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Old 08-31-2018, 02:52 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Default Breakup: Song of an American Expat

Estranged: Song of an American Expat--2nd draft

Sparks of our love have burned to smoke
that smears the sky of our goodbyes
across the sea. Your benign milk
gave me a life before I woke
to sleepwalk where my fortune lies,
oblivious there’d been a rift.
Though distant, you still have your hooks
in me; your natural good looks
have ebbed, and yet your undertow
still raises riptides in my blood.
Bridging our continental drift,
your cri de coeur across the flood
is all goodbye and half hello.
My mother, my love, our troubles loom,
and you are moaning through the deep
while all the world is sound asleep.



ORIGINAL DRAFT w/edits

Sparks of our love have burned to smoke
that smears the sky of our goodbyes
across the sea. Your benign milk
gave me a life before I woke
to sleepwalk where my fortune lies,
oblivious there’d been a rift.
Though distant, you still have your hooks
in me; your natural good looks
have ebbed, and yet your undertow
still raises riptides in my blood.
Across our continental drift,
your cri de coeur that spans the flood
is all goodbye and half hello.
My mother, my love, our troubles loom,
and you are moaning through the deep
while all the world is sound asleep.


________________
Revisions:
8/31: 3 lines up from bottom had "lover-mom"
9/4: Revisions: Changed to second-person throughout
In line 3 up from bottom, "mother, my love" was "lover-mother"
9/5: In line 3, "womb" was "milk"
3 lines from bottom, "our troubles loom," was "you're of my ilk"

9/7:"Estranged" in title was "Breakup"
"plundered" in line 3 was "benign"; reverted to "benign milk" later
"Bridging" in line 11 was "Across" and "across" on the next line was "spans the"

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 09-07-2018 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:33 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Andrew, I think you mean "undertow" in L9.

Susan
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:17 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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You are right on top of this. It has all the torn emotions of a breakup. There will be tweaks. I wonder about ďlover-momĒ and think thereís a more nuanced word you could find.... but the arrow is straight and deep to the heart.
It makes me think, too, of the millions around the world - in Myanmar, in Syria, in Yemen, in Chile and other places - that Have fled their homeland. As you imply in your poem, there is a primordial tug that exists... I can only imagine the feelings of estrangement of those being displaced by the brutality of war and stupidity and greedof the powerful. Really powerful poem that speaks from a perspective that I donít think Iíve heard yet, strange as that seems. There must be thousands who, like you, are watching the dissolution of what was so full of promise, or so it seemed.

Although I think the metaphor of a breakup is strong and well executed, I donít know that you need it in the title. You may want a whole new title...
X
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Old 08-31-2018, 12:48 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Susan, thanks for pointing that out: must have been my foot fetish playing tricks.

Jim, Iím grateful for your sensitive reading and Iíve changed to ďlover-motherĒ for now. Youíre right, the tone was off there, I was trying for a light touch but it doesnít work. Good point about the title too. Thinking on that.
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:24 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Andrew, I didn't have time to comment extensively earlier. Now that I have been able to read it again, I still have reservations about "lover-mother" (the incest associations just take me right out of the poem) and I particularly dislike "of my ilk," which I can't imagine anyone saying in real life. The rhyme with "milk" is so delayed that the "ilk" seems to come out of nowhere and therefore seems even less justified. You might be able to do something with "breast" instead of "milk." The overall concept of the ambivalence of the expat is fine, but the details could still use some tweaking.

Susan
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Old 08-31-2018, 06:11 PM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Could you work with belovEd mother and kin?
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Old 09-01-2018, 04:23 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Thanks for the feedback, Susan and Ralph. I don’t know about “lover-mother,” which I hadn’t thought of as problematic since it’s clearly an allegorical poem and the poem already attributes both lover and mother qualities to the female figure. Plus, it seems accurate to me that our feelings about our homeland are sometimes like a child’s and sometimes like a beloved’s.

On the other hand, I don’t want the phrase to drive people off. And yes, Susan, I agree that the rhyme of “ilk” is too far removed, though I can imagine someone saying it in real life, with a touch of irony (which is how I intended it). But I accept something needs to change there to make the poem better.

Revisions tk.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:02 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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I think the hyphenation of "love-mother" blurs the line. Maybe Something that sounds more like, "my lover, my mother" to show the clear duality.

I like ilk.

This poem is on the verge of being a wrenching anthem for so many of us who feel estranged from our homeland -- whether we have physically left it or mentally feel the "breakup". I would suggest looking at the title and perhaps taking "Expat" out because people move away from their homelands for other reasons (economic, retirement, etc.). Something like "Song of the American Migration" though that is not it : )
x

---------------
Editing back in to say that "anthem" is not quite right. A dirge, perhaps. A Dear John letter... Something more along those lines.

I do think the work needed is to the last three lines. Although I like the mood of the final two lines, I'm not sure it is accurate to say that "all the world is sound asleep". Is it? Or is it, too, breaking up? Where is there any hope for homeland and civility? Is it a casualty of globalization? No, surely not in the long run....
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-04-2018 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 09-03-2018, 07:36 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Hi Jim, and thanks for your thoughts. Some stuff has come up in my life thatís keeping me away from the Sphere this week, so I wanted you to know Iím not being snooty by not responding. :-)

I hope to be back in action tomorrow. When I also hope I can focus on the poem and other poems a bit.

Andrew
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:04 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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Andrew, I found myself thinking I wish it wasn't so clear he is speaking of his mother so soon. After the line about her milk the mystery is gone. I like the poem but wonder if you could back off a bit. "Mother-lover" is strange and suggestive but it also overdoes it. I hope what I'm saying is clear. I just wish the poet's hand wasn't so easily seen writing this.

John
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