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Old 06-28-2018, 03:18 AM
Edward Zuk's Avatar
Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Surrey, Canada
Posts: 641

Hi Aaron,

I love the subject you have for this, and the best lines and phrases ring out: “panting at his godly feet”; “the sunlight in this slum of palms”; “Envy them. They are complete”; “stand-ins for the real rapport”; and the magnificent final line.

A few nits:

In line 1, I keep wanting to pause after the initial “Hey you,” and I also want to put a stress on “you,” which messes with the meter. How about something like:

Hey you! [who’s] slinking from the hand-job parlor . . .

At the beginning of line 4 I love “grok” (the quasi-mystical origins of Heinlein’s word are perfect here) but I hear four stresses in a row:


Maybe you could take the emphasis off it by rewording it—using “priests” for “ministers” would free up a couple of syllables if you need it.

I don’t like “guardian snarler” because I have trouble imagining a seeing-eye dog as a guardian. I’m sure another modifier is available.

For emphasis, a full stop after “They are complete” in line eight would be welcome.

“Living squinters” for “eyes” in line 10 seems a bit much.

In line 15, I like “blur” but “blur awhile” together seems awkward.
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Old 06-28-2018, 12:47 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,175

Hey Aaron,
it's grim but it works. I don't see anything to change. Well, maybe the title--perhaps something that gives a bit of a physical image to the "you".

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Old 06-30-2018, 10:57 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,971

Edward, Martin, thank you both for commenting.

Edward, thank you very much. I have tried many options for the first line but can’t find anything I like more than what I have got.

I don’t like the comma after “you:”

Hey you, slinking from the hand-job parlor,

I have tried many options with some noun as the addressee but can’t find anything:

Hey buddy slinking from the hand-job parlor. –isn’t as arresting as what I have. Or is it?

I like poems in which the meter is ambiguous in the first line and then becomes clear later on.

I scan the second line as

Come GROK STUFF FIT for MINisTERS and PSALMS (that is, with a spondaic sub in the second foot). “Come” can go either way.

Yes, again, I would be willing to revise “guardian snarler” and “living squinters” but can’t find anything that sounds as good and means as good. I’m no just being stubborn, I swear.

[Editing In: I have revised "guardian snarler" to "stump-tailed snarler."]
[Editing In: Nah, I prefer "guardian."]

Thank you for enjoying the poem.

Martin, thank you. I have been thinking about the title. I think I need “A Conscience” to make clear who that speaker is. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem.

Best, best,


Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 06-30-2018 at 11:08 AM.
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