Edward’s Second Draft – Scratch Show. Feedback please

30 Jun

Firstly, my apologies it has taken me so long to upload an actual full draft onto here. It now reads at about 4mins.

I’d greatly appreciate it if people could answer;
Does this make sense?/What do you think this is about? I worry that the nonsensical nature of the piece obscures its meaning.
Does this read as a poem, or a short story?
And of course, any other feedback people wish to give is hugely welcomed!

 

I tripped and fell
down the Daily Mail rabbit hole,
sucked in by its gravity to a land of insanity.
hitting my head on branches of bigot-trees
– the branches snapping:
“Go back to where you came from!”
“You don’t belong here!”
Snagging and scratching and splintering
and trying to pull me into them.
Down, down, down, I fell through the dirt
and span round endlessly like a washing machine tripping on ecstasy,
seeing pictures of lost girls before me
wondering where they could be;
whether victims of paedophile celebrities
or just another kid left home at sixteen.
Then, finally: I hit rock bottom.

Dazed and confused,
battered and bruised,
I regained consciousness to see
a can of Red Stripe wearing a ruddy bow-tie, commanding me to drink its insides
– so, happily, I obliged.
But, with every gulp: ink ran down the walls,
forming warnings of a binge drinking Britain
– could this poison be our demise?
Are children really puppeteered by cans of beer
spurring them on to fight and fuck
metamorphosing them into thieves and crooks
intent on getting each other knocked up?
Can a 500ml can really be the cause of the flaws of a whole generation of our nation?
Or is this simply another scapegoat for our own human nature?

As I pondered and wondered and chundered
my belly rumbled and thundered,
so the room started shaking from my stomach’s earthquaking
and a table revealed itself from under the umbra,
proudly holding aloft the most magnificent cake you ever saw!
With all the colours of a kaleidoscopic rainbow,
chocolate, cheese, strawberries
and ‘Eat me’ written in Skittles calligraphy.
Mouthful after mouthful I shovelled it down
– but it had been laced by some serpentine spite,
as, this time, the ink gushed forth from my eyes,
hissing of “obesity!” and “gluttony!” as it filled every part of me.
Unable to breathe and uncontrollably the ink kept transforming me:
too fat, too thin, too tall, too small, too black, too white – all right!
I lay emaciated on the floor with the remnants of ink dribbling down my chin
and as I asked myself what crazy world this could be;
I received an invitation to the Mad Hatter’s UKIP Party.

At the head of this party sat a pompous toad pouring beer down his ears
To a rapturous applause from all his peers,
whilst the snakes and rats and flabby cats wondered why they hadn’t thought of doing that!
So I watched, astounded, as all around grabbed their drinks and poured them down
and I wondered if there was any sense at all to be found here.
Then I discovered a dormant mouse, oblivious to the chaos all around.
Apparently, his name was Gove, and had decided to be completely comatosed
Until, somehow, his educational system sorted itself out.
This seemed particularly queer to me and I told them so
When all went quiet and turned to the toad
Who belched at me in a solemn tone:
“You will find nothing queer around here.
Go back to from whence you came,
and never come back to our land again!”
When all of a sudden a mob came thundering through,
with pitchforks and lit torches to aid their coup,
which I initially thought was meant for me
until I saw their banners picturing their Queen
accompanied by them chanting like an incantation:
“Off with her head! Off with her head!”
So I ran in front to try and find
Her Majesty, to warn her of this regicide.

But what I found was not a palace by any leap of the mind,
it was a pale grey council house perched upon a grassy mound,
inside: a starving skeleton sat on her throne
watching the crumbling decadence of her humble home.
As the men outside shout and scream like Chimpanzees,
bellowing as they bare their teeth:
“Burn the witch sat on benefits!”
“Why should we work and slave whilst she gets paid
to sit and do nothing but decay?”
The walls reverberate and the windows crack
as her penurious palace starts to collapse.
Though the Queen simply sits as her chandelier falls
like precipitate, like the daggers of the Daily Mail,
down, down, down towards her head.
The door flies off its hinges as the riot erupts,
desperate to burn the witch, to get some money from the uptight bitch.
But – there she sits:
With a ruby red heart shape upon her pate,
the glass flew straight through before it hit the ground,
and so even in death she retains her jewels.

Slowly, I grew back to normal size,
and looked on all below with incredulous eyes,
dwelling on it like an obscene dream;
the prejudice, politics and benefits Queen
– but this is a world many bring into their home,
not somewhere hidden down the rabbit hole.

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3 Responses to “Edward’s Second Draft – Scratch Show. Feedback please”

  1. Shawn L. Bird June 30, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    You’ve got so really clever rhymes and beautifully turned phrases here.

    What’s your audience for this piece?
    It comes off being preachy, which may be what you want, but I wonder if descriptions without condemnations would be more powerful? We often block lectures. If the reader comes to his/her own conclusions from the pictures you’ve painted, he remembers more of your point.

    So my thought is, “Don’t be so obvious about what your message is.” Don’t tell them what to think. Show them what you see through the rabbit hole and let them figure out that you’re commenting on contemporary society and question what they see.

    Best of luck with it.

  2. mouthypoets July 1, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Hi Ed,

    Great to see a piece from you for the first time – very exciting! I honestly, could not stop reading it. Although I have written a lot below, it is really fine tuning stuff I am going into, this piece is 85% there to me. It is about shaping it a bit and then get memorising it becuase seeing this performed is going to be outstanding!

    LOVE
    -Honestly, I just really enjoyed reading this, I think it is a great metaphor and a funny and compelling story well written.
    -Love the idea of a bigot tree… wasn’t sure if it was talking or not… Have explored that a little in my suggestions.
    -I like how you are using the knowledge of both the Daily Mail and Alice and Wonderland to your advantage and it is giving you space to explore a new area of poetry inbetween.
    -The can of redstripe -WOW I BLOODY LOVE THIS. The whole interaction with it is great and so innovative and unexpected. Fantastic. In fact I love that whole stanza, really stand out and strong for me. Well done, felt like you really hit your rhythm there.
    -As I pondered and wondered and chundered… hilarious, love it. When using such heavy rhyme it is important to take it somewhere unexpected to keep people listening and engaged and you really did this here.
    -THE MAD HATTERS UKIP PARTY -AMAZING.
    -The image of the toad is great. I am not sure you need to describe his as pompous, you are already showing me enough, you also don’t need to tell me your astounded, it is astounding enough an image already!
    -Wow, the mouse as Gove, BLOODY BRILLIANT.
    -I love how you pull the story into a cyclical structure with the “down down” of the chandelier this is very clever and effective.
    -I like the ending – great.

    QUESTIONS
    -We pitch this show at 12a so we are going to have to work out what we can replace the word f*** with?

    -The one bit of narrative where you lost me is when the table appeared… I don’t know what an umbra is and I was really confused as to why a cake was there? What is actually happening and what is the purpose of this piece of the story because it felt like maybe you were just getting a bit caught up in rhyme and maybe there is room to cut this pit? My suggestions below might be able to help you do that… Maybe he could simply find a cake and be hungry and eat it rather than it being a long drawn out discovery. These things happen suddenly in stories like Alice, so cut all the rhyme and just make it appear.

    -“Told them so” doesn’t seem strong enough, where did the education system come from, and why have you decided to tell them about it? Seems like this turning point in the story is a bit weak because you have stepped out too far from the narrative and are talking about you Ed being annoying at Gove… you need to stay in the story and find a reason for the character to want to speak out against the party – this can then metaphorically stand for what you think of the education system without mentioning it.

    -Not sure I understand what happened in terms of her dying by keeping her jewels, this wasn’t clear to me?

    SUGGESTIONS
    1. The short story/poem question, I can see where you are coming from with this as it is such a clear narrative but as someone who writes narrative poetry I feel the way you are using line breaks and sound pushes it towards poetry for me. You could push the ‘poetry side’ by going through it line and trimming it down to it’s most concise and using a thesaurus to make sure you are using the best and most musically sounding words, for example:

    I tripped down the Daily Mail rabbit hole,
    sucked in by gravity to a land of insanity.
    Hitting head on branches of bigot-trees

    and when they snap, the echo shouts back:
    “Go home to where you came from!”
    “You don’t belong here!”

    Snag. Scratch. Splinter.
    Down through the dirt.
    A washing machine tripping ecstasy.

    -I think doing these exercises here will help you particularly with the concision part of this challenge https://mouthypoets.wordpress.com/2012/04/28/3-editing-exercises-for-stronger-poetry-2/
    -As (I hope) you can see some pretty small changes help the poetic rhythm overall and also clarity and purify each image/movement.

    2. Also, of the back of the suggestion above I want to challenge you to edit this poem into 3 line stanza’s, all lines of a similar line length. If you look at each stanza as a unit of the narrative i.e. stanza one you fall down the hole, stanza two, we realise the trees talk and hear what they say, stanza 3… etc. I think this will help you clarify any slight holes in the narrative as it has prompted me to start doing so for you above.

    3. I want to challenge a couple clichés in the piece. In poetry we see clichés as chewing gum that has been chewed by 1000’s of people before us – there is no flavour left. No one knows what they mean any more and it is our job to refresh these images and conjure up something new and innovative. Furthermore, you have shown in this amazing piece that you are capable of thinking up way more interesting things! You deserve more flavour. the link I put in suggestion one should also give you some tools to do this.

    The clichés in this piece I want to challenge are; rock bottom, dazed and confused, battered and bruised, belly rumbled, stomach’s earthquaking, humble home, kaleidoscope rainbow (I would actually say this is more of a redundancy because a kaleidoscope and rainbow are really too similar to the same thing especially when you are essentially just saying multi-coloured and they are both equally multi-coloured… on this note watch out for redundancies because you fall into them quiet a bit, again the exercise I linked you to should teach you more about this).

    PERFORMANCE
    -This could be hilarious, I feel like I want you to be a mad-hatter character brain-washed by the dailymail… not sure if that is what you had in mind? But the words are really funny and I would love to see you push that! What do you think of that idea?
    -I also can year the first few lines read with a really load reverb on the mic so we can hear you falling down the hole… I feel this would also add to the comedy!

    I hope this is helpful, know this is the first feedback you have got from me so let me know if any of it doesn’t make sense or isn’t helpful!
    Debris

  3. Ruth July 1, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    Hi I’m by no means a literary expert but heres my feedback 🙂
    Firstly, I love it!
    Only a couple of points that I’d query:
    ‘Umbra’ not sure how many people would know it means shadow, I think ‘shadows’ may work just as well, although you would loose the alliteration.
    I didn’t understand the last few lines of the 5th paragraph (queen of hearts dying) it reads as if there were a line missing, a piece to the puzzle?
    In answer to your questions:
    It reads as a piece of poetry, but also carries you along like a short story would, a good combination.
    As for understanding, there are clearly 2 themes running through the piece, both of which are clear but well combined, and as such you don’t loose the meaning. The Alice in Wonderland theme means the non sensical approach makes sense!

    Make sure you post a recording of the final piece, would love to see it 🙂

    Ruth

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