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  #1  
Unread 01-05-2020, 03:46 PM
R. S. Gwynn's Avatar
R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Default The Losers

The Losers

Heads bared and bowed and bloody, they
Review the failed and final play
That sealed their sepulcher today.

The ticking crawl reflects the score
While turf and tape invest the floor.
One sobs; another slams a door.

No power from the cleansing jet
Absolves or lets the soul forget.
In corners towels breed--blotched, wet.

Last edited by R. S. Gwynn; 01-05-2020 at 03:51 PM.
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Unread 01-05-2020, 06:46 PM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Bloody sepulchers and cleansing souls. I don't see how the subject can lever the weight of the words off the ground. This here and now, this present world just can't register this as meaningful in relation to what is happening. And the poem doesn't seem to have any internal sense of that strange fact that the narrated events do indeed seem important to so many watching them vicariously. It is like the poem is the bardic reflection of the misshapen priorities of some 24 hour sports news radio DJ or maybe a player so isolated from the spectrum of life that post-fumble soul cleansing can even be a thing. Maybe it is war looming or the miles of dead creatures lining the roads of Australia but I guess I am just the wrong stadium for this game tonight.
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Unread 01-05-2020, 08:31 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Not obscure enough, Sam. ~,:^)
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Unread 01-05-2020, 08:41 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Rick, it's about the 2016 election.
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Unread 01-05-2020, 08:46 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Andrew: https://www.msnbc.com/am-joy/watch/t...Kh-sWQ6-qEMA-c
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Unread 01-06-2020, 07:23 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Ok. But it just reads straight sports cliche. Which is I guess an interesting point in itself as "thinking" about issues has been replaced by rooting for teams. But doesn't it need something to place it outside a real locker room so close to playoff times and so far from 2016?

Regardless, where it all collapses as a metaphor is that the whole problem is that the democratic machine people think that they are the losers while they aren't even involved in the real stakes here in an immediate sense. The the biggest losers of the two party system are never in the party, often they aren't even in the country or even the human species. The poem fits too easy into the problematic discourse I think it wants to interrogate. At least that is how the piece reads. I am not making any connections to your own thought or the depths thereof. Just the poem standing alone in teh context of the moment.

Last edited by Andrew Mandelbaum; 01-06-2020 at 07:30 AM.
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Unread 01-06-2020, 07:48 AM
Roger Welsh Roger Welsh is offline
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2016 election? Collapse? The metaphor doesn't exist in the first place; the tenor has gone missing. It isn't the reader's job to track it down. The poem needs to provide it somehow. If "ticking crawl" is supposed to do that, it does not work. It is merely obscure and off the mark, contributing, like much of the other diction, to an overall effect of burlesque that culminates with breeding towels.

Also, ”sepulcher" suggests that the sporting event is like a war battle, a death-fight, so then the sporting event itself becomes the tenor in a transitory cliche. Later, the guilty souls of the deceased footballer-warriors seek absolution from a jet that a flies over, perhaps dumping locker room disinfectant.

"Nor” rather than “or” in L8 might better fit the high tone and alliterate with "No". I admire the craftsmanship. The triplets, I believe, enhance the overall sense of melodrama. The metrical variation of the final line, especially, is to be appreciated.
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Unread 01-06-2020, 10:53 AM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Sam,

I thought this was a sports poem and, not being someone who regularly follows the most popular sports (though I used to be a tournament-level table tennis player), I Googled and found a news item about football:

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/n...n-over-saints/

So I thought the poem might have something to do with this, or perhaps some other recent sport news. But then I saw that it’s about the 2016 election. I would not have suspected that, because I can’t see any obvious clues in the poem.

The rhymes, meter, and alliteration are, as usual, very good. And I enjoyed the lyrical phrases. Roger mentioned the “cleansing jet” and thought it might be a plane flying overhead. But I think it refers to the jet of water spraying out of the shower head, which is “cleansing.”

I think if you include a clue that it’s the 2016 election, then the poem would have a tenor (as Roger said).

Martin
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Unread 01-06-2020, 11:39 AM
Roger Welsh Roger Welsh is offline
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I apologize for my facetious interpretation of "jet." I realized its locker room meaning, but the singular number doesn't seem to fit the case of a bunch of showers with a team and many jets of water jetting. I wouldn't object to "jets" rhyming with "regrets" and leaving "wet" alone. Likewise, "soul" could be plural possessive, yielding something like "...nor mends the souls' regrets." "Mend" would suggest injury of spirit paralleling the physical injuries of the opening.

I still don't know what to make of "ticking crawl." Once the claim was made, I tried to think of it as a ticker tape type of banner scrolling the election results across a screen, but that seems like too much of a reach without some other clues. In any case, there's also the problem of attaching the event to 2016 and not just any election result. I thought it might be enough to reveal the tenor in the title without marring the poem, but that would give it away too soon. So, maybe a fourth stanza or an added tag line?
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Unread 01-06-2020, 01:41 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Guys, I was just kidding with Rick about the 2016 elections.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_ticker
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