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  #11  
Unread 08-31-2019, 06:51 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Ralph,

I really like this one. I think it's something of a shame to lose the word 'cripple' or some variant of same. I see Matt's point, but it and its verb/adjective variants are such resonant words, with their hard consonants and feeling of being broken-backed. I don't think there's a better phrase than 'crippling shyness' to describe that particular condition, for example. I could be wrong about all of this and God knows I don't want to get into another debate about political correctness/ownership of language. But throwing caution to the wind I suggest this:

A seeker crippled by his crutch

which gives the irony of the idea that his 'crutch' (the fleeting intensity of masturbation/promiscuity that he uses as a substitute for genuine connection) is what is preventing his actually achieving what he is seeking. The metre is sharper too, perhaps. And the adjective might be less likely to offend than the noun.

Mark
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  #12  
Unread 08-31-2019, 11:40 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Mark, thanks for reading, and seeing some merit! Your tweak of line 8 is a definite improvement, and your reasons rhyme with mine.
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Last edited by RCL; 08-31-2019 at 11:49 PM.
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  #13  
Unread 09-02-2019, 07:21 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Ralph, Hi.

1. Starting three lines with “But” doesn’t feel right to me. “But” indicates that what comes after will contrast with what came before. The places where “But” appears in the poem are simply the next stages of the protagonist’s life. Perhaps L4 could read:

While in his teens, he often touched

2. “kissing girls… made fixes of when he kissed" seems more complicated than it needs to be. I would try to simplify the thought. Perhaps something like:

For him a kiss was just a fix.

3. “carelessly obsessed” seems contradictory, like an oxymoron. Perhaps that’s what you intended.

4. LL 12 & 13 read:

promiscuous, he harbored hope
to feel caresses he had missed.

To me, it would sound more natural to have a “the” after “feel.” You change these lines to:

promiscuous, he harbored hope
for the caresses he had missed.

5. All of the rhymes are true rhymes or identity rhymes except obsessed/missed. I would make this a true rhyme also. Perhaps something like (and I understand the poem is not in rhyming couplets):

For years by whorish sex obsessed,
his unloved youth left unredressed,

6. I would try to give the end of the poem more umph. Perhaps something like (and I understand the poem is not in rhyming couplets):

He spent – though countless girls he clutched –
the balance of his life untouched.

Mark
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  #14  
Unread 09-03-2019, 11:16 AM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Mark S,

Thanks for the close reading. You’re right about the Buts and I adopted your fix. Your other points will need more time to rejigger what I have so far.
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