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:: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 ::

Paul, villanelle -- ambitious -- mainly working -- my telegraphic style of writing -- ending now.

OK, Though you say you are not wedded to to the form, I think you're pretty much stuck. If you unravel too many loose ends in a piece like this, I think it's going to fall apart on you entirely. But that's okay, you want to keep it as is because this is a good villanelle with some great lines (right now, I'm muttering "You bastard" under my breath, but take that as a compliment).

What's working best: The line "We make love once a month and die in our sleep" is good in all of its permutations, as is "We want to ask each other what's left to keep." I also like "The speech of dreams goes unmentioned...," "we don't hold between us in the leaps / from death to breath and back again to night." The variations, too, are really good, keeping the poem surprising and turning it at all the right spots.

What's holding the poem back for me: There are a few lines that don't seem as tight as the rest of the poem, and these are bringing down the dramatic tension, I think. "Of course ... heap," "Turn over here ... not right," "the way ... to help," "with this ... escape," and "this wish ... flightless" seem more prosy than the rest of the poem and seem to be working too hard to advance the dramatic situation. Also, while I really love the beginning of the line "It seems a shame we've portioned out," I think that "the rate of love" is a letdown in that "rate" seems a forced mis-rhyme. "Weep," too, seems forced both for the rhyme and the tone; if the woman is talking, I have trouble hearing her refer to the man's crying as weeping. Finally, while I love the title, I think that "Uncurled from the tongue of sleep and forgetfulness" should be saved for another day.

Overall, I really admire this poem for what it says and how it accomplishes it. However, I guess I just want to see the middle lines of the final two stanzas have the same intensity and naturalness (is that a word?) as the rest of the poem.
:: Rob 2/27/2002 11:24:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 ::
Holy cow, there's a poem here. When you consider me, consider me on the case.
:: Josh 2/20/2002 10:04:00 PM [+] ::
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Thanks, Sean. Look forward to it.
:: Paul 2/20/2002 08:26:00 PM [+] ::
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Paul, I just wanted you to know that I printed it up, and will have a post up IN SEVERAL DAYS.
:: Sean 2/20/2002 02:43:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Sunday, February 17, 2002 ::
Back to forms again for some reason, though I'm not wedded to it. Tear it up, boys.




Uncurled from the Tongue of Sleep and Forgetfulness, She Wonders If She Really Told Him

We make love once a month and die in our sleep
to wake against the backyard's nagging sunlight.
We want to ask each other what's left to keep.

Of course we think, turn over, there's a heap
of clothes we ripped from each other last night.
We die all month and make love in our sleep.

The speech of dreams goes unmentioned, lip to lip.
It seems a shame we've portioned out the rate
of love and ask each other what's left to keep,

which we don't hold between us in the leaps
from death to breath and back again to night.
A month has passed and we're dead in our sleep.

I shouldn't have to say you shouldn't weep.
Turn over here and tell me it's not right
the way I leave it to the window to help

with this question of prisons and escape,
this wish to be kept, accepting and flightless.
We still make love each month; dead in our sleep
we often ask each other what's worth keeping.

:: Paul 2/17/2002 12:05:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, February 13, 2002 ::
As I explained in my post, which you were too busy eating BAP to read, is that there is no major change. We couldn't get to some of the old posts before. Now it goes back to november. There. But now you mention it, let's have some different colors!!
:: Sean 2/13/2002 11:09:00 AM [+] ::
...
BAP is a tasty, crusty roll. Mmmmmmm, Best American Produce.
:: Rob 2/13/2002 09:18:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, February 12, 2002 ::
Jesus, I didn't even know I wasn't on the new design. I thought I noticed some new icon or something on the post part and that was it. Sean, do you have too much time on your hands? BAP is for girls with attitudes.
:: Paul 2/12/2002 04:54:00 PM [+] ::
...
BAP is for girls. Plus, how do I get to the new design anyway? I'm always on the same post to poetry page.
:: Josh 2/12/2002 01:31:00 PM [+] ::
...
Yeah, I'll go next. Just give me a couple of days so I can swipe something from an old journal around here and slap it up. Oh, Sean, the design is lovely and shows up well on my screen. But I would love you no matter what you were wearing.

I haven't read the Best American 2001 yet, so I can't say anything about it. If it's THAT ponderous, I don't know. Anyway, I do miss talking about this stuff, that's for sure. Talk to you guys later.


:: Paul 2/12/2002 06:43:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Sunday, February 10, 2002 ::
You guys are too sweet. Thanks. I had fun writing it, and I'll send it somewhere for sure. Rob, I see you were rejected by "The Onion Fucker Review" as well. Sorry. I think that I'll change "inside" near the end to "within" but tell me if that's too poeticy, and I'll try breaking out of the shape of the poem, but that's really what saved the thing in the first place--being forced to shorten my lines. I'll try it and see if I can live with how it looks. I see what you're saying though. The real reason I'm writing this is to ask if you guys think the 2001 Best American is confusing. I have found some good ones for me--Lucia's poem I'd read before but still really like, and I liked Bishop's, but much of the book I can't understand. I'll spend more time on it and all, but I was wondering what you thought. It's all

the magic-markered mugs
of afronauts
with new spaceships
not manufactured

up south. . . .

Any comments? There are some ponderous poems here. And Paul, I think you're it when you want. I do like the idea Josh had of slack. So, when you're ready.

:: Sean 2/10/2002 10:13:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Saturday, February 09, 2002 ::
From: Muscle-Bound Rob
Sean, like everyone else, I don't think there's much for to say; the poem is really about done and ready to send out (to someplace really good too, not "The Onion Fucker Review"). Just to wake things up, I thought about beginning this post by saying, "Wow. I've really got to disagree with you guys on this one. This poem makes dogshit pallatable by comparison. I'd bite off my right ball to keep from writing this poem." Of course, I didn't say that.

My only suggestion would be to consider the last line. I'm always wary about one word on a line by itself, even when it's a heavy-hitter like "heart." It draws alot of attention to itself, and to be honest, I think the word is on the line by itself to fufill the visual form and not the rhythm. To me, I hear "your open heart" all on one line for one reason: if the heart is open, I want a rhythm that mimics that. Having the poem contract completely to a point on the word "heart" seems to work against that sentiment rhythmically. In other words, it seems as if the poem wants to open up rather than contract on that last line. I could be over-thinking this one though.

Great lines, great images -- send send send.
:: Rob 2/09/2002 02:10:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, February 07, 2002 ::
That you have "email our bedroom smell / to the bachelors of Chicago" makes this guy very suburban. Of course that's a really good line, funny, but also is good for you intent. "Sleep inside / your open / heart" works better I think. I like the way this poem works because we get some no-shit good lines like that and "diesel my voice into your neck," but also "to surrender, my outlaw," which is also bad, but consciously so on your part, and bad only because, hell, don't we say bad things like that when we want to roll around the shack till the mail cart comes back? And I think going with "prickle" instead of "nourish" is a better idea. I remember thinking you could have a better word the first time I read that. I don't want to leave you with such little commentary (though maybe you're breathing a sigh of relief right now), but I wouldn't want to fuck with too much. It's kind of like a little prickly gem there, and its facets are delicate. I'm with Josh--send it out.

And thanks for saying I'm a wise-cracker. I would have preferred muscle-bound, especially raven-haired, but since I'm neither, I'll take being a smartass. I hope a whole bunch too that we can all get together soon. Let's think about it. See you guys.
:: Paul 2/07/2002 06:11:00 PM [+] ::
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You're right Paul. I figure if you can't steal from yourself (or your friends) then what. Glad to hear from you again, and look forward to getting your comments.
:: Sean 2/07/2002 11:44:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 ::
All right, guys, I guess I'm buying beers. For the last week and a half I've been in a passle of crap here the substance of which I won't insult you with. And Rob, I hope these comments are of use even with your revision. Anyhoo, sorry. On to the analysis. Speaking of analysis, is anybody a Rams fan?

OK, Rob. For some reason I keep wanting to compress this. Maybe it's that the first ten lines are (you can punch me for pulling the Al Young rule next time I see you) spinning their wheels. I have some ideas you could look at if you think they'd do you a dime's bit of good. Starting right on Adam is an option.

Shuffling in the morning kitchen,
he picks up a soapy dish brush
and stares at the bristles. The only words
that come are "hairy teeth," and he turns
to ask Eve for the word he's lost.
But all that is left of her is emptiness,
curled fig leaves on the bedroom floor,
dirty plates and cups rising
from the sink like a lesser Babel,
a dull ache in his side on rainy days.

I like Josh's sugg. about changing to "world uncreating," and it might be worth switching the second and third stanzas, ending darkly. That's generally my bent, though, so take it as judiciously as you can.

I've got 5 checks for "the names he shaped, like urns, to hold his fears." Keep doing shit like that and I won't talk to you anymore. Basically the whole stanza there is awesome. Think, though, about cutting the first three lines. Now that I've slapped you with a left-handed complement, let me tell you why that's something to at least think about. I think it's because it doesn't seem that the words are escaping, inasmuch as they're not merely diasppearing. Sure he'll forget some, but mostly the words are changing--bristle/hairy teeth, wolf/hunger, water/cold beast. That idea is really interesting, and the flying away metaphor works against it. I don't know. Maybe I'm being a little picky here and the changing signs and signifiers are meant to eventuate the uncreated world and sooner or later he'll have no words. Ah, it's all a rich tapestry, isn't it?

Sean, I'll have some shit for you tomorrrow. I dig it, though, and only partially because I've seen you do something similar to "seed your pager with gentle obscenities" before. I think it was something like "whisper sweet atrocities." In any case I really like that sentiment and its executions, ha ha.

Oh, and thanks much for the comments about my poem, especially that it could be a decent narrative. That's something I have real trouble with because I'm always afraid the language will become less interesting as the narrative becomes clearer/more interesting. And also because I can't write a story to save my life. So it's something to work on, and I had Annie Proulx's stuff in the back of my mind, mostly this book of stories of hers called Close Range, all tripped out Western Gothic with these fractured, hallucinatory, but absolutely clear hunks of madness. Thanks again for the thoughts. I'll put it back up, and maybe more because I've made notes for more of those poems. Yes that's right, my "series." See you.

:: Paul 2/06/2002 06:41:00 PM [+] ::
...
Only change really is the word "prickle" not "nourish" which sounded a bit sweet. Does "charm your father" work. I kind of would like for this guy to want to be tough--SUV, prickle, seed etc, but ultimately to be suburban. Does "sleep inside your heart" work?


I want

to ring the word “darling” into your wet mouth
to seed your pager with gentle obscenities
to sparkle your lawn with tonic and gin
to SUV my hands around your hips
to diesel my voice into your neck
to email your bedroom smell
to the bachelors of Chicago
to prickle you with kisses
to surrender, my outlaw
to charm your father
to finish this note
to sleep inside
your open
heart


:: Sean 2/06/2002 10:11:00 AM [+] ::
...
:: Tuesday, February 05, 2002 ::
Sean:

Reads really well, thinks I.

Yeah, I happened to be watching that new animated Atlantis movie, which sucks.
:: Josh 2/05/2002 04:21:00 PM [+] ::
...
Here you go. Thank you Josh. I love your idea and made some really funny joke about it in a post, but it's lost somewhere. What is that Poe wrote about unheard melodies (or was that purloined claret--haw haw). I thought a real place where it's cold and full of bachelors (what a great word) like Chicago would work better than Atlantis. Thanks buddy.


I want

to ring the word "darling" into your wet mouth
to seed your pager with gentle obscenities
to sparkle your lawn with tonic and gin
to SUV my hands around your hips
to diesel my voice into your neck
to email your bedroom smell
to the bachelors of Chicago
to nourish you with kisses
to surrender, my outlaw
to charm your father
to finish this note
to sleep inside
your open
heart


:: Sean 2/05/2002 04:00:00 PM [+] ::
...
Alright then, Mister Baby, I love it. It's short (not the reason I love it) and so I think I only have one suggestion, and the rest to hell with it because I love it. To email your bedroom smell doesn't seem complete somehow. It's a great idea not quite working, and needs a bit of development hard to get in the quickness of the form, but here, take a look see:

to diesel my voice into your neck
to email your bedroom smell
to the bachelors of Atlantis (just filler there, but you get the idea)
to nourish you with kisses
to surrender, my outlaw

Maybe won't work because it might throw a reader off on the "to" used differently, and also because of line length, but I think it might.

To surrender, my outlaw, is fucking great, Sean, and I really like this poem. Seed the pager? Great. SUV my hands around your hips? Great. Great. It occurs to me that "bachelors of Atlantis" ain't bad either. If you use it, I need only the briefest of nods in the liner notes.

Anyway, surely send it out when you're happy with it.
:: Josh 2/05/2002 12:47:00 PM [+] ::
...
Oh really, what the hell. I mean it's just poetry right? Hope this finds you well. I'll have questions for you later, and as you know, perhaps a revision in an hour or so.

I want

to ring the word “darling” inside your wet mouth
to seed your pager with gentle obscenities
to sparkle your lawn with tonic and gin
to SUV my hands around your hips
to diesel my voice into your neck
to email your bedroom smell
to nourish you with kisses
to surrender, my outlaw
to charm your father
to finish this note
to sleep inside
your open
heart


:: Sean 2/05/2002 09:47:00 AM [+] ::
...

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