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Old 09-13-2018, 09:31 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is online now
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Default 1001 Ovillejos

1001 Ovillejos ... Revision 1 - changes in blue.

“There are, my Lord,” the slave girl said,
.....in bed,
“One thousand poems I can recall.
.....They’re all
on varied forms of sex: I claim
.....the same
great skills in love as verse; and came
with joy tonight – and will each night.”
She smiled, and thought, with fists clenched white,
... In bed, they’re all the same.

In bed they’re all the same, but still
.....I will
keep freedom as my final goal,
.....control
whatever forces might debate
.....my fate.
I know just how to hide my hate
and focus on the here, the now,
be governed by my slave girl vow:
...I will control my fate.

I will control my fate. I’ll school
.....this fool.
This arrogant and loud-mouthed fake
.....will make
me great, he says. And then he’ll ditch
.....me. Rich
with tapes and drama,
I won’t bitch.
You'll hear him beg for discipline,
whimper within his orange skin.
... This fool will make me rich.


Note: The first stanza was published as a stand-alone many years ago in the long defunct Edge City Review. The second and third are new. The thought of linking the ovillejos was my own mishegaas.

Revisions:


3. S3L9 "the Lord within the orange skin." was, "the Lord behind..."

2. Changed "They'll" in S3L8 to "You'll"

1. Last six lines were:

me great, he says. And when he’ll ditch
.....me. rich,
with public drama, I won’t bitch.
I’ve made him beg for discipline.
I can forget the orange skin.
... This fool will make me rich.

Last edited by Michael Cantor; 09-18-2018 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:41 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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My better angel said it was unsportsmanlike of me to respond here. Sorry.

Last edited by Allen Tice; 09-14-2018 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 09-14-2018, 05:14 PM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Michael,
These are very well done, and the linking works. In the last one, "rich" should be capitalized, and a period is missing at the end.

Though "orange skin" is effective, it is perhaps a little too topical, and actually unfair to Scheherazade, as unlike Melania, she had no choice. "greasy skin"? "wrinkled skin"? "scaly skin"? "powdered skin"? I am sure you can find something more striking.

Thanks for the read!
Martin
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Old 09-14-2018, 07:17 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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I got my bear hunting license renewed and am back. Martin, if I read you correctly, I think you have possibly misconstrued Scheherazadeís sarcasm in the next to last line. But, then again, you are uncommonly astute, so I wonít argue. Her last line might deserve more than one period. Topical? Oh, I donít know. What I like most is the heat and fury that surpasses any links to ovillejos that I have found so far. Iíve saved the raw first vision of this without Mikeís note to a special file of Precambrian swamp goop.
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:14 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is online now
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Thanks for the feedback.

Martin, we're looking at "rich" in S3L5 differently, although I went back and forth between variants of my approach and yours. What I am trying to say is that he will ditch the woman - who has become rich - publicly and dramatically. "Rich" pertains to her finances. I understand your approach to indicate that the ditching will leave the woman "rich with public drama", and emphasizes the public drama. I think.

The truth is that neither approach works as well as I would like, and I think it is the weakest point of the poem, and demonstrates the problems of working with the ovillejo, which requires you to think many lines ahead on your word choices. It is even nuttier than the terzanelle. (Maybe I should try to put together a chapbook of terzanelles, ovillejos and villanelles: Poetry for Mechanics. )

Getting back to the poem, I'm not happy with the line you question and I'm still looking for a better solution.

I've added a final period.

Re the orange skin, I was trying to be topical. And blunt. I wanted it to end with a fist.

Allen - thanks for the input. Heat and fury at the end is precisely what I was after.

I was trying to get "discipline" in S3L8 to offer a whiff of bedroom S&M, not checkbook balancing. Does it work?
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Old 09-15-2018, 12:20 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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I very much doubt that you will change the title (Iím certain in fact that you wonít), if for no other reason than that it serves as an anchor for the essential Scheherazade theme. Iím a numbers guy, though; it makes me grab my log-log calculator. A purely verbal title? Youíre good with words.
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:27 PM
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Jayne Osborn Jayne Osborn is offline
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Michael,
To date I've never written, nor attempted to write, an ovillejo...(I'm not even sure how to pronounce the word!)... but I can see what a devilishly tricky form it is.

I have to say that I am struck by the consummate skill of this, and I love it. The subject matter is perfect for the form and your execution of it is quite masterful IMO.

Just a couple of thoughts:
She smiled, and thought, with fists clenched white,

That line gave me momentary pause; we talk about a ''white knuckle ride" (I've had a few myself, in my time, being in a car with an idiot at the wheel, or else a terribly bad driver) but "fists clenched white" didn't quite sound right to me. How about ''with fists clenched tight''? It's only a subtle change, the rhyme is right, but it still fits the situation!

And when he’ll ditch
.....me. rich,
<-- Comma after ''me"?

I got your inference with: I’ve made him beg for discipline but I think it could be followed by something better than "I can forget" (the orange skin)

Just a suggestion:
I’ve made him beg for discipline,
this moron with the orange skin.

... or something along those lines. That stanza already has the insults: this fool. This arrogant and loud-mouthed fake... so one more wouldn't go amiss, and drive home the point she's making even more!

I hope some of this might help, but it's impressive as it is so feel free to ignore the above.

I don't want to pile on, or sound gushing, but I think this is a fine example of the form; I must have a go at writing an ovillejo myself sometime!

Jayne
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Old 09-15-2018, 09:13 PM
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Stay visual.
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Old 09-15-2018, 10:24 PM
Michael Cantor Michael Cantor is online now
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Jayne - "fists clenched white" is admittedly pushing the language a bit, and "tight" is safer, but I'm gonna stick with "white". "Tight" is too expected, and "white" adds a visual element - and a better depiction of the strain she's under.

I'm not crazy about the "orange skin" line - it lacks grace, and seems a bit forced - but, if anything, I'd like it a little more subtle. More detachment. Dismissive. "Moron" is certainly accurate, but it lacks detachment.

The ovillejo is a Spanish form, introduced to many of us by Rhina Espaillat years back, and the "ll" is pronounced like the "y" in the Russian "nyet".

Allan - I still have my Keufel & Esser log-log-deci-trig, purchased in 1953 when I entered Cooper Union, and never taken out of its leather case once I graduated except to wear at parades and brandish at poets.
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Old 09-16-2018, 07:38 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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Yes, a very effective mishegaas (Charles Laquidara???)
What a pleasure to read in so many ways. The novelty (for me) of it -- of disassembling and then putting it back together -- is a treat. Over and over again. Such an accomplished piece of writing requires a wordsmith with formidable skill and savvy.

The final stanza is unvarnished condemnation of the state of leadership in the U.S. Whether the fem be Melania or Stormy, the tale is expertly poetical and stingingly accurate.

Thanks for giving this light and air. It would be a shame to leave it in the dark somewhere. You've provided my daily antidote to the creeping gangrene that is Trump.
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 09-16-2018 at 07:50 AM.
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