Across a Square

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Across a Square

Postby NotQuiteSure » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:33 pm

     
Across a Square (v2.1)

Nine flights up, above the sunrise
on a sixties roof, a parapet
skirts the edge, thigh high.
You take a cold breath of the sleeping world
exhale a cupful into your hands.

Back to the tomb of a chipped paint air condenser,
an ugly bouquet of satellite dishes,
a little space and time to watch
as dawn drags the day out of hiding.
See what the black-shift sweepers have left.

To the warming east, where the old road bleeds
into the heart of this aching body,
waiting on the scaffold,
the tarpaulin flaps like roosting bats.

A sudden dislocation when the static
of the open channel stops,
drops you out into the cool quiet,
where the sodium radiance rolls
a thin sunset stain on brushed wet slabs.

In the waiting, the sky dilutes
to a white translucence, mother-of-pearl
at this orphan hour, fading stars,
his face on the bill-board washes out into yesterday.

A yard below, colder than the street,
six cylinders turn over into life
and birds, just in from the country,
take brief, indignant, flight. Flushed,
settle down into a sullen slumber.

The reluctant day continues to break
and the city pours out through the cracks.
A slow start, gathering momentum.
Shivering, a dull van yawns, showing its teeth,
bleary uniforms put up barriers.

Later, compressed to widescreen,
they'll run this part of the morning
in fast forward. A last century vt
with shrill side scrolling text
repeating the obvious, claiming it's news.

Aerial view of an incoming tide.
A skip-frame jitter, rock pools over flow,
fjord, lagoon. A confluence
of tributaries carrying all before them.
Slow to real time.

Wire brushed words rise, harsher than intended,
too much amplification, too few speakers,
sentences fall to pieces, buffeted on waves
of placards; which from this side, are blank.

Just within earshot, near the new Grand Hotel,
a swell, a noise like your schoolmaster coughing -
remember, decorum. A fog writhes, caresses,
the crowd bends beneath its weight.
Banners flagging in the heat.

Across the distance of a square,
borne aloft and abandoned, what sounds
like love, or lost, or leave,
arrive out of context, meaning less.

Waters drain with the hours.
Rubble from a monument's demolition,
what remains of today,
carried out on the backs of stragglers
scuffing through the dusk in the gutters.

Distant rarefied heights, poor quarter
oil and spices compete with technology
among the hollows, the sharp echoes.
Behind tightly clenched curtains
the black-shift are abandoning their dreams.
     
     
______________________________________
     
     
     
Across a Square
     
Nine flights up, above the sunrise
on a sixties roof, a parapet
skirts the edge, thigh high.
You take a cold breath of the sleeping world

exhale a cupful into your hands.

Back to the tomb of a chipped paint air condenser,
an ugly bouquet of satellite dishes,
a little space and time to watch
the dawn drag the day out of hiding.
See what the black-shift sweepers have left.

Another thankless job.

To the warming east, where the old road bleeds
into the heart of this aching body,
waiting on the scaffold,
the tarpaulin flaps like roosting bats.

Last night ends on an empty stage.

A sudden dislocation when the static
of the open channel stops,
drops you out into the cool quiet,
where the sodium radiance rolls
a thin sunset stain on the brushed wet slabs.

You know it's too good to last.

In the waiting, the sky dilutes
to a white translucence, mother-of-pearl
at this orphan hour, fading stars,
his face on the bill-board washes out into yesterday.

Shuffle your feet, rubber soles.

A yard below, colder than the street,
six cylinders turn over into life
and birds, just in from the country,
take brief, indignant, flight. Flushed,
settle down into a sullen slumber.

Shutters clattering in the distance.

The reluctant day continues to break
and the city pours out through the cracks.
A slow start, gathering momentum.
Shivering, a dull van yawns, showing its teeth,

bleary uniforms put up barriers.

Later, compressed to widescreen,
they'll run this part of the morning
in fast forward. A last century vt
with shrill side scrolling text
repeating the obvious, claiming it's news.

Don't let your food get cold.

Aerial view of an incoming tide.
A skip-frame jitter, rock pools over flow,
fjord, lagoon. A confluence
of tributaries carrying all before them.

Slow to real time.

Just within earshot, near the new Grand Hotel,
a swell, a noise like your schoolmaster coughing -
remember, decorum. A fog writhes, caresses,
the crowd bends beneath its weight.
Banners flag in the heat.

Adjust your strap, no sweat.

Wire brushed words rise, harsher than intended,
too much amplification, too few speakers,
sentences fall to pieces, buffeted on waves
of placards; which from this side, are blank.

How much longer will this go on?

Across the distance of a square,
borne aloft and abandoned, what sounds
like love, or lost, or leave,
arrive out of context, meaning less.
Lean forward, just a little,

It's not the fall.

Waters drain with the hours.
Rubble from a monument's demolition,
what remains of today,
carried out on the backs of stragglers

scuffing through the dusk in the gutters.

Distant rarefied heights, poor quarter
oil and spices compete with technology
among the hollows, the sharp echoes.
Behind tightly clenched curtains,
surrounded by alarms, the black-shift

are abandoning their dreams.
     
Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Across a Square

Postby Ros » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:11 pm

A good story, nqs. Could I suggest it trying it without the single lines? I think the poem stands well without the commentary they give. I'm finding only the last one tells me anything I haven't already got from the verses.

Ros
Rosencrantz: What are you playing at? Guildenstern: Words. Words. They're all we have to go on.
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Re: Across a Square

Postby NotQuiteSure » Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:59 pm

Ros,
Thanks for your time, and the suggestion.
Working on a version and as far as I can tell I
may be able to meet you half way.
Regards, Not.
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Re: Across a Square

Postby NotQuiteSure » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:35 pm

Ros,
my mistake,
turns out the commentary lines are more structural than they first appear.
Some minor modifications to them are the best I can do.
Regards, Not.
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Re: Across a Square

Postby Arian » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:40 pm

an ugly bouquet of satellite dishes,

is just one of lots of terrific images in this. It's a pleasure to read from that perspective.

I tend to agree with Ros - the 'commentary' starts out by adding value, but I found these lines a bit intrusive, and redundant, by the end. I can't quite see why they're 'structural'.

Very good, though, overall.
Cheers
peter
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Re: Across a Square

Postby 1lankest » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:49 pm

Some great imagery. My favourite was the tarpaulin bats simile....super.

I agree with Ros - single lines unnecessary and distracting.

This felt clunky:

the dawn drag the day out of hiding.

.....lose the first 'the'?

Luke
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Re: Across a Square

Postby NotQuiteSure » Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:09 pm

     
Peter, Luke,
thank you both for your time, much appreciated.
As to the 'commentary lines', three out of three say no,
and I'm not going to disregard that.
Luke, yes, 'clunky' is what it is (poor typing/copy-pasting)
Hopefully Version 2 addresses both concerns.
And Ros, thanks again.

Regards, Not.
     
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