alter ego

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dedalus
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alter ego

Post by dedalus » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:16 am

There are flints in the stones of the city streets
which can sparkle at you, unexpectedly, on sunny days
while lying low on days of rain: I could never
swallow the pain of coming from this city, even now,
when I’ve travelled so far away and have had happy occasional thoughts
of leaving it all behind me. Odi atque amo. I hate it and can’t get away
from Bally Aha Clee … Dublin to the rest of yez. The snotgreen Liffey
runs, riverrun, Anna Livia, between its grey unhappy dripping stones
and it’s no more than a piddly stream, a parable for greasy Ireland.

Guinness is good for you.
You don’t need money to live.

Back in the days of the IRA there was a bit of the craic coming down,
when your Armalite rifle was your fuckin guitar and you were twenty-two
but that’s all over now, Baby Blue. Men in suits came coming down for you
so Japan, hmm, seemed like a rather good idea. It’s not next door.
Trouble is, the place simply blows you away, it becomes a new chapter
in a never-ending 18th century-like rigamarole of happenstance, one thing
after the bleedin other: Candide as a fuckin Paddy. The great thing was the girls.
They were absolutely completely gorgeous, and ditzy as babananas, and no,
that’s not a typo: few descriptions of heaven could match the reality.
The guys, of course, were a somewhat different proposition.

After a few years you creep back home, avoiding Heathrow
and the MI5 sharp-eyed shits in their cheap ill-fitting suits,
and nothing, nothing happens. Nothing! Jesus, what was that all about?
But by now you’re almost married, thinking about having kids,
and not telling them anything when they grow into people, as they do.
Settle down. Suppress those nervous facial tics, stop jiggling your foot.
Expand into your career. Sit back and criticize America. Write poetry.

Sharra
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Re: alter ego

Post by Sharra » Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:06 pm

I’ve found this really hard to crit. It brings up old prose/poetry debate yet again (but let’s not go there).
I enjoyed reading this and really like the voice, it’s very believable, and really paints a picture. Although I know this almost stream of consciousness feel is very you, I do think it could benefit from being tightened up a little, especially if you want it to feel more ‘poemy’ – but you may find that changes the voice.

ok – some suggestions –
There are flints in the stones of the city streets
which can sparkle at you, unexpectedly, on sunny days
while lying low on days of
rain:
love this image but how about tightening it to:

Flints in the stones of the city streets
sparkle on sunny days, lay low when it rains.

I've bracketed some words i think you could lose below:
Back in the days of the IRA there was a bit of the craic coming down,
(when) your Armalite rifle was your fuckin guitar (and) you were twenty-two
but that’s all over now, Baby Blue. Men in suits came (coming) down for you
After a few years you creep back (home), avoid(ing) Heathrow
Nothing! Jesus, what was that all about?
But by now you’re almost married, thinking about having kids,
and not telling them anything when they grow into people, as they do.
This bit felt a bit wishy washy and I felt weakened the ending somewhat. I like the last 2 lines, but wonder if you need the ‘expand into your career’?

Good stuff :)
Nicky
x
It is at the edge of the
petal that love waits

dedalus
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Re: alter ego

Post by dedalus » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:41 am

Hiya Nicky!

This is a generational riff more than a personal confession and yet it contains elements of both. I was trying to catch the feeling as poor oul' Ireland goes through the wringer again thanks to greedy property developers, rapacious foreign banks, and a criminally complaisant government which sat back and allowed it all to happen, with prominent politicians shuffling up to the trough to collect personal payoffs. The House of Cards has collapsed and it's the ordinary citizens who are left to pay the bills: unemployment is up to 14% (more in actual terms), salaries are being cut in both private and public sectors, taxes are going up and all government subsidies are being slashed to the bone -- health, education, welfare, pensions, every damn thing -- and young couples who bought houses or flats during the boom are facing 40% and rising negative equity.

It's nothing less than a national disaster and already the brightest university grads are booking flights for Australia and Canada (not the UK or USA, one can't help but notice). Some people are fatalistic and say it was bound to happen. I don't believe that! The original model set up by successive governments in the 1980s and early 90s was sound: balancing the national budget, massive investment in education, active participation in the EU, low corporate taxes to encourage foreign investment, direct engagement with the UK to reach a compromise on Northern Ireland.

It all came together to create the so-called Celtic Tiger in the mid-90s. Compaisancy and endemic political corruption (the easygoing nod and a wink culture of Ireland through the ages) could have been contained within its traditional limits but got completely out of hand instead as greed and gambling fever took over the self-appointed elite. The anger at home is palpable: more than one newspaper editorial not to mention conversation in the pubs brings up the Men of 1916. Jesus Christ! How could we look them in the face having thrown it all away like this?

But we haven't thrown it all away. We overcame the Vikings, the Normans, and then (somewhat) the British Empire. We're still here and we're still stubborn as hell. Now we have a new enemy in the form of the Yank-controlled IMF and the faceless men who believe in profits rather than people. This could end up being the hardest fight yet. My old political sidekicks, the Shinners, (with whom I could never quite completely agree on anything) recommend defaulting on the banks who went in with their eyes open and even pulling out of the Eurozone to control our own conversion rates. With this I am inclined to agree. Independence is all: it's not a trade commodity.

What does this have to do with poetry? The prose vs poem thingy, I suppose ... the proem? I write as I think (and feel) and if I say it's a poem ... well, it could be it's not a poem in the eyes of others, I concede, but I doubt if it's going to stop me writing in the manner in which expression comes most easily. I cannot see myself breaking out into Shakespearean sonnets any time soon. There will always be people to mumble and grumble about this, I suppose, but every now and then a few might read for meaning and for the eccentric rhythms within which it unfolds.

All the very best,
Bren

dedalus
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Re: alter ego

Post by dedalus » Thu Dec 16, 2010 6:51 am

Addendum ..

Sorry, nearly forgot to mention. I am looking into your recommended changes and as ever take them seriously. This takes more time than a cheerful rant about the purpose of the poem in general .... :wink:

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