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Unread 02-15-2021, 07:51 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,897
Default Frazzled


Nobody You Will Ever Know

How I feel? Frazzled.
Fried. Again. Forward
I go, though; shedding
ashes as I do.

Something’s got to change.
Maybe, I'm hoping, maybe
when I reach the shore of my being
and still can't say who I am
but don’t care anymore
if anything rhymes
or sings or even...

even if it makes not
one bit of difference
to anyone but me.

Then I’ll know
(once again)
what it feels like
to be (nemo)

become light and ash
floating like snow
that never touches ground.


Nobody You Will Ever Know

How I feel?
Frazzled. Fried. Once again.
Forward I go though,
shedding ashes as I do.

Something’s got to change.
when I reach the core of being
and don’t care anymore who I am
or if anything rhymes
or even makes sense, or
even, even
even if it makes not one bit of difference
to anyone but me.
Then I’ll know (again)
what it feels like to be (nemo)
become light, floating ash
scattered like snow
that never touches the ground.

S1,L1/2 were:
Realizing for the four millionth time
I fall short of who I know I am?
S2,L10: added parens around again
S2,L11: added parens around nemo
S2,L12: was: feel the lightness of floating ash
S2,L13: changed "scrabbled" to "scattered".



Last edited by Jim Moonan; 03-13-2021 at 08:11 AM.
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Unread 02-15-2021, 10:42 AM
Joe Crocker Joe Crocker is offline
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: York
Posts: 142

I think we all feel like the N every now and then.

S1L1 Four millionth. Why 4 millionth in preference to any other randomly big number. Is it random or do you have a reason for specifying it?

S1L3 “I fall short of who I know I am?” I think I would not be confident enough to say “know I am”, more likely “hope I am”. Especially as the rest of the poem seems to explore uncertainty, insecurity and the desire to disappear into dust.

S1L6 I’m assuming the bracketed (go) is a suggested alternative to “do.” I think I’d stick with “do”

S2 L6 ,7, & 8. I like the repetitions of “even”. I’m drawn to repetitions and they do convey a cry of frustration and anguish. It’s a kind of sobbing.

I’m not sure about “scrabbled” in the penultimate line. You talk about floating ash and snow that never touches the ground, whereas scrabble evokes, to me, a scratching with fingers against something.

I do like the yearning for oblivion
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Unread 02-15-2021, 01:38 PM
Jane Crowson's Avatar
Jane Crowson Jane Crowson is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 393


This reads to me like an extended play/exploration of ideas of self as place-less & disintegrated, a reading which the mention of ‘Nemo’ (nothing) corroborates. I read it as a musing on death, too - the loss of self, the loss, too of embodied self (becoming ash).

I enjoy the underplayed monologue in this - I like that it’s the opposite of self-consciously poetic, although I’m not sure you hold that balance all the way through the poem; bits of it feel like prose. The last four lines work very well for me, though. Beautiful image and sonics and the ending hanging there, like the ash/snow. Gorgeous.

For me, the poem describes a sense, less of frazzled, than ‘frayed’ perhaps. I wonder how S1 works with S2. The most powerful lines in S1 for me are L4,5 &6 and I wonder about the purpose of the first three lines, which don’t draw me in in the same way the alliterative ‘f’s’ and sonics/idea of shedding ashes does.

I quite like the switch to the more declarative L7. And I enjoy the immediate undermining of this with ‘Maybe’. It’s after that that I feel the writing gets a bit prose in patches. I wonder if it’s worth exaggerating the sense of dislocation. I have a friend who is an animator, who attended one of the Aardman studios workshops (I’m not sure if Wallace and Gromit have travelled, or would travel well to the US, but they’re character based stop-motion animation - everything relies on character for the narrative to work).

Anyway, one of the key messages was to exaggerate, exaggerate, exaggerate - even when ‘you’ think it’s OTT the audience sometimes needs that to ‘get’ the idea.

And I wonder if that is the case with the middle lines of S2. If they need to hold more word-level repetitions, choppier lines, more white space and breaking up between words, even. Then you could roll in with the re-foundness of L16-20, which really work for me.

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Unread 02-15-2021, 02:30 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 2,897

Joe, Sarah-Jane, Thank you both. I've made some edits after reading your comments and after reading the poem for the first time since posting it this morning; having written it just this morning, quickly, wondering if it was anything, throwing it out there. I have a feeling I will continue to reshape it as I continue to gain distance from it, and see it in a different light, adding context, tempering the self-angst.

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Unread 02-18-2021, 07:58 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,653

Jim, I feel this way often and think those feelings appear in my poems and stories. My honest reaction to this is that it reads more like the first layer of a poem. Now it's time to stick your hand into it about elbow deep and look for the gems there that will make the poem appear in its fullness. I hope I'm communicating what I mean. You begin to do that toward the end. I'm not an imagist poet but do think often what we say about the shiny thing, or the dingy thing, we see is where the poem is. I'd like to see more of that here. I hope this helps and you are free to ignore it of course.
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