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  #1  
Unread 04-11-2019, 09:21 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Default Imagine with Hanging indents like Whitman

Snow Day, with Oranges

I learn about the energy market to win an internet argument with a user named FartMan69.

I lose.

I play Risk online with friends. One makes the Princess Bride joke and I don’t laugh because in this game they’re all land wars.

I lose.

I print scholarly articles that I won’t read.

I watch the last three minutes of a UConn game on Youtube. They lose.

I sit and try to sketch the trees in my backyard, but instead I imagine the Arch of Constantine. In front is a ring of fire out of which a white tiger leaps at Mickey Mouse.

I am riding that tiger, though I look different astride him: big muscles and flowing hair like He-Man, and I carry the Power Sword in one hand and a copy of Keats’s poems in the other.

I make lunch.

I eat oranges.

I become obsessed with finding beautiful pictures of the dead.

I fall in love first with Maude Fealy, then Helene Anna Held, then an unnamed creole woman posed like a fayum mummy portrait and then I fall in love with one of the mummy portraits backed by gold.

I imagine I’ve stolen the DeLorean to go back to meet her. Her name is Berenice and I think of Callimachus. I could use this device to visit him and bring back some lost work; part of me thinks I’d make money like Biff, but no one cares about Callimachus anymore and without gas the DeLorean is as useless as a rotten orange.

I bet on who the next emperor will be and win big.

I avoid Pompeii.

I make up stories about the future. There are flying cars I tell her.

I explain a car.

I do the lioness and the cheese grater.

I watch our children play among reeds and I tell them that Cleopatra is closer to us in time than she is to the Pyramids. They are unimpressed.

I make a Prince Albert in a can joke. Nobody laughs.

I feel at home for the first time in years.

I age and watch my children become merchants. It is wonderful to watch them fall in love. One daughter-in-law worked in a pub. Their beer is bad: sour, yeasty, and flat.

I drink it.

I’m convinced that I am my own ancestor.

***

Edits:

L8: "a sword" --> "the Power Sword"
L8: Fixed "Keats'"
L12: added the necessary "the"
L20: fixed "Price Albert"

Last edited by Andrew Szilvasy; 04-15-2019 at 07:07 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 04-12-2019, 09:07 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I like it, Andrew. A nice blend of the humorous and serious. You mash up the high and low references well. Laughed out loud at "I do the lioness and the cheese grater."

I'm not totally sold on the ending yet, but I need to keep mulling it for a while. My only note for now is that "Price Albert" is a typo.
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Unread 04-12-2019, 05:42 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Thanks Aaron,

I'll think about the end.

Curious: what isn't working?
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Unread 04-12-2019, 07:23 PM
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Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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I like the idea of the last line but I need to think more about whether I'm convinced that it's earned. But to be clear I wouldn't say it isn't working—I genuinely am undecided as to whether it is. For now.
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Unread 04-13-2019, 05:12 AM
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter is offline
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I like the ending. The preceding lines give it a peculiar mixture of reserve, sincerity, profundity, and silliness. It is "earned" because it is qualified. It is not the unalloyed revelation you would have to pay dearly for. It doesn't completely jump out of the roulette wheel of the rest of the poem. It reminds me of the last line of the James Wright poem, "I have wasted my life." I was never able to take that as tragically as some it because it was qualified by the obvious reward of the visionary moment.

I don't know if you know Frank Stanford's battlefield where the moon says I love you (500+ pages!), but the rhythms of this remind me of it. The rhythm of long prose-like lines as metrical units, but also the rhythm of mundaneity and transcendence, romance and balloon-popping. If you like this, you will love battlefield.

Putting on the proofreading cap, should Keats' be Keats's? I have a pet peeve on a closely related subject I won't bore you with. Is He-Man a reference or a joke? The common idiom would be "a he-man."

A DeLorean. Wow, that dates us.
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Unread 04-13-2019, 08:00 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Bill,

Thanks for your thoughts, and thanks for your suggestion on Stanford. I am not familiar with his word, but the Poetry Foundation had a sizable enough chunk and I quite liked it, so I'm picking up the book.

Thanks for picking up "Keats's."

The He-Man was meant to be a reference, but your question suggested to me that I should make that clearer, so I changed the general "a sword" to "the Power Sword."
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Unread 04-13-2019, 08:25 AM
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter is offline
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I posted an introduction to battlefield here several years ago: https://www.ablemuse.com/erato/showt...ht=battlefield

I will keep a look-out for more postings of yours. I normally avoid free verse because it often sounds like notes for a future poem. This one is complete on its own terms.
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Unread 04-13-2019, 03:47 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Bill,

Thank you for the kind words. I'll try not to disappoint, though as with everything in my life, I promise nothing.
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  #9  
Unread 04-14-2019, 08:24 PM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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If you really want hanging indents, I posted formatting advice yesterday that you can easily adapt to create them. Knock yourself out.

You're missing the word "the" between "of" and "mummy": and then I fall in love with one of mummy portraits backed by gold.

I liked the recurring joke of "I lose" and "They lose" in the first half so much that I really missed being able to recognize an equivalent anchoring structure in the second half of the poem, after "and win big." I don't think "I win" would fit with most of the second-half incidents, so I'm not necessarily recommending that. I'm just unhelpfully complaining, I guess.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 04-14-2019 at 08:29 PM.
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Unread 04-15-2019, 08:34 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Hi Julie,

Thanks for your thoughts. I fixed the type. I take your point on the second half of the poem, though I was hoping the fish-out-of-water moments (the car, bad Prince Albert joke) would serve that purpose.
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