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Old 05-24-2018, 08:55 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Hello, all. Thank you for your comments. I have made revisions based on them.


I have revised “wrath” to “slurs” at Andrew’s suggestion.

I have revised “wave weaponry” to “whip out their guns” because many thought “wave weaponry” jarred with the tone.


I could change the title from “The Candidates” to “The Activists.” I imagine the speaker and Reynaldo (just a random Hispanic name) running for President and Vice President respectively. I am also excited about Shaun’s interpretation of the poem, and I want to keep that interpretation a possibility if I can. Right now I am sticking with “The Candidates.”

In line 5, would we prefer “dozed” to “boozed”? (For the reason Martin pointed out.)

In line 12 I am at looking at possible replacements for “yield.” Maybe
we can at least bolt with an easy conscience.

In line 14 I considering revisions to “hugely”. I can’t come up with anything as interesting. I mean it to suggest that the speaker knows their campaign will be “hugely” defeated but they should campaign anyway.
. . . . .

Martin, I mean Reynaldo to be simply an American of Hispanic origin who is a buddy of the speaker. Is that all implied in the poem?

Edward, thank you. Yes, I had “Ramon Fernandez, tell if you know” in mind. I see the poem as making a distinction between two groups the “shrill” and the “numb”—this seems an accurate portrayal of America right now.

I think I want the sentence to enjamb from the octave into the volta—it feels like the second quatrain, then, is a wind-up for line 9. What do we think, people?

For line 13, I can’t find anything I like as much as I what I have. I considered and dismissed:

at least have done our best to give a bit.

Andrew F., thank you. I have accepted both of your suggestions. I am considering writing a picaresque series about the speaker and Reynaldo as they run their grass-roots campaign.

Shaun, thank you very much for your interpretation. I didn’t intend it but I welcome it. I think I want to keep the title “The Candidates” because it has the double-meaning you found in it.

I am going to try to revive “The Deep End”—we’ll see how it goes.

Thank you all very much,

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Old 05-24-2018, 07:16 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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I think this is great, and the revisions improve it. I do keep wanting Reynaldo to be Sancho Panza, some allusion; but it is probably just me.

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Old 05-24-2018, 07:28 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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I think of him more as Ramon Fernandez.

I'd like to come back with more specifics, but want to say the revisions are great.
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Old 05-24-2018, 07:55 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you. I think I finally got the "guns" line. "whip out their guns" was too crude. "whip out their Colts" does it.
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Old 05-24-2018, 08:29 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I like the revisions too.

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Old 05-26-2018, 02:22 AM
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Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Colts are still used, but Glocks are much more popular according to my quick web searches.

For line 13, I’m guessing that you’re looking for a tired phrase to go with “do a bit / of good” (i.e. the candidates are looking for a way to ease their consciences if they lose by saying, ‘Well, at least we did something’ without feeling too worked over the whole thing). You might look at replacing “done our best” with “tried our best,” “[we] gave a shot,” “took a shot,” “rolled the dice,” “walked our mile,” “worked our butts,” “worked like dogs,” etc. I don’t know if any of these are better, but they might open up some possibilities.
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Old 05-26-2018, 05:28 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Edward, thank you for returning.

I ended up going with "Colts" because they are American-made. Also, "whip out their Glocks" sounds enough like "whip out their cocks" to introduce levity where I don't want it. (I use that near-pun in "Mr. Either/Or" for a bit of a funny.) What do you other people think? Is "whip out their Glocks" better?

Also, would people prefer

"at least have tried like Hell to do a bit"


"at least have worked like Hell to do a bit"


"at least have gone all out to do a bit"


"at least have done our best to do a bit"


The redundancy of "done"/"do" is one of the things that attracted me to that line.
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Old 05-26-2018, 07:57 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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This is wonderfully, madly, Gilbert & Sullivan-y histrionic though I've not read it enough to comment any further, but I will try. Busy days, busy nights.

I'd rather read a hundred of these than one line of the hysterical ones that dribble out of the swamps of our political landscape every day.
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Old 05-26-2018, 08:11 PM
Kyle Norwood Kyle Norwood is offline
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"Worked like hell" conveys the grind of campaigning, and I think I prefer it, though the simplicity of "done our best" is also appealing.
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Old 05-26-2018, 10:11 PM
Siham Karami Siham Karami is offline
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Love this, Aaron! Enormously enjoyable. The “colts” is far better than Glocks, plus the added double meaning of colt 45 malt liquor which could work here too, maybe both simultaneously. Obviously the beer maker wanted the gun to be thought of simultaneously. Also I like the “done/ do”, but have no problem with “works like hell” either. It’s really a matter of the tone you prefer for your N: putting on his best, earnest political face, or expressing his best, earnest “working guy” political face. The done/do feels less imposed and so a better foil for the background music of Trump Bombast. Especially with the family picnic still. Many lines to love, as per your usual.

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