The Listener – Georgina (Norie). Possible SST4 piece, feedback appreciated :)

27 Jan

Her name was Mandy

She knew everything about me

We’d meet every week

And I could tell she would always rush to our sessions

Because her cheeks were always flushed

She wore silver trainers and jeans

Sometimes leggings, and once, a pair of Uggs

She always carried a plastic H&M bag with papers in

And the three lines on her forehead never looked shallow

She didn’t give her last name but, I figured it would change anyway

Because she turned up one Wednesday with an engagement ring

I was happy for her but couldn’t say anything

Mandy was The Listener

And when I told her the current was gripping at my ankles

She didn’t offer her arm, but gave me a tissue instead

She wasn’t being cruel I realised, it’s just that sometimes

You need to save yourself

And that’s what she was there to help with

Mandy heard me scream for a mother like a man screams for God

Just before losing his faith

And I saw her eyes redden, tears bulge but never spill

She wasn’t allowed to

But she was screaming with me

Truth is, The Listener became The Learner

Hearing a daughter say that feelings should never be hidden

Because hiding isn’t protection

And not admitting to being scared is confusing

Mandy would be a mother one day

I could hear that in the shake of her voice when she asked:

“what do you want your mum to say?”

And when I replied, her gaze didn’t flicker,

Said that I wanted her to tell me how she was and to just

Let me hold her.

A silence came after that.

By the end,

Mandy had witnessed me survive

We hugged. I thanked her.

We cried together for the first time.

And I walked out of the room feeling ready,

Closed the door slowly.

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One Response to “The Listener – Georgina (Norie). Possible SST4 piece, feedback appreciated :)”

  1. mouthypoets February 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

    Hey Geeg,

    I am really glad you have got something up here! Thanks for taking the time out to do so, I know you have a lot on!

    LOVE
    -The specificity; “silver trainers and jeans”, “a plastic H&M bag with papers,”
    -The way the text is explaining Mandy but really also explaining the narrator e.g. “Sometimes leggings, and once, a pair of Uggs” -> the way you have written this says as much about Mandy as it does about the narrator. Great!

    “Mandy heard me scream for a mother like a man screams for God”
    …Beautiful

    -“tears bulge”: great verb.

    -Great ending, I like the use of a specific image. Not sure you need the penultimate line. It TELLS too much, maybe if you change the verb or description in the last line you could infer the current penultimate line; “I guided the door to a close,”Let the door follow me”… some elaboration on that line will say everything you want to, I am sure.

    QUESTIONS
    -What thought are you putting into your rhymes and line breaks in this poem? What is there purpose. Drawing my attention to a cheap rhymes such as Mandy/Me/Week, makes me feel like you have a purpose, but I am not sure what it is? If you haven’t given too much thought to it, hopefully my suggestions will help you do so.

    -Why do you need to tell me “Mandy was The Listener,” why don’t you show me? What did you tell her, and how did she respond? What did she do with her face, her eyes, her voice? Draw a picture of Mandy that could not apply to anyone else within the context of hen she listens – just like you do when you talk about her HnM bag etc. Do you feel this would be something emotionally challenging to do? Because it feels a bit like you are avoiding the actual events of when and how she listened to you? Or are you avoiding those things for a reason? I feel like this section should be a lot longer and should show me an example of what you actually mean…

    “And when I told her the current was gripping at my ankles

    She didn’t offer her arm, but gave me a tissue instead

    She wasn’t being cruel I realised, it’s just that sometimes

    And when I told her the current was gripping at my ankles

    She didn’t offer her arm, but gave me a tissue instead

    She wasn’t being cruel I realised, it’s just that sometimes”

    -You avoid this again when you say “I replied”… you don’t need to say what you said, but you need to elude to something e.g. “I emptied the contents of my rucksack onto her lap.” or “I told her I set fire to the family wardrobe yesterday”… or something! There needs to be a back and forth between your acts and hers.

    SUGGESTIONS
    -Give this poem form, because at the moment it feels like your natural rhythm is leading the piece and I would like to feel like you have more control over the content. How about 4 line stanza’s, and each line needs 8-12 syllables? (If the syllable thing feels like too much, how about trying lines of a similar length?

    -I think the poem should start on the line…
    “I could tell she would always rush to our sessions”
    Because the first lines you currently have are telling what the rest of your poem shows so beautifully!

    -Look at the verbs in your poem, the verbs give a poem movement and dictate the style of that movement. “rush” feels weak in the line above, particularly with “always” before it, I push “rush” in a thesaurus and came up with some alternatives that dramatically change the movement of the poem…

    “I knew she dashed to our sessions”
    “I knew she ran to our sessions”
    “I knew she hurried to our sessions”

    -You may decide that rush is the movement you want, but I want you to try all your options to make sure you choose the correct one to fulfil, what you feel, is the purpose of your poem. Some other verbs/actions I would like you to play with are; wore, “never looked shallow,” “didn’t give,” “figured it would change,” ” wasn’t allowed,” “screams,”

    -Redundancies… have you done this exercise? https://mouthypoets.wordpress.com/2012/04/
    …I think it would help you edit your redundancies out of this poem. And one word to look out for is “always”, you use it a lot without purpose.

    I hope this was helpful!

    Debris

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