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  #11  
Unread 10-16-2019, 06:13 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Andrew, "mime" threw me, too. Perhaps something like this, using "mimicry" as Matt suggested?

You can’t not take him anywhere:
he’s deft at mimicry,
always knocking at your door
with punctuality.

For S4L4, I preferred "the shyness you revile." For some reason, I like "emptiness" better than "nothingness," but either works.

Susan
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  #12  
Unread 10-16-2019, 09:09 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Matt, John, and Susan, thanks for the feedback. The poem continues to improve I think.

Matt and Susan, for the "mime" line at the beginning I think I've found a solution. Thank you for pointing out the lapse in my sense of definition there.

John, great idea about "what's apropos" (the adjectival form really does work better and clearer), and I've reverted to "sheepishly" near the end.

Andrew
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  #13  
Unread 10-16-2019, 09:04 PM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Yes, much better! A few more notes:

S4
L2 I keep tripping over "pills" since I associate them more with medicine than recreation. Is there some other relaxer? Wine maybe?

S5
L2 I still prefer "timidly." The speaker hasn't done anything wrong; he's just timid.
L4 how about "with nothingness within" ?? That's what I'd do for sure.

Seems to me this strange and thoughtful poem would work fine in a collection of non-light verse.
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  #14  
Unread 10-17-2019, 07:35 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Glad you're liking the new version Mary, you've been a huge help with it.

I agree about "pills" and "wine" sounds much better for the assonance it adds.

Also "timidly," which is back.

I think I'm going to stick with the last line as is, since it gives the sense of a sudden fall into that void and does work grammatically ("I will be your . . . nothingness within").

Thanks again,

Andrew
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  #15  
Unread 10-17-2019, 09:56 AM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Andrew, Hi.

1. This is a good poem that is getting better and better with all of the excellent suggestions.

2. I think the current title works. However, if you wanted a title that provides more of an explanation of what the poem is about, one option is: Competing With His Younger Self

3. In L1, I wonder if it would make more sense to say “everywhere” instead of “anywhere.” I’m not sure, but the thought just occurred to me.

4. I would put a comma at the end of L3.

5. If you would like a true end rhyme for S1 and S3, here are a couple of options.

You can’t not take him anywhere.
His mimicry's sublime.
When there’s a party, he’ll be there.
He always is on time.

You can’t not take him anywhere.
His mimicry's sublime.
His manner is beyond compare.
He always is on time.

6. I have trouble with the phrase “your younger look-alike.” The reason is that, generally speaking, people don’t look like how they looked when they were younger. This is certainly true when I look in the mirror. Here is my suggestion:

His suit is white, his hair is dark,
as yours was recently.
He is your younger counterpart,
your on-demand esprit.

Plus I think this gets the end rhyme of L5 and L7 a bit closer (i.e., dark/part versus black/like).

7. From reading the poem, it does not sound like the narrator has “nothingness” inside of him. Rather, it sounds like it’s just a bit of slothfulness and creeping decrepitude. I think “emptiness” would be better. And here is another option:

Is there a chance you'd take my place?
you timidly begin.
He says: I’ll be your carapace,
your indolence within.

Best wishes,

Mark
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  #16  
Unread 10-18-2019, 05:23 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Mark, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I’ll respond to your suggestions one by one:

Quote:
2. I think the current title works. However, if you wanted a title that provides more of an explanation of what the poem is about, one option is: Competing With His Younger Self
I’m going to stick with “The Ideal” since it leaves open other possible interpretations. One of the things I intend here is an allegory for (Freudian) superego ideals.

Quote:
3. In L1, I wonder if it would make more sense to say “everywhere” instead of “anywhere.” I’m not sure, but the thought just occurred to me.
“Anywhere” is necessary for the reversal on the cliché, “You can’t take me anywhere,” which we say jokingly to suggest our mannerisms won’t be socially acceptable.

Quote:
4. I would put a comma at the end of L3.
I did consider it, but I think it changes the meaning somewhat: I want “eternally on time” to be an adverbial clause referring to his knocking on the door, but the comma would suggests it refers more to “mimicry’s sublime.”

Quote:
5. If you would like a true end rhyme for S1 and S3, here are a couple of options.
I’m quite fond, à la Yeats and others, of leaving some random off-rhymes, though true rhyme is great as well.

Quote:
6. I have trouble with the phrase “your younger look-alike.” The reason is that, generally speaking, people don’t look like how they looked when they were younger. This is certainly true when I look in the mirror.
He’s the look-alike for how the “you” of the poem appeared in youth. I think the compact expression of that works ok for the poem.

Quote:
7. From reading the poem, it does not sound like the narrator has “nothingness” inside of him. Rather, it sounds like it’s just a bit of slothfulness and creeping decrepitude. I think “emptiness” would be better. And here is another option:
Yes, Susan thought “emptiness” would be better too, but for me that personalizes the notion more, whereas I intend more total nihilism, i.e.,"nothingness, which is what “the ideal” taken in the wrong way results in.

Thanks for getting me to consider all this. Although I haven't followed your suggestions, they are still a help for getting me to think through my choices more consciously.

Andrew
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  #17  
Unread 10-19-2019, 05:09 PM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Love it, Andrew. Killer first line, killer ending, and while either "esprit" or "apropos" as rhymes might be hard to get away with individually, together they fit right in.

My one issue is in S1, which I find hard to parse. The natural flow of the thought seems to be that "you can't not taken him anywhere, when (given that) he is knocking at your door, eternally on time", but then "his mimicry's sublime" intrudes and disrupts that, and is hard to fit in. A small tweak could probably clear things up here, but I'm not sure what that tweak is.

edit: oh, and a strong vote in favor of "nothingness", since I see it's at issue.
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  #18  
Unread 10-19-2019, 08:13 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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I still have a problem with the last line and really think "your" would work better here:

your nothingness within.

I feel like the line break at "carapace" sort of cuts off the "your", so it doesn't carry through to the last line.

Aaron has a point about S1.
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  #19  
Unread 10-20-2019, 05:39 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Aaron, I'm glad you like the poem. Does my tweak to S1 help the sense there? Em dashes emphasize more that I mean it as a parenthetical phrase explaining why it's impossible to go anywhere without him.

Mary, you drive a hard bargain. You've talked me into it, and I've used "your" in the last stanza. The more I thought about it, I could see that "I'll be your carapace / and nothingness within" could also mean the carapace is "within," but it's not: an empty shell is the point.

Thanks to you both for pushing me further with this.

Andrew
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  #20  
Unread 10-20-2019, 07:19 AM
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
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Not really. My issue, I suppose is that *both* L2 and L3-L4 seem like explanations for why it's impossible to go anywhere without him ("when" seems to force that reading for L3-L4), and thus they end up clashing. Not logically—they're compatible explanations—but grammatically.
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