Biopic with cute snail
In the movie of my life, I am to be played by Neverita Didyma,
the bladder moon snail, a predatory marine gastropod
found in the Yellow Sea. Though not moon-shaped myself,
I am a well-rounded individual, so I am quite untroubled
at being played by a female. In interviews, I praise her talents
which are unknown to me: she is so obscure that she barely merits
her own Wikipedia page. Others are not so gracious.
Golbaengi-muchim, a.k.a. moon-snail salad, a Korean dish
rejected for the role, is furious, and circulates internet memes:
anime clips of Neverita that flash the caption: “I’d neverita”,
the irony of this, somehow lost on him. I spring chivalrously
to her defence—though my attempts to get #idedita trending
are perhaps misjudged. A carnivore herself, she squirms nervously
in my presence. Twitter spats escalate and soon we are at war
with the Korean food industry. United by shared adversity,
Neverita and I begin to bond. Then inevitably it happens:
she bats her eyestalks, and I slide over. She leaks
a grainy shell-less sex-tape and becomes briefly famous,
whereas the tabloids slate me as a bottom-feeder.
The film’s backers, already cracking under the pressure
from the Korean Food industry, sense a scandal.
The movie is cancelled and I slip back into obscurity,
which, appropriately enough, is the story of my life.
S6L2 "alongside the caption" -> "emblazoned with the words"
S6L2 "photos of Neverita" -> "anime clips of Neverita"; "emblazoned with the words" -> "that flash the caption"
Wow. Where on earth did this come from, Matt? It seems to me inspired, kept buoyant - somehow - by its own mad logic, which is maintained throughout, as though it came from another universe quite outside our own, with different laws from those that apply here but which it observes perfectly.
I can only goggle at it - like Neverita herself, perhaps - admiringly.
Is this a thing in itself, or will there be - have there been - others? It is rich and strange indeed.
If in fact the poem can be unlocked as a brilliant allegory, then apologies - I have missed it completely.
I really like this - it’s, fun, clever & playful. It blends fact and fiction beautifully - almost despite myself I’m pulled into the narrative.
I also enjoy the undertones of discussion about the power/how knowledge and popularity is constructed on social media.
Small potential points
In L6, talents / which are unknown to me doesn’t feel grammatically correct - do you need to consider putting a comma after talents, or placing ‘which are…’ in parenthesis?
I think that the move from moon-snail to a type of moon-snail salad (from animal to dish) work okay, and of course it’s nonsense anyway, but animating a different type of (edible) snail rather than switching to a recipe-name might make more internal sense in the context of the poem’s other sense-making?
Also, of course, the dish is made of the snail itself (unless it’s a different type of moon snail), so there’s another sense-gap (the snail and the dead snail dissing each other doesn’t make quite as much nonsense/sense as a snail and another type of live snail, maybe).
I think too I’d consider reworking the image and the caption. This doesn’t read like an internet meme to me. It’s the word-choice of ‘caption’ I think. That implies a smallish piece of explanatory text under a photo, whereas memes might more readily spring to mind video content etc. What you describe to me in that line is flickr, not tik-tok or youtube.
There’s also possibly some further wordplay in the snail name (Did y neverita?) that you could mine if you wanted to. And although I’m not sure it would work, if you wanted to up the social media ante you could also incorporate some @’s along the line.
I’m not sure ‘at war’ helps the social media angle either. Maybe consider another hashtag ‘soon we are #streetfight’ or something like it (I’m not going to research negative hashtags on twitter because I don’t want to get embroiled in twitter hate because of your snail poem, but there must be some out there)
I love the snail-sex bits. They’re very funny. Again, if you could think of way to incorporate an @ for the film’s backers ins one way it might add to this.
I’m not sure if you need the ‘appropriately enough’. I’d trim the last line to ‘the story of my life’.
#snailpoem is a great title, btw. It'll be trending tomorrow, I bet.
David and Sarah,
Thanks for your comments. I'm glad you both liked it.
I'm calling it absurdism, but if someone does find a brilliant allegory though, I won't complain.
I've added the comma to S3, thanks for flagging that up.
With "meme" I'm thinking of a photograph with some text added. Specifically an image of Neverita with the words "I'd neverita" emblazoned across it. Are you saying that the use of the word "caption" suggests something other than this, or that the photo-with-text meme is so passé that it's no longer considered a meme as everything's animated these days?
Useful to know that moon-snail salad isn't working for you. I liked that he is a dish (dishy). Also I was working from Neverita's very sparse Wikipedia page and Golbaengi-muchim was pretty much the only thing mentioned -- and I liked the absurdity of it. The same-species thing didn't bother me. I mean, why shouldn't a snail salad and a live snail audition for the same role in a film, and the one that loses out get jealous? :)
So, I think of caption as something under/beside a photo rather than the meme text overlays/text layers in photoshop. But that will probably because I'm also thinking about image-music-text and photoshop layers which are all about my specific context so it probably doesn't matter.
Although, having said that, in simple graphics packages designed to support people easily putting text on images, the text is called 'text', not 'caption'. Adding a caption is a different thing.
I googled 'caption' & I get the kind of thing you want, though, and some fascinating suggestions, including these:
Which one to choose?
Perhaps, if you're wedded to captions, consider adding a modifier so you lose the more formal meaning of captions. Maybe 'cool captions'. Or 'cute caption'.
Snail fight - But it's the same snail in the salad! They're both arguing over the part (one live, one dead). It's like 'sliding doors' only with more mucus and with less Gwyneth Paltrow.
Thanks for coming back and clarifying, Sarah. "Caption" seemed like the right word to me, but it's useful to know it threw you off. I'm not especially wedded to it though. Maybe I should change the word "alongside" which suggests the caption isn't placed on the image -- though meme captions are often above or below a photo rather than on it -- and/or maybe I can just call it "text" or "words". I'll be interested to see if it confuses others.
Matt, I like this. It is fun. I feel the narrator's identifying with Neverita Didymam, the bladder moon snail, and how the narrator transitions into the bottom feeder--all with a little gender identity questions tossed in. That is quite a bit of stuff but it works because of the lightness of tone and sharp satire of our super self-conscious time. It makes one think of the era we're in, where the avalanche of social media has created a world full of people afraid they will never be noticed, which only prompts them to work even harder to emerge out of the sludge and have people like them until they don't like them anymore and tragedy ensues. This is a strong satire of our time. I wish I had suggestions but anything I'd say would seem petty and irrelevant. I love the "grainy shell-less sex tape." If I had been drinking coffee I would have snorted it out when I read that. Naturally, it made me think of the Kardashians. Isn't there more than one of them with a sex tape that "accidentally" was leaked? Anyway, I like it quite a bit. Good one.
Many thanks for your thoughts on this, and I'm glad you liked it. It was fun to write and I wasn't thinking too heavily about meaning, really -- I was going for absurdism more than anything. I really liked your reading of the poem. I was wondering if it was too lightweight, so I like that you read it as a satire of fame culture -- it makes it feel a bit more weighty! It's certainly wading through that culture.
I've replaced "alongside the caption" with "emblazoned with the words", which is hopefully clearer.
There might be a more technical/interesting way of saying that -- maybe the text could be flashing for example, of have drop-shadow, and maybe "emblazoned" is too old-fashioned ...
Hi Matt, I've read more than a few of your poems that fall into this genre of absurdist literature/poetry. They always enthrall.
I don't know that "emblazoned" works. I was thinking something like:
rejected for the role, is furious, and circulates internet memes:
an anime of Neverita flashing the words: “I’d neverita”,
Just thinking out loud... The couplets are a curious choice. One could argue that the flow of the conceit is fragmented by use of the couplet. Why not go full prose poem? You can make some interesting breaks, something like this:
In the movie of my life
I am to be played by Neverita Didyma, the bladder moon snail, a predatory marine gastropod found in the Yellow Sea. Though not moon-shaped myself, I am a well-rounded individual, so I am quite untroubled at being played by a female. In interviews, I praise her talents which are unknown to me: she is so obscure that she barely merits her own Wikipedia page. Others are not so gracious.
Golbaengi-muchim, a.k.a. moon-snail salad,
a Korean dish rejected for the role, is furious, and circulates internet memes: photos of Neverita emblazoned with the words: “I’d neverita”, the irony of this, somehow lost on him. I spring chivalrously to her defence—though my attempts to get #idedita trending are perhaps misjudged. A carnivore herself, she squirms nervously in my presence. Twitter spats escalate and soon we are at war with the Korean food industry.
United by shared adversity, Neverita and I begin to bond.
Then inevitably it happens: she bats her eyestalks, and I slide over. She leaks a grainy shell-less sex-tape and becomes briefly famous, whereas the tabloids slate me as a bottom-feeder. The film’s backers, already cracking under the pressure from the Korean Food industry, sense a scandal. The movie is cancelled and I slip back into obscurity, which, appropriately enough, is
the story of my life.
Still, I love couplet poems. The language, on the other hand, is not particularly poetic (though it is poetic) and I generally expect a more lyrical or imagist quality to poems in couplets... (Still thinking out loud).
There is a theatre of the absurd feel to the conceit. If it were a stage play the costumes would be outlandish. The setting exotic. The storyline nonsensical. The whole thing projecting a duality of meaning but ultimately leaning towards pure nonsense. A display of the unadulterated imagination in full bloom: "Neverita".
It also feels illustrated. A Roald Dahl or Richard Gorey kind of story. I remember a while back you had worked some well-known British children's programs into a poem or two. (Bagpuss?)
There are some interesting references that pepper this. It's like being in google heaven. I’ve been googling for nearly an hour, following the snail trails you’ve made. One of them is the Yellow Sea — When will I ever hear the Yellow Sea mentioned in a poem again? Answer: Neverita million years. Ha!
While I was wading in the wikipedia page for the Yellow Sea I found out that it is largely made up of the water flowing from the Yellow River. I was curious about why the Yellow Sea was yellow and further and furtherI went, down the google rabbit hole. Did you know that the Black Sea was originally called the Inhospitable Sea until such time when the Greeks conquered navigating it, at which time the name was changed to Hospitable Sea? That there is a White Sea and a Red Sea but there is no Blue Sea?
Anyway, this is not much of a crit. More a musing. I like the poem for the same reasons I like almost everything you write: the imagery.
|All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:01 PM.|
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.