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Old 06-05-2014, 04:21 AM   #1
jiminizzle
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Location: Coming Down, Cleveland Avenue
obsolescence

there is a shooting going on, a man in canada is killing people right now.
the neighborhood he's last seen in shares a name with the housing plan i grew up in
so naturally i've been picturing my childhood surroundings
invaded by a gunman, but this is wrong,
it's so easy to turn the page to anywhere from there,
from where i sit now, thinking about the wrong pinehurst subdivision; i was reading
a charles simic poem
the one where he sees the kids
playing in the dump and
they're giving the kid on crutches a hard time
and then he's in a tunnel, the speaker is,
and then he's in italy or somewhere
like that. and as you see, it is easy to look away when it's not you, or maybe more importantly, when you
feel like there is nothing /good/ you can do, or when the combined futility of humans
amasses to some pitiful
inadequacy greater than your own pathetic inability
to do anything that would help right now
and everyone's hesitancy about all the terrible things that are happening "right now"
combines into some great inertia
to do nothing, the train
if it were passing something worse even
than a kid on crutches getting bullied, would not so much as slow down. if i thought i could drive to new brunswick,
be there midday, i am struggling to picture what would happen next.
maybe in some small way i /could/ help somebody,
but it is so unclear how. and now here is your hesitancy.
i am watching the news on a laptop computer.
i could yell for him to stop,
i could yell for the conductor to stop the train, but what then, even if it did stop.
would it do any good at all to try?
and for this question, it wouldn't stop. people's ideas of their lives would reject the thought
of leaving their expectations for something they don't want to be a part of. they would be repulsed by the idea
of becoming more than a casual observer. where does that line even exist?
you are beyond it or you are not, and there are people out there who have no choice.
there is some effect referred to in a book,
one where you'll find that charles simic poem,
where La Rochefoucauld is quoted as saying we find something that is not displeasing
in the misfortunes of our best friends. and in the poem itself this is referred to again as an aesthetic paradox
where tragedy can instill some strange happiness in the casual viewer. It's 2:08am EST
the news plays a video from someone's house in this other pinehurst
as a family i don't know watches the initial shooting out their living room window. you can faintly see a man die.
i am crying. i am trying to understand where i am.
i tell myself i have to walk down the street
to drop off my rent check which is worthless tonight.
i am well south of new brunswick. i am telling myself there is nothing i can do
to help catch a gunman in some pitch black suburban forest far away from here. there are people digging in the darkness
for something that will try to kill them. i am trying to decide if i should ever show this to anyone
or, when i turn away from thinking about it, if the point will already be lost. windows do not retain light
and i am looking back at the other side of a line i've barely crossed
by way of someone else's video and someone else's memory.
how much of this world do you let disappear on the other side of the tunnel?

i am pulling myself together, piece by piece, looking for that satisfaction.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:46 PM   #2
hippieboy444
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so you're a canadian, eh? i study at mcgill. as an american in canada, i always like to hear about my second country of residency.

to the poem.
Quote:
i am crying. i am trying to understand where i am.
i tell myself i have to walk down the street
to drop off my rent check which is worthless tonight.
i am well south of new brunswick. i am telling myself there is nothing i can do
to help catch a gunman in some pitch black suburban forest far away from here. there are people digging in the darkness
for something that will try to kill them. i am trying to decide if i should ever show this to anyone
or, when i turn away from thinking about it, if the point will already be lost. windows do not retain light
and i am looking back at the other side of a line i've barely crossed
by way of someone else's video and someone else's memory.
how much of this world do you let disappear on the other side of the tunnel?

i am pulling myself together, piece by piece, looking for that satisfaction.


this was by the best part of the poem. the emotional punch of the ending and the way the phrases become so urgent is quite great. i think this poem distills a great response the the senseless tragedies that we as a globe have to deal with too often. i was thinking of the recent UCSB shooting that preceded this RCMP one. in a way, this reminds me Sun Kil Moon's record: finding ways to deal with senseless tragedy in everytime life and that moment when you just stop and look at your surroundings and it brings you here.

i digress. i might say that many of the linebreaks seemed weird, but not in a disjunct, apt, jarring way; they often felt random in the not-so-good way. as well, in the middle part, the lack of separating phrases and sentences got a bit long-winded.

however, i do not say this to take away from the importance of this poem. thank you for writing it. i was grateful to read it, thanks for posting it.
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Old 06-14-2014, 03:28 PM   #3
brokencoastline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jiminizzle
there is a shooting going on, a man in canada is killing people right now.
the neighborhood he's last seen in shares a name with the housing plan i grew up in
so naturally i've been picturing my childhood surroundings
invaded by a gunman, but this is wrong,
it's so easy to turn the page to anywhere from there,
from where i sit now, thinking about the wrong pinehurst subdivision; i was reading
a charles simic poem
the one where he sees the kids
playing in the dump and
they're giving the kid on crutches a hard time
and then he's in a tunnel, the speaker is,
and then he's in italy or somewhere
like that. and as you see, it is easy to look away when it's not you, or maybe more importantly, when you
feel like there is nothing /good/I'm not clear on the slashes here and around "could". It seems like maybe they're emphasized for a feeling of futility? you can do, or when the combined futility of humans
amasses to some pitiful
inadequacy greater than your own pathetic inability
to do anything that would help right now
and everyone's hesitancy about all the terrible things that are happening "right now"
combines into some great inertia
to do nothing, the train
if it were passing something worse even
than a kid on crutches getting bullied, would not so much as slow down. if i thought i could drive to new brunswick,
be there midday, i am struggling to picture what would happen next.
maybe in some small way i /could/ help somebody,
but it is so unclear how. and now here is your hesitancy.
I think this bolded section is really strong, the flow works well and the sense of helplessness or hesitancy is well-conveyed. I'd play with the line breaks though, maybe lengthen "to do nothing, the train" or separate "i am struggling to picture what happens next"
i am watching the news on a laptop computer.
i could yell for him to stop,
i could yell for the conductor to stop the train, but what then, even if it did stop.
would it do any good at all to try?
and for this question, it wouldn't stop. people's ideas of their lives would reject the thought
of leaving their expectations for something they don't want to be a part of. they would be repulsed by the idea
of becoming more than a casual observer. where does that line even exist?
you are beyond it or you are not, and there are people out there who have no choice.[/color]
there is some effect referred to in a book,
one where you'll find that charles simic poem,
where La Rochefoucauld is quoted as saying we find something that is not displeasing
in the misfortunes of our best friends. and in the poem itself this is referred to again as an aesthetic paradox
where tragedy can instill some strange happiness in the casual viewer.
I initially thought I would be suggesting you cut sections from this poem more than I'm actually going to. I still think this should either be expanded on or cut, however. As it is, it seems a little out of character in the poem in that we know there's no happiness to it based on everything else you're saying. the idea is interesting but the reference is also vague enough that it's not really hitting for me. It's 2:08am EST
the news plays a video from someone's house in this other pinehurst
as a family i don't know watches the initial shooting out their living room window. you can faintly see a man die.
i am crying. i am trying to understand where i am.
i tell myself i have to walk down the street
to drop off my rent check which is worthless tonight.
At first, I thought this was to draw some parallel between you(the speaker) and a person in the other pinehurst that can't walk down the street for fear of what's going on, then it seemed to be more about the futility of the action given what's going on. So while that's not what you mean, maybe it could be some kind of powerful image to think about. Otherwise I'd suggest rewording "which is worthless." It sounds like the check is worthless, which isn't quite what I think you mean.
i am well south of new brunswick. i am telling myself there is nothing i can do
to help catch a gunman in some pitch black suburban forest far away from here. there are people digging in the darkness
for something that will try to kill them.
really great i am trying to decide if i should ever show this to anyone
or, when i turn away from thinking about it, if the point will already be lost. windows do not retain light
and i am looking back at the other side of a line i've barely crossed
by way of someone else's video and someone else's memory.
how much of this world do you let disappear on the other side of the tunnel?

i am pulling myself together, piece by piece, looking for that satisfaction.


I said what I said about initially thinking I'd suggest cutting more only because the poem is initially overwhelming. Once you start digging into it, though, it's not terribly difficult to get wrapped up in it emotionally and it's not hard to read. I still need to think about the ending. The line and the tunnel are clear, but satisfaction at casual observation or experience or what have you, I'm still working on.

The idea is heartbreaking though, just in the simplicity of the two subdivisions being called alike. The amount of violence recently is a bit staggering.
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Old 06-16-2014, 09:10 PM   #4
SubwayToVenus
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a very good and very important piece. it read well with an on-the-spot, stream-of-consciousness type of pace and i never thought it meandered too off-base at all. i share the same sentiment as you do about all this. but, to your exact point, what good is a sentiment anyway, if all it is is just a sentiment? and how long will it last? right now i'm simultaneously watching sports on television and chilling on some music sites, so it's 100% likely that my attention will be diverted somewhere else in 10 minutes and i'll be on the other side of that tunnel, unmoved and unwilling to feel moved by the senseless, numbing amount of violence there is. my question to it all is - what good or harm does it do to worry about it, about the inertia that a majority of us experience in the face of injustice, tragedy, violence? i myself don't claim to have even the start of the answer but all i can say is that i've experienced that frustration and anxiety before and definitely will again. perhaps little by little those fleeting, anxious moments will slow chip away at the stagnancy and one us, any of us, will be compelled into action. although it doesn't feel like it, maybe that's enough. or maybe that's an excuse. maybe it's both.

thanks for writing this.
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