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:: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 ::

Alison,

First, sorry to be so late in getting back to you. What I have to say here is not very insightful, so the wait may not be worth much.

This is going to sound pretty nerdy, but I think Rob's problem with those first couple of lines (and when I say "Rob," I mean me) is that it sounds like the guy is itching the music as well as muzzling it, which sounds cool but probably not what you mean. Anyway, and again this is a tiny thing, you could just say, "They make me itch, and I want to muzzle the music she makes," or some such serviceable phrase.

Other minor comments:

“I’m sniffing for blood on the air” could be “I’m sniffing the air for blood.” Then again it could be “I’m sniffing my blood for air.”

I wanted at first to cut “on” in “it fevers on my soul,” but now I kind of like the guy’s general depression fevering ON his soul, like it’s some kind of dance.

“Horns branched wide as a wishbone” is just so damn good, on about three levels. Up with metaphor!

The ending, by the way, is its own killer pose. You might think about setting up the beer can as crystal ball image. So instead of “But if my beer can were a crystal ball,” you could say “But if I really needed to know, / if my beer can were a crystal ball…” I don’t know how much of an issue setting up this image is now that I’m looking at the poem again. It’s easy enough to make the leap from the guy’s dream to his realization of reality, but I remember thinking the first time I read this that a little more voice from the guy right there might ease the transition. Jesus, sorry to bring up a composition word there. Too much grading lately.

You should try "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Jackalope," or maybe "Thirteen Ways a Jackalope Looks at Me." A New Orleans poet who died a few years ago, Everett Maddox, I think, wrote a poem called "Thirteen Ways a Possum Looks at Me." I shouldn't know that, but my old teacher, Rodney Jones, was good friends with this guy and thinks that his poem is better than the Stevens one. Anyway, I like yours quite a bit and wish I could pull off domestic oddities as well without dragging people out to the garden to wonder over the fresh loam or languish in the kitchen as their thin marinara boils over.

Paul

:: Paul 2/24/2004 10:30:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Tuesday, February 10, 2004 ::
Rob--

Thanks for helping me with the poem. After your comments on it the first time, it was so easy for me to see that I needed to cut it in a major way--I don't know why I can never figure that out on my own. Once it hit me I was able to revise a full draft of the poem in a day--for me that's really fast. I'm not quite satisfied, but I feel like I'm almost there. In a way, I don't want to finish this poem, because I've made all these notes on a new poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Jackalope," which I know is stupid, but I just can't resist.

Alison
:: Alison 2/10/2004 09:31:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Monday, February 09, 2004 ::
Hey Alison,
Sorry I couldn't get to the poem this weekend--the usual. Anyway, I like the new version of this poem. It seems tighter and stronger than the version I saw last time. I especially like "fevers on my soul," "six-in-the-morning-voice," and "tracks blurring." Really good lines, and they sound exactly like I would imagine this guy talks--lyrical but realistic. My only problems come in the first few lines. It's good, but the part between "itch" and "music she makes" throws me off somehow. Maybe it's the "and muzzle" when I keep wanting to read it as "to muzzle." Not sure. Nitpicky, I know, but a comma after "she makes" might also clear things up a bit for me. Otherwise, I like it a lot.

Rob

:: Rob 2/09/2004 01:58:00 PM [+] ::
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:: Friday, February 06, 2004 ::
Sean--

Thanks for the welcome. Things here are great--Mardi Gras starts next week, and that's always fun. You don't have to air out the room or hide the mags just because I'm here.

So here's a poem. Alison


Jackalope, Farewell

When Jess dresses skimpy for bed,
I hear wolves calling. They make me itch
and muzzle the music she makes
begging me to sell the glitter boat
and put the money on a minivan.
By the time she starts dropping hints
about her mama’s health gone bad,
I’m sniffing for blood on the air
and ready to chew off a foot.
I’m supposed to say it’s fine,
But instead it fevers on my soul—
the thought of her mother
stirring the pot with salt cooking
and her six-in-the-morning voice. No doubt
I ought to volunteer my den
as an extra room for an infant
or an invalid. I should tear the antlers down
and dump the trophy fish at sea.
As for the jackalope, I don’t know how
to make him disappear. Stuffed in a killer pose,
horns branched wide as a wishbone,
he reigns from the cedar mantle.
Snowshoes pace behind him
waiting for ice. I dream of following,
of my tracks blurring as they fill with snow
that when you breathe it tastes like fire.
But if my beer can were a crystal ball
I’d only see myself in it, going nowhere,
a mad dog chained just tight enough
to keep the mailman safe

:: Alison 2/06/2004 10:02:00 AM [+] ::
...
Dang, now we have to pick up all the Bud cans and open a window. And put away those magazines. And yes, did Rob tell you? You have to post all the poems. We just talk about them. Looking forward to it. --Really excited to have you here. Hope all are well?
:: Sean 2/06/2004 04:56:00 AM [+] ::
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:: Thursday, February 05, 2004 ::
Hey guys--

Rob just sent me an invitation to this spot. I'm happy to blog with you guys as long as you don't mind someone who is new at this. Rob said I have to post a poem?

Alison
:: Alison 2/05/2004 12:22:00 PM [+] ::
...
Josh is such a dick. I'm sorry I ever invited him. Ass. Anyway, hell yes, bring that southern cracker on in here. I think it's a great idea. Have you talked to her about it? Make her put a poem up. She's so cool. You all are. Hell, I am. We're so cool. But sometimes we're jerks. I know I am. I know you two are, but I'm not sure about Alison. We'll soon find out. Signed, Jerk.
:: Sean 2/05/2004 05:14:00 AM [+] ::
...
:: Wednesday, February 04, 2004 ::
I doubt it although Alison is the delicate-natured type, easily offended and all.
:: Rob 2/04/2004 09:17:00 AM [+] ::
...
:: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 ::
That sounds like a great idea, but does this mean we have to stop swearing?

Paul
:: Paul 2/03/2004 01:24:00 PM [+] ::
...
:: Monday, February 02, 2004 ::
Boys,
I've got a proposition for you. Since we've lost our Josh, at least for the time being, how would you feel about asking Alison to join our little group?

Rob
:: Rob 2/02/2004 03:13:00 PM [+] ::
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