While Driving Through Chinatown, 2018

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While Driving Through Chinatown, 2018

poemsofplace
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Joined: December 25th, 2017, 2:05 pm

January 28th, 2018, 3:58 pm #1

While Driving Through Chinatown, 2018
            with a line from James Wright
 
I don’t know what to do with the spoiled
world.   How the ragged mark of progress

is not skyline but ruin.  How can I see
the world as a blossom when there are

humans who have pushed out
of the ground as something unnammable.

What chains a child to an iron cot?
What ghetto believes love

comes in the form of starvation.  If we are
hungry enough we may know it.  If our eyes

turn inward to a vault of darkness
and there is no good hand to draw us out.

Yesterday a man lay face down in the street
drinking the stream of water from the concrete

a shopkeeper had washed away.   I wanted to
kneel down and offer him my hands to drink from.

I wanted to know how a man’s thirst could cause
him not to ask but to draw instead

from the waste that ran to his lips.
There is a moment when you stop believing.

I kept driving.  The man prone
within me.  What we thirst for flames into

daylight at the end
of the 3rd street tunnel.
Last edited by poemsofplace on February 3rd, 2018, 2:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Osel
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Joined: June 20th, 2007, 3:33 am

January 28th, 2018, 11:35 pm #2

i love the gentleness implicit in the first line’s line break and that enjambment.. 
have to come back and delve into the rest, but think I get it.,and feel that you have followed through. .. . just wanted to let you know that, 
it is about all I can, handle to be honest, but I do not think I am pussy-footing. 
instead, i might be very 
clear-eyed. 
tufts of ear pointed, to off world satellites... etc. 😁 hssssiiieeeeeeeee. basically, an empowered hssst. 
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churinga
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Joined: May 22nd, 2016, 8:06 pm

January 29th, 2018, 5:00 pm #3

I liked it but felt it was a bit too spelt out, too over explained.  The man drinking water from the pavement is a graphic scene although again don't over explain it. Capture the moment in an image the reader can then use to generate their own feelings.  
Using news reports felt very second hand to me and I would drop it.  The beginning and ending were strong.  I think it needs editing down to be more essential. 
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poemsofplace
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Joined: December 25th, 2017, 2:05 pm

January 30th, 2018, 6:39 pm #4

Osel wrote: i love the gentleness implicit in the first line’s line break and that enjambment.. 
have to come back and delve into the rest, but think I get it.,and feel that you have followed through. .. . just wanted to let you know that, 
it is about all I can, handle to be honest, but I do not think I am pussy-footing. 
instead, i might be very 
clear-eyed. 
tufts of ear pointed, to off world satellites... etc. 😁 hssssiiieeeeeeeee. basically, an empowered hssst. 
Thanks Osel.  I can see by your response there maybe some opaque areas.  Always difficult to know how much lands in the reader!  I'm glad you found some merit here.  I hope to flesh the piece out to something worthy. 
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poemsofplace
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Joined: December 25th, 2017, 2:05 pm

January 30th, 2018, 6:40 pm #5

churinga wrote: I liked it but felt it was a bit too spelt out, too over explained.  The man drinking water from the pavement is a graphic scene although again don't over explain it. Capture the moment in an image the reader can then use to generate their own feelings.  
Using news reports felt very second hand to me and I would drop it.  The beginning and ending were strong.  I think it needs editing down to be more essential. 
That's always the challenge for me - show v. tell.  I'm not a narrative writer tending more toward lyrical abstraction.  Really appreciate your close look and letting me know what works for you.  It is helpful!
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Gracy
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Gracy
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Joined: April 9th, 2016, 8:12 pm

February 20th, 2018, 3:11 pm #6

Really enjoyed this one! Maybe it could be pared down a little, but it's OK for me. You've already received suggestions.
It sounds so real... As to show-versus-tell, famous poets do a lot of telling. One cant avoid telling if your poem contains a tale. Yours doesn't, so perhaps you have a small problem there...dunno.
Best, Gracy
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poemsofplace
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Joined: December 25th, 2017, 2:05 pm

February 23rd, 2018, 1:45 pm #7

Thanks Gracy!   It may be the title needs to do more.  I wrote this after reading about the parents who kept their children chained to their cots.  It was a dark day.  I think I need a bit more distance to see what the driving force of the poem is and streamline it a bit more.  I appreciate your reading and thoughts.  It's always hard to know when a poem has arrived in the reader.
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Gracy
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Gracy
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Joined: April 9th, 2016, 8:12 pm

February 25th, 2018, 5:34 pm #8

Now that you mention it, I also read about those children tied to their cots...ghastly, just to think about it, let alone write a poem with those thoughts in mind.
But it's what we have, a dark world that lays a blanket over all the beauty and kindness that's actually around.

I like "the man prone within me"... 

The questioning tone all through is what I relate to. I'm always wavering in between reality and the wonderful things that are all over the planet...good people caught in disastrous wars, famines, greed.Why?

Enjoyed. Gracy
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