Present Perfect

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calico
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Present Perfect

Post by calico » Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:44 am

You pre-cut the cake
into 28 - you'd look good live,
like a croupier. You place
transparent tape in X's,
smooth traces out of paper,
tie your breath up with balloons,
maybe a dozen
to fill the room.
But the room grows,
like velvet frogs -
though it's the room
and not the breath that grew -
I said frogs, outgrowing
under our bed.

You pre-pack the cake
in clingfilm and watch me,
quite tightly.
Last edited by calico on Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JohnLott
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Re: Present Perfect

Post by JohnLott » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:40 pm

With the title, I keep thinking of English grammar and can't find where you use that tense..

J.
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Re: Present Perfect

Post by calico » Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:33 pm

Aiee, yes, a muddle this is. I thought the present perfect could be a sort of invisible tense. I've just got a little edit to make but will probably end up changing the title, and everything else...

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by brianedwards » Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:27 am

'Tis a muddle, but a pleasant one. This is delightful:

tie your breath up with balloons,

Interested to see what you do with this Megan.

B.

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by BenJohnson » Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:18 am

The line Brian quoted is one of the lines that makes you pause just for the pleasure of it.

L2/3 throw me slightly ' - you'd look good live, like a croupier.' I'm pondering why a casino here. At first I was thinking roulette wheel, but you have been quite specific about the number of slices and a roulette wheel has 36 segments, still the image kind of fits. What throws me more in the phrase is comparison after 'you look good live' my brain expects an association which even if it is outlandish will fit, 'croupier' just doesn't do it for me. I was reading a Selima Hill poem last night about wanting to be a cow 'fat and sound/as a department store' I didn't expect the association but it worked.

After those two lines I'm getting party (birthday?) preparations, until we hit the velvet frog, I understand the image of a frog swelling, but why velvet? I'v just had a quick look in case it was a type of frog I hadn't heard of but was renowned for its swelling properties (Only came across a US psychedelic band by that name instead). At that point the poem seems to almost repeat itself for the next four lines without seeming to add much for this reader.

The last three lines add a feeling of tension but I'm failing to grasp why things have grown tense.

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by brianedwards » Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:02 pm

BenJohnson wrote:The line Brian quoted is one of the lines that makes you pause just for the pleasure of it.
Exactly. It performs that kind of magic Paterson evokes when he speaks of "insidious originality", subtly changing the way you perceive certain things. As messy as this draft may be, I honestly think I'll never see balloons the same way again, such is the quality of that image. It kept playing over in my head on the train home, and I when I got back I shared it with Mrs B. She loved it too.

Now Megan, the challenge is to write a whole poem worthy of that line . . .

B.

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by twoleftfeet » Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:37 pm

@John
JohnLott wrote:With the title, I keep thinking of English grammar and can't find where you use that tense..

J.
Example : "John has been coming to the Poetsgraves website for over six months"
- which (I think) implies you are still doing so. (Can't be bothered to look it up..)

This is great, apart from:
But the room grows,
like velvet frogs -
though it's the room
and not the breath that grew -
I said frogs, outgrowing
under our bed.

- are there hallucinogens in the cake? 8)

Geoff
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by JohnLott » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 pm

twoleftfeet wrote:@John
JohnLott wrote:With the title, I keep thinking of English grammar and can't find where you use that tense..

J.
Example : "John has been coming to the Poetsgraves website for over six months"
- which (I think) implies you are still doing so. (Can't be bothered to look it up..)
C'mon...I think I know when and where and what and why about present perfect - I was asking the author where they had used it in this poem......
:roll:

J.
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Re: Present Perfect

Post by calico » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:47 am

Nice example about Selima Hill and the associations, Ben, thanks.
Brian and Mrs Brian, glad you liked the balloons! To be honest that line, picked out as pleasing, happened as I was looking the other way, intent on some conceptual pursuit which now eludes me.
Geoff, yes, no.
And John, yes. I just enjoyed the explanation of the tense, 'something that happened in the past and continues to happen'.
Something excites me about this poem, which probably can't be fulfilled with this poem, but want to explore the idea of a poem being like a finely constructed piece of theatre that you then interrupt and deconstruct with the absurdity of an audience member talking about frogs, or something. :mrgreen:

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by twoleftfeet » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:20 am

JohnLott wrote:
twoleftfeet wrote:@John
JohnLott wrote:With the title, I keep thinking of English grammar and can't find where you use that tense..

J.
Example : "John has been coming to the Poetsgraves website for over six months"
- which (I think) implies you are still doing so. (Can't be bothered to look it up..)
C'mon...I think I know when and where and what and why about present perfect - I was asking the author where they had used it in this poem......
:roll:

J.
Sorry, John.
I misinterpreted "you" as "one"..

Do you think "Present Perfect" needs to be used as a tense in order for the wordplay to work?
It would be the icing on the cake, I agree, but I don't think it is mandatory.
Instead of just sitting on the fence - why not stand in the middle of the road?

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by JamesM » Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:30 am

Hello Calico,

this is a poem with hooks: little shifts in the narrative that snag and grab the attention-- though it lossens towards the end. The tense shift of: 'grew' is slightly distracting. Has a modern feel: disassociative, knowing but off-kilter voice unfazed by surreal turns. The final strophe has a quesy dis-ease and excellent sonics.

I don't think the form is right. Would suit more spacing:

You pre-cut the cake
into 28 -

you'd look good live,
like a croupier.

You place
transparent tape in X's,
smooth traces out of paper,

tie your breath up with balloons,

maybe a dozen
to fill the room.

But the room grows,
like velvet frogs -

though it's the room
and not the breath that grew -

I said frogs, outgrowing
under our bed.


You pre-pack the cake
in clingfilm and watch me,
quite tightly.

Not suggesting this as an alternative. I'd even think about more extreme formatting. You could cut the highlighted part and have a tight, odd poem. Not the poem you intended, though.

With the hints of celebration the , 'Present' in your title is useful, though I quite like its ambiguities

James

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by brianedwards » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:34 am

I quite like James' offering, but it does change the voice. It's a little too neat, like the poet has decided what they want to say before they started writing. A strength of Megan's writing is always the way in which she can engage the reader in an idea as it is forming. Or perhaps that should be as if it is forming. Anyway, it's something you can't teach.

B.

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Re: Present Perfect

Post by Suzanne » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:06 pm

I really enjoy this and can't figure out what its about. I think the beginning images are great. The reader wants to watch the guy with the cake. It seemed like you were watching a cooking show, following the prep. The velvet frogs are surprising and interesting. As it happens, I have had frogs on my mind all week and a velvet one fits in nicely to the images already bouncing in my head.

Your explanation of it being like a theater piece is exciting and adds something new for me to ponder. I love the idea of being part of a surprised audience.
I am not sure that this poem is finished yet but I sure enjoyed the place that it is now.

Thanks for the read,
Suzanne

oh, and, the title is clever but it isn't a good match. lol.

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