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  #11  
Old 08-18-2018, 09:07 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, all, for your comments. I have worked through them this morning.

The concerns seem to be centered on the final stanza. In the revision I have kept the focus consistently the relationship that develops between the speaker and John. (The "shrinks" are gone.) The POV no longer alters.

As Ann points out, the penultimate stanza takes us too a new place, and I develop that in the revised final stanza:

What can we do when the bug
goes deeper than any drug?
John dug and he dug and he dug
and broke loose life at last.
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  #12  
Old 08-18-2018, 10:11 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I like that closing "we." I think it changes the tone.

Cheers,
John
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  #13  
Old 08-18-2018, 10:31 AM
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Edward Zuk Edward Zuk is offline
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Hi Aaron,

This one grabbed me less than your other poems that you’ve posted here, but you’ve set a high bar in that regard.

I think your latest ending is closer but still doesn’t quite seal it. Maybe you could contrast the furious digging with something built around ‘coming to rest’ or ‘finding his rest.’

A few nits:

In S1 line 2, “had” would get us into John’s mind (he’s not just seeing them, they were there.)

In S1 line 3, “masters at being gone” lacks irony and the lighter touch needed. I imagine the N would be more sarcastic.

S2 line 1 “ears and eyes in his phone”—I somehow imagine John would be more sophisticated on the terminology of spying, as many loonies are. You don’t need a comma here.

S3 line 3, it’s interesting that Trump was spying on him. I wonder if you might consider globalists, deep state, or other actual conspiracy theories here.

S4 line 3, “his home life” is ok but bland. It would be funnier if you put in something specific like “his breakfast,” etc.

In S5, the ten-foot tinfoil fence sounds like a real upgrade on the simple hat.

In S7, line 1, I wanted something more specific than “in his brain somewhere.”

In S7, line 3, given your knowledge of Latin, could you play around with cogito ergo sum? Timeo ergo sum came to mind.

I hope something here is helpful.
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  #14  
Old 08-18-2018, 10:52 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, John and Edward.

Edward, I have taken many of your suggestions, as the posted revisions will show.

Thank you very much for "breakfast" and "deep state" in particular.

As a narrative, this poem lacks less of the constant charge I try to give my lyric poems. Narratives offer other pleasures, however.
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  #15  
Old 08-18-2018, 09:43 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Aaron, this is gut-wrenching and disturbing. I’m wondering if, in line 1, breakup is the right word. Isn’t a nervous breakdown called a “breakdown.” A sudden collapse in someone’s mental health. I think “breakdown” or maybe “crackup” would get the reader right into the story.

The whole narrative rushes along to the tragic ending, and I don’t think the speaker is a jerk, simply relating the story to the listener in an unemotional (dry unbuttered toast) way.

I think the rhymes are masterful. And the story is engaging, though sad. I once knew a man who talked my ear off about conspiracy theories. I found out later that he frequently sniffed glue.
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  #16  
Old 08-18-2018, 09:50 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, Martin.

Yes, "breakup"--I mean John cracked up after a breakup with a girlfriend. That's what I mean to say--but that's not to say it's right.

I fear that "breakdown" or "crackup" would give too much away upfront.

As you can see, I'm still thinking about that word.

Thank you, thank you,

Aaron
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  #17  
Old 08-18-2018, 10:44 PM
Stephen Hampton Stephen Hampton is offline
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Default dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum

("I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am").
Ok Pooch,
I was somewhat down when I responded last night-- off the cuff. Sorry.
I do like this. Your choice of subject is as usual interesting and scocially significant, somewhat humorus, without being preachy or bitchy. But, why lump in Trump? After all, he is such an easy target, already bloody full of slings and arrows, I think.
Paranoia is a chronic human condition as debilitating as chronic guilt, or unrequited love. Great subjects for tragedy, comedy, and poetry--- much of which you have managed to illustrate in these few lines. So, I was wrong in stating my irrelevant opinion of your original ending.
Thanks for a good read.
Which has set me off on a tangent of reading/thinking of this sort: Then set a watcher upon us, as great and strong as Argus, with four eyes looking everywhere. Build your hightech Panopticons, with google gods and poisoned apples. Why should we care? Yes, the night has ten thousand eyes. But we are the night born, and who will not--- die here?
Sincerely,
Stephen
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  #18  
Old 08-19-2018, 09:16 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, Stephen, for coming back. I see and, frankly, most people in the English-speaking world, see a clear and not just conceptual line of progression from Russian oligarchy, to Trumpist oligarchy to Nazi fascism. If Trump weren't such a buffoon, I would hate him as much as Hitler. I am comfortable including Trump here because I am certain history will remember him as a catastrophic president. I look forward to spitting on his grave.

[P.S. Please feel free to report me--I would enjoy the attention.]

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 08-19-2018 at 09:26 AM.
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  #19  
Old 08-19-2018, 10:02 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I've just started Mr. Either/Or. I very much enjoyed the opening emperor, and I'm enjoying the switch to alliterative verse as the chase begins. Is your subtitle a reference to Pushkin's Onegin?

Cheers,
John
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  #20  
Old 08-19-2018, 10:03 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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The revised final stanza is wrenching. In these times when everything and everyone is both threatening and being threatened, when gaslighting has come back in vogue, when the scales have tipped and toppled over, this poem is yet another brilliantly crafted anthem of the dysfunction that flourishes seemingly everywhere. Even between rocks and hard places. But mostly in the cranium. A real piece of art.
x
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