#1
I saw the mountain goats last night and they made me realize why I love this. This is rough, I know, but I hope someone likes it and I hope it makes sense, at least to some someone besides myself. edit: this has been edited once, it shall soon be edited again.



Union Square Snow (And A Moon)


a few months later I stumbled out of a movie,
(a mother and girlfriend less then I’d had)
cupped my hand over my ears when I
saw the place where you had sat
frostbitten and white now,
taped off and dark now.
I looked up at the snow falling and past it
To the flickering streetlight teasing, hissing like a snake
thousands of miles above the city.
and in between the white flakes I could just make your voice out,
two years ago singing at the top of your lungs
that you’ve made it, that we’ve all made it,
that we’ll all die soon
but for now the summer still blooms
and all that is is beautiful. Seeing that light
a sign from God that you’d prove yourself yet,
that you’d meet that director, put your foot in the door
and show the damn world what you were born for
because goddamn you couldn’t be born for nothing
no, goddamn, what would any of us do
if we were just born for nothing.

I remembered your eyes, and the jacket you wore,
the paper you handed me with all your credentials
(a life in a piece of paper)
“the best singer in Calgary
the best dancer in the high-school graduating class
the best gardener around, twenty years ago
planting seeds in your mother’s memory garden
cursing Love.”

***
I stumbled out of the Union Square Theater
looked up from my feet
and saw you for the first and last time,
black man, an unshaven face
and broken neon eyes:
one minute lit-up and cold
the next
desperate, dark and living.
a patched jacket seemed to hold your bones together,
black man, while you were holding up
an obvious lie scribbled on a wet piece of cardboard
between your shaking fingers:
“world war too veteran
in need of some change.”

you only looked about thirty…

and so I slipped you the only money I had,
a wrinkled old twenty
from the back of my black leather wallet
and walked on with your note in my back pocket.

***
I remember cursing, hoping you had cut your losses and gone back home
I remember cursing, hoping you had gotten pneumonia and died painfully and long
I remember cursing, hoping that time wouldn’t change as fast as it does
and I remember cursing, hoping that the only thing to be with me
when the strings of the end tie me up to the moon and pull me
would be your breath.
Last edited by #1 synth at Nov 11, 2008,
#2
(Mountain Goats are one of my favorite groups)

I like this a lot. It walks that careful boundary between too much sentiment and too much imagery, the time is beautifully non-linear, its hard to explain but its like you have spent a lot of time waiting for really simple things and when they pass you barely even notice, but its fulfilling, at least that's one of the feelings I got out of the poem.

"and broken neon eyes,"

fantastic, fantastic image. however its not all moonbeams and wildflowers, I think your last stanza is the weakest, it really interrupts the flow of energy through the poem which for the most part gets stronger and stronger. I feel like the final three lines are VERY powerful in content, but something in syntax or word order or word choice or something has gone wrong, I'd look at that, and I understand that its rough, but I think that last stanza needs the most work, hope i was helpful, etc.
what comes up comes out
#3
awesome... my favorite part was the characterization and almost-irony of the first stanza.
I hope I haven't interpreted that wrong... in any case, that's the mood I got out of it.
#4
Haunted: very good to see you back, know that you've been missed. I agree 100% with your crit. I will definitely be editting the hell out of this so any further problems you have of this would be much obliged. If you have anything new posted I will surely check it out.

Hesh: that's definitely a part of it that I wanted to come through. thank you for reading.

to you both
#5
Thank you Synth, be sure to let me know when you post a revision, I'll do a follow-up crit or something. i I've got a shit-ton of new stuff, been writing my ass off the past couple of months trying to get published a few different places, i won't get word back from most until... early next year sometime, so you'll probably see something floating around soon... perhaps.
what comes up comes out
#6
I like the last stanza, I just think it needs something more before it. Like it sort of does cut through the energy the poem had going into the end.


Rest of it was beauty.
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

#7
This is the best I've read from you so far. It was honest and beautifully written, so simple yet somehow complex and deep. I can't say anything but well done
#8
The flow and tone in the last stanza doesn't quite fit, yeah. You stop the enjambment with the three lines beforehand, so when you go back, it feels unnatural.

The rest of this was wonderful. It just goes with my mood and was most surprisingly for me the tone of piece I was looking to read but didn't expect on UG. I may come back when my mood changes and see if my sentiments towards it do, but just like your Obama one, even if they do, it hit me right at the right moment, and that's what's important.
There's only one thing we can do to thwart the plot of these albino shape-shifting lizard BITCHES!
#12
Quote by #1 synth




Union Square Snow (And A Moon)


a few months later I stumbled out of a movie,
(a mother and girlfriend less then I’d had)

Straight out of the gate, I loathe the parenthesis. You haven't even established a voice or narrator and then you throw in the crazy image for atmosphere and development, but it makes me as the reader unsure how to go. I stopped and re-read the whole thing 3 times before I just gave up, moved on. I think I understand what you meant... but its not there yet.

cupped my hand over my ears when I
saw the place where you had sat
frostbitten and white now,
taped off and dark now.
I looked up at the snow falling and past it
To the flickering streetlight teasing, hissing like a snake
thousands of miles above the city.
and in between the white flakes I could just make your voice out,

Cut this down. Its lovely, but fluffy. Too much fluff. the contradicting images build a nice little touch, but you sacrifice sincerity. Mid-way through this, I felt like I was reading hemmingway (I read a chapter once >_>. I was lost in the images; and you still haven't developed enough character or story for me to say "these images are what I need to further my understanding."

two years ago singing at the top of your lungs
that you’ve made it, that we’ve all made it,
that we’ll all die soon
but for now the summer still blooms
and all that is is beautiful. Seeing that light
a sign from God that you’d prove yourself yet,
that you’d meet that director, put your foot in the door
and show the damn world what you were born for
because goddamn you couldn’t be born for nothing
no, goddamn, what would any of us do
if we were just born for nothing.

Meh to this whole section. Soapbox. It reeks of pre-planned emotions. Like you decided "god-damnit, this is going to come out philosophical and deep while still developing my character. Hrrrmpff." It had a metallic and un-genuine feel that normally isn't present in your voice. I just didn't believe you about the character.

I remembered your eyes, and the jacket you wore,
the paper you handed me with all your credentials
(a life in a piece of paper)

Hate hate htae hate htahethatheahteat this parenthesis. No idea why, I just do. with all of my burning passion. Drop it.

“the best singer in Calgary
the best dancer in the high-school graduating class
the best gardener around, twenty years ago
planting seeds in your mother’s memory garden
cursing Love.”

Cursing love seems to come out of nowhere to me. I just don't follow where that jumps into the equation of the credentials. I love the idea here, I do. But this needs more developing before you can throw in cursing love. I still know nothing about the character save that she "wasn't born for nothing" and a laundry list of normal childhood achievements. So far, I don't follow the story much at all, to be blunt. I don't see where its going, and I'm not entirely sure how I got from ass prints in the snow to this... like why this character is worth talking about and how you saw where she was sitting or some metaphor for seeing someone from the past, etc... I'm being very literal in the sense that I could probably draw connections if I tried. But at this point, your writing has made me want to try.

***
I stumbled out of the Union Square Theater
looked up from my feet
and saw you for the first and last time,
black man, an unshaven face
and broken neon eyes:
one minute lit-up and cold
the next
desperate, dark and living.
a patched jacket seemed to hold your bones together,
black man, while you were holding up
an obvious lie scribbled on a wet piece of cardboard
between your shaking fingers:
“world war too veteran
in need of some change.”

you only looked about thirty…

and so I slipped you the only money I had,
a wrinkled old twenty
from the back of my black leather wallet
and walked on with your note in my back pocket.

I much preferred this to the rest of the piece. I don't see any reason for it to be set in this piece though. I don't see how any of this develops within itself. May be my fault, I don't know. But so far, I don't feel like you've developed anything. You've strewn together a bunch of lovely images and a bunch of lovely ideas... but to what avail? I have three characters: you, a singer, and a black bum. So what? what do they mean to me, how do they know each other, do they know each other? they don't seem to matter at all. They aren't the flat stock characters you always bitch at me for, but they aren't doing anything to make them worth noticing either. I know your style, you don't paint a scene just to paint a scene... and it doesn't seem like you've connected any of this either. I find no point in this beyond saying something. And what ****ing note did you get from him? I think if this stood alone I would like it, because I could draw some sort of social commentary or personal truth from it, but in this piece is just stands here to confuse the living bjesus out of me.

***
I remember cursing, hoping you had cut your losses and gone back home
I remember cursing, hoping you had gotten pneumonia and died painfully and long
I remember cursing, hoping that time wouldn’t change as fast as it does
and I remember cursing, hoping that the only thing to be with me
when the strings of the end tie me up to the moon and pull me
would be your breath.

Finally, something real and tangible and emotional and not bullshit. I felt this. I felt this more than anything you've ever written. This was nice and bitter and angry and desperate and all of the words I can think of to describe writng that lives and breathes. Its angst, but in a lovable form. Send this out on its own and I'll love it. I love it as it is, but the rest of the piece just makes me angry because it doesn't say anything. Its like the first chapter to a novel, but in poem form. It just describes cahracters and I don't feel like you did anything with it; or really delved into the characters enough to make it satisfying to read the character development.





-zC
#13
bugger, Zach pretty much summed up all my thoughts. I was going to come back and crit the revision, but Zach beat me to it, so I'm simply going to say ^+1, and hope that's enough. Despite everything "wrong" with this, I still reeally enjoyed it.
#14
Quote by kdownes
bugger, Zach pretty much summed up all my thoughts. I was going to come back and crit the revision, but Zach beat me to it, so I'm simply going to say ^+1, and hope that's enough. Despite everything "wrong" with this, I still reeally enjoyed it.


this feels like a cop-out post...

and Zach, I really don't think you took the time to read the piece as a whole, like at all, but thanks for looking at it at all and take the time to crit it.

I'll respond more specifically in the morning.

But thank you both for reading and rereading, without you guys I would be nowhere.
#15
Quote by #1 synth
this feels like a cop-out post...


Yeah, 'twas a bit. It was late at night, and I just thought I should post something to try and help.

Anyways, how's this?

Quote by #1 synth
Union Square Snow (And A Moon)

a few months later I stumbled out of a movie,
(a mother and girlfriend less then I’d had) This line felt unecessary, heightened by the fact that it is in parenthesis.
cupped my hand over my ears when I
saw the place where you had sat
frostbitten and white now,
taped off and dark now. These two lines didn't seem to work, and contradict each other. Or maybe I'm just not seeing what your'e hitting at here?
I looked up at the snow falling and past it
To the flickering streetlight teasing, hissing like a snake
thousands of miles above the city. I don't think the hyberbole is needed here, makes it sound more grand than it needs to be. Just leave is as "high above the city" maybe, helps it flow better as well
and in between the white flakes I could just make your voice out,
two years ago I think there should be a comma heresinging at the top of your lungs
that you’ve made it, that we’ve all made it,
that we’ll all die soon
but for now the summer still blooms
and all that is is beautiful. Seeing that lightEither add a comma or some form of punctuation here, or maybe make it "as a sign from God". Otherwise the grammar really confuses this sentence
a sign from God that you’d prove yourself yet,
that you’d meet that director, put your foot in the door
and show the damn world what you were born for
because goddamn you couldn’t be born for nothing
no, goddamn, what would any of us do
if we were just born for nothing. The ending here packed a tight punch and rounded off this whole stanza nicely

I remembered your eyes, and the jacket you wore,
the paper you handed me with all your credentials
(a life in a piece of paper) This is just reiterating what you've already said in the previous sentences, and therefor feels unnecessary
“the best singer in Calgary
the best dancer in the high-school graduating class
the best gardener around, twenty years ago
planting seeds in your mother’s memory garden
cursing Love.” All of this in the quotation marks is very good

***
I stumbled out of the Union Square Theater
looked up from my feet
and saw you for the first and last time,
black man, an unshaven face maybe this should be dashes insteand of commas, just to seperate that "black man" a little more, give it some more punch
and broken neon eyes:
one minute lit-up and cold
the next
desperate, dark and living. This whole imagery was very beautiful
a patched jacket seemed to hold your bones together, Again maybe have the dashes here
black man, while you were holding up
an obvious lie scribbled on a wet piece of cardboard
between your shaking fingers:
“world war too veteran
in need of some change.” This was great, a really tight ending, with a great touch of irony and sarcasm

you only looked about thirty…I think this should be in parenthesis. This reminds me of my own habit of using ellipses to try and make things seem more dramatic than they are. I feel this would work a lot better if you dropped the ellipses and used parenthesis instead

and so I slipped you the only money I had,
a wrinkled old twenty
from the back of my black leather wallet
and walked on with your note in my back pocket. This is the best stanza so far, powerful, short and sweet

***
I remember cursing, hoping you had cut your losses and gone back home
I remember cursing, hoping you had gotten pneumonia and died painfully and long
I remember cursing, hoping that time wouldn’t change as fast as it does
and I remember cursing, hoping that the only thing to be with me
when the strings of the end tie me up to the moon and pull me
would be your breath.

This ending was intense, and really well written.
You can completely ignore this next section if you want and just skip ahead...

But just reading this, I was thinking that it might be better as:
"I remember cursing
hoping you had cut your losses and gone back home
hoping you had gotten pneumonia and died painfully and long
hoping that time wouldn't change as fast as it does
and I remember cursing, hoping that the only thing to be with me,
when the strings of the end tie me up to the moon and pull me,
would be your breath."

Or something like that, using the "hoping that" repetition, instead of the full "I remember cursing, hoping you/that" repetition. Makes it sharper and punchier, but maybe thats just me. I'm a pretty hsit writer anyway, so you'll probably do better ignoring this. Your work, your call.



Well, that's all I've got on this. Hopefully there is something vaguely useful in there, and duesn't make it sound like I've just posted meaningless dribble. Sorry for the cop-out post before, I do it too often.
#16
Quote by #1 synth


and Zach, I really don't think you took the time to read the piece as a whole, like at all, but thanks for looking at it at all and take the time to crit it.


I've read it about 4 times now. I just can't make heads or tails of it.

EDIT: it makes a bit more sense now that I don't think that the first section is about the mother and girlfriend you lost. If I was to offer an interpretation it would be something along the lines of seeing yourself grow up from High School to college. Couple months later and you no longer have mom to guide you or your girlfriend to be with. I'm assuming "you" is you.... but to be honest, I have no fucking idea. I don't get why there is a stanza dedicated to the black guy, unless its some self-discovery about "the real world" an poverty... and I still don't get the note line (what note?).

As far as content goes, I feel like you've lead us in a hundred different directions giving us nothing to stand on. If we're supposed to be looking out and "Seeing what you're seeing" you have to give us a point to stand up... and you didn't. Your first images, sitting in snow, bright now, dark now, etc.... give us no point of reference from where we left and you certainly give us no directions on where we are going, so its almost impossible to just enjoy the ride.
#17
thank you so much for coming back to it both of you, very helpful

sorry for being snippy in my last post, I had had two beers in me at the time.

anything you want me to check out?
#19
I'm going to echo Zach's sentiments about the confusion created in the piece. The black guy section doesn't feel connected at all to the rest of it, unless it is what Zach described it as in his last post. I read through it more than once, and it I felt it hard to stay connected to the piece. In terms of writing quality it's fine, with more than a few gems in there ("broken neon eyes", "frosbitten...taped off..etc."). My only problem is not with the quality of the writing, but the structuring of the ideas. Maybe I just don't "get it", but I feel it could be all made more effective with a restructuring of the narrative.

I apologize if this doesn't make any sense, but I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep right now. Thanks for your help on my junk, and I will most definitely comment more often now that I'm semi-free of school.

#21
Quote by #1 synth
thank you so much for coming back to it both of you, very helpful

sorry for being snippy in my last post, I had had two beers in me at the time.

anything you want me to check out?


NO worries, it's a joy to read. And don't apologise, i didn't think you were being snappy, just honest . ANyway, if you want to crit something - have a look at "bah humbug". But if you just want to read something you might enjoy, can you give a leg over to "Brie's Song" (if you feel like critting it PM me). I don't know if you ever ended up swinging by and checking that one out. Anyways, let me know when you've got a new one up and i'll be right by