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  #1  
Unread 06-09-2019, 08:16 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Default How We Stay In Love

x
Then and Now (v.5)

We lived in a cottage high on a hill
behind the abandoned hen house.
Two tiny rooms to hold us.
We listened like children to the wind
rock the windows whenever a storm
swept up the slope.
We slept like spoons on the fold-out couch.
The garden grew all by itself and gave us gifts
of wild flowers and Jerusalem artichokes.

Now we sleep mostly back to back
sometimes feeling behind
for each other. Our dreams keep us
half awake; the prison of our biorhythms
rouses us at five. I prepare the press
and we sip dark roast, watch daylight spark.


Edits
Lots of tinkering to stanza one to bring out more fully the idyll in it.
S2L2,3: new line breaks


_________
x
Then and Now (v.4)

We lived in the cottage behind the hen house
and slept like spoons on the fold-out couch.
The garden grew all by itself and gave us flowers
and Jerusalem artichokes for free.

Now we sleep mostly back to back
sometimes feeling behind for each other.
Our dreams keep us half awake.
The prison of our biorhythms rouses us at five
and I prepare the press. We sip dark roast,
watch daylight spark.


--------------
x
Convoluted Love (v.3)


I don’t know how, but every now and then
I am reminded why. The truth is that
I don’t know now any more than I did
before, but will try again to explain
why I felt I knew how and how I now
know why we stay in love and always will:

xxxNever mind your hair, babe; forget what you wear, babe.
xxxit's all good we are accepting of such things, babe
xxx(or at least feign, babe, that we just don’t care, babe).
xxxWe are content, babe, with the way our hearts sing, babe
xxxand how it makes our private freedoms ring, babe




----------------------
x
Anatomy of how we stay in love (v.2)


This is how we do it: we compare halves --
what we have to what we would have had
if our dreams had not survived our vacillation.
We lived in the cottage behind the hen house
and slept like spoons on the fold-out couch.
The garden grew all by itself and gave us flowers
and Jerusalem artichokes for free.

Now we sleep mostly back to back, sometimes
feeling for each other in the dark.
Our dreams keep us half awake.
The prison of my biorhythm rouses me
and I prepare the press and we sip Sumatra
watch daylight spark.

Never mind your hair; forget what you wear.
I love that we are oblivious to such things
(or at least feign we don’t care).
We are aware of what makes our hearts sing
though we know our song is an ethereal thing
and prone to discordant interludes -- still we bear it.
We accept our one life formed by a welding fire
and have fallen over and over in love
with the way it makes our private freedoms ring.
x
x
x
Edits

S1L3: changed "plans" to "dreams"



------------------------

x
Anatomy of how we stay in love


Nevermind your hair, forget what you wear.
I love the way we are oblivious to such things

(or at least feign we don’t care)

and how willingly aware we are of what makes
our two souls together sing: complete acceptance

of our conditional surrender to each other
and the way it makes our private freedoms ring.
x
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 06-24-2019 at 06:19 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 06-11-2019, 04:18 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Hi, Jim,

Sorry not to have a more positive response to this. I like the title, but the poem doesn't tell me how these people stay in love. The paradox of surrender bringing freedom is a cliche, meaningful only if the poem shows what surrender and freedom mean to these two. That they pretend not to care about the other's appearance is as close as the poem brings us to them.
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  #3  
Unread 06-11-2019, 05:01 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Jim,

I had a similar reaction to Max. The poem is constructed almost entirely of abstractions, which at times verge on cliche ("two souls", "complete acceptance"), and which inevitably convey nothing of the uniqueness of this situation. Other than the first line there's pretty much no imagery. If you were to paint this, or make it into a short silent movie, what would it look like? I'd like to read that.

best,

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 06-11-2019 at 06:41 PM.
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  #4  
Unread 06-11-2019, 06:17 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
Max & Matt, I can't argue with that. Abstractions + cliches = ho-hum... I don't know why I pulled the trigger on this one. I wrote it in 15 minutes and spent no time giving it any real scrutiny. Once the title came I figured it was done. I did try to create a bit of subversiveness to it, but it was not much of an effort -- "conditional surrender" being the only hint of it.

It's not much of an attempt to poeticize the anatomy of love. Sorry about that. If I do anything more to revise this in the short term I'll post a revision, but otherwise I am fine with pulling the plug on it.
x
x
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  #5  
Unread 06-12-2019, 01:13 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Jim,

Well, I think this is not your best work. But it does have things to like IMO - "I love the way we are oblivious to such things," a line I like, and the internal rhyming. I think it opens stronger than it finishes, but spins off into cliche somewhat in the second half. That seems to me a risk of quick writing, which I know I have incurred often enough myself. There's an initial insight, then the dance moves you faster than your feet are ready for.

Cheers,
John
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  #6  
Unread 06-12-2019, 08:11 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
Revision posted. I took a crack at lifting this out of its abstractions and instilling some imagery that I hope invokes a kind of haze of time and survival (in a small way).

I am aware that I am in some ways in violation of this board's stipulations for posting. Poems here should be well on their way to completion and looking for crits to fine tune it -- not poems posted with only precursory attention given to their development. This revision is an attempt to rectify that. But I still feel like I'm flying by my seat of my pants with this one...
x
x
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  #7  
Unread 06-18-2019, 06:04 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Jim,

I think you need to think carefully about what you really want to say and try to say it precisely. That doesn't mean prosaically. But often here you seem to be trying to say too many things, and you're saying them vaguely. Most recently by channelling Sonny and Cher (!)

With a little tinkering, I think this section from V2 is the poem, or at least a poem. Quite a nice one.

We lived in the cottage behind the hen house
and slept like spoons on the fold-out couch.
The garden grew all by itself and gave us flowers
and Jerusalem artichokes for free.

Now we sleep mostly back to back, sometimes
feeling for each other in the dark.
Our dreams keep us half awake.
The prison of my biorhythm rouses me
and I prepare the press and we sip Sumatra
watch daylight spark.
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  #8  
Unread 06-20-2019, 07:47 AM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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What Mark said.
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  #9  
Unread 06-20-2019, 09:02 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Mark and Mary, I like that what sinks me can also lift me. Iíve been sinking ever since posting this one and Markís observations sunk me lower (though I knew it from almost the time I clicked ďpostĒ. Certainly earlier crits signaled it was already taking on water).

Then Mary chimed in and I reluctantly re-read your comments, Mark. Suddenly I saw that those two stanzas from v2 weren't all that bad and not nearly as pretentious as they had felt to me after posting earlier.

And you are right that it is not the poem but a poem -- not the one I had originally set out to write that would reveal the secret ingredients to staying in love. I have no recipe for that as it turns out, though I am a survivor. Thatís why I switched gears with v3 and tried to sidestep the whole issue by making the whole thing convoluted. The italicized stanza of v3 was meant to be a quasi-lyric of an imaginary country song -- I nearly died when you suggested it brought to mind Sonny and Cher -- because I could see that -- even though I had hoped it would be evocative of Dylan (It Ainít Me, Babe).

Anyway, thanks for the life raft. What a wreck. Let it sink. Iíll make it back to shore now : )
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 06-20-2019 at 11:41 AM.
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  #10  
Unread 06-20-2019, 05:30 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Well, 'I Got You, Babe' was a kind of sanitised pop version of what Dylan was doing in the early 60's anyway, wasn't it?

I certainly didn't mean to sink you, Jim! I understood what you were attempting with that deliberately convoluted v3 I just really didn't think it was working. I like how you are willing to experiment; watching your revisions is never dull.

I think what you have now may be my favourite poem of yours, there's nothing 'pretentious' there. I love 'The garden grew all by itself and gave us flowers /
and Jerusalem artichokes for free'. Maybe 'spoons' is a little too much of a familiar, stock image. Can you think of a fresh way to describe that?

Mark
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