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  #11  
Old 05-16-2018, 11:58 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Thanks Nicholas,

Are tv screens more prevalent in British pubs/bars? Interesting.

I changed 'stink' to 'spill'. I couldn't resist trying to make the poem almost purely visual.

Nice to meet you.
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2018, 12:28 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Hi Mark,

I think the racist tweet may be overpowering this poem, unless that's the point somehow? I mean, I get there's scrolling news on the TV, but does it matter what news? Or is it important that it's American news, or that it's news about social media? Or is it that racism is somehow apposite to this pub?

I do like the close. It's a nice day outside and the N has chosen to sit inside in what sounds like a bit of a dive. I just think the nice, understated close is maybe overshadowed by racist tweet stanza.

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 05-16-2018 at 12:41 PM.
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  #13  
Old 05-16-2018, 12:28 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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"Screen" brings to mind computer screen for me.

Why not "on the telly" or "on the tube" or "on the wall" or just plain "on the TV"?
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  #14  
Old 05-16-2018, 12:32 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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Cross-posted with Matt -- Come to think of it "racist tweet" does overpower this. I agree it shouldn't matter what the news is.
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  #15  
Old 05-16-2018, 02:54 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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I like this, but the last couplet is so strong that it can stand alone:

Outside the sun tips his hat
and laughs at us all.

I wish I had thought of that!
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  #16  
Old 05-16-2018, 05:40 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Matt and Jim

Maybe it's 'piss-yellow' as a modifier that's overwhelming the poem and giving 'racist tweet' more emphasis and emotion than it needs. Maybe just 'yellow'? I do want to keep 'racist tweet' for its very specificity. The poem isn't about racism or social media, no. No more than it's about vinegar or bad paintings. But it is all about detail and I do think it's important that the phrase is included. Otherwise why include the senorita, or the colour of the drink or the walls? The N is noticing specifics. And 'racist tweet' is a great, horrible phrase as I discuss in post #9. It isn't really a dive Matt, it's my local. Nice enough place. Quiet.

Jim - I like the sound of 'on the screen'. I've played with lots of variations and they all seem to elongate the line unnecessarily or make it clunk. That the painting is 'opposite' signals to me that the screen is on the wall.

Cheers Martin!
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  #17  
Old 05-16-2018, 07:02 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McDonnell View Post
Maybe it's 'piss-yellow' as a modifier that's overwhelming the poem and giving 'racist tweet' more emphasis and emotion than it needs. Maybe just 'yellow'? The poem isn't about racism or social media, no. No more than it's about vinegar or bad paintings. But it is all about detail and I do think it's important that the phrase is included. Otherwise why include the senorita, or the colour of the drink or the walls? The N is noticing specifics. And 'racist tweet' is a great, horrible phrase as I discuss in post #9
I agree it's a great horrible phrase, and yes, piss-yellow augments that the horribleness some, but I think perhaps it's the horribleness that's makes it stick out. The other details aren't horrible. They're fairly ordinary, everyday, drab even, uninspired things to later be contrasted to the bright, happy sun outside: a bad but attractive painting, the smell of vinegar, the red clay walls. Make the whole place horrible, and it'd fit in nicely.

Also, even if you lose 'piss-yellow', 'racist tweet' still calls attention to itself. It makes me think: why 'racist tweet'? which 'racist tweet'? does it refer to a specific incident (is this a topical reference? Is that the Trump tweet?), is the senorita in the painting, being foreign, connected to the racism? and so on. None of the other details in the poem do that.


Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 05-16-2018 at 07:28 PM.
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  #18  
Old 05-17-2018, 03:34 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Matt,

Thanks for sticking with this, I enjoy and appreciate it. But you know I'm going to continue to be stubborn, yes?

Of course the phrase in question sticks out, I'd be silly to claim it doesn't. I tried a variation without it, just to see:

'Afternoon Drinking

It is the red clay in the walls,
the spill of vinegar

and the leaded window vibrating
in the dark ruby of my glass.

It is the piss-yellow font
of 24 hour news scrolling across the screen

and the sad eyes of the senorita
opposite in the beautiful bad painting.

It is the landlord wiping and scratching
and watching me hunch and scrawl.

And outside the sun has his hat on.
He tips it and laughs at us all.'


and I feel it weakens the poem. You say

Quote:
'racist tweet' still calls attention to itself. It makes me think: why 'racist tweet'? which 'racist tweet'? does it refer to a specific incident (is this a topical reference? Is that the Trump tweet?), is the senorita in the painting, being foreign, connected to the racism?
and yes, I can see that a reader might think all these things. But they'd be looking for meaning and political points in a poem that's purely disinterested observation. The N might make connections also (between the tweet and the senorita e.g) but they're fleeting and ephemeral. I'd hope the reader would calm down, come back to the poem, and realise that all that is being observed are the words 'racist tweet' as they slide across the screen. Another part of the low level background hum of modern life. I saw the words on the TV as I was writing the poem and knew I wanted them in there, they seemed so ludicrous. I think it's something about the word 'tweet'. I don't know what story it was: could have been Trump, could have been Kanye, weirdly right now it could have been someone from the Labour Party. How about that? It sounds like a joke. An ultra-right wing president, a black rapper and a left-wing activist walk into a bar. Shamefully, at that moment, I didn't care what the story was. I think that's the point. Though this explanation is now in danger of explaining too much and making a point of the line's lack of a point, if that makes sense.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 05-18-2018 at 01:47 AM.
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  #19  
Old 05-18-2018, 10:37 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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Mark: “It isn't really a dive Matt, it's my local. Nice enough place. Quiet.”

FWIW, the pub does come across as a destination for the “down and out”. It’s perhaps the afternoon setting that puts it in that light. Don’t get me wrong though - I like the ambiance of the poem. It glows suddenly at the end which is a kind of delightful surprise.

Perhaps the phrase “racist tweet” does work. The confluence of it all makes the final two lines pop.
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