AT THE CLOTHES LINE

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AT THE CLOTHES LINE

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:13 pm

I'm thinking that two items in this poem may need to be deleted:  sailing away together and wash and hang his clothes.  Given the apparent age of the persona going for a drive or soda might be better...  And anything else that grabs your eye... All help appreciated.  Couple of publishers have shown interest like maybe I'm on to something with this poem.  Your thoughts?  Dewell

AT THE CLOTHES LINE

Sheets and table cloths on the outside,
pants and shirts on the other side,
undies on the middle line
so folks can't see.... Mama always says.

Oh, there's that new neighbor boy
washing the family car.  Wonder if
he sees me.  I'll drop a clothes pin
or two so I can get a better look.

He is watching me... must be...
He's washed the same side three times.
Wind's billowing sheets like a spinnaker,
me and him sailing away together.

He's whistling the same hymn I'm humming:
"Wherever thou leadeth I will follow."
I could wash and hang his clothes.
Oops, dropped another pin.

Mama says I'm too flirty; trouble ahead.
But she doesn't remember what its like
having an older boy looking at you
like that and wanting him to talk to you.

If only boys could talk...
Just wait until next year when I turn
15, bet all the boys will be looking
and maybe talking...

Dewell H. Byrd

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Undies in the middle--yep, that's how we did it

Post  Dennis 20 on Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:13 am

Dewell,  Good picture here. I think you strayed from your theme when you went passed,"He washed the same side three times."  It seems you left the present and went into dreamland. I think there is more to be said from the clothes line. 

From the "Mama said" part through the rest of the poem it seems you are telling us what you want us to think. We can draw that conclusion with out verbal prompt.

Dennis 20
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Re: AT THE CLOTHES LINE

Post  Karen on Sat Aug 01, 2015 7:05 pm

Two bits of housekeeping:  "tablecloths" without a space in the first line; "it's" rather than "its" in the next to last stanza.

That being said, I am in favor of cutting the next to last stanza.  We know she's flirty!

Sailing away together and thinking about washing his clothes seem reasonable, considering the old-fashioned scene, and the two teenagers whistling and humming a hymn.

I am impressed to hear your voice so convincingly female.  And a 14-year-old female, at that.

I particularly like "If only boys could talk".
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I too am surprised that you wrote so well from the female perspective!

Post  Pat on Sun Aug 02, 2015 6:05 pm

I guess we all hung the undies inside and between sheets and tablecloths.  Part of the culture, now passing.     What I notice is that these two are coming of age.  Boys notice, but don't approach or talk.   Girls can't shut up!  Always talking.   So that never changes with the times.   I like that.  Many people our ages will connect with the poem.  It's shy, reverent, problem-solving, funny.  You do not need the stanza about Mama.   You are showing it.   Keep the line about maybe talking.   Until boys learn to talk, it's a lot of guess work on both sides.   I agree with Karen and Dennis pretty much. 

I'm okay with a little daydreaming.  Part of the age. 

The only thought I had:   Of it all, he does not approach and has nothing to say;  and my mind would not stop chattering.  But really, they are resolving the problem:  she hums and he sings or however that went.   Same song.  Same values.  Nice time in our world. 

Nice memory. . . . of being that shy, that innocent, that nervous.   : )

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Start with the simile

Post  tsukany on Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:23 am

Dewell

What if you start with the simile that you want to cut?  

This current version seems like more of a story than a poem.  I remember the first time reading this poem, I wasn't sure of the gender of the persona.  That was attractive to me.  Toward the end of the poem, you stopped trusting me and told me "her" gender and age.  That made it into a cute story for me.  I wanted you to continue the imaginative/fantasy voyage of the sheets turning into the sails of/on a romantic journey.

Wonderful story!  I want to live it again and again.

Todd
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