Fugue [was 'leave a message'] version 2

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Gorgonshead
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Fugue [was 'leave a message'] version 2

Post by Gorgonshead » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:19 am

Version 2

fugue

i can’t get you out of your fugue state
time will not permit
please leave a message

i know you know what’s wrong with you
you can leave the details
on my confidential line
i will do my best to return
your call
to meet your expectations
reasonable or otherwise
when i return

after the sunburn peels
after the queen anne’s lace has come and gone
after the wild blackberries have left purple stains
after the boats abandon the harbor islands
after the stolen season ends
and when time permits

i will come back
after all, i swore i would
all those years ago

unfortunately
there will be no one covering for me
in my absence but
by all means
please leave a message





Version 1

i can’t get you out of your fugue state just now
leave a message

you can leave all the details
on my confidential line here
set out the whole calamity
reveal all the involved parties
with all the stats and all the relevant connections
past present and future

i will review it all and
i will do my best
to meet your expectations
reasonable or otherwise

after this season concludes
after the sunburn peels
after the queen anne’s lace has come and gone
after the wild blackberries have left purple stains
when the boats abandon the harbor islands
when my concerned smile returns

unfortunately
there will be no one covering for me
in my absence but
by all means do
leave a message

at the tone
Last edited by Gorgonshead on Thu May 09, 2019 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

NotQuiteSure
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Re: leave a message

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:25 am

.

Hi Gorgonshead,
enjoyed the read but torn on the repetitions.
The more clearly rhetorical (S4) work - but some
of the others, the frequent use of 'all', 'will' and
'leave' (to name but three) detract, rather than
enhance.

Do you need 'just now' and 'at the tone' ?

In S4 - which I really like - perhaps alternate
'after' and 'when', as in
after this season concludes
when the sunburn's peeled
after ... ?

Perhaps a better title?


Regards, Not.



.

HonourStedman
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Re: leave a message

Post by HonourStedman » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:42 pm

Dear Gorgonshead, I really do like this poem - perhaps partly because I suffer from dissociative identity disorder, but also because it really is a fine piece of work. I'm going to just nit pick in a tiny way - could you possibly delete the final line, "at the tone" since that line somehow narrows the perspective of the poem to a phone call when your actual expressiveness is wider and more complex. :)

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Re: leave a message

Post by Macavity » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:35 am

Like the tone and the chill of the mechanics. The repetitions pile on the distancing from care. The patient not foregrounded, but existing as subtext.

Never too keen on conjunctions ending a line, a false 'drama', but that is my bias.

Welcome to the forum. Lookforward to more.

cheers

mac

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Re: leave a message

Post by Firebird » Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:55 am

I like your poem too, and as Mac said the repetition adds to the mechanical feel. I’m not sure about the word ‘fugue’ in the first line though. I’m not even sure you need the first line. However, ‘fugue’ would make a great title.

I read the poem as N talking to him/herself - expressing a disconnection from their own feelings due to the trauma of loss, and calling out for help from a trapped place. I also think it’s an excellent description of the psychiatric condition known as ‘depersonalisation’. Have you read Denise Riley’s ‘A Part Song’? It is about this topic.

Looking forward to reading more of your work.

Cheers,

Tristan

Gorgonshead wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:19 am
i can’t get you out of your fugue state just now
leave a message

you can leave all the details
on my confidential line here
set out the whole calamity
reveal all the involved parties
with all the stats and all the relevant connections
past present and future

i will review it all and
i will do my best
to meet your expectations
reasonable or otherwise

after this season concludes
after the sunburn peels
after the queen anne’s lace has come and gone
after the wild blackberries have left purple stains
when the boats abandon the harbor islands
when my concerned smile returns

unfortunately
there will be no one covering for me
in my absence but
by all means do
leave a message

at the tone

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Perry
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Re: leave a message

Post by Perry » Mon Apr 22, 2019 8:01 pm

I like this poem also. I'm just curious about the first line:

i can’t get you out of your fugue state just now

Wouldn't it make more sense to say:

i can't get myself out of my fugue state just now (or "me" instead of "myself")

That would provide a reason for why the incoming call is not being answered.

So, who is the "you" in the first line? If it is the incoming caller, then how does the speaker know what that person's frame of mind is? That's the only thing that confuses.

Conjunctions can end up at the end of a line for several reasons, and be very effective: for emphasis, to satisfy the meter, for the sonics.
If I don't critique your poem, it is probably because I don't understand it.

Gorgonshead
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Re: leave a message

Post by Gorgonshead » Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:25 am

Thank you all for your insightful comments. I’m having a busy week — i’ll post a more complete reply on the weekend.

Peter L

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Re: leave a message

Post by bjondon » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:51 pm

Hi Peter, this is framed as a neat but weirdly detached
conceit voicing the gulf between a doctor's professional
and personal paradigm/vocabulary by ghosting his
recorded telephone message with what he is apparently
really thinking . . . but that doesn't quite match the opening
focus on a fugue state, or the likelihood of a surgery blithely
abandoning its patients at holiday time.
That, according to Wiki and Merck, fugue states often involve
'sudden, unexpected, purposeful travel away from home' as well
as the formation of a new identity' spins the whole doctor/patient
relationship around, yet the apparent self awareness of the
speaker, the sense that this almost dreamlike scenario is part
of 'this season' and will in due course come to an end is mysterious.
The weary forbearance of the overworked doctor seems well captured here
. . . almost as if the whole poem is a sort of metaphor of the institutionalised
pathology of the profession.
Jules

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Re: leave a message

Post by Gorgonshead » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:57 pm

Thank you all for your insightful input. Specifics:

NotQuiteSure
1. - I appreciate the issue about repetition. I am working on a version that minimizes this. When reading poetry, and even more so when I listen to it I am drawn in and almost hypnotized by repetition. Allen Ginsberg in "Howl" is an example. But I see that some of the repetition may gratuitous.
2. I do like pruning away the superfluous words. I do think the "just now" and "at the tone" can go"
3. I agree the title may want to change. I have thought of "Burnout" but I wonder if it gives away too much.

Honor Stedman
1. Again, re the "at the tone", I agree. My initial thought was to give the sense of hanging up the phone, leaving only a dial tone. Perhaps it didn't come across. Yes, my perspective is more than a phone call. Best to just ditch the line.
2. As to the dissociative identity disorder and "fugue state", see more below.

Macavity
1. Not foregrounded -- yes, that was it. I was going for absence, distance [a fantasy].
2. Conjunctions and other odd constructions -- a gift from e.e. cummings. I'll try eliminating in next version, see if it works.

Firebird
1. This term fugue state -- it was the germ of the idea. Should I "kill my darling"? First, my impression from long ago was that it meant a gradually intensifying anxiety state reaching a crisis point. A medical term I thought could be understood.

This was a case of confusing "doctor-ese" language use. It's interesting though -- I was wrong myself about the meaning. It is a part of a psychiatric condition associated with dissociative disorder: "apparently purposeful travel or bewildered wandering that is associated with amnesia for identity..." It has its own curious meaning.
2. I have just found Denise Riley's poem on Kindle, will download and read.

Perry
1. The outgoing message versus the speaker's own state. I actually wasn't aware of the dual nature when writing this, but I see it now. I think keeping it "depersonalized" fits better.
2. The "you" may become clearer in the new version I am working on.

bjondon
1. Your initial summary is very close to my intent.
2. In fact most of what you have written is remarkably close.
3. Re the opening lines: They are clearly "the rub" with the poem being understood, I will give it a good long think. Again, I may need to "kill my darling".
4. "institutionalized pathology of the profession" -- I like that.

Thank you all.

Peter L

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Re: leave a message

Post by HonourStedman » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:53 pm

Thanks for your remarks above, dear Gorgonshead... Keep on trucking - I look forward to reading more of your work. :)

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Re: leave a message

Post by bjondon » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:44 pm

My best friend is a GP who wishes he wasn't,
so maybe I am picking up on that vibe.
Without the fugue state puzzle this becomes
a bit tame. Sometimes it is the things that don't
quite work on the surface that make a poem tick,
keep drawing the reader back.
Poetry is precise but language isn't . . . I am currently fascinated by the
multivarious uses and contexts of 'narcissistic' . . . another medical term
gone rogue.
I think it reads very well as a doctor wryly and painfully communing
with himself . . . on a daily basis intimately untangling the pathologies
of others while maintaining a godlike composure and belonging to
a social group statistically more likely to suffer from mental breakdown
and even suicide than most others must make for a few interesting
internal monologues.
Does it need a punchier ending? perhaps . . . the last 'tone' line is confusing
as it stands. Maybe add a 'please' before the first 'leave a message' and
actually a please before the last one would have a different weight and work well.
Perhaps just putting inverted commas round 'fugue state' would be enough
- doctorese as a language mode sounds like a fruitful and potentially shocking
furrow to plough.
Regards,
Jules

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Re: leave a message

Post by Gorgonshead » Sun May 05, 2019 1:45 pm

Thanks for your comments Jules --

1. I am encouraged that you picked up on this all being an internal monologue. I wasn't sure that it came off. I am looking to show the gulf between what a doctor sees and what they say.
[By the way, trying to use non-gendered language, and finding it difficult.]
2. I like your take on the fugue state. I'm thinking I want to leave it in. Will think about the inverted commas - in general I like to avoid punctuation in poetry but I'll look at it in my new draft.
3. "I think it reads very well as a doctor wryly and painfully communing
with himself . . . on a daily basis intimately untangling the pathologies
of others while maintaining a godlike composure and belonging to
a social group statistically more likely to suffer from mental breakdown
and even suicide than most others must make for a few interesting
internal monologues."
Were you reading my mind?
4. I will play with your idea about using 'please' at beginning and/or end.

I very much appreciate your comments. I am new at this site, not used to critiques. I have been working on revisions, getting tangled up quite a bit in it. I find it odd that the process of writing is very different when the intended reader is anyone other than myself. It is a good difference.

Peter L

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Leaf
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Re: leave a message

Post by Leaf » Mon May 06, 2019 6:12 pm

Hi Peter,

I've just arrived at Poets' Graves. I hope you don't mind a newbie commenting on your poem :-)

I like this; it's interesting.

I must admit, I hadn't heard of 'fugue state' before. The word 'fugue' took me to Bach and brought to mind a complicated divorce once I'd arrived at 'involved parties'. For that reason, until I read through the comments, I thought the N was a solicitor. But reading up about fugue state puts me in the medical setting, and the poem becomes more intriguing.

I think the repetition in stanza 4 is effective; the N sounds very weary and intent on their own flight. I like the language and I have a strong sense that the N just wants to spend time out of office, to be a fugitive from office norms. Stanza 5 adds to the air of detachment. The N's admission that there's no cover isn't what the office would wish them to say.

It's great that you're probably going to retain 'fugue state'. I suggest using it as your title and inserting a short explanatory note underneath to make sure readers don't go to Bach! Well, perhaps that was just me.

Lastly, I like Jules' suggestion of adding a couple of 'please'. Building on that, I like the idea of using a conventional 'out of office' template for the poem, as that might bring out the N's state of mind.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes,
Leaf

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Re: leave a message

Post by Gorgonshead » Tue May 07, 2019 1:42 am

Hello Leaf --

Welcome to the forum. You have the distinction of being the first person I've said that to, being a newbie myself. This is the first poem I've posted here. :D

Thanks for your comments.

1. I have loved the musical and the medical meaning of fugue; oddly related. I had it in mind when writing this, but none of the musical meaning made it into the poem.
2. The solicitor take is interesting to me; what a reader brings to a poem is perhaps more important than what the writer intended. Both are important; at least both are valid.
3. Also, as you can see from above, my own understanding of 'fugue state' was far from the standard medical meaning.
4. Thank you for your words re the repetition. It's part of the way I think, and I like it when done with a purpose; the narrator's longing to be away but the word after indicating that they would come back at all.
5. Coverage for time away is the professional standard, and in fact leaving patients without coverage is malpractice.
6. I am rather discombobulated [what a word!] about revising this poem. I have literally written pages of potential alterations. Pages that have taken me on annoying tangentーinteresting in their own rightーbut don't get me nearer to a satisfactory version.

Anyway ー

Welcome, and post a poem if you wish!

Peter L

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Re: leave a message

Post by Leaf » Tue May 07, 2019 6:25 pm

Many thanks, Peter. Excellent; another newbie!

You're welcome for my comments. I'm not sure whether any were of use to you, but perhaps they were interesting, in their way.

I find the word 'discombobulated' most discombobulating. I wish you well with revising your poem. I started writing one yesterday, but I doubt I'll complete it until the weekend. My work takes up a lot of brain power, although I often manage to jot down ideas for poems during the week :-)

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Re: Fugue [was 'leave a message'] version 2

Post by Gorgonshead » Fri May 10, 2019 12:35 pm

Leaf ー Your's and all comments are useful and I welcome them! By the way, I love words like discombobulated. English can twist itself into knots. Being monolingual, I am proud of that, but suspect that it is just a feature of human language.

Peter L

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