read the poem as a setup for her pithy reply, and I too smiled when I reached it. Good for her. Collapse of stout party. But I find this less dark than you seem to. Maybe that's just me.

Cheers,
John


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