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  #1  
Unread 06-29-2021, 08:02 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default Antemortem

Antemortem

Please, as I kick it, may I take in
my neighborhood, my place, my scene.
I pray the bums and dealers rake in
bank, and the crooked cops come clean.
Let everything be happy for us.

May all the rats in Lowertown
squeak me a big farewell in chorus

when I lay me down.

I pray my friends be on a bender
at dives first, then let loose outdoors,
tearing it up in sloppy splendor,
and all true lovers, johns and whores
be screwing good throughout the city.

May I search, search and find the noun
that punctuates a dirty ditty

when I lay me down.

May I not ape those melancholy,
merciless types who just retrace
public defeat and private folly
but, in what shows me me, embrace
my every pock and peccadillo.

May someone in a busty gown
be hovering above my pillow

when I lay me down.

I pray that last day feel like rowing
across the Lake in Central Park—
dashing the oars at first, then slowing
to watch the ospreys until dark.
I hope the weather isn’t crappy.

May I not wear an ugly frown
but look, instead, insanely happy

when I lay me down.

. . . . .
Stanza 1, Line 1: "as I kick it" for "from my deathbed"
Stanza 1, Line 3: "dealers" for "cabbies"
Stanza 1, Line 4: "crooked cops come" for "Speedball-freaks keep"
Stanza 3, Line 2: "merciless" for "remorseful"
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Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 06-30-2021 at 07:25 AM.
  #2  
Unread 06-29-2021, 08:11 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

I enjoyed this a good deal. It reminds me a bit of this: https://www.google.com/search?q=loui...UDCA8&u act=5

No nits I can think of at first blush.

Cheers,
John
  #3  
Unread 06-29-2021, 08:17 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Wow. Louis Armstrong--that's high praise. Thank you.
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  #4  
Unread 06-29-2021, 08:59 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Which opening quatrain do we prefer?

Please, from my deathbed, may I take in
my neighborhood, my place, my scene.
I pray the bums and cabbies rake in
bank, and the Speedball-freaks keep clean.

Or

Please, from my deathbed, may I take in
my neighborhood, my place, my scene.
I pray the bums and cabbies rake in
bank, and the crooked cops come clean.

?
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  #5  
Unread 06-29-2021, 09:16 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Speedball-freaks has I think a slight air of cant to it, a thing you might prefer to reduce. I quite like the antithetical structure, too, of the criminals versus the criminal cops in V2. Sonically, I think I also prefer the cops there, with the four hard c's to alliterate. Their moment of epiphany is not without a certain piquancy as well, in the context of the poem as a whole. So on balance, I cast a vote for the crooked cops. Oh - it also seems maybe more timely than the Speedball-freaks, these days. Chauvin is off to prison.

Cheers,
John
  #6  
Unread 06-29-2021, 03:14 PM
Sarah-Jane Crowson's Avatar
Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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I like your change to 'crooked cops'.

Partly this is because I equate 'speedball' with water-based printing ink, and then when I googled it sent the workplace internet filter into high alert and everything stopped.

I also like the alliteration of 'crooked cops'. I love the rats and their deathbed chorus, and it's super-lovely to read the word 'peccadillo'. I read it as Regency slang, and it's such a brilliant word.

Love the place-based sense of this again (Ospreys in a city park? Wow). It lets a reader explore a city, in a kind of contemporary dérive - although I recognise that this poem is more than a meander, it's a preparation, I think, a conscious facing up to the inevitability of death.

The dérive, if that is what it is, maybe explores the poet rather than the city.

Sarah-Jane
  #7  
Unread 06-29-2021, 11:14 PM
Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Aaron, Since a gown is not itself busty, I wonder if "May someone in a busty gown" should be changed to something like "May someone busty in a gown..." or "May someone in a low-cut gown..." Also, in S4, I wonder if there should be an "I" between "day" and "feel." Best, Mark
  #8  
Unread 06-30-2021, 06:45 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, Mark.

I see your point on "busty gown" but that phrase is common parlance--A Google search reveals many uses of it, and there is even a "Busty Gown" category on Etsy.

As for "I pray that last day feel like rowing," the subject is "day" and "feel" is subjunctive for the hypothetical after the verb "pray."
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  #9  
Unread 06-30-2021, 07:15 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Hello,

I have come to the conclusion that "from my deathbed" is heavy-handed.

Do we prefer

Please, from my deathbed, may I take in
my neighborhood, my place, my scene.
I pray the bums and dealers rake in
bank, and the crooked cops come clean.
Let everything be happy for us.

Or

Please, as I kick it, may I take in
my neighborhood, my place, my scene.
I pray the bums and dealers rake in
bank, and the crooked cops come clean.
Let everything be happy for us.

?
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  #10  
Unread 07-02-2021, 03:15 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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I reckon that the change works.

I quite liked the idea of the poet on their deathbed being a kind of cliche subverted, but 'kick it' pushes the poem towards the contemporary idea of a deathbed/last gasp. It subverts in words not just in ideas, perhaps.

Either way, I equate deathbeds with shrouds, and floaty billowing things, so this gave me a different image, which was nice.

Sarah-Jane
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