The Galloping Ghosts


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Thread: The Galloping Ghosts

  1. #1

    The Galloping Ghosts

    Searching for the spelling
    to google a classmate’s name,
    I wrench my high school yearbook,
    The Oracle, from boiled finance papers
    in the hutch. Hurdles or goalposts
    on a green border fan into white.
    Inside, puckered oblong faces
    aim above camera; flips and crew cuts
    trade pages with bouffants and pompadours.
    A senior’s outstretched arm braces the Tower of Pisa.
    Our avatars pop up in pairs:
    the Most Popular confidently steer a corner,
    the Most Likely to Succeed sandwich
    between the long gone and the long lost.
    The skirts of the cheerleading squad
    brush the ground like an honor guard;
    the one I wanted looks like Nikki Charm.
    Mike Sachs, our wizard, looks like Malcolm X;
    Key Club, Photography, Latin 1, 2, 3 -
    is this my school?
    Our voices manufactured, pre-War.

    Seeing Juniors, I stalk murky images
    of teams and clubs for two world-class hotties.
    Our Best Looking pose on a staircase,
    april skinned Amy Foster, fawn-
    like in a cardigan with chalet.
    How come I never looked at her?
    The ones I chased don’t look quite right.

    In the gymnasium, the fleecy roll call
    slanted higher as who was voted best
    at what detonated, subject by subject.
    With so little beside my name,
    I tally those with only name and address.
    A photo coils in the wishes
    of a golf team rival: “To the best number
    2, 3, 4 or 5 on the planet.”
    I find my classmate - her picture’s next to mine.

    Obviously not shown: coming downstairs
    for the first hop in gold blazer,
    plaid shirt, red vest & white tie.
    “At least take one piece off,” my father tooted.
    Navy suits were still a mystery
    as I orbited the plum-hued vixen
    I told everyone I’d set my sights on.
    Under sudden fronds, I lasted thirty seconds.
    The odd things that come back:
    locker combinations, integrals, a lucky punch.
    A throw in gym that took the legs out
    from under the Best Looking.
    Friends who didn’t serve, missing in action.
    Turning pages, I relive reunions I never went to.
    In lives filled with choice,
    glad tidings celebrate what we didn’t get.
    We’re all Honors students now.
    Last edited by mark_schaeffer; March 17th, 2017 at 01:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Nicely done. I started reading this and pretty quickly figured it was filled with too much realism to be my kind of poem, but chose to keep going. I'm glad I did. You brought up insightful reflections that I can relate to, which pulled me in, and your writing is very clean and thoughtful, which kept me going. I like where I ended up.

    Many good lines, but the two that stand out still post-reading are "The ones I chased don’t look quite right" and "I relive reunions I never went to."

    Solid poem. If anything, in revision, consider doing more with the military theme buried in it? The title also led me to expect a rather different poem.
    I don't write stories, I lick them out of the ice and let them find their own way.Hidden Content
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    Hidden Content

  3. #3
    Love this. And, yes, a poem. I am trying to write mine with more prose (so, my family understands them without the "cliff notes" I must provide).
    Forgive me, but I know it must be Vietnam War you insert. That meant "the draft" (glad tidings, too subtle) which gave "no choice" for the future of some. Many of my 1962 graduating friends did not make our 10th reunion. Therefore, forgive me for suggesting any change to this poem....consider:

    Friends who didn’t serve; missing in action.
    In lives filled with choice, or some no choice,
    glad tidings celebrate what we didn’t get.
    Turning pages, I relive reunions I never went to.
    We’re all Honors students now.

    Note: I was not English major, but felt semi-colon should be used between "serve;missing". Otherwise, it looked like those who served were also missing. And, "no choice" I felt, too important an impact, on our generation, not to include. Hope you feel the same.

    Nice work, pal. sas
    .

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sas View Post

    Friends who didn’t serve; missing in action.
    In lives filled with choice, or some no choice,
    glad tidings celebrate what we didn’t get.
    Turning pages, I relive reunions I never went to.
    We’re all Honors students now.

    Friends who didn't serve, missing in action. ---- comma intended, saying the friends who didn't serve are also MIA - have severed all ties with high school


    In lives filled with choice ---- jumps forward to the present time, classmates are now able to look back on their lives


    Nice try.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by dannyboy View Post
    enjoyed the read, thank you
    Any thoughts on how I can improve it?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by mark_schaeffer View Post
    Friends who didn't serve, missing in action. ---- comma intended, saying the friends who didn't serve are also MIA - have severed all ties with high school


    In lives filled with choice ---- jumps forward to the present time, classmates are now able to look back on their lives


    Nice try.

    LOL at "nice try". Guess I'll need to write my own reunion poem about Vietnam classmates gone missing. It took an astonishing toll. It's becoming just history to some. It's personal with me. Your poem was perfect for one. Perfect.

  8. #8
    You've created an identifiable poem here. Any person with the American high school experience can relate.

    The language and the form needs to be tightened up. What message are you trying to convey? Is this meant to be a reminiscence on high school or, as I suspect, a commentary on how War and time tears people apart?

    I like that you didn't mention Vietnam in the poem as that opens it up to people of any war-sent generation.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Ariel View Post
    You've created an identifiable poem here. Any person with the American high school experience can relate.
    Tell that to the New Yorker. Okay, that's my job (those pricks).

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mark_schaeffer View Post
    Searching for the spelling
    to google a classmate’s name,
    I wrench my high school yearbook,
    The Oracle, from boiled **finance papers *** "boiled".... interesting word choice..... not sure...
    in the hutch. Hurdles or goalposts
    on a green border fan into white.
    Inside, puckered oblong faces
    aim above camera; flips and crew cuts
    trade pages with bouffants and pompadours.
    A senior’s outstretched arm braces the Tower of Pisa.
    Our avatars pop up in pairs:
    the Most Popular confidently steer a corner,
    the Most Likely to Succeed sandwich
    between the long gone and the long lost.
    The skirts of the cheerleading squad
    brush the ground like an honor guard;
    the one I wanted looks like Nikki Charm.
    Mike Sachs, our wizard, looks like Malcolm X;
    Key Club, Photography, Latin 1, 2, 3 -
    is this my school?
    Our voices manufactured, pre-War.

    Seeing Juniors, I stalk murky images
    of teams and clubs for two world-class hotties.
    Our Best Looking pose on a staircase,
    april skinned Amy Foster, fawn-
    like in a cardigan with chalet.
    How come I never looked at her?
    The ones I chased don’t look quite right.

    In the gymnasium, the fleecy roll call*** " fleecy" roll call... interesting...
    slanted higher as who was voted best
    at what detonated, subject by subject.
    With so little beside my name,
    I tally those with only name and address.
    A photo coils in the wishes *** I don't understand this line...
    of a golf team rival: “To the best number
    2, 3, 4 or 5 on the planet.”
    I find my classmate - her picture’s next to mine.

    Obviously not shown: coming downstairs
    for the first hop in gold blazer,
    plaid shirt, red vest & white tie.
    “At least take one piece off,” my father hummed.*** " hummed"... again, interesting... not sure , but ..
    Navy suits were still a mystery
    as I orbited the plum-hued vixen
    I told everyone I’d set my sights on.
    Under sudden fronds, I lasted thirty seconds.*** another line, I am not sure how it serves your message...
    The odd things that come back:
    locker combinations, integrals, a lucky punch.
    A throw in gym that took the legs out
    from under the Best Looking.
    Friends who didn’t serve, missing in action.
    Turning pages, I relive reunions I never went to.
    In lives filled with choice,
    glad tidings celebrate what we didn’t get.
    We’re all Honors students now.


    Love this... of course as you can see, I have some tiny nits to pick... and of course these are just my personal opinions...
    I think you did a fabulous job with imagery, mood and message, the line about remembering locker combinations is sublime and it is in these personal details that your story lives and breathes... gives this poem heart and soul and feels authentic...and not contrived...and that is the secret to writing personal poems, that your reader can relate to, sparking and igniting their own personal memories... just remember, in poetry, less is more..
    She lost herself in the trees,
    among the ever-changing leaves.
    She wept beneath the wild sky
    as stars told stories of ancient times.
    The flowers grew toward her light,
    the river called her name at night.
    She could not live an ordinary life,
    with the mysteries of the universe
    hidden in her eyes....
    Author: Christy Ann Martine

    Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
    love leaves a memory no one can steal....
    Author unknown.

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