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  #11  
Old 07-30-2018, 10:12 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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Really fine poetry. Just the right balance of reveal and conceal. And the line indentations add just the right movement.

Do you need the "..." after "waiting..."? The line break and indentation seem to do the trick.

For some reason this brings to mind Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns & Money".

I'm a desperate man
Send lawyers, guns and money
the shit has hit the fan

x
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  #12  
Old 07-30-2018, 12:30 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Aaron,

I really like this. It takes me in really unexpected places, but they are well foreshadowed.

I wonder if a slight change to L3:

In Rattletrail our beardless hero fastens

might open up some more allegorical readings that are already there.

You know I love playing with the way a poem is presented on the page, but I find this disjunctive in ways that don't particularly help the poem. I like Edward's point that the spacing hides that it's an English sonnet, but I think doing couplets would achieve the the same end better. I've seen Natasha Trethewey do this ('Southern History') and I find it quite effective because it does conceal the snapping shut, and then rewards the re-reading.

Anyway, I think this is a fun poem and, like Edward, see it as a successful change of pace.
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  #13  
Old 07-31-2018, 09:31 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
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In LA for a few days. Thinking about formatting. Yes, maybe spaced couplets. Thank you all.(from my phone)
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  #14  
Old 07-31-2018, 06:37 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
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Thank you, all.

John and Ann, I have gone back to “dissolves” at your encouragement.

Edward, I have taken care, I hope, of the awkward “they there.” Do you prefer the new format (couplets)?

Jim, thank you for sharing the Zevon song. I hadn’t heard it. Love it. You liked the original format—I did, too. Do you prefer the new arrangement in couplets? I am still thinking about what to do with “waiting. . .”. I need some punctuation there. Perhaps simply a period? “the vultures waiting.”?

Thank you, Andrew. I am glad this poem seems to be new type for me. I am considering your “our beardless hero.” I wanted to keep the poem all in the third person, but I have to admit that the final “we all die soon” is the “we humans” first person plural. The “we” is already there for the “our.” Not sure. I have posted, at your suggestion, a new version broken into couplets.

What do we think of it?
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  #15  
Old 08-01-2018, 02:07 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I like the couplet version (without the half-line breaks). This was fun to read.

I like the internal rhyme of “daze/frays” in lines 8 & 9.

I’m still thinking about “fear’s pariah” (or “the pariah of fear”). I’m not quite sure what it means. An outcast’s fear? The outcast of fear? I guess that would mean that the fellow in the white cloak (the lawman) is running from fear. Or did fear reject him? Or is he the embodiment of fear? Or maybe he is running from Mr. Death.

Other than that little snag in my comprehension, the poem reads easily and it’s entertaining. “One, two, three, four, five,” made me think immediately of E. E. cummings’ “Buffalo Bill’s.” I smiled at that point. In fact, I have a suspicion that you had these lines in mind when you thought of your title: “and what i want to know is / how do you like your blue-eyed boy / Mister Death.”

“We (all) die soon” reminded me of “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks. I’m sure you know the poem, but here it is for those who don’t:

We Real Cool

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.
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  #16  
Old 08-01-2018, 02:52 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
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Martin, thank you very much for your comments and the Brooks poem. I will go with the couplet version, I think.

I will think about "Fear's pariah"--what I mean is that he is "fearless"--a pariah from Fear. Would "Dread's pariah" be better?

Thanks, thanks,

Aaron
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Old 08-01-2018, 03:21 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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I think you should keep fear's pariah. Dread feels a little old-timey touch much in this poem, and I thought the metaphor made sense (it was almost kenning-like).
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Old 08-01-2018, 03:32 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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I was just doing some research on the subtle difference between “fear” and “dread” and came to the conclusion that “fear” is the right word, less formal-sounding. (I see Andrew feels the same way.)

Also, I’m finally getting the metaphor: the pariah (outcast) has left the Country of Fear behind.
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  #19  
Old 08-01-2018, 07:35 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
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Thank you, Andrew and Martin. I, too, prefer "Fear's pariah." I have revised back to that.

Is this poem done? Can I do any thing to make it clearer, more resonant, more striking?

Love,

Aaron
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  #20  
Old 08-01-2018, 08:42 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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I can’t see anything in your latest version that needs changing. But that’s just my opinion. There is one tiny thing I could mention (since you asked, and this is, after all the deep end).

and the daze of playa

This phrase could sound like the “days” of playa, which doesn’t, of course, make sense. You could say “the blaze of playa,” but that doesn’t sound as good. Too literal. so “daze” seems best to me. The brightness of the playa dazes him.

Here is something that I think is an interesting coincidence. Your poem has an Old West lawman trudging across the desert, and my poem at Met, which you commented on (thanks, again!) is about a famous building engulfed by dunes in a desert. We both have “sand” in our poems.

The other thing I thought of is The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Have you read that series? (Several years ago, I read all the books, save the second, because my library didn’t have it.)

Plot summary:

Quote:
In the story, Roland Deschain is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of "Arthur Eld", his world's analogue of King Arthur. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. Many of the magical aspects have vanished from Mid-World, but traces remain as do relics from a technologically advanced society. Roland's quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland's world is said to have "moved on", and it appears to be coming apart at the seams. Mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion. Sometimes, even the sun rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland's motives, goals and age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries.
Reception:

Quote:
Bill Sheehan of The Washington Post called the series "a humane, visionary epic and a true magnum opus" that stands as an "imposing example of pure storytelling," "filled with brilliantly rendered set pieces... cataclysmic encounters and moments of desolating tragedy."[12] Erica Noonan of the Boston Globe said, "There's a fascinating world to be discovered in the series" but noted that its epic nature keeps it from being user-friendly.[13] Allen Johnston of The New York Times was disappointed with how the series progressed; while he marveled at the "sheer absurdity of [the books'] existence" and complimented King's writing style, he said preparation would have improved the series, stating "King doesn't have the writerly finesse for these sorts of games, and the voices let him down."[14] Michael Berry of the San Francisco Chronicle, however, called the series' early installments "highfalutin hodgepodge" but the ending "a valediction" that "more than delivers on what has been promised."
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