A Small Town Rag

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A Small Town Rag

Post  Guest on Fri May 27, 2011 3:49 am

This is an older poem that needs revising.


A Small Town Rag

Bootleg Springs takes its name
from the rot gut whiskey
once brewed here. A single swig
could make a person's tongue
burn hotter than a torched marshmallow.

The pink hotel on the corner of
oak and pine used to be a bordello.
Today its sagging steps lead to a warehouse
that stores refurbished pianos.
Strains of Maple Leaf Rag can occasionally
be heard coming from the building's dusty interior.
It is rumored that Scott Joplin once played here.

Across from the warehouse is Dean's cafe.
The windows are always foggy from the steam
of bacon grease and hot coffee.
The locals know not to order the grits
that slosh around the plate like a rubber boot
caught in a Georgia rain storm.

Sometimes as a joke, the waitresses
switch nametags so out-of-towner's never
really know who's who. Today, Ginger,
wears a nametag that says "Gilligan."
A couple of the regulars wink
and ask the shipwrecked waitress
for another slice of coconut cream pie.





Last edited by Cindy on Mon May 30, 2011 11:25 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : additional corrections)

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Todd's Thoughts

Post  Admin on Fri May 27, 2011 6:54 am

Cindy, is this poem part of a series? It feels pretty polished. Specific help request would assist me in "helping" you. Smile

Bootleg Springs

Bootleg Springs takes its name
(seems like you need to tell us it's a town rather than repeat the title. I wonder if "Bootleg Springs" is the title since the poem is not really about the town)
from the rot gut whiskey
once brewed here. A single swig
could make a person's tongue
("person's" seems like a place to load this line. Maybe a name or something specific)
turn hotter than a torched marshmallow.

The pink hotel on the corner of
oak and pine used to be a bordello.
(Why did you make the line break at "of" and not capitalize street names?)
Today its sagging steps lead to a warehouse
that stores refurbished pianos.
Strains of Maple Leaf Rag can occasionally
(Maybe italics [my preference] or quotations for the song title?)
be heard coming from the building's dusty interior.
It is rumored that Scott Joplin once played here.
(This section felt pretty prosey. I know it's not but...)

Across from the warehouse, is Dean's cafe.
(no need for the comma)
The windows are always foggy from the steam
of bacon grease and hot coffee.
(I don't associate steam and bacon grease.)
The locals know not to order the grits
that slosh around the plate like a rubber boot
caught in a Georgia rain storm.
(I like this detail)

Sometimes as a joke, the waitresses
switch nametags so out-of-towner's never
really know who's who. Today, Ginger,
wears a nametag that says "Gilligan."
A couple of the regulars wink
and ask the shipwrecked waitress
for another slice of coconut cream pie.
(The ending makes me feel like this is a part of a larger work. What do you want the reader to take from the poem? When I left, I felt like I didn't have the "rest of the story" as a famous person would say)

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Bootleg Springs

Post  Guest on Fri May 27, 2011 12:09 pm

Todd, in answer to your question--this is not part of a larger work. I want the poem to feel like the movie "Groundhog Day" where everyone is stuck in this town no matter what they do to pass the time. The idea was to give a sense of place to an imaginary town that is in the middle of nowhere yet it could be anywhere. The town is in decline and the few remaining residents appear to be stranded there as though they were on a deserted island. I'd like to accomplish this without any obvious use of repetition. I didn't intend for it to be a story. More like a series of impressionistic snapshots.

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Todd's response

Post  tsukany on Fri May 27, 2011 1:33 pm

Cindy...image clarity check. outstanding actually. Maybe what I want is some "comment" on what to take from the poem. Maybe that will show in the "new title" for which I am lobbying.
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New title for my poem

Post  Guest on Fri May 27, 2011 2:30 pm

I thought of a new title for my poem that I think works much better.

"A Small-Town Rag"

Besides the reference to ragtime--some of the other connotations of the word:

Cloth converted to pulp for making paper
Slang A newspaper, especially one specializing in sensationalism or gossip.

Source: The Free Dictionary

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/rag


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Amen

Post  tsukany on Fri May 27, 2011 3:31 pm

That's a fine call Cindy. You should be able to edit your original post with the new title.
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A Small Town Rag

Post  Velvet F on Mon May 30, 2011 1:12 pm




A Small Town Rag
(I do like the new title better than the old one)

Bootleg Springs takes its name
from the rot gut whiskey
once brewed here. A single swig
could make a person's tongue
turn hotter than a torched marshmallow.
(something better than "turn"? -- burn?)

The pink hotel on the corner of
oak and pine used to be a bordello.
(I also wonder why oak and pine are not upper case while Maple Leaf Rag below is)
Today its sagging steps lead to a warehouse
that stores refurbished pianos.
Strains of Maple Leaf Rag can occasionally
be heard coming from the building's dusty interior.
("occasionally ARE heard, deleting "can be" makse it sronger. Also I think you can delette "the building's" and go with "from the dusty interior." for more punch.
It is rumored that Scott Joplin once played here.

Across from the warehouse, is Dean's cafe.
(delete comma after warehouse)
The windows are always foggy from the steam
of bacon grease and hot coffee.
The locals know not to order the grits
that slosh around the plate like a rubber boot
caught in a Georgia rain storm.

Sometimes as a joke, the waitresses
switch nametags so out-of-towner's never
really know who's who. Today, Ginger,
wears a nametag that says "Gilligan."
(out-of-towners wouldn't know the difference)
A couple of the regulars wink
and ask the shipwrecked waitress
for another slice of coconut cream pie.

Cindy - great imagery!

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Re: A Small Town Rag

Post  Guest on Mon May 30, 2011 11:29 pm

So far, I've made some minor adjustments. L5, 1st stanza I changed "turn" to "burn." I took out the comma and put Maple Leaf Rag in italics. Somewhere I have a later version of this poem. I need to see if I can find it.

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