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  #1  
Unread 10-19-2020, 08:06 PM
Rick Mullin's Avatar
Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Default Smithsonian

Smithsonian 11/21

The dome was nearly finished in the war
between the states. It’s open once again
and smoking since the 9th of Thermidor
or height of the pandemic. William Penn
is down for Thursday at the guillotine
but no one is expected to attend.
Your critic panned The Ruins of the Mall:
Avoid this Major Flop at Empire’s End.
But print no longer fits the protocol
and no one reads your online magazine.
In short, here’s lookin’ up your old address.
The White House shut its doors a year ago.
So much for neoclassical, I guess.
The columns that remain are lying low
and Lafayette has gone home to the queen.

October 16, 2020






_______
Title was "Smithsonian" with the epigraph, "November, 2021" Note at the bottom added. Changes made to make it clear post 2020 that this is a look forward.

.

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 10-20-2020 at 08:42 PM.
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Unread 10-19-2020, 08:58 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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This is fantastic. The tone/voice is just pow pow pow. Syntax punches, too.

This is just a gut first reaction. Thought it might be something you'd like to know. More later, if something occurs other than wow.

Incredible momentum.

Cally
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  #3  
Unread 10-19-2020, 10:15 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Interesting, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Now, all we have to do is break the camouflage of the cobras (not the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act!).
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Unread 10-20-2020, 09:56 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I like this Rick. I like how you've used the history and how it moves forward. You don't need me to say it's well done. My one problem, and it is one of those let the air out of the balloon problems for me because of its location, is the last line. Historically, it is an off, unless you know something I don't. When Lafayette returned to France he was feted at court because he'd helped the French defeat the British in North America. But he also returned with hopes of reforming the French government along the lines of the changes that were occurring in North America. The poor boy was confused about what he wanted exactly, but he didn't return to sit at Marie's feet, and that is what your last line hints at and I find that to be a letdown. But, as I said, I could not know something you do. Outside of that, I like this one.

Best
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  #5  
Unread 10-20-2020, 02:45 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks Cally! Yes, I did like to know this.~,:^) Glad it's got that momentum.

Thank you, Allen. Glad you like this one.

Thanks John--Yes, on the basic history, Lafayette, whom we all know was an ally with boots on the ground in our Revolution, was on the side of the people when he went back to France. He also spent some time in prison. There is this one interesting vignette in his dossier, however, where he saved Marie Antoinette from a mob by kissing her hand on the king's balcony. I am hoping that last line suggests various readings in line with the undoing of DC, among them, Lafayette throwing in the towel.

RM
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Unread 10-20-2020, 03:09 PM
W T Clark W T Clark is offline
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Hello Rick,


Yes, this is very witty. The iambic pentameter is strongly rhythmic. This is not a problem until I reach the final line, which jars, mainly because I fall into the anapestic when I find that I cannot stress "to" over "home". Substitution is all great and fine, but I think the last line is the wrong place to do it. It may be intentional, but for me the poem somewhat rhythmically grounds to a halt on that last line, instead of bounding to its destination.
Other than that, this is quite excellent. I especially enjoyed your "empire's end" line.

Hope this helps.
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  #7  
Unread 10-20-2020, 03:14 PM
Coleman Glenn Coleman Glenn is online now
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Really evocative imagery in this one of dissolution vs. revolution. The imagery from the poem has been popping into my head all day after reading it last night.

One thing I wonder about (and I don’t have an answer to) is whether there is any way to tweak the framing to increase the poem’s longevity. It is very much a poem of October 2020, but it says something that will be worth repeating for a long time. Maybe somehow clearly indicating the date of its writing vs the date of its setting? I don’t know, and maybe it’s not worth worrying about, but it was on my mind as I thought about how the poem might be read based on different possible outcomes next month.
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Unread 10-20-2020, 03:57 PM
Cally Conan-Davies Cally Conan-Davies is offline
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That's a really good point, Coleman. I hadn't thought about that. I agree that the poem is a keeper. I'm intrigued to see how you can work it out, Rickster!! (Written, November, 2020 at the end??)
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  #9  
Unread 10-20-2020, 05:31 PM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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I dig this. You had me at the 9. I do wanna to join my vote to John's. Just a bit more action in what L. has gone to do now. It is such a wasted chance for another twist of the knife.
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  #10  
Unread 10-20-2020, 06:47 PM
Siham Karami Siham Karami is offline
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Definitely a power piece, Rick. I like “the columns that remain are lying low,” which could have more than one meaning.

Siham
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