The Last Friday

The Last Friday is a poetry editing group. Once a month, we post a poem and then offer feedback to the other poems on the Forum. We're a friendly but honest group. We value each other deeply and desire for every poet to be published or become famous.


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Are there too many voices?

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tsukany

Posts : 609
Join date : 2011-05-21

Are there too many voices?

Post  tsukany on Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:35 pm

Adventures in Your Space

Family members and teammates the past 
twelve years.  I remain stationed behind 
the pack mule, with a shovel and wheelbarrow.  

I have mapped the backs of your heads, 
memorized your names emblazoned 
on red-and-white Stoneman Douglas jerseys. 

That one time, I was close enough to you
to translate word from a mass of mumbles.  Stupid.  
Never again.  This mess doesn’t belong to me.

--T.A. Sukany 22 Mar 2018


Last edited by tsukany on Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:36 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Slight revision again)
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Karen

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Join date : 2014-10-25
Age : 64
Location : North Little Rock

Re: Are there too many voices?

Post  Karen on Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:22 am

Todd, I don't know the origin of this poem, but I don't need to know.  

I will take Billy Collins' advice.  I will not attempt to beat a confession out of your poem.  Instead, I'll wave at your name on the shore.

This mess doesn't belong to me.

I want to appropriate that phrase here and now, write my own poem, end with it.

This poem resonates with me.

Pat

Posts : 655
Join date : 2011-09-12

Adventures

Post  Pat on Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:04 pm

I'm all over the place with this.  Maybe it's me tonight. 
General.  This seems jumpy and too much and too many for me.
I need to know where you are or what you are doing.  Just sitting behind people, in a group?
The line I like:  This mess doesn't belong to me.  A good last line.
I'm pretty lost.  Sorry.

Pat

Posts : 655
Join date : 2011-09-12

Wanting you to give me more clues.

Post  Pat on Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:01 pm

With more clues, I wonder if we might be more helpful?  
I was never that good at puzzles.  But my curiosity is high.
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tsukany

Posts : 609
Join date : 2011-05-21

Slight Revision

Post  tsukany on Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:59 am

Pat 

I changed a small detail in the original version.  I will add more if necessary.

TS

Pat

Posts : 655
Join date : 2011-09-12

Okay, I'm messing with it. Hope others will too.

Post  Pat on Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:03 am

This is the Philadelphia Eagles?  We are talking football, not concert.
I'm guessing your family members and teammates follow the Eagles. 
You don't.  You are stuck in a simple world with shovel and wheelbarrow.  : ) Me too.

You push yourself to learn the players by name.  Jerseys help you figure who is who.
Backs of heads (not helmets???).  You are paying attention.  Mapping.  That word can mean a couple of things.

Now we get down to that one time.
A word from a mass of mumbles.
Powerful wakeup word for persona.

Realization happens:  This mess does not belong to me.
Persona saw it up close and it was ugly.

What a bunch of guessing, but there it is.  : )  Hope something in all of this is helpful.
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tsukany

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Join date : 2011-05-21

Philadelphia

Post  tsukany on Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:51 am

The Phil Eagles are white and green.

Todd

Pat

Posts : 655
Join date : 2011-09-12

And who is red and white,

Post  Pat on Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:22 am

other than the Razorbacks?
I don't know teams. 
A HUGE gap in my education!  : )

Dewell H. Byrd

Posts : 367
Join date : 2012-01-05
Age : 87
Location : Central Point, OR

Adventures

Post  Dewell H. Byrd on Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:51 am

I can't find the key.
Sports team? 
Backpacking in the mountains?
Family reunion?

I need more information.
Dewell
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tsukany

Posts : 609
Join date : 2011-05-21

Dewell and Pat

Post  tsukany on Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:33 pm

Still tinkering with the one line, one detail.

Thanks for your help

Todd

Pat

Posts : 655
Join date : 2011-09-12

Interesting. I have a different set of thoughts going. . . .

Post  Pat on Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:53 pm

Now, I'm thinking high school, mass murder
Media took you into this space?
In reality you were in MO which is known for mules.
How were you close enough?  media or school camera?
Am I totally off?
You say translate instead of hear.  Is that what you mean?
Word, not words, word, lowercase. . . . hmmm
Well, you can see where I am from this much.  : )
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tsukany

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Join date : 2011-05-21

Not all poems

Post  tsukany on Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:12 pm

Hi Pat

Not all poems are confessional.  I try to dissuade my students from assuming the persona of the poem and the poet are the same, unless there is hard evidence within the text.  This is my paradigm and my value.  Not right or wrong.  Sad  

Sorry

Todd

Pat

Posts : 655
Join date : 2011-09-12

Right. I know it's the personna.

Post  Pat on Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:48 pm

Sorry if I offended you. 

You chose a dramatic subject. 

The reader.  Well, you never know what a reader will do with a poem, yours or mine.  I think we may have to let them do whatever they do with it, feel or think however they choose, interpret however they do.  I think it's out of our control once it's in their hands.

That's why I was questioning, so I did not misread.
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tsukany

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Join date : 2011-05-21

APOLOGIES

Post  tsukany on Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:37 pm

Pat

I hold no offense.  I hope I did not offend you.  

I was confessing my bias in reading poems:  persona does NOT equal author.  It is my value not everyone's or even correct.  Smile

I NEED the feedback I get on this forum.  I value our critiques.  I want my poems to press that thin line between telling and riddle.  I am virtually the KING of being so far on the riddle side that no one can even see a shoreline. 

I think the power of this forum is honest readers.  You tell me directly what is unclear and how you read it.  It is my task to allow it or cut it off. 

The first two versions couldn't lead you into an interpretation.  The final one can.  That is the power of revision.  (Now whether the poem is worth reading is not the intent of this forum  )

Again, I am sorry if I caused offense.  It is poems like this one where I want to hide as much as possible.  This was quickly rejected by the site to which I sent it.  Smile  I sent them a link to the news article so they knew precisely my intent.

Thanks and blessings for sure

Todd

Pat

Posts : 655
Join date : 2011-09-12

I took a step back, but I'm okay. Not offended. Just want to learn. . . .

Post  Pat on Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:04 pm

I remember when I learned persona and poet may not be the same.  It was an interesting thought 10 years or so ago.  Cathy Moran wants the freedom of writing outside the box and does not want people assuming the poem is about her, simply because she wrote it.  : )  She wants to teach the world this one fact.  Her value. 

Your poems do press that thin line.  We have to read it 5 times, and think hard.  They are riddles and telling.  You are there. 

You want to hide part of it, and I was pushing for more light on what was hidden. 

It helps to have the name of the place.  I now hear it as happening in one space.  The persona was in another space.  I imagine the persona following the drama/adventures of the people via news/T V.  That's probably how the persona was close enough that one time.   That persona may be shocked but thinks, Stupid....This mess does not belong to me.  This persona is in another space.

But the way I, as a reader, connect to this is:  I lived in Jonesboro (counselor) when the mass shootings happened in a school on the edge of town.  I actually heard someone say, "Glad that wasn't our school."  That person and everyone was in shock, of course.  This reminds me of that after-shock reaction to something far away too.   But we go on with our lives, when we hear or watch tragedies.  We are in our space.  They are in theirs. Sad.

I also remember when I was dealing with flooding and Jimmy was on top of a house roofing.  He looked distant and uncaring.  He was not seeing what I was seeing (mudding out, etc), but he thought he was.  None of those men wanted to deal with the flooding....  So you stirred up something for me. . . .

You are a poet.  Write on.  Push us to think.


Pat
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tsukany

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Join date : 2011-05-21

Thank you!

Post  tsukany on Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:19 pm

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Thank you Pat

Willie Shaketon
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A poet by any other name

Post  Willie Shaketon on Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:08 am

Todd,  Good poem.   I was with you when I saw the school name, but you were too far afield for me to follow all the thoughts you expounded. It was vague, more so than I wish in a poem.  I guess when we write, knowing the subject, it seems obvious everyone ought to get it, but it ain't always that easy.  We do have the obligation to be transparent enough for the reader to pick up on the gist of the poem.  You've done that here, but there is probably much more wisdom if I (we) understood each thing you meant for us to see.  Riddles are hard to unravel.
Most people are lazy on reaching for all the information invested in a poem.  Most, probably more than me.  But, it is a good feeling when I read the comments of others who work to unravel what you have written and it becomes evident that my initial thought was right. What aggravates me to no end is when someone mentions something they saw that I missed and it was obvious after they said it. It may be human nature to find one nugget of wisdom and immediately quit searching.  I am guilty of that.  I appreciate that you took a "NOW" event and opened it up to us.  That is often hard for me to do.
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tsukany

Posts : 609
Join date : 2011-05-21

An Explication

Post  tsukany on Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:40 pm

Willie

I thought to take a moment to share a response to your inquiry.  Not disagreeing at ALL, just having fun explicating my own mind and poem.  

Not a bad experience for me.

Todd

Adventures in Your Space  (YOUR space not mine)

Family members and teammates the past twelve years. (We have been in school together our entire lives)
I remain stationed behind the pack mule, with a shovel and wheelbarrow.  (I follow the “parade of popular folks” (as one who carries all the burden), cleaning up the “dung” left behind)

I have mapped the backs of your heads, (I don’t know your faces since you never look at me, like “I know like the back of my hand”)
memorized your names emblazoned on red-and-white Stoneman Douglas jerseys. (you are the popular folks, sports icons, cheerleaders, . . . . )

That one time, I was close enough to you to translate word from a mass of mumbles.  (We are not close enough for you to know me (irony with first line of poem) but I snuck up just once)
Stupid.  (This is what I heard.  No reference.  Just what I, the persona, heard)
Never again. (Words from the persona or the popular kids, intentionally ambiguous)
This mess doesn’t belong to me. (Return to the title of the poem/theme)

--T.A. Sukany 22 Mar 2018

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