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  #1  
Unread 02-14-2020, 07:34 AM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Default Extended February

February

I read the news today O Lyle Mays
who died of an unspecified disease
not 70. Somewhere a piano plays,
electric resonance in mystic keys,
no chart imparted to the prima donnas.
It is middle February. Leap year, too.
No telling what an extra day might pack.
No swelling, terrors, cough or turning blue.
At this point there’s no point in turning back.
The third month of a new coronavirus
apparently designed to stay the course.
It’s only February, damn it. Long.
The neighbor’s kid has filed for divorce.
So much to do. So many can go wrong.
One judgment day too many is upon us.


The original titles:

Juror 12 at Lunch then Juror 12 Eats Lunch


Lines 4 and 5 were



electric resonance in mystic keys
uncharted. Carded for the prima donnas.



Last edited by Rick Mullin; 02-24-2020 at 06:31 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 02-14-2020, 07:54 AM
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Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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Good, Rick, but the title is a hindrance.
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Unread 02-14-2020, 08:06 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Good.

I assume the O in the first line means "o' " for "of." Also, that beginning this the way Lennon (and McCartney) began "A Day in the Life" is intentional.
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Unread 02-14-2020, 09:30 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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Not sure why the opening echoes "A Day In The Life". I haven't done any research on Mays' death, etc. but would think there is some kind of reason why you started with such a well-known lyric line — word-for-word — to start this.
I'll be interested to hear what others think. Note: in the L/M lyric it's "I read the news today, oh boy" so I wonder if you should embrace it all and add a comma after "today" and spell "O' "oh".

I love the measured cadence of it all. Such a rhythmic arrangement that keeps modulating, much like I would guess his music does (given the genre).

This line:

No swelling, terrors, cough or turning blue.

caught me and flooded me with a remembrance of someone close to me who recently had to navigate into oblivion in that manner. It swept me back. But I'm not certain it works in the poem.

I've only read it twice, so I'm just scratching at the surface. Looking forward to reading again and will come back if anything surfaces from below... I, too, am hung up on the title.x
x
x
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Unread 02-16-2020, 12:56 AM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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When you start with an "O" the reader expects someone to be apostrophised, not talked about but to.
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Unread 02-16-2020, 08:57 AM
Ron Greening Ron Greening is offline
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Rick, for me, (without worrying much about who O Lyle Mays might be) this does catch a flavour of grumpy old February blues: a wandering discontent and anxiety. I think it was well done in its rhymes and meter and I quite enjoyed it.
Ron
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Unread 02-16-2020, 09:15 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Somewhere a piano plays,
electric resonance in mystic keys
uncharted.


Yeah. That. I don't know spit-all about jazz but used to listen to the Methiny/Mays As Falls Wichita... album after these great wood-fired saunas under the stars. That line gathers enough of what you need in the summing. Something in the blue/black lines in the middle don't flow as well for me as the rest, but not fatally so. Could just be me. You do ominous well here.
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Unread 02-16-2020, 09:38 AM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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“Carded for the prima donnas”? Surely you don’t mean those Pre-Cambrian Hollerith cards. They could operate a type of player-piano, I guess. I saw some in the NSA museum outside Baltimore before it went on a post-Snowden charm offensive. I had to call ahead. What do you mean?

Last edited by Allen Tice; 02-16-2020 at 08:41 PM.
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Unread 02-17-2020, 07:15 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks folks,

I see your point Walter. I tweaked it, though you may suggest more than just a tweak. Of course, it was indeed written by Juror 12 at lunch, which seems simultaneously random as a title and a good way of establishing a perspective of remove from the daily grind wherefrom one observes the daily grind. Still thinking about the title. Thanks.

Hi Max, thanks. The "O" is an apostrophe. Here I will respond to Sam as well. But first, I am, indeed, riffing on that last song from Sgt. Pepper.

Sam, well, yes, but that is rather a rigid call. O Somebody is a complete apostrophe in and of itself. Or the suggestion of an entire one at length interjected. There is also, I feel, some element of humor in pulling the rug out from under the expectation of what is to follow. So....

Thanks Jim. My original opening one was different and I had no intention of evoking the Beatles verse. But that line was very close and reminded me of it. So, I went with it. It seems tonally apropos. I'm glad you like the flow of this. At a high level, I want to sort of wash a mood in watercolor. The "No swelling..." line came in from several influences, including spending time with Berryman's Dream Songs and recent events in my life and the world--it sets up the coronavirus to some extent.

Thanks Ron. This is a 15-line sonnet form ("sonnet" form) I have been working with. Extensively. A lot of what I've brought by here is written in the form lately. Glad the February anxiety comes across.

Thanks Andrew. I am more familiar with the Pat Matheny Group's first few albums. I've heard that As Wichita Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls is a masterpiece, but I'm actually not really familiar with it. I grew to be not a big fan of what these guys put out. As for the line that isn't quite working, it does kind of pop out of the rest or break the kind of vibe of the stretch you like. I kind of think of it as the "turn" in the "sonnet"

Weirdly, that is kind of what I was thinking of, Allen. I meant that it was possible for imitators to "sound like" Lyle Mays, but only mechanically and with too much attitude. Transposition into spiritlessness.

Thanks folks. I remain in the clutches of Jury duty.

Rick
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Unread 02-17-2020, 11:37 AM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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It’s still not clear. Player piano rolls are nothing new. Some extraordinary ones made with mercury switches that captured key intensity, pedal, etc., date from almost a century ago that reproduce Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, and others in a most “live” way. They are precious and conserved carefully. Careful copies are made. But that’s not my point. “Carded” is used as a verb. No joke, what do you mean? Are these “card-carrying” prima donnas? I suggest another verb entirely unless you want creepy speculations. I’d think about boxing your ears if I could find them in your beard. —Of course, I wouldn’t in practice. — Amazing how they let high IQ hairy denizens like you onto a jury. Be proud! “Cards” can mean so many different things. They’re so polysemous. Don’t be obscure. Of course, you might be trying to say something “inside” to someone. But it’s merely road kill on the New Jersey Turnpike to me. Squishy. Steer around if possible. FIDO. Forget It, Drive On.
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