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MaggieG
May 18th, 2010, 01:39 PM
My brother murdered a man.
We wasted an afternoon
over the telephone, and coffee,
as I listened, and he talked.

Being rubbed the wrong way
is merely execution of sound,
angling round corners
of a vulgar amplifying.
But rage is a strangling silence,
syllables dangling, a broken neck
in a noose.

He was in love with the noise
of it all. The loosening of blood,
and brain splats, splunks.
The chunks of bone cracking,
an attack on the still calm
that fidgets in his head.

I kept thinking, "In poetry,
you show, never tell."
Deconstruct the semblances,
we blot upon ourselves,
into some viable image.
Death to the chattering excuse!

A picture is worth a thousand words!

So my brother killed a man,
and I understood,
as I picked up my sharp sharp pen
taking a stab at this non-sound
hacking through my head.

"Stop squirming ...
It will only hurt for a moment."

"Hold still, while I slaughter memories
with words, tearing them all down."

Martin
May 18th, 2010, 02:11 PM
Indeed very interesting. How do we turn actions into words? This is thought provoking in that sense, and at the same time relate to something concrete: What is words compared to memories, or compared to a real occurrence? How is the real world manifested in our writing? Your piece indeed raises some interesting issues on quite a deep level. However you came up with this beats me...

Gumby
May 18th, 2010, 02:16 PM
I really like this, Maggie. This last especially touched me. Well done! :)



So my brother killed a man,
and I understood,
as I picked up my sharp sharp pen
taking a stab at this non-sound
hacking through my head.

" Stop squirming ...
It will only hurt for a moment. "

" Hold still , while I slaughter memories
with words, tearing them all down. "

Pete_C
May 18th, 2010, 04:41 PM
For me, this is torn in two directions. One offers intrigue, almost an emptiness that the reader can fall into. It allows the creation of a "what if" type of thought process. It's clever, stark and almost unnerving in its openess. The other takes much of that power, and smothers it with a seemingly caring clumsiness. I can't see that the two elements work together, so one has to win out over the other. Sadly, I think the wrong element, the latter one, wins out.

The stark reality of the first stanza promises so much. It could be tightened a little, but we're talking about a bit of final polish. The matter-of-factness of it is what counts. Sometimes, simply stating something as pivotal works so much better than giving detail, because it doesn't turn the work into a tale of horror, but it does allow the reader to work with that element as they desire. There's probably a bit of tightening needed on the third line, but that's not really important at this point.

Then, we go from the confrontational honesty of the first stanza into the second, and immediately something is lost. It becomes distracted, almost too clever for its own good, and is saved by the last few lines which bring us back to the blatant, albeit with a strong image.

The third stanza again starts weakly. Maybe there's too much of an attempt to beef it up and add some images, but it really doesn't need it. Trust me, the idea of someone needing to stiffle the calm in their head will be enough for most people, especially when told so coldly.

And then ... well, the change in direction, the softening of it all, detracted from the hardness of the opening. Yes, there are two views in there, almost two opinions, and an understanding of the interrelationship between the physical act and the intellectual, but the poem - for me - doesn't carry both well.

There is a matter-of-fact cold and detached poem, which is so scant as to allow the reader to almost lose themselves in the possibilities. There is also a slightly soft and empathetic poem, which seems to try and understand something unthinkable. Either one would work, but together they clash rather than flow. I appreciate that people could read it differently, but for me I liked the cold impersonal voice, and I disliked the softer one. In fact, the latter annoyed me for taking the former away!

Sometimes opposites attract, sometimes they clash. here they do neither, but they don''t exist as happy bed fellows. Take one and run with it for the full piece (and please make it the colder and more detached voice).

For me, the important lines are:
My brother murdered a man.
We wasted an afternoon
over the telephone,
as I listened and he talked.

Annoyance/aggravation/Whatever
is merely execution of sound,
but rage is a strangling silence,
sylables dangling, a broken neck
in a noose.

He was in love with the noise
of it all; the sounds an attack on the still calm
that fidgeted in his head.

Deconstruct the semblances,
we blot upon ourselves,
into some viable image.

So my brother killed a man,
and I understood,
as I picked up my pen
and took a stab at the silence
hacking through my head.

Apologies for chopping them around, but it was so they made sense after the deletions!

MaggieG
May 18th, 2010, 05:45 PM
Indeed very interesting. How do we turn actions into words? This is thought provoking in that sense, and at the same time relate to something concrete: What is words compared to memories, or compared to a real occurrence? How is the real world manifested in our writing? Your piece indeed raises some interesting issues on quite a deep level. However you came up with this beats me...

Thank you for your response Martin :) This is a weird one. LOL As Laurie and I discussed in her thread, I often write in the "confessional" genre ( Yep ... This is actual, and factual ) It was inspired by of all things, my flat cold lack of emotion to what my brother was telling me.( i was sitting there coldly analyzing it ) I got it. For years I had always differentiated between myself, and the mean little bastard that is my brother. ( I love him. But that doesn't make him any less of a mean little bastard. ) We often tell ourselves that abused children are poor little angels. But what do we do when that abused child becomes an abusive adult ? We shun them to the dark side convinced that we are NOTHING like them. My unemotional reaction to him telling me about this murder brought it clearly home to me that there were parts of me very much like him. I understood what provoked him. It is the very same thing that provokes me to write, the silencing of a rage, to murder the lies we were forced to tell, and that were forced upon us, to tear it all down, and watch it burn.

Thanks for reading Hun :)

MaggieG
May 18th, 2010, 07:10 PM
I really like this, Maggie. This last especially touched me. Well done! :)

Thank you Gumby :)

I don't think anyone really wants to admit that there is a cold blooded killer in all of us, that methodical self absorbed self that as my Da used to put it commits " small murders " ( The original title to this by the way lol ) everyday on whatever "mass" that has evoked our sociopath bits, and pieces. Buttttttt lol

Thanks again Hun :)

SilverMoon
May 18th, 2010, 08:00 PM
Maggie, I'm so pleased that our discussion regarding Confessional poetry inspired this powerful piece of yours. I believe when we write about the demons in our lives it allows our other pieces, genre to become all the more richer in language, we more in tune with insights. We can write about a tree and see more than the green leaves but also the mysterious hues of the bark. We can see the whole and "show" it well. I may have said this before "I never write about flowers unless there are weeds." Writing true to life. Rather than disecting it for comfort's sake. Rather than not taking the plunge. For a writer this takes a thick skin, a tender soul and a shining mind.

And here you've written a truth, graciously sharing that which might have been one of your darkest moments. I very much get that "Numbness" when faced with tragedy, assaults. And you expressed this dissociation it so well in your opening.

I got the chills. Sparce, a matter of fact. The true horror show.

My brother murdered a man.
We wasted an afternoon
over the telephone, and coffee,
as I listened , and he talked.

And I was waiting for this! I knew it would come from you. How you needed to intellectualize the pain, anger away. I am so familiar with this.

" Hold still , while I slaughter memories
with words, tearing them all down. "

The great thing about writing confessionally is that catharis is usually a by product.
I often feel like I've left a productive therapy session once the "it" has been successfully put to paper. And you did "it"! Thank you for this poem. Laurie

MaggieG
May 18th, 2010, 08:15 PM
Absolutely adored the critique ! Thanks much You will find my responses in parenthesis below each paragragh :)





For me, this is torn in two directions. One offers intrigue, almost an emptiness that the reader can fall into. It allows the creation of a "what if" type of thought process. It's clever, stark and almost unnerving in its openess. The other takes much of that power, and smothers it with a seemingly caring clumsiness. I can't see that the two elements work together, so one has to win out over the other. Sadly, I think the wrong element, the latter one, wins out.

( The starkness you are seeing is the lack of emotion I referred to in the other responses. It is not my brother's voice ( He was quite animated actually ) It is my voice processing the information, and to a degree the nonchalantness that the info was relayed to me over coffee. I will address the other "other" further down. :) )

The stark reality of the first stanza promises so much. It could be tightened a little, but we're talking about a bit of final polish. The matter-of-factness of it is what counts. Sometimes, simply stating something as pivotal works so much better than giving detail, because it doesn't turn the work into a tale of horror, but it does allow the reader to work with that element as they desire. There's probably a bit of tightening needed on the third line, but that's not really important at this point.

( The first stanza seemed the appropriate jumping off point to my thoughts. As far as the tightening ? I am curious how you would go about it. )

Then, we go from the confrontational honesty of the first stanza into the second, and immediately something is lost. It becomes distracted, almost too clever for its own good, and is saved by the last few lines which bring us back to the blatant, albeit with a strong image.

( Hmmm. The second stanza was my feeble attempt to show my annoyance that I was even having the conversation, that having to face up to those truths I mentioned previously in contrast to that " confrontational honesty" of " the rage ". Somewhat of a clarifying in the difference if you will. You have me thinking I might have been subconsciously trying to show the " weakness " in justifications as opposed to brute truth. You certainly have me thinking here. )

The third stanza again starts weakly. Maybe there's too much of an attempt to beef it up and add some images, but it really doesn't need it. Trust me, the idea of someone needing to stiffle the calm in their head will be enough for most people, especially when told so coldly.

( The images are somewhat metaphorical but moreso to show my brother's animated speech. This is actually the stanza I least like in this ! LOL )

And then ... well, the change in direction, the softening of it all, detracted from the hardness of the opening. Yes, there are two views in there, almost two opinions, and an understanding of the interrelationship between the physical act and the intellectual, but the poem - for me - doesn't carry both well.

( You certainly got the implications. I am curious what you would do with this stanza, how I might not lose the differing points of view, and maintain a connection ? )

There is a matter-of-fact cold and detached poem, which is so scant as to allow the reader to almost lose themselves in the possibilities. There is also a slightly soft and empathetic poem, which seems to try and understand something unthinkable. Either one would work, but together they clash rather than flow. I appreciate that people could read it differently, but for me I liked the cold impersonal voice, and I disliked the softer one. In fact, the latter annoyed me for taking the former away!

( LOL I think this might be where I disagree with you. The acceptance of the "unthinkable" in me while still possessing the empathy to not act upon it in unthinkable ways is the very thing that defines those differences between " them", and "us" )

Sometimes opposites attract, sometimes they clash. here they do neither, but they don''t exist as happy bed fellows. Take one and run with it for the full piece

(*grins* Not happy bedfellows... More civilized cell mates )


(and please make it the colder and more detached voice).

For me, the important lines are:
My brother murdered a man.
We wasted an afternoon
over the telephone,
as I listened and he talked.

Annoyance/aggravation/Whatever
is merely execution of sound,
but rage is a strangling silence,
sylables dangling, a broken neck
in a noose.

He was in love with the noise
of it all; the sounds an attack on the still calm
that fidgeted in his head.

Deconstruct the semblances,
we blot upon ourselves,
into some viable image.

So my brother killed a man,
and I understood,
as I picked up my pen
and took a stab at the silence
hacking through my head.

Apologies for chopping them around, but it was so they made sense after the deletions!

( Much enjoyed your take on this, and your wonderful detail :) Will put a great deal of it to thought. Thank you again )

MaggieG
May 18th, 2010, 08:21 PM
Maggie, I'm so pleased that our discussion regarding Confessional poetry inspired this powerful piece of yours. I believe when we write about the demons in our lives it allows our other pieces, genre to become all the more richer in language, more in tune with insights. We can write about a tree and see more than the green leaves but also the mysterious hues of the bark. We can see the whole and "show" it well. I may have said this before "I never write about flowers unless there are weeds." Writing true to life. Rather than disecting it for comfort's sake. Rather than not taking the plunge. For a writer this takes a thick skin, a tender soul and a shining mind.

And here you've written a truth, graciously sharing that which might have been one of your darkest moments. I very much get that "Numbness" when faced with tragedy, assaults. And you expressed this dissociation it so well in your opening.

I got the chills. Sparce, a matter of fact. The true horror show.


And I was waiting for this! I knew it would come from you. How you needed to intellectualize the pain away. I am so familiar with this.


The great thing about writing confessionally is that catharis is usually a by product.
I often feel like I've left a productive therapy session once the "it" has been successfully put to paper. And you did "it"! Laurie

*smiles* Darlin this was written almost ten years ago, although the conversation certainly connects with it. I have many pieces written in this tone actually. As I said before, " bare bones "

Now see... I find little catharsis in it, simply more questions ! LOL

Thank you so much for the read :)

Chesters Daughter
May 20th, 2010, 01:11 AM
When I read this the other day, like Pete, I felt torn in two directions, but the more I read it, the more it gels. I'm going to have to return with fresher eyes because my initial impression has done a complete flip-flop. In the meantime,one typo, syllable is missing an l. I have a question, why the extra spaces next to some of the punctuation? It makes me pause because my eyes are not accustomed to it. The darkness of this piece is so palpable I feel like I can slip it in my pocket, which is always a good thing. I think you did a stupendous job tying murder to the act of writing. In fact, I found the ending brilliant. You've created another of those pieces that reveal another delicious tidbit with every read. I haven't nearly had my fill, so I'll be back and hopefully with some decent observations. You're under my skin, Maggie, and only the very talented are able to manage that.:salut:

Best,
Lisa

MaggieG
May 20th, 2010, 03:38 AM
When I read this the other day, like Pete, I felt torn in two directions, but the more I read it, the more it gels. I'm going to have to return with fresher eyes because my initial impression has done a complete flip-flop. In the meantime,one typo, syllable is missing an l. I have a question, why the extra spaces next to some of the punctuation? It makes me pause because my eyes are not accustomed to it. The darkness of this piece is so palpable I feel like I can slip it in my pocket, which is always a good thing. I think you did a stupendous job tying murder to the act of writing. In fact, I found the ending brilliant. You've created another of those pieces that reveal another delicious tidbit with every read. I haven't nearly had my fill, so I'll be back and hopefully with some decent observations. You're under my skin, Maggie, and only the very talented are able to manage that.:salut:

Best,
Lisa

LOL ! I went back and fixed the typo, and the spaces. ( Which by the way I have come to believe is just the weird way I type LOL ) Keep bringing them up to me please. Maybe I will break the bizarre little habit ! As I have told you before, take your time. I am in no rush, and I am certainly aware this ornery little piece is not everyone's cup of tea. My husband tells me all the time " You do not accept excuses from anyone, even yourself. " I want to ! I want my excuses just like everybody else Damnit ! lol BUT *grins*

I am very pleased I have given you an itch *grins some more* I do hope I continue to scratch it as well :)

Thanks very much Darlin :)

JosephB
May 21st, 2010, 02:53 AM
Hi Maggie. Took me a while to get to this. I'm skipping the other crits. If I repeat -- sorry.

I'm taking this isn't metaphor and that it happened or you are writing it as if it did. Doesn't matter, really, or it shouldn't to the reader. To me, it's about hearing something, and at first compartmentalizing, then processing it, then dealing with it by writing about it. I can relate to that, although for me, that takes a while. It works for me on those levels.

The first stanza comes off as the first line in a short story -- one the tells me it's going to be a good read. Then "Being rubbed the wrong way" seems a little week to me -- sounds like a minor annoyance to me, so that's not quite right. Also "The chunks of bone." I just don't relate to bone as "chunks," so that seems off.

Only a suggestion, but I think you could pare out a few words here and there to simplify it and give it a little more flow and rhythm. Maybe just let it sit for a while and then do some editing.

It works for me -- and I spent a good deal of time with it. It's challenging and intriguing. The last stanza is pretty powerful. Nice job.

MaggieG
May 22nd, 2010, 02:19 AM
Hi Maggie. Took me a while to get to this. I'm skipping the other crits. If I repeat -- sorry.

I'm taking this isn't metaphor and that it happened or you are writing it as if it did. Doesn't matter, really, or it shouldn't to the reader. To me, it's about hearing something, and at first compartmentalizing, then processing it, then dealing with it by writing about it. I can relate to that, although for me, that takes a while. It works for me on those levels.

The first stanza comes off as the first line in a short story -- one the tells me it's going to be a good read. Then "Being rubbed the wrong way" seems a little week to me -- sounds like a minor annoyance to me, so that's not quite right. Also "The chunks of bone." I just don't relate to bone as "chunks," so that seems off.

Only a suggestion, but I think you could pare out a few words here and there to simplify it and give it a little more flow and rhythm. Maybe just let it sit for a while and then do some editing.

It works for me -- and I spent a good deal of time with it. It's challenging and intriguing. The last stanza is pretty powerful. Nice job.


Yeah... Obviously I am not bumping the two opposing voices up against each other correctly. I am gonna have to stew on this bad boy for awhile. It was hard to write, and seems to be even harder to edit.

Thank you much Joseph. Your keen eyes are always appreciated :)

vangoghsear
May 22nd, 2010, 03:51 AM
Loved the power of the first couple of stanzas: abrupt and clinical in delivery. Good piece. Not sure if you should admit that it's based on a true story on the internet, but that's just me. Harrowing thought that you had to deal with this. Sorry to hear that.

MaggieG
May 22nd, 2010, 04:19 AM
Loved the power of the first couple of stanzas: abrupt and clinical in delivery. Good piece. Not sure if you should admit that it's based on a true story on the internet, but that's just me. Harrowing thought that you had to deal with this. Sorry to hear that.

*smiles*

That was the last conversation I had with man Hun, 15 years ago.( It seemed somewhat appropriate lol ) He has since done his time, and relocated. I am not so worried what people think of me Darlin. If they felt the need to hold what my 14 brothers have done against me? ( I have no criminal record of any kind btw Not even a traffic ticket ! lol ) Jeeeeeesh ya know ? I will never reveal the man's name simply because I have no desire to give him any notoriety. But this is based in something I really don't think we as society address enough, hence why we live in such a world of pathetic excuses.

I thank you much for the read V , and am going to let this one stew for awhile before I go hacking into it. :)

vangoghsear
May 22nd, 2010, 12:44 PM
*smiles*

That was the last conversation I had with man Hun, 15 years ago.( It seemed somewhat appropriate lol ) He has since done his time, and relocated. I am not so worried what people think of me Darlin. If they felt the need to hold what my 14 brothers have done against me? ( I have no criminal record of any kind btw Not even a traffic ticket ! lol ) Jeeeeeesh ya know ? I will never reveal the man's name simply because I have no desire to give him any notoriety. But this is based in something I really don't think we as society address enough, hence why we live in such a world of pathetic excuses.

I thank you much for the read V , and am going to let this one stew for awhile before I go hacking into it. :)I don't hold anything against you. I was worried your brother might get upset with you if he found out about this poem somehow ( I was worried it was a recent event, but looking back through the thread I see it wasn't). I hadn't given much thought to how the sibling of a person who commits such an act must feel, you often think about their mother, but not their sister or brother. You handled the subject quite well.

Eiji Tunsinagi
May 22nd, 2010, 03:55 PM
Wow. This piece is impressive If anything, for the story - though I think it might sound a little too blunt, maybe. I only realized this really happened when you explained in your post. It read too - fictional, as opposed to true-to-life - maybe it's the voice you took in presenting the story that created this impression. Though this is irrelevant if you don't care for the reader to know this is a true event or not and you're more looking to express your 'Picture is worth a thousand words' idea. Nonetheless, a very thought provoking piece.


stephen

MaggieG
May 22nd, 2010, 04:39 PM
Wow. This piece is impressive If anything, for the story - though I think it might sound a little too blunt, maybe. I only realized this really happened when you explained in your post. It read too - fictional, as opposed to true-to-life - maybe it's the voice you took in presenting the story that created this impression. Though this is irrelevant if you don't care for the reader to know this is a true event or not and you're more looking to express your 'Picture is worth a thousand words' idea. Nonetheless, a very thought provoking piece.


stephen

God love ya Darlin. If I told you the backdrop to this conversation I suspect you would yell out " No friggin way ! " This conversation was somewhat a walk in the park compared to what brought us to it, so I truly get the "fictional" feel. " This can't be my life. " was an often uttered whisper in my childhood. Well... **it happens ya know ? lol I am almost inclined to believe that I might need to expound upon this. I was very focused on that feeling that I truly understood where he was coming from when I wrote this. That might be the glue that would tie it more tightly together, to give examples that we had pretty much the same childhood. I just can't stand whiny ass writing though. LOL And actually wanted to eliminate the need to feel sorry for him, and myself for that matter. But that does seem to be the immediate human reaction ya know ? Hell of a lot to think about .

I think you much for the read, and the thoughts :)