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Old 05-17-2018, 08:29 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Revision

Yes

He leaned forward and
breathed in my ear and
whispered does it feel
good and when I didn't
respond he said if you
like it we can do it again
his hand was moving on
my tiny boy penis it was
so white and his hand so
red and fast I turned my
head to not be facing his
breath and stared at the
tiny top through which
nothing but urine had
ever passed or would
pass through it that night
it clearly wasn't doing
what he wanted he didn't
stop and I counted to ten
without moving my lips
he had kissed me once
and I was careful he not
see my lips move and
kiss me again then I said
“Please let's stop now. It
hurts a little” and he gave
it a few more tugs and
patted it softly against
my stomach and as I
watched it shrivel away
he said fine we can stop
now and can do it again
soon maybe tomorrow
and I'm an old man now
with long white hair who
still has to wonder why I
nodded my head and
whispered yes.








And Whispered Yes
He leaned forward and
breathed in my ear and
whispered does it feel
good and when I didn't
respond he said if you
like it we can do it again
his hand was moving on
my tiny boy penis it was
so white and his hand so
red and fast I turned my
head to not be facing his
breath and stared at the
tiny top through which
nothing but urine had
ever passed or would
pass through it that night
it clearly wasn't reacting
the way he wanted he
didn't stop and I counted
to ten without moving
my lips he had kissed me
once and I was careful he
not see my lips move and
kiss me again then I said
“Please let's stop now. It
hurts a little” and he gave
it a few more tugs and
patted it softly against
my stomach and as I
watched it shrivel away
he said fine we can stop
now and can do it again
soon maybe tomorrow
and I'm an old man now
with long white hair who
still has to wonder why I
nodded my head and
whispered yes.

Last edited by John Riley; 05-18-2018 at 06:52 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-17-2018, 08:34 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I needed to post this one, uncomfortable as it makes me because I need others to tell me if the authenticity of it comes through. I wanted the experience to be the poem. It can't seem the slightest unreal or fake.

It is supposed to be justified on both sides but I can't figure out how to right justify it any tighter.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:03 AM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is offline
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Not only does the authenticity come through to me, but so does the artistry. It is underplayed and understated all the way through - and powerful.

I'm not sure if you need the justification. It might look too worked, too "done" - and the poem is so good because it doesn't do that.
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:20 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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John,

No real nits. This is powerful, authentic, and devastating.

I don't know that you need it justified, but I don't feel the same fear that Michael does if it were.

I wonder if you can let the title fill in a blank in the ending. Something like:
nodded my head and
or
nodded my head and
whispered
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Old 05-17-2018, 09:25 AM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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What Michael said. Very well done, John. The only thing that I can think of is that I might perhaps look at the title again. I'd ease back there a bit. It seems a bit too too, and I think it takes away from that stark authenticity that does in fact seem to drive this poem. Maybe just "Yes," which, besides upping the creep factor, could also imply, yes, this really happened, yes, I'm really going to talk about this, etc. In any case, I really would look for possible alternatives. Strong, strong poem.

JB
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:13 PM
Woody Long's Avatar
Woody Long Woody Long is offline
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John

The poem is written from the point of view of the old man. The diction seems suitable to me: more or less standard English that could come from the past self (the boy), but is not childish. With that in mind, L17-L18:

it clearly wasn't reacting
the way he wanted he


reacting jumped out at me when I first read the poem. Too much of the old man and not enough of the boy (although, perhaps, clinically accurate). I would think there are any number of alternatives. My quick stab:

it clearly wasn't doing
what he wanted he


--------------------
Generally, the poem has a sense of immediacy. And then at the end we find that it's the reflections of an old man. That adds to the effect & deepens the meaning considerably.

I echo the general praise.

Woody
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:51 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Michael, I was so happy to read your comments. What you notice is everything I wanted to do. I wish I could post a justified one. It adds to the feeling of claustrophobia, of there not being enough room to slide away. I think.

Andrew, I agree with you and James about the title. It struck me after posting that it is almost inappropriate. I initially liked the hint of romance but it's too heavy-handed as is the end maybe. It is one place I am still hung up.

James, I mentioned the title and ending to Andrew. Going with just "yes" has occurred to me. I realized it could be seen as an allusion to Molly Bloom and am not sure that would be a good thing.

What I liked about liking this was I didn't end up trapped in my head. I just wrote it down. Then, immediately, it was back to my head again.

Woody, I wondered about "reacting." I think you may be right about changing it to "doing." I did want the older man--I refuse to call him an "old man"--pov to be hinted at here, but that may not matter.

Thanks to each of you for reading and commenting. I wasn't attempting to be brave or any such thing. I wrote it too fast for that. It was a little harder to post than others, though. Thanks for taking it seriously and responding with respect.

John
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:52 PM
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Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
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Hi John,

This comes across to me as very uncomfortable and very real.

I also wondered about the word “urine,” which was the only euphemism I noticed.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:06 PM
James Brancheau James Brancheau is offline
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I dunno who Molly Bloom is... so that could change my mind I guess. Doubt it, but anyway, yes, Yes is a tough title, but appropriately painful, and ironic, in my view. It does a lot of things, I think. But it's your poem and I'm sure you have other ideas. But still, I wouldn't keep what you have now.

(Never thought I'd write "appropriately painful"~ should have said accurate about this pain. The title I suggested might magnify that it's the feeling of consent that kills.)

Last edited by James Brancheau; 05-17-2018 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 05-18-2018, 06:33 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I posted a slight revision based on the suggestions I've received. I like it better.

Edward, I tried "pee" but it didn't feel right. This is a man remembering something he experienced as a child. I've attempted a mingle with his voice and that of him as a boy. He is thinking of what happened and how is stilling trying to understand how it changed him.

James, first off I changed the title to "Yes." Hopefully, I'll find out how that works. Molly Bloom is a character in Joyce's Ulysses. The book ends with a long passage on her thoughts and memories. She is having an affair so it's about sex quite a bit. Even if you don't want to read the entire book I'd suggest reading the Molly Bloom ending.
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