Absent – Raph/Hayley SS5 updated

24 May

I’ve colour coded who says what Red for Hayley, Blue for Raph, Black for both. Thanks!

 

You said you and your dad look alike

Well, apparently me and mine sound alike

so if I make a living from my words

does that mean I’m making money from a voice I’ve never heard?

 

Hmm cleverly observed

Because some things are inherent but most things we have learned

and we descend from these as bees and birds

so if it wasn’t for them you’d be less than miniscule, all them months of baby dribble and not even your attempts to utter simple syllables would’ve occurred.

 

On that basis I guess some gratitude has been earned

 

But don’t you think years of silence is less than we deserve?

 

Yeah, and you’re right, silence does speak louder than words

because I don’t think the ‘I miss you messages’

make up for the past 20 years of missed birthdays and Christmases

 

I understand life comes with challenges but that’s no excuse to abandon kids

 

My first day of school dressed in green and yellow

I looked for him

but only saw my lonely reflection in my freshly polished shoes

so I scuffed them in the dirt told myself stop looking for clues

but they kept finding me cause some things we can’t choose

 

And the biggest day of his life

When he gathered the whole family, my 3 brothers and 3 sisters to witness him marry his wife

I found the pictures on the wall but didn’t get the invite

Is this out of love and protection or purely out of spite?

 

And their only explanation is we’ll understand in time

like when I found the picture of his daughter and her face matched mine

But if I’m the reflection of a family that I’ve never known,

how am I to know which face is my own?

 

And how am I supposed to grow to the extent a strong tree would

when he resents the seed he has sewn?

 

Explanations are only a dressing to cover the bruise

time is trying to sooth

it’d take just a thousand needles and pins

each the size of a javelin to close the wounds

 

You can close the wounds, it’s the scars that remain

and now he holds the blade

that can re-hatch all the pain

cause simple words typed on a page

can send a fragile mind insane

 

But at 6 years old some simple words would’ve made my day

I thought I’d wait only until the Simpsons finished because it’s my bed time at 8

16 years have passed before me and he’s reassuring words never came

I know boys are supposed to be brave

but we’re all just human and, in that vein, fragile in every way

 

I don’t know what keeps me sane but something keeps on saying Raph/Hayley just keep on preying

 

When I was 6 years old

he’d already been replaced

and I couldn’t even remember his face

from then on I didn’t belong in any place

I wanted my father to be my hero

I longed for those 3 words but they always amounted to zero

 

Now his messages flash on my facebook page

telling me it was hard cause he was so far away

But Dad, we don’t live in the stone age

have you never heard of an aeroplane?

Cause I have always been right here

hoping for your face to appear

opening letters and cards with anticipation

but they were never from you so I learned to stop waiting

 

So travel the distance from where I am right here

to the very ends of little white hairs at the peak of my nose

and that’s exactly how far my little innocent dreams now go

I once longed to hear your accent

but now it’s just your actions I read in bold

See I inhaled in hope and waited

for your lips to just breathe hello

 

but silence is a statement so you can keep them closed

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One Response to “Absent – Raph/Hayley SS5 updated”

  1. mouthypoets May 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Hi Raph & Hayley,

    Thank you for getting an update of this up so swift!

    LOVE
    -I love the way you have used rhyme in a nursery-like way to create a sense of irony around the negligence of the parents, it is clever and powerful and performative: make sure you give it the space it deserves when it comes to performance. Some examples of this at it’s best…
    “I understand life comes with challenges but that’s no excuse to abandon kids”

    -I love the truth in this piece and the clear perception of you, the children as reasonable and rational sources of wisdom. I think this line embodies that in a way that is empowering for any other young people experiencing something similar…
    “And their only explanation is we’ll understand in time
    like when I found the picture of his daughter and her face matched mine
    But if I’m the reflection of a family that I’ve never known,
    how am I to know which face is my own?”

    -Great word: “re-hatch”

    -I love the philosophical messages trapped in this specific story – I think everyone can take something from this poem: “cause simple words typed on a page
    can send a fragile mind insane.”

    -Great specificity here…
    “But at 6 years old some simple words would’ve made my day
    I thought I’d wait only until the Simpsons finished because it’s my bed time at 8”

    -I really like how this section builds pace, is there anyway you could say it together?
    “When I was 6 years old
    he’d already been replaced
    and I couldn’t even remember his face
    from then on I didn’t belong in any place”
    -Particularly because there is so much reality and anger and annoyance in the section after that (which I love love love by the way).

    QUESTIONS
    -I don’t understand what this line means, I think sometimes both of you can get so caught up in the music of what you are saying that the actual units of meaning, action or imagery get lost…
    “all them months of baby dribble and not even your attempts to utter simple syllables would’ve occurred.
    On that basis I guess some gratitude has been earned
    But don’t you think years of silence is less than we deserve?”
    AND…
    “And the biggest day of his life
    When he gathered the whole family, my 3 brothers and 3 sisters to witness him marry his wife
    I found the pictures on the wall but didn’t get the invite”

    -I like it when you barrage me with loads of amazing images! I feel like I am bring spoilt. You can often say them with less words than you give me, here is an example…
    “Explanations dress the bruise
    As time attempts to sooth,
    But it would take a javelin sized
    needle or pins to close the wound.”

    -Whenever looking at tightening an image remind yourself – what are you trying to say? Is it important that there are a thousand needles and pins or is it more about the size or the damage rather than the quantity.

    -I don’t really understand this line…
    “I don’t know what keeps me sane but something keeps on saying Raph/Hayley just keep on preying”
    -Why is praying suddenly the saving grace of your sanity? Religion has played no role in the poem before hand but now it is the turning point in the piece? What is the purpose of this line, why do you both say it – what is it doing?

    SUGGESTIONS
    -Since there are two voices, I think you could make more of this in the text. You don’t need to just recite the pieces you wrote. For example, I think the beginning could be a lot stronger like this…

    Raph: Me and my dad look alike.

    Hayley: Well, apparently me and mine sound alike

    Raph: So if you make a living from words

    Hayley: Does that mean I’m making money from a voice I’ve never heard?

    -I feel like sharing the rhyme in places will give you a lot to play with in the performance but also walking in the first person I think makes for a much stronger beginning and also the back and forth really sets the audience up for a truly joint piece. Look through the poem and see if there are other areas were you could have more direct conversation or back and forthing between you.
    -As I mentioned above, I think sometimes you get carried away in your beautiful language (I know a lot of people love this about your writing and performance style and I enjoy it too but it would be good for you to challenge yourselves and learn something new on this one). I think using fixed stanza’s and line lengths could challenge your lines stanza’s to be more concise. E.g…
    My first day of school
    dressed in green and yellow
    I looked for him

    Saw my lonely reflection in my shoes.
    I scuffed them. Told myself stop
    But the clues kept shining at me.

    -Where have you used lots of describing words or ands, thens, buts and other connecting words? Can you make the verbs or nouns stronger (using http://thesaurus.com/) or can you use line breaks and punctuation to make the meaning clearer instead of using extra words? Go through the whole piece and challenge this. Also, when your reading other poets pay attention to how they are using punctuation and line breaks to do this.

    -Some of the ‘conversation’ flurries I think feel too forced, I think you are both strong enough performers to convey that in your bodies and tone for example I think you could cut all of the following lines, “Hmm cleverly observed,” “Yeah, and you’re right,”

    -Cliches/ unoriginal phrasing; “bees and birds,” “silence does speak louder than words,” “missed birthdays and Christmases,” “Is this out of love and protection or purely out of spite?” <- (Cut this one altogether the preceding lines are already saying this in a stronger way), “the seeds he’s sewn,” “pain,” “but we’re all just human and, in that vein, fragile in every way,” “I wanted my father to be my hero // I longed for those 3 words but they always amounted to zero,” “little innocent dreams.”
    (If you are not sure how to tackle these there is guidance here, https://mouthypoets.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/3-editing-exercises-for-stronger-poetry-2/)

    -Beware of cheap rhymes! Don’t use a word or write a line JUST for a rhyme, the word and line need to be strong in their own right, a lot of the clichés above feel like they are there for the purpose of rhyme rather then content.
    -I do love the ending, but as I mentioned to Hayley on Friday I found it hard to understand, could you tighten it up a little using the techniques mentioned above, e.g.

    Raph:
    So travel the distance
    to the white hairs at the peak of my nose

    Both:
    That’s the remainder of my 6/3 year old existence.

    Raph:
    When I once longed to hear your accent.
    But now, I just read your actions in bold.

    Hayley:
    I used to inhale hope.

    Both:
    Wait

    Raph:
    For your lips to breathe hello

    -I cut out the last line cause I don’t really understand it. Obviously you guys need to play with it, it is my version but I want you to see the meaning I am reading in what you have written, it is then for you to fiddle with it with the constant question in your mind – what are we trying to say?

    I really enjoyed reading this and editing it, thanks so much for putting it up hear and (hopefully) listening to me!

    Debris x

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