Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-18-2018, 09:02 PM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: England
Posts: 2,255
Default Ties

(Rev)

Ties

I am not your shivering
mess of flesh,
doe-eyed skinny boy
no more. I flushed
and panicked
when you tore my pockets,
velvet jacket spilling
cellophane fetish.
Maybe every house
is haunted,
an upturned crawling log.
Down and down
past torchlight eiderdown,
pomegranate seeds,
a sewing needle
to stab our gums
for sweet pink pulp.
My uncle had fish tanks,
a gameshow smile
and string vests,
the house smelled
of sweat and all his ex-wives
found religion.
None of this matters,
but stirs from the boneyard
and rises like bile
as I make up your bed.


removed 'West' lines



Ties

I am not your shivering
mess of flesh,
doe-eyed skinny boy
no more. I flushed
and panicked
when you tore my pockets,
velvet jacket spilling
cellophane fetish.
'When you lot went to sleep'
said West, 'that's when
my life started'. Maybe
every house is haunted,
an upturned crawling log.
Down and down
past torchlight eiderdown,
pomegranate seeds,
a sewing needle
to stab our gums
for sweet pink pulp.
My uncle had fish tanks,
a gameshow smile
and string vests,
the house smelled
of sweat and all his ex-wives
found religion.
None of this matters,
but stirs from the boneyard
and rises like bile
as I make up your bed.

Last edited by Mark McDonnell; 08-22-2018 at 06:35 PM. Reason: Added hyphen
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-18-2018, 09:27 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 3,184
Default

Love the last line.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-19-2018, 07:21 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,666
Default

I've read it a few times now and am beginning to decipher it, I think.
These are memories -- or perhaps more exactly stories remembered -- about the uncle. He's quite the smarmy dude. There are lives he's broken but now he's gone, gone, gone... But who is West? Is there incest in this?

These lines are tremendous:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxMaybe
every house is haunted,
an upturned crawling log.


I take issue with the line:
none of this matters

Unless it's being said flippantly, facetiously by the N because all of it matters to the N, no?
I don't know if I have this figured out yet, based on the last line. I don't know who the N is yet, but he/she is making up the uncle's bed...I can't figure that out. I've only read it a few times.

As always, fascinating.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-19-2018, 10:28 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 4,548
Default

I read it an associative-memory poem, quite dreamlike in the way the images comes, with the hints of childhood trauma/abuse. I especially like the evocative image of the “upturned crawling log,” a bit creepy (as it should be).

I can’t read “pomegranate seeds” without thinking of Persephone and the descent to Hades. The uncle like a Plutonian Hades figure, also quite creepy. The pulp of the gums likened to the pulp of a pomegranate, with a hint of sadomasochism.

The N at the end apparently is an adult making up the bed, perhaps, of an elderly parent or relative, or it could be of a child who reminds him of his own childhood?

The poem has a strong whiff of the underworld, and the short lines and free verse are good for giving as sense of the flow of that liminal state.

An engrossing read, Mark.

Andrew
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-19-2018, 10:29 AM
Aaron Novick's Avatar
Aaron Novick Aaron Novick is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 1,355
Default

Really strong, Mark. One suggestion: the lines about "West" take me out of the poem. They disrupt its atmosphere, and then I have to find my way back in. Consider cutting them.

I'm going back and forth about the "up" in the last line. Sometimes I prefer how the line sounds with it, sometimes how it sounds without it.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-19-2018, 10:32 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Lazio, Italy
Posts: 4,548
Default

I forgot to mention the West line--yeah, who needs the name? Just steal his words, you could put them in italics, but leave out the name. It's contrary to the poem's flow.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-19-2018, 11:14 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 2,698
Default

Hi Mark,

I find this dark and effective. What exactly is going on here I'm not sure, and maybe I don't need to know. I will spend more time with it.

Pomegranate seeds suggest being tricked into staying in Hell. "West" had me thinking Fred West -- probably not well known to non-Brits -- especially given "boneyard", "fetish", "mess of flesh", and "maybe every house is haunted", and suggests what kind of hell this might be. That last line makes for a disconcerting and effective turn.

Matt

Last edited by Matt Q; 08-19-2018 at 11:19 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-19-2018, 03:14 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 3,911
Default

You are a skilled poet Mark. This is well done. I've learned something here recently about including direct autobiography in a poem and I think it applies here. When you lose the current opening with its hint of petulance you have something more interesting. I think that this is the poem:

[Maybe] every house is haunted,
an upturned crawling log.
Down and down (we journey)
past torchlight eiderdown
pomegranate seeds,
a sewing needle
to stab our gums
for sweet pink pulp.
My uncle had fish tanks,
a gameshow smile
and string vests,
the [his] house smelled
of sweat and all his ex-wives
found religion.

There is nothing particularly wrong with the opening. It just isn't that engaging, I don't think, although that will be disagreed with I'm certain. If you read this section, perhaps after a light edit, you will see why this is the core and it's a good core that shouldn't be lost in the opening rambling. It leaves some questions and mystery. Every question doesn't need an answer.

My two cents. I hope it goes down ok. It's harder to critique poems here than it used to be.

John
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-20-2018, 07:10 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Old South Wales (UK)
Posts: 4,367
Default

I thought of Fred West, too and found myself wandering from the poem. Fred wouldn'tve thanked you for a doe-eyed boy, he preyed on women, so he's not likely to be the West in question. His wife, Rose, perhaps... all this took time and stood between me and the rest of the poem.

I also spent time trying to sort out the grammar of the first couple of lines. "I'm not" doesn't lead to "no more" unless the lad is speaking in street vernacular of a class/education-related sort. This, too kept me from the delicious centre of the poem for too long.

Here's where I go out on a limb and wonder why I get the feeling of an adult confronting bad memories he believes he has come to terms with (now being poked out like seeds from the most vulnerable part of the body, cf Marathon Man etc.) making a child's bed.

We will all bring our own pomegranate seeds into the mix for this one.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-20-2018, 08:58 AM
Mary Meriam's Avatar
Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 7,088
Default

Hi Mark, compound adjective - doe eyed - needs hyphen. See rules. Other than that, this one is done, I think. A boy would say "no more" - I like the more/tore rhyme, flesh/flushed sounds good too. Maybe this started as a sonnet. It's full of music and mystery, and rewards multiple readings. "West" is a puzzle, but at least it's a direction. I see it as a reference to the sun setting in the west. The triple "b" at the end - boneyard/bile/bed - is extraordinary. I accept this poem on its own terms.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,924
Total Threads: 19,462
Total Posts: 251,509
There are 185 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online