Just to put this poem into context, it was written several years ago at the end of a relationship. It is deeply personal, and it pivots around my love for the poetry of Tony Harrison. It probably loses something to the person who is not familiar with his works, but I would like any comments about characterisation, content, what it’s about etc, good or bad. Some days this poem annoys me because it feels unfinished and other days I quite like it.
Me and You
While I thumb the pages of Tony Harrison
Reading his “Anthony” contrast
With his gob-hawking Dad
And crying for the gap,
You swill your can of Kestrel,
Your thumb on the remote
Hopping the channels till they blur
Like sentences without punctuation.
As I read of Hera’s shrill voice
Shattering the eardrums of her husband/Deity,
The fragments scattering
Into the empty space between them,
The ash from your cigarette falls to the floor
And your foot screws it into the carpet.
The hot stench fills the space between me and you.
As I ache for Florrie’s two year passed death
With her still slipper-warming husband
And feel the sticky rubber of the hot water bottle
That scalds her now cold place:
While I scratch my naked skin and it shrivels and shrinks
Oh my God! The shock wave it sent through me! The hairs on my arms are standing. I cannot believe that anyone could have written that who has not felt that. It rang with honesty and truth. What exquisite, harrowing pain. If any friend of mine wrote this poem now I would say, "quietly go upstairs, pack your things and run like bloody hell!"
Sorry, I don't have a love of poetry, or any knowledge about structure and form and so cannot offer any constructive advice..............................
However i do know that i found the last two lines stunning. As Edd, i was struck immediately by the harsh and stark honesty of them. The effect of those two lines will stay with me for quite some while.
Thank you to both of you for your kind comments. At least I know that the poem evokes emotion. The question I really want to ask though, is does it have a value beyond the personal? Is it a piece of writing that would "speak" to other people? Are there any words that jar and don't flow? And for any poets out there, does the form work?
While waiting for my mate to finish preparing our BLTs for a late lunch, I thought of something I wanted to say. Your two responders are men. I can't speak for Playfull, but I'm still reeling from it. I can't wait to hear how women respond--especially my moderating partner, Paddy. Timmy is a poet and I hope he gets to read this. There's another and very powerful poet who visits here on occassion whose name is John Moreno (I think his screen name is BlackJohnny). And don't let me humble you. If anything, it ought to be from the power of your own poetry.
I don't know if he is published or not. We recently were on the same bill of short plays somewhere near Washington, DC
I call myself strictly a playwright. It is how I don't seem to make any money. Once I had a moving box with decades-full of poetry and a few early plays. It was put out on the sidewalk along with everything else during an eviction. Somebody grabbed it and ran. Imagine the disappointment when they discovered what it was. This was pre-electric typewriter, an old Underwood, and there were no copies. I no longer write poetry--maybe a haiku every now and then and one about spam a month or so ago. In the full-length version of Tough Cookies one of my characters is a self-mutilating, bi-polar poet who shares many of her poems throughout the play. Those were fun <grimace> to write.
I have nothing that is remotely finished. One that continues the theme of the last, and one about a funeral of a child that I once attended, which is very different in style. I will have a think about posting them tomorrow, but they are still quite raw. Have a few others, but not necessarily ones ready for any sort of viewing. And thanks for your encouragement over this one Edd. Means a lot.
I like that too Mark. Great poem. Thank you for taking the trouble to respond. I am going to post another poem shortly. I wrote it this morning, so it really is a first draft! Would be grateful for your comments.
Hi Edd, have read your poems thank you. They are full of massive ideas, thought patterns and philosophies. For me, I loved the computer one the best. I thought the images were powerful and it had real "current" appeal.
What a tragedy that your other poems were taken. Perhaps someone has spent a lifetime reading them and appreciating them. Even a small, criminal audience is an audience!
Yes Paddy, I'm a woman! I know your gender came as a surprise to Swann! Thanks so much for your comments. I will think about turning into dialogue. Have to claim total novice at that, but definitely thought-provoking.
Hi Nikip - that is a very strong poem. I like your use of language: sparing, every word resonates - as does the ending. As well as the sexual/violence divide, there's also a sense of high/low culture (Tony Harrison vs crap on TV & beer guzzling) that you use very effectively to show the expanse that's grown between these two people. And the intimation that the narrator is striving to find a place in the world beyond this relationship that's gone sour, and the man appears resentful. All this in such economic language. It's always the sub-text that enriches. You should write drama!
Thanks Kate. If only you knew how I sit here like a tortured soul day after day since I first posted thinking about writing drama! Never done it! Don't know where or how to start! Any advice MOST welcome
Yeah, I got advice. Go into Paddy's gym and write a one page play about whatever comes to mind. Then write a two page play. Then work yourself up to a 10 page play, which a lot of theatres are looking for. After that the sky is the limit. And now I feel like singing:
What good is sitting alone
In you room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.
Put down the knitting,
The book and the broom.
Time for a holiday.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.
Come taste the wine,
Come hear the band.
Come blow a horn,
Right this way,
Your table's waiting.