#1
This will continue to undergo revision. This is with a primary revision. I quite like this piece overall and it's the first one I have actually been at all proud of in awhile but please feel free to completely hate it and disagree. I have problems with the second stanza and the ending so any thoughts on that would be greatly appreciated. The title is tentative. The first part can be found here: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=923139

I'm returning, albeit slowly. Carmel, I'm so scared to open your emails, I've read your piece so many times I'm just still trying to collect my thoughts on it.



While Jim D. Adkisson Darkly Hummed-Part Two



Sunday July 27, 2008

---
Spanish Rice—
Our hands are scared,
Shaking while they empty the cupboard
Finding something to keep themselves busy.
Half-gallon of water stirred, shaken in,
Globs of preprocessed flavor simmer soft
On the heat of a burning black stove.

Our fingers grasp at loose pieces of skin tonight
As we will the wounded and pray the dead to life,
Flesh clasped tight to flesh. Tonight
We feed our lips to glasses of red wine
And let the rain-washed windows feast on our eyes.

---
Our eyes watch from outside
As their ears hear skittering rats—
The hearts in their chests slow boil
Rolling in time with the radio
And it’s silver faceplate of shadow.

Our eyes watch from outside at two kids
Sweating on my mother’s stiff leather sofa,
Bones tight and listening.
A Tennessee anchor’s accent reads
The six that were injured, the two that are dead,
Why Jim D. Adkisson shot when he did—
The words simmer soft in their brains.

Our eyes watch from outside at two kids,
One dimly mouthing “the rice is burning.”
They remain still for hours
Their bodies not allowing them freedom to leave and save it.
Last edited by #1 synth at Nov 18, 2008,
#2
I read this very slowly, and I think everyone should. I think you should have something in the title that indicates that. Such as "simmer", which is repeated in the piece.

Spanish Rice—
Our hands are scared,
Shaking while they pour the cupboard out
And find something to keep them busy.
Half-gallon of water stirred, shaken in,
Globs of preprocessed flavor simmer soft
On the heat of a burning black stove.
I didn't really get the "pour the cupboard out" image, and after reading the entire piece I still don't. It needs refining and relating. I thought "them" should have been "themselves". I know it messes up the flow a bit, but then you can consider revising the line. I loved the cooking imagery and I thought you've done well in incorporating it into the piece in general. This has a nice warm feeling to it. I enjoyed the content very much.

Our fingers grasp at loose pieces of skin tonight
As we will the wounded and pray the dead to life,
Flesh clasped tight to flesh.
We feed glasses of dark wine our lips
And let the rain-washed windows feast on our eyes
As we will our prayers to another’s sunrise.
***
Should it be "dark wine TO our lips"? If not the sentence needs to be revised to "We feed our lips with glasses of dark wine". I didn't like you using windows as something that actually feasts. Windows, both real and metaphorical, are usually a filter, a vessel, a conductor, something that is in between, in the middle, that parts elements, etc. However, ideas-wise I thought this stanza was very well crafted and was probably my favourite.

We stare from outside
As our ears hear skittering rats—
The hearts in our chests slow boil
Shaking in time with the radio
And it’s silver faceplate of shadow
Cast by the flicker of our candle’s thorned crown.
I don't know if you did this on purpose, but I was looking forward to "Our eyes stare" to follow the hands and fingers. It was a bit of a disappointment not to see it in any of the 3 verses that used this line. Also, I was disappointed that from this point on you've dwindled the use of culinary elements and imagery. Shame. In the grand scheme of the piece I thought this stanza was a bit redundant, though some points were still strong.

We stare from outside at two kids, at us
On my mother’s old leather sofa bone’s tight and listening,
A Tennessee anchor reads the six that were injured the two that are dead,
Why Jim D. Adkisson shot when he did—
His accent is harsh and cold and news-like.
The words simmer soft in our brains,
My lips, desperate for something to keep them busy
Hold hard to yours.
URGH! I can't believe you put "at us". It was so gently implied and you went and ruined it by actually saying it. This can be incredible if you only didn't spell it out so clearly. I thought "news-like" was weak and unimaginative. Again, missing that wonderful imagery from previous stanzas, but I did like the build up you were going for, to the last stanza.

We stare from outside at two kids
One dimly mouthing “the rice is burning.”
They remain still for hours
Their bodies not allowing them freedom to leave and save it.
Lovely ending, with just the right amount of everything.

So, I often have the dilemma if to do a full picky critique or a full, in depth, paragraphed argument and tell about what the piece meant to me in general. You're lucky, today you're getting both.

First of all, I think the piece needs less revision than you may think. I also have to admit that I held onto very vivid memories from the previous piece and it stuck with me, which aided in appreciating this piece more. You've managed to achieve a very particular air about this piece, mainly due to the structure and imagery (though like I said you can expand on in the latter part of the piece). There is a unique heavy feeling to this, like to the previous part, but this heaviness is done so elegantly that I cannot complain at all. It is measured perfectly. I liked the second point of view, I liked the atmosphere you've created and I liked the progression of details.

All in all, it was well written and a beautiful read. It is far from perfect and there are some points that I mentioned in the picky critique that I am adamant about needing to change, but I think you're on the right path.

I'll remember this one, and that's the highest compliment from me.

Lastly, you don't need to be scared of my email. I'd really appreciate a reply though.
This is not a pipe
#3
I've never read the "first part" of this, but I enjoyed that quite a bit. It struck me as a nice throw-back sort of poem mixed in with some modernism to great effect.


Spanish Rice—
Our hands are scared,
Shaking while they pour the cupboard out
And find something to keep them busy.
Half-gallon of water stirred, shaken in,
Globs of preprocessed flavor simmer soft
On the heat of a burning black stove.

I think "emptying" the cupboard out is probably a better way to phrase it, because I'm not sure you can pour out cupboard. There might be an even better term but alas I have nothing.

I loved the use of "globs" here because its such an ugly word that conveys the image of that type of food perfectly.


Our fingers grasp at loose pieces of skin tonight
As we will the wounded and pray the dead to life,
Flesh clasped tight to flesh.
We feed glasses of dark wine our lips
And let the rain-washed windows feast on our eyes
As we will our prayers to another’s sunrise.
***

there were quite a few interesting ideas here. feeding your lips to glasses of dark wine was very interesting. as an alcoholic, I think it would be "red wine", I'm not sure "dark wine" is a valid term. at least I've never heard it. "will the wounded" was interesting, "pray the dead to life" struck me as a somewhat worn image. but it's haunting here. an interesting change from the first stanza I didn't really expect.

Did you mean "another's" sunrise? oh wait I think I follow. though thats a good image, when you talk about willing prayers and praying dead to life already, willing your prayers to "another's" sunrise seems almost redundant, as you've established you're doing that already -- though I'll admit in much less sonorous language (see I can do it too!)


We stare from outside
As our ears hear skittering rats—
The hearts in our chests slow boil
Shaking in time with the radio
And it’s silver faceplate of shadow
Cast by the flicker of our candle’s thorned crown.

well why can you stare whilst its your ears doing the hearing? I think if you're going to do this personification of body parts (term I've completely forgotten) thing, then I think you should go all out with it. your eyes should be staring from outside here, not you. or else you should be hearing. probably the former not the latter though.

"The hearts in our chests slow boil" is worded awkwardly. I don't think "thorned" is a word, I know it sounds more cliched but it should probably read "thorny".

there is again a beautifully haunting tone here though.


We stare from outside at two kids, at us
On my mother’s old leather sofa bone’s tight and listening,
A Tennessee anchor reads the six that were injured the two that are dead,
Why Jim D. Adkisson shot when he did—
His accent is harsh and cold and news-like.
The words simmer soft in our brains,
My lips, desperate for something to keep them busy
Hold hard to yours.

the second line all runs together. I think there needs to be punctuation in there somewhere to help guide the reader, maybe a comma after "sofa"? A comma after "injured" in the third line as well, maybe?

I think the "at us" is just hand-feeding the reader something that should be left subtle.

I don't like "news-like". Again just seems too obvious here. How else would an anchor read the news? Maybe another adjective, "monotonous" or something similar, would convey the idea without stabbing me in the face with it.

Awesome last line though.


We stare from outside at two kids
One dimly mouthing “the rice is burning.”
They remain still for hours
Their bodies not allowing them freedom to leave and save it.

Perfect!

I actually thought this was one of the more interesting and original poems I've read here in quite a while. It took my mind places it doesn't really go, and I liked it a lot. I think you just wanted too hard for your reader to follow along with you, and don't even give us the benefit of the doubt of being able to comprehend without ideas. Seriously, "at us" are probably my least two favorite words in the entire poem.

I'd definitely enjoy reading more of this though, quite an impressive streak you've got going here lately sir. This should have way more responses than it does.
#4
And find something to keep them busy.


This line was the only thing that slipped me. I think it would read more easily if there was a comma before it and 'finding' instead of 'and find'.

And that was all I found that Carmel and Silence didn't say. Other than that, and other than the dark wine bit, I agree with Carmel.

This was so beautiful.
There's only one thing we can do to thwart the plot of these albino shape-shifting lizard BITCHES!
#6
There's only one thing we can do to thwart the plot of these albino shape-shifting lizard BITCHES!
#8
Quote by #1 synth

Our fingers grasp at loose pieces of skin tonight
As we will the wounded and pray the dead to life,
Flesh clasped tight to flesh. Tonight
We feed our lips to glasses of red wine
And let the rain-washed windows feast on our eyes.

Hated the punctuation for that line. Well, the tonight thing.



Technically this is sound. But you already know that.

For once I liked your frame story... but to me, it was all too obvious that it was a frame story. That this piece wasn't about what was being discussed, it was about something deeper. It was just too obvious (that's being very picky though). I feel like I should like this, its pretty, and it says something... but I don't. I think its partially because while it says SOMETHING, I have no idea what its trying to say. I also think its because there is no voice development in this at all... its flat. There is nothing to make me not read in monotone. There is no rise and fall to emotions, there is no rise and fall to pace... no suspense, no build up, etc etc. It just thumps along. I never became attached to it; which means that the voice never builds for me... nor do I feel the excitement of reading on. I guess it just still feels underdeveloped; feels like you wanted us to chase you along (follow the tracks of your train of thought, if you will) but never showed us what track to get on. You paint gorgeous snap shots, but don't tie the ideas well enough to allow a reader to really hop on board and take the ride with you.

Metaphorically, its like laying gorgeous sections of railroad track, but not connecting it all. So when we hit those parts we are like, "wow" but in between those parts we bitch and moan about how we don't understand why this isn't like the other parts. Its that same problem I've always had with your writing I guess... just not enough transitional elements. You're depending too much on the reader to read your mind and not giving us a place to start browsing.
#9
It's good, but it's no part 1.

It feels segue-y.
マリ「しあわっせはーあるいってこないだーからあるいってゆっくんだねーん 
いっちにっちいっぽみーかでさんぽ
 さーんぽすすんでにっほさっがるー 
じーんせいはっわんつー!ぱんち・・・


"Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear." - from Tao Te Ching

#11
I'm between zach and liking this a lot. I think you have great images and thoughts and I love the atmosphere (to steal Carmel's word) that you create, but I don't get much more than a well constructed "feeling". I can't say what that feeling is. Something about how it feels to think about where you are going and looking back on what's been thought. I dunno, that's probably a biased interpretation.
I didn't like the last line either. I thought it was clumsy.
And I agree about windows-feast was awkward as well.

Sorry I don't have much to say. I liked it.
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