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Old 08-24-2018, 01:11 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Default Skyline

Arc

A reckless surge of satellites and glass
perplexes every skyline engineer.
An apnea sets in, a sleeper pass
detected by electric eye and ear
in omnibus provisions for the home.

The adamantine mirrors of resolve,
the blight of chronic obstacles that flies
into the window of our night, evolve.
Confront your better angels in disguise.
Remind them how to roll when they’re in Rome.

It’s darker now. The tides are frightening,
redundant in the shape of things to come.
The Jenga blocks from Oz to Ossining.
The harbor shrines establishing the sum
of mansions in our Father’s superdome.
.

Last edited by Rick Mullin; 08-29-2018 at 09:35 AM.
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:15 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Wow! This is strong stuff. It reminds me of one of your photos of the Manhattan skyline. I think this line could be a little stronger: Remind them how to roll when they’re in Rome. The title is cool, but I wonder if it could be a little more specific?
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Old 08-24-2018, 11:21 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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I think this is fantastic, Rick. The series I take it you're working on has a computer-age Blakean feel to it. Mary mentions the line about Rome, and that's the one that tripped me up too. Why Rome, specifically? Angels could be Jerusalem, Mecca, Istanbul, etc. And the rolling part too, has me stumped. I might get it after a couple more reads, but after two, no cigar.
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:23 AM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Thanks May and Andrew,

That "Rome" line is intended as a play on "When in Rome, do as the Romans."

I am thinking about the title, Mary. The word "Evolve" is important, but I still kind of like Arc, which as a few good meanings.

I'm glad this comes across to you guys.

RM
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Old 08-26-2018, 06:59 PM
Erik Olson Erik Olson is offline
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Rick,

I think this is well done. As a disclaimer, I have not read the other responses yet. Reading the first two stanzas, I felt as if I were on a completely different wavelength somehow and that the poem rebuffed my approaches.
Severe and connected attention is preserved but for a short time, and when I sit down to bend my mind to any abstruse material, I find my faculties continually slipping away to other more pleasing entertainments or those that yield reward proportional to exertion. My motivation to preserve uphill is fueled by resonances and sense in return as I continue on. I confess that after a point the hill of the first two stanzas stopped yielding and rebuffed so that my motivation waned.
A reckless surge of satellites and glass
perplexes every skyline engineer.
An apnea sets in, a sleeper pass
detected by electric eye and ear
in omnibus provisions for the home.
I believe the meaning in this passage is obscured by such diction as in omnibus provisions of the home. However, this seems like some architectural vision of a world made alien by technology out of hand, with dystopian resonance and an underlying satirical impulse.
Confront your better angels in disguise.
Remind them how to roll when they’re in Rome.
I appreciate the sound of this very much. Yet the sense seems elliptical and makes me wish for a channel that admits of communication without curious and seemingly needless resistance. If the better angels whom we are to confront be in disguise, I wonder how we would know them then from the worse.

‘The Jenga blocks’ aptly figure into the imagery of this poem with its architectural motifs and poignantly so with the connotations of a tower that grows less stable as it builds skyward. In this strange architectural universe, the Elysium of Oz is juxtaposed with the town of Ossining NY, shrines with mansions. All of the above falling under the Superdome as if that were the nucleus. It indeed occupies a place of prominence in relation to the harbor and other buildings of the scene, which is telling I reckon. This poem is well wrought from the first, yet I enjoyed the last part of it by far the most as I derived the most resonance and meaning behind wittily selected and deftly arranged images.

Best,
Erik

Last edited by Erik Olson; 08-26-2018 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:01 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Pretty good, Rick. For me, it comes alive at line seven. "From Oz to Ossining" is a let down, though. Not smooth enough. I frequently drive past Ossining. Your version of the Rome line and the last line are your strongest struts. I get the the first six lines with enough effort, but they pay a high syntax and vocabulary tariff for obscure word bulldozing.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:59 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
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Hi Rick,

I read this a couple of times. I can visualize the skyline and love the alliteration and internal rhyme, like surge/satellites; reckless/perplexes; adamantine/mirrors, and other. Also assonance, like chronic obstacles.

In terms of content, the last 2 stanzas were easier for me to get. The first is rather tricky. The main difficulty I had was with Lines 3-5. I get that Satellites and glass are TVs and windows. Probably skyscrapers. Then you mention apnea (a temporary cessation of breathing). I’m puzzled by that. I think I get the sleeper pass, though I’m not positive. A sleeper is a book or even a person who achieves sudden success. Then the assortment of provisions for the home. I’m having difficulty putting the apnea, sleeper pass, and provisions together into a coherent whole.

In S2, I like the metaphors of mirrors of resolve, blight of obstacles, and window of our night. I think the window of our night is the heavens. The light pollution of the city blocks the view of celestial objects. The skyscrapers and their windows (mirrors) are obstacles that keep being built like some plague, and evolve into more modern shapes and structures.

“Confront your better angels” makes me scratch my head.
I understand the line about Rome.

The tides are frightening is not just ocean tides, but the currents and trends, changing times. The future seems bleak and the trends are frighteningly redundant, since it seems obvious where things are headed.

The Jenga blocks are like the towers (skyscrapers), which eventually will fall. They are metaphorical shrines that edge the harbor.

I’m not sure what the mansions refer to. Also, Father’s superdome is clever, though it seems to bring in a religious notion alluding to God’s universe.

Anyway, I like a lot of this, despite some parts that are not easy to grasp. Overall, there are really vivid images and nice word music. The theme seems to be the wrecking of natural beauty by artificial structures. But I could be totally wrong (as Frank Zappa might have said).
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Old 08-27-2018, 04:36 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is offline
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Erik, Allen, and Martin,

It's always interesting to read your responses, Erik. Thanks for pointing out the parts where I'm losing you.

Thanks Allen. Are you saying I put the "tax" in "syntax""?~, :^) Not sure what the gripe is about the Ossining line...

Martin, I'm very interested in what you're getting here. A lot of the things you're assigning meanings to are meant to be a little more open. It leaves some room for interpretation I guess. Which is good.

Thanks, guys.
RM
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:32 PM
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Maybe a colon at the end of line twelve, and other repunctuation? I assumed that the “Jenga blocks” was a sharp description of those modern buildings that look like they can’t wait to fall down in the emerging climate apocalypse you describe. Is “blocks” doing additional duty as the otherwise missing verb in the last sentence?
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