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Old 05-24-2018, 02:41 PM
John Riley John Riley is online now
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 3,881

Matt, thanks for reading and commenting. I'll think about the title change. I am most happy you find the poem strong.

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Old 05-25-2018, 11:24 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,615

Hi John, There is no doubt that it is authentically rendered. The blank tension is palpable and suffocating. The short lines maintain the tension throughout (yes full justification would look better, IMO). A really hard-stare look at a memory that has cast a shadow for so many years. This sheds light, finally. A poem of catharsis, I hope.

  • The punctuationless expression is suitable in every way. It allows the reader to slow down and feel the pain. It allows for the Molly Bloom-esque uninterrupted stream of thoughts and memories to unfold (see below about Bloom)
  • I, too, question the “urine” passage. I realize that throughout the poem you mix the voice of the young boy with his older self reflecting back, but the voice/perspective change at that point in the poem feels like the voice is that of the young boy when in fact I think you want it to be the voice of the elder. (Hope that’s clear).
  • I also paused at the “shrivel” line. There is a limpness that prevails throughout, so I don't see the need for "shrivel".
  • Why do you only use quotations for:
“Please let's stop now. It
hurts a little”

Why not in the other places where dialog is used like:

does it feel good


fine we can stop
now and can do it again
soon maybe tomorrow.

You might be better to rid the poem altogether of quotation marks. Maybe even the period at the end.

Bravo for writing.
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Old 05-25-2018, 12:00 PM
John Riley John Riley is online now
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 3,881

Jim, I'm preparing for my first ever meditation retreat. I'll be back Monday and will consider your suggested changes then. They seem reasonable.

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Old 05-25-2018, 01:36 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is online now
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: *
Posts: 1,393

The "urine" part might be something I'd look at too. I think it assumes a mature voice, which isn't quite right. It's not all the way wrong, either. Because I think the speaker, even as a child, is pretty articulate. Which is I think a good thing here. More believable, natural, for me. But, hmmm.
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