SS10 Draft Jacob

17 Dec

Petals of ash flicker
in the air
disturbed from an almost
burnt out fire,
that he’s kicked apart
so the pieces glow
by themselves
until their quiet.

She’s quiet staring at pieces
of night caught by an early
sun. The morning pulls
a shadow from his frame
and she’s become unsure
of how to act with him.

He passes her a can.
She pulls it open,
thinking that the plunge
of the metal pull ring
is like that of a diver
practising alone at night.

She passes back
a half drunk can
and says “shall we speak.”

He swigs, gulping
down to the ebbs,
then flicks
the last swells
onto the ash and embers
So it erupts in a hiss.
He turns to her and says
“about what”

Her tongue finds
fur on her teeth
grown from rum
And red stripes,
she dredges at it
with her nail,
and say’s nothing
in response.

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3 Responses to “SS10 Draft Jacob”

  1. MouthyPoets December 23, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    Hi Jacob
    For me poetry allows us to pause, zoom in onto something that happened- a minute of the day, or a thought and amplify and magnify and analyse it until it is epic- the is what you have done. This piece is like a scene in a film, i can fell the awkwardness between the characters and the fading fire.. I though the line about the fur on her teeth is magic…so what can i offer in terms of constructive feedback… let me think and get back to you! – Ioney

  2. MouthyPoets December 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Hi Jacob

    This is lovely writing.

    There’s some wonderful lines here, it really conjures up a mood and sense of a place.

    You use just a few rhymes / half rhymes and they jarred a bit for me as I felt the images are so strong they can stand alone and don’t need rhymes holding them together. I feel that the use of rhyme and the odd more self-conscious device (e.g repetition of ‘quiet’ in 1st and 2nd stanzas detracted a bit from the strength of narrative and image. Having said so, I think the half rhymes could work if you use longer lines… so that the rhymes are embedded within the line rather than ‘end rhymes’.

    I love “The morning pulls a shadow from his frame and she’s become unsure of how to act with him” – This is a truly stunning line. I would consider starting the poem with it, as it puts us right into the story of the two characters, and into the ‘frame’ of the poem.

    In longer lines this might become:

    The morning pulls a shadow
    from his frame and she’s unsure
    how to act with him

    (I cut ‘become’ and ‘of’ as not sure they are needed?)

    The above are still short lines, which maybe helps to illustrate her hesitation….But could be even longer lines…

    The morning pulls a shadow from his frame
    and she’s unsure how to act with him.

    Although it’s good to find a line break that helps illustrate the idea of pulling the shadow from frame – an image that pulls us from one line to the next… this version makes a great couplet…. image followed by response to image… it makes the writing more impressive to see it in this kind of length…

    As well as helping you to disguise the half rhymes, the sense of cutting it up that the line breaks offer here doesn’t seem in keeping with the narrative flow of the poem. A line is kind of judged on its own terms. Here I’m not convinced that the short lines reflect the content of the poem and are necessary to guide the reader through, it means you have quite a lot of lines that are not strong in themselves, e.g ‘the last swells’ ‘burnt out fire’ ‘by themselves’ etc. However, putting your images alongside each other will allow your strong lines to become more visible.

    e.g:

    He passes her a can. She pulls it open,
    thinking that the plunge of the metal ring pull
    is a diver practising alone at night

    (sorry did a bit of editing on the fly there – I reckon you don’t need ‘is like that of’ – it’s clunky. )

    I quite like this use of line break as it places the action of ‘He’ and ‘She’ together on one line. But what I’ve done doesn’t use line breaks to illustrate the diver jumping off – really you want that jump to happen across line breaks, which you achieve quite well with breaking after ‘plunge’…

    Looking at it closer I also notice you repeat the word ‘pull’… maybe that can be avoided. One of the ‘pulls’ could be replaced, or just deleted …Maybe ‘thinking’ can be avoided… you could strip it down to the core image..

    so it could be…

    He passes her a can. She pulls it open, the plunge
    of the the metal ring is a diver practising
    alone at night.

    This looks a bit unconventional, with the short line at the end of the stanza ‘alone at night’… but I like it as the shortness of the line accentuates the solitariness, which gives us that sense that the girl is alone in the night too, alone yet next to him…

    Let’s see if a similar kind of form might work elsewhere:

    He swigs, gulping down to the ebbs, then flicks
    the last swells onto the ash and embers.
    It erupts in a hiss. He turns to her and says:
    “about what?”

    I like that in your version you break after ‘ebbs’ ‘flicks’ and ‘swells’. Using longer lines means that you lose some of those good choices, but it keeps ‘flicks’. & I love the internal rhyme achieved by having ‘swigs’ and ‘flicks’ on the same line… I’ve deleted ‘So’ [it erupts in a hiss] and replaced with a sentence break. I think this is tighter, makes a better line beginning and also gives that sense of a sudden eruption. This example also provides a short final line to the stanza, so maybe that’s a form that suits the poem…

    I would consider cutting two words ‘in response’…. I think ending with ‘and says nothing’ [no apostrophe on ‘says’ btw] makes a strong ending.

    I know I’ve focused on lineation… which might seem irrelevant if it’s a poem to be performed rather than published… but I suspect you might be interested in both?
    I find that by playing with line breaks it also becomes clear where the poem can be tightened up and how the structure might be made to serve the poem best. – -The line breaks are part of the performance of the poem in a way, part of the poem’s identity…

    Hope this makes some sense! Sorry it’s a bit long winded.

    Hannah

  3. MouthyPoets January 5, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Hi Jacob

    LOVE
    -‘He passes her a can.
    She pulls it open,
    thinking that the plunge
    of the metal pull ring
    is like that of a diver
    practising alone at night.’ … What a perfect image! Cannot explain how much I love this, had to stop Anne working so I could read it to her in t he office.
    -Really nice use of space dialogue with description, really enjoyable strung out moment and a real accurate description of how we experience those difficult/intense/important/unsaid moments with people no matter how fleeting.
    -I like the way you animate things – ‘Her tongue finds
    fur on her teeth’ … like her tongue is surprised, and often it is!

    SUGGESTIONS

    1.REDUNDANCIES & 2. NOT SURE WHAT IS HAPPENING?
    -I often found I was getting lost in the amount of words you were using and also the order in which you were giving me the images. I also struggled with not having any people to see initially. I have played around with 2 things in my example below. 1. The order of the images and stanza’s to try and make it clearer and 2. Tightening up your language as I think somethings you are using like 20% more words than you need to…

    He passes a can.
    She pulls it open,
    thinking the plunge
    of metal pull ring is a diver
    practising alone at night.

    She passes back
    a half drunk can
    says “shall we speak.”

    Petals of ash flicker
    from fire he’s kicked apart
    till the pieces glow
    and quiet themselves.

    He swigs the ebbs,
    then flicks the last swells
    onto the ash and it erupts.
    He turns to her
    says “about what?”

    She stares at pieces
    of night caught by early
    sun. The morning pulls
    a shadow from his frame.
    She’s become unsure
    of how to act.

    Her tongue finds
    rum & Red Stripe
    grown fur on teeth,
    she dredges at it
    with her nail,
    say’s nothing
    in response.

    3. I am unsure of the last line… can you show me she says nothing rather than telling me?

    Really love the pace and intensity of this piece, such a beautifully cut moment and I really enjoyed hearing you read it. Well done!
    Debris

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