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Old 07-08-2018, 07:46 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default Arctolatry

Arctolatry

"Careful, now: this will be a little hot."
A most rude road has bumped you through Wyoming
to one defunct gas pump, a flood-lit lot,

a starburst counter where your phone lies, roaming.
A beehived female with insane eyeliner
has brought you meatloaf and a great big foaming

root beer float. This is the final diner
before the air thins and the grizzly bear
takes over. Ursa Major and Ursa Minor

just keep on shambling through the night out there
above the peak of freedom—stream, pine, den.
Swiveling inward on your vinyl chair,

you slurp the dregs and drop a crumpled ten,
then turn to wilderness, American.

. . . . .

Title was "Werebear"
Line 5 "insane" for "arcane"
Line 10 "shambling" for "roving" for "spinning"
Line 11 was "above the peak of freedom—fish, flesh, den."
Line 12 "vinyl" for "starburst"
Line 14 was "then turn untamable, American."

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 07-13-2018 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:04 AM
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Woody Long Woody Long is offline
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Aaron —

I don't think I fully understand the poem. But the imagery is right on. I have been to this place, except it was in the Mojave Desert.

The sky is larger in the West. A subjective fact.

This is the final diner - this resonant phrase, following the meatloaf and the big root beer, marks a kind of turn and sets the stage for the ultimate turn to wilderness.

I'll reread tomorrow. Worth coming back.

— Woody
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Old 07-09-2018, 03:31 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I enjoyed this a good deal, as per usual. Stumbled a bit over starburst and arcane, each time wondering what the terms mean in this context. A fun ride.

Cheers,
John
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:11 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Hello, Woody and John, I am glad to find that you enjoyed the poem. I don't want it to be cryptic, and I gather that the poem puzzled you in places.

To clarify matters, I have revised the title to "Werebear."

Woody, please do come back and let me know what you think of it in the morning.

John, I mean "starburst" to be the pattern of the laminate on the countertop. It is a common diner-pattern, I think. Yes, "arcane"--I mean the eyeliner seems to be arcane writing--a scrawl suggestive of arcana.

Best,

Aaron
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:46 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I like your two textual revisions. Glad you kept starburst once, that's good information for folks to glean.

Cheers,
John
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:44 AM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Quote:
To clarify matters, I have revised the title to "Werebear."
Well, my dear Aaron, I was none the wiser for that! I had to Google both "Arctolatry" and "Werebear", being unfamiliar with both words. And it was you who penned I defer to Jayne, who is wiser than I... on another thread. (Not this time )

I have only one small nit on my first (and now second) reading: When I reached ''den'', it gave me pause (not paws ) as I thought it seemed forced, just to rhyme with ''ten''.

It's another good poem. No surprise there.

Jayne

PS. I love insane eyeliner. I have a few friends that applies to!
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:21 AM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Aaron, I see you as Narrator slumped in a crouch in a low ego state, which doesn’t ring true for you. Sit up straight, please, and less faux whatever. Metrically, OK. There’s a hilarious movie called “Citizen’s Band” about CB-using truckers and a rolling courtesan with a camper who calls herself “Hot Coffee”. No beehive for her. — It’s interesting, the poem, but like the phone lying on the counter, it seems a tad artificial. In your reply, bear in mind that I might be packing strong bear spray and heat.

Best (or beast). Best.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 07-09-2018 at 08:34 AM. Reason: movie title
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:51 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Hi Aaron,

This is really vivid. The one thing that threw me off was "starburst counter." I assume it refers to a starburst cluster design on the counter rather than a counter designed to look like a starburst, which is not out of the question, somehow, for some retro-style diners.

Is this the opening segment, or some segment, of a longer saga? Also, I like the original title better than Werebear.

RM
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:11 AM
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Jan Iwaszkiewicz Jan Iwaszkiewicz is offline
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I had to look up arctolatry it is nice to meet a new word.

My ear wanted a rhyme for lot and anitipodean hearing has American as a near rhyme.

The irregularities do not distract however Werebear does distract.

As Rick says this is quite vivid and I am with Jayne in praise of insane eyeliner

Enjoyed,

Jan
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:41 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Hello, all, thanks for commenting.

I have gone back to “Arctolatry” as the title at Rick’s suggestion.

I concede that “starburst” might not be right. I like it because the astral imagery there connects with Ursa Major and Ursa Minor further on. Still, I am very open to suggestion there.

Thank you, John. Yes, I do think “vinyl” is better than “starburst” in line 12. We’ll see what I can do about the “starburst counter.”

Jayne, thank you. I am considering title that won’t send the reader to the dictionary. “Bear Worship,” I think, would give too much away upfront. I’m still thinking about title. I am fan of crazy eyeliner, and I am glad some of your acquaintance wear it. I will look again at the “den” line. I think I need “den” to suggest the ursine transformation of “You”. Best, best.

Allen, do you see me as the “N” or the “you”? Does the poem only come off as artificial because you can’t get my smiling face out of it?

Rick, yes, I agree that “starburst” may be problematic. I’m casting about for something else that would be resonant and vivid there. On it. Thank you for finding the poem vivid. I would like to think I am done with abstractions. I just want to work with images now.

Jan, thank you. Yes, I love that word “Actolatry”—my only fear is that an editor would want to footnote it. When I say the word “American” most naturally, the -can is a very light true rhyme for “ten” rather than “tin” or “tan.” Yes, if I had gone for the full “Acquainted with the Night” terza rima sonnet, I would have had to bring the rhymes back around to “lot.” Right now the poem has only hot/lot. Terza rima is tricky that way—you have to start with a rhyme pair before you can start the rhyme triple.

Thank you all very much,
Aaron
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