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  #1  
Unread 05-31-2020, 11:03 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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Default catsitting, with enjambment

Wheat text

The Cat is On the Mat

The rattle of metal coiled around metal, the bead spinning
Under the impulse of your thumb until, encountering
The wire's curve it's always just beside, it grinds
To a halt, this racket reminds you of some urgent
Task—what? You move to grasp it, but your hand
Ensnares itself in the metaphor that remains
Unmoored, and your thumb opposes your directive, fails
Or refuses to make contact with materiality, convinced
It can exist without its body. Maybe, just maybe
It can, maybe that's the ground of all its freedom, or maybe
This, too, is a fateful or fatuous error, born
Of doubt taken too far and now certain to hang
Over our thinking for centuries, until we rediscover
Pragmatism, the need to keep our bodies full, to get up
Off this couch and look 0, the cat, in the eye, saying
With purpose, with conviction, "I am here
For only this one day, this one hour, here
To feed you and to pat your head, and the moment I
Have completed that task, that's all, the whole arrangement
Will be disassembled and used to build even wilder
Scenarios, or tamer ones, or possibly a mix
Of both—it's so difficult to predict such things, in times
Like these. The time has come for me to lift myself
From this couch and say
to you, 0, the thing I've been waiting
To say: From the moment I arrived here, you must
Have known, you cannot not have known, that the hour
Was inexorably approaching when the clock would rouse
Itself to announce my scheduled departure, when I
Would begin to dismantle this fleeting assemblage, disconnect
The hand from the head, double check the water bowls
Are full, and for the last time scatter the lifeless
Parts of the whole that subsumed us. It's simple. Let me
Tell you. I only have to lift my left leg, reconfigure it
Such that my foot rests flat against the floor, then repeat
The procedure on the other side. Then I must raise
My torso, haltingly, to an upright position. Once this
Is done—we are nearing the end now—I must push
Myself, with one last burst, fully up to standing. That
Will set the whole of it in motion. That will make it go.
"


EDITS:

L1: spinning --> the bead spinning
L3: the curve --> the wire's curve
L23: It's time I lifted myself from this couch --> The time has come for me to lift myself
L24: And said --> From this couch and say

Last edited by Aaron Novick; 06-06-2020 at 02:24 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 06-02-2020, 10:34 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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I enjoyed this, Aaron, and more on the second and third time. I went along with its winding ruminations. They are difficult to follow in their discursive, multi-clausal way, but it was a pleasant difficulty. Like a puzzle. It might be a bit too verbose for its own good, so that its central impact is diluted, but I'm not sure what I would cut. I felt like the cat is life. Existence.

Sorry to have so few specifics. My brain is frazzled now haha.

Edit: I don't know what's happening at the beginning. I don't know what the "metal coiled around metal" is. Could just be me being dense, but that's a part you could maybe cut or clarify.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 06-02-2020 at 12:18 PM.
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  #3  
Unread 06-03-2020, 05:44 PM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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Mark, thanks for your critique. I'm glad the difficulty of this poem was pleasant. Ultimately, I think it needs its bigness: it must wander far without ever going anywhere, diving ever deeper into itself. But it should carry the reader along without losing them.

I will think about how to clarify the action at the beginning. What I intend is, literally, one curved piece of metal like a wire (but thicker), and another wrapped around it like a bead, which can be spun (noisily, hence the racket). When it hits the curve, it stops—it only spins on the straight portion.
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Unread 06-06-2020, 02:25 PM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is online now
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A couple edits: some small additions at the beginning to clarify the action, and then a change of phrasing later on.
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Unread 06-22-2020, 12:42 PM
maggie flanagan-wilkie maggie flanagan-wilkie is offline
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A few suggested cuts to its bigness that I think will help the read.

I enjoyed this. Maggie


The rattle: metal coiled around metal, the bead spinning
under the impulse of your thumb until, encountering
the wire's curve it's always just beside; it grinds to a halt,
this racket reminds you of some urgent task—what?
You move to grasp it, but your hand ensnares itself in a metaphor
that remains unmoored, and your thumb opposes your directive, fails
or refuses to make contact with materiality, convinced it can exist
without its body. Maybe, just maybe it can, maybe that's the ground
of all its freedom, or maybe this, too, is a fateful or fatuous error,
born of doubt taken too far and now certain to hang over our thinking
for centuries, until we rediscover pragmatism, the need to keep
our bodies full, to get up off this couch and look 0, the cat, in the eye,
saying with purpose, with conviction, "I am here for only this one day,
this one hour, here to feed you, to pat your head, and the moment
I've completed the task, that's all, the whole arrangement will be dis-
assembled and used to build even wilder scenarios, or tamer ones, or
possibly a mix of both—it's so difficult to predict such things, in times
like these. The time has come for me to lift myself from this couch
and say to you, 0, the thing I've been waiting to say from the moment
I arrived here, you must have known, you cannot not have known,
that the hour was inexorably approaching when the clock would rouse itself
to announce my scheduled departure, when I would begin to dis-
mantle this fleeting assemblage, disconnect the hand from the head,
double check the water bowls are full, and for the last time scatter
the lifeless parts of the whole that subsumed us. It's simple. Let me
tell you. I only have to lift my left leg, reconfigure it such that my foot
rests flat against the floor, then repeat the procedure on the other side.
Then I must raise my torso, haltingly, to an upright position. Once done—
we are nearing the end now—I must push myself, with one last burst,
fully up to standing, to set the whole of it in motion. To make it go."
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