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  #1  
Unread 01-27-2021, 12:33 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
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Location: Kansas City,MO,USA. There is also Kansas City,KS but I don't live there.
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Default This time and the last

.

In a reverse mirror, I saw myself walking behind my shadow
in the same tired way
a ship that had seen better days follows its wake
to a scrap metal graveyard.
I have just arrived in a town I never left,
a dinky town full of arrivals,
garden-variety brick walls, a clock tower, timeless and ordinary,
cracker-box housing projects
and a helpless little tree
nobody loves.
That is where I saw Hope grow
into a young woman
with an uncanny ability to summon parables
and cautionary tales telegraphed
in Morse. She was not there when she looked in my eyes
and reminded me that two half-truths
do not come together as one. So, let the crickets chirp in the bushes,
and the last of the falling stars
plunge. All you need to be happy, old fogey,
is a walk in the park
and a dog.

Now listen.
.
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  #2  
Unread 01-28-2021, 09:17 PM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Sergio, I particularly like

“That is where I saw Hope grow
into a young woman
with an uncanny ability to summon parables
and cautionary tales telegraphed
in Morse.”

The capitalization of Hope suggests a possibility that it indicates something close to a personal name. Her absence when she looked into your eyes is a mild puzzle in tune with much of the rest. I’m attracted to the way you end this. It could be an introduction for something else.

Allen
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  #3  
Unread 01-29-2021, 01:44 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
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Location: Kansas City,MO,USA. There is also Kansas City,KS but I don't live there.
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Hi Allen:

Thank you for looking at this.

Hope was used as a personification of hope. Hope's inability or unwillingness to give straightforward reassurances to those in need was dealt metaphorically. In my personal experience, hope often alternates with doubt, if not with a measure of despair.

But on second thought, how would you or anybody else know the poem's hidden intentions ?

Thank you again, and regards:
S


S
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  #4  
Unread 02-02-2021, 12:08 PM
Phil Bulman Phil Bulman is offline
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Hi Sergio,

That's an arresting first line.

I interpreted Hope as both person and metaphor, not just one.

L 13 - The description here is such that you don't need the word "uncanny."

Thanks for sharing this.

Phil
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  #5  
Unread 02-02-2021, 01:01 PM
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Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
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Hi Sergio,

I like this very much.

The variety of images work for me as both like a cabinet of curiosities and tiny snapshots of a city. I also enjoy how you evoke sound with the crickets.

I read the first four lines as the narrator-as-ship, thinking about their past in a very place-located way. That works at little at odds with the city idea, but I don’t think that matters, as the poem, for me, doesn’t need that kind of precise cohesion to work.

I do wonder if you need ‘seen better days’, as this places the ship/narrator as old/tired and I wonder if that might be revealed later rather than all cards on the table at the very start.

The phrase ‘cracker-box’ isn’t one I’m familiar with, but it doesn’t matter - I read it as a kind of cheap/trinket easily made thing - like plastic rings on cakes.

I love the personification of Hope as a kind of ambiguous warning/moral figure - this is a joy to read, particularly the ‘cautionary tales telegraphed/ in Morse’.

There’s not much that’s tactile in there, despite the aural crickets.

I’m not sure ‘old fogey’ works for me - I understand that the N is old, and that this is a good place to unwrap that, but the language, for me, is a kind of half-way house between archaic slang and dismissive. I wonder, too, if - as a poem - you need the N as old.

The ending on ‘now listen’ works well for me. I like how it shares this as only part of the story, lets me gather round the N in my head and causes me to wonder what else they have to impart.

Sarah-Jane
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  #6  
Unread 02-04-2021, 07:45 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
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Hi Phil:

Thank you for taking time to read and comment. I freely admit that some of the metaphors may appear cryptic, if not plain obscure. But I hoped their intent would eventually become clear towards the end of the poem. Lines such as she was not there when she looked into my eyes may be rather baffling unless she is understood as being hope or the lack of.

Your suggestion to scuttle uncanny has been annotated.

Thank you again and regards:

S
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  #7  
Unread 02-04-2021, 09:50 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
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Hi Jane:

Thank you for your input. Your critique means a lot to me. Because I did not sit on this poem long enough, this is more a draft looking for suggestions than a finished piece. As such, there are quite a few rough edges to be smoothed out, and I appreciate your help with that. I have to say that on top of it all this poem is sort of confessional. That is why I did not have any qualms calling myself old fogey, which btw carries the g sound over to dog and gives the closing line some musicality. I am very happy that you enjoyed this piece.

Thank you again, and regards:

S
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  #8  
Unread 03-02-2021, 05:02 AM
Nicholas McRae Nicholas McRae is offline
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Having critiqued one of your pieces, I'll take a stab at another.

First Impression

I see a very good piece in there, but as you mention it's a draft, it feels less complete than the other poem of yours that I critiqued.

Minor Bits

'In a reverse mirror, I saw myself walking behind my shadow' - I'm not as big of a fan of this opening as the line in your other poem. 'Mirror' and 'shadow' feel a little too cliché, and in the same line it gives the poem a tired opening. The use of 'reverse' also doesn't seem to add much substantial. I believe you could use symbolist techniques here and include something that isn't literal, but sounds nice - perhaps 'I saw myself walking behind'

'A ship that had seen better days' - had seen better days also feels cliché, and in combination with the first line there is too much of this grouped together. I do like this line, though.

'A dinky town full of arrivals' - I believe you could lose the word 'dinky' here to greater effect. Or if you want to suggest size, use something like 'small' or 'tiny'

'and a helpless little tree
nobody loves ' - I'm stuck on this phrase. If it were me I'd use:
'and a helpless tree
that nobody loves'

I enjoy the poem very much from about line 3 onward, however this line 'All you need to be happy, old fogey,' I believe may have stronger impact without 'old fogey'

Overall Impression

This poem is at it's best when not relying on cliché and when it avoids unnecessary adjectives. I see some of the flow and originality you accomplished in your prior piece, which I enjoyed, but I believe it just needs to be cleaned up a touch.

You seem to be strong with multi-line flourishes of words and phrases, and when you avoid too much cliché in these passages they work very well. I think in this piece you could go as far as extending these flourishes to even greater effect.
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  #9  
Unread 03-13-2021, 04:02 PM
Sergio F Lima Sergio F Lima is offline
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Hi Nicholas:

Sorry for the delayed reply. For some reason, I did not see there. Again, I thank you for you thorough reply. You have a way of dissecting a poem down to its minute details. It takes a keen eye and a lot of observational skills to be able to accomplish that with an unerring precision. Your points are very well taken, and I will certainly reflect on them. I am delighted that you liked most of this piece.

Thank you again, and hope to hear from you soon.

S
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