Pointing

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ray miller
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Pointing

Post by ray miller » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:17 pm

They didn’t wash
your blood spots
off the pavement.
You lived alongside
midnight’s vomit,
nub-ends, dog shit.

I followed your arrow
to work most days;
past the corner Co-op
by the phone box.

When I finally got through,
a staff nurse told me.
She was precise
about the time
but I forget.

I sank and sat
amid the spit, the broken glasses,
and the cards which offered
cheap insurance, easy loans,
and Swedish massage.

I watched you fade,
looked hard for you when
you were no longer there.

Rain and a thousand feet
have rubbed you out.

Like those games of Hopscotch,
Tracking, an arrow
no more pointing.
The blade of a knife
blunted by age.
Last edited by ray miller on Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Antcliff
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Location: At the end of stanza 3

Re: Pointing

Post by Antcliff » Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:58 pm

Grim, but very good.

Third stanza great.

Not sure I quite follow...
Like those games of hopscotch,
tracking, an arrow
no more pointing.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

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JJWilliamson
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Re: Pointing

Post by JJWilliamson » Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:24 am

I tend to agree with Seth.

This is very good, Ray. The details and mood are well developed, making this poem believable.

I'm not sure what S4's doing, though. If I'm honest, I didn't really follow it, and yet it feels significant.

The arrows have me wondering.

Enjoyed, in a "grim" sort of way.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Pointing

Post by rossdalglish » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:26 am

It's good to be taken down among the street debris on a Monday morning and made to think. It doesn't feel contemporary, with the phone box scene for example (broken glasses?) and there's a link to childhood through the chalk/games. Is it someone you'd known in more carefree times?

S7 is nice and could probably do its job without the last 2 lines.

RD

ray miller
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Re: Pointing

Post by ray miller » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:02 am

Thanks for the comments.
Seth - Tracking was the name of a game we played. As far as I recall it involved one group trying to find another group, who would leave chalk marks on the pavement. Perhaps I should capitalise the games.
JJ - the N is meant to be in the telephone box when he hears of his friend's death. He sinks amongst the debris.
Ross - 1971. A mate got stabbed to death. I was just acknowledging that in the last couple of lines.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Antcliff
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Re: Pointing

Post by Antcliff » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:10 pm

Perhaps I should capitalise the games.
Ah, yeh, that would help.

Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

Joao
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Re: Pointing

Post by Joao » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:47 pm

Very moving, Ray. The nurse's precision, unheeded, is a lovely touch: in a glimpse, the full emotional contrast between her practical detachment and the narrator's distracted grief.

ray miller
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Re: Pointing

Post by ray miller » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:03 am

Thanks both.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

David
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Re: Pointing

Post by David » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:40 am

I know there's an important personal reference there, but could you do without the last stanza? Rain and a thousand feet / have rubbed you out would be a very resonant finish (I think).

I also wonder about reordering the first four stanzas - as in 3-4-2-1 - to make the timeline a bit clearer. Your reference to 1971 is a big help, so if you could somehow - subtly - incorporate that into the poem I'd like to see it.

The game of Tracking is new to me.

But the whole thing is very strong as it is. I'm just talking about rearranging the furniture, not replacing it.

Cheers

David

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Re: Pointing

Post by ray miller » Sun Jul 17, 2016 11:22 am

Thanks, David. I'd thought about starting with the 3rd stanza. But 3-4-2-1, that's a fancy Premiership formation, that. Not for us Championship wallahs. I could reverse the last 2 stanzas as well, I suppose.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

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