The Big Issue

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The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:00 pm

Here once again he pesters me, steps into my world where I’m set
fair, imposed upon by his misfortune, self indulgence now regret.

He always seems to be around, whichever street or square I walk
jabbering loudly in my ear, I make clear I don't want to talk .

Is his the filthy blanket hid amongst the bushes in the park ?,
those kids have used it for a toilet, soaked it in their nasty larks.

The little money that he gets who knows if it is wisely spent,
he may well blow it all on drugs, he’s on the streets for missing rent.

Most likely he's a total waster blaming some infirmity,
he's claiming that his autism is lifelong since his stepmum's knee.

Now that his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not of course that it's my problem, sure someone else will see him right,

Much better purchase his “Big Issue”, nullify my conscience clean,
his kind always fall by the way, we are wealthier than we’ve ever been !


REVISED VERSION

For better or worse constructive dialogue has led to this revised version. I like it better now.
The poem is about "everyman" prejudices and little cruelties, intentional and unintentional therefore is aimed to touch YOUR prejudices.
Please do not mistake common experience for cliche.
I also reject the idea that because a subject has been focused on by other writers we should reject it. If that was the case the vast body of nature poetry would be pretty thin. Misconceptions about "originality" in poetry are widespread hence the rejection of rhyme. It is no coincidence that the supposed revitalise interest in poetry has coincided with its exposure on the media in the Nationwide advertising campaign. I think some of those frustrated novel writers who jumped onto the "modern poetry" bandwagon" could yet be left standing in an outworn and unfashionable suit.
For me originality isn't in the choice of subject but in the choice of context and expression.
My poem isn't me regurgitating what I have heard or read but me relating a first hand experience with someone I knew and taught as a child.

Here once again he pesters me, tramples my world so I'm upset
imposed upon by misery so self indulgences regret.

He always seems to be around whichever street or square I walk,
misfortune's voiced loud in my ear despite him knowing I wont talk.

I see his filthy blanket there pulled from the bushes in the park
that kids have soaked with streams of piss in bored amusement as a lark. -

The little money that he gets who knows if it is wisely spent,
he may well blow it all on drugs, he’s on the streets for missing rent.

Most likely he's a waste of space just hid behind infirmity,
complaining about autism, adoption and anxiety.

Now his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not of course that it's my problem, someone else will see him right.

Much better purchase his “Big Issue”, that way keep my conscience clean,
not my fault he's in despair with folk denying the whole scene !

Thank you to all contributors and special thanks to Ray for a much improved line.
fortytwo
Last edited by fortytwo on Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:30 pm, edited 23 times in total.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby David Smedley » Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:27 pm

Is his the filthy blanket hid amongst the bushes in the park ?,
those kids have used it for a toilet, soaked it in their nasty larks.

If you don't know his blanket is hid in the bushes, how do you know the kids have pissed on it? Edited to clarify the lack of clarity in the above question when couplet six starts with, "Now that his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight." which gave rise to my confusion about how "N" knew the blanket had been soiled. "In line five "N" does not know who's blanket it is, but in line 11 he does.

imposed upon by his misfortune, self indulgence now regret.

The imposition in the first part of this quote is felt by "N," the second part (for me) needs more wording to make sense, and also that the focus of the last 4 words is not a follow on from "N" feeling some imposition, it is something that "N" supposes the big issue seller feels, ( from I presume, a life of debauchery). ( Why do I think I know what you are trying to express but others may not? Because I read quite a lot of poetry and come across lack of clarity where the sequence of thought has to be filled in).

I just had another thought about those last 4 words, that "N" is familiar to the big issue seller as intimated in lines1, 2 and 3 and that maybe the "self indulgence" was the narrator buying an issue or two in the past that he now regrets because it has set him up for further imposition in the future (obviously this is just a guess). As I say clarity needs to be brought to bare here,


If the whole thing is a scenario played out nationwide, then I ask myself if you have given me a new angle on the scene or cliché after cliché, and it's the clichéd feel I get from this not a fresh angle.


For me the work is more than a little insensitive to the plight of the homeless whose situation is hardly a subject for mockery or patronising reference. I can't help feeling that in part the poem, however tongue in cheek, expresses prejudice and a lack of empathy.
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Last edited by David Smedley on Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:57 pm

DS if you think that the poem "expresses prejudice and a lack of empathy." on my part you have totally missed the basic premise of the poem and that despite the supposed cliches.
Remember it isn't how much poetry you read that qualifies you to judge others work but the insight, knowledge and artistry you bring to the poetry. It isn't about trying to sound "clever" at anothers expense,especially insulting when the perpetrater of the abuse is so blatantly not what they are trying to represent themselves as
This forum is about supportive and knowledgeable critique and to be successful needs insight fullness to detect what is not necessarily a dialogue of " HERE IT IS" in neon lights. If you can be bothered try reading the poem again and this time take note of the implications of words like ...autism...stepmother...nullify and conscience .
Thanks for the comments about the blanket and the "self indulgence" relating to purchasing "big issues" previously I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. As you appear to like blunt and insensitive comments how come if the poem is so cliched you didn't understand any of it. It might be my lack of clarity or it might be your lack of insight and understanding. As my mother always told me "think before you speak". Good rule for poetry criticism I think DS.
Shaw....Those that can do, ... those that can't criticise... oh no sorry....teach.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby David Smedley » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:33 pm

fortytwo said.
How come if the poem is so cliched you didn't understand any of it.


Sorry FT, but I understand all of it only too well, there is nothing difficult here, except the places in the poem that I have already pointed out.

My post here does not have to be "supportive," I am not a social worker. This is a workshop not a vanity site!

Post-a-Poem (Experienced)
This is a serious poetry forum not a "love-in". Post here for more detailed, constructive criticism.

This is what it says on the front page of the forum. My post is constructive, it tells you where I think your poem went wrong, period.

As for the last bit (in bold text) that includes the words "expresses prejudice and a lack of empathy" they are your own words (which you wrote a few weeks ago) thrown back at you, see here: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=23031 they are slightly modified to fit this poems theme, I thought they were apt to use at this moment to show your hypocrisy, and how crass you were to use them in the first place.

I would like to apologise to other readers and writers on this forum for having to reply in this way to fortytwo.

David
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:44 pm

Thank you DS for explaining so clearly your motivation for criticising a poem you don't even understand at the most basic level. To quote you

"they are your own words (which you wrote a few weeks ago) thrown back at you".

The difference DS is that when I employed the criticism of your patronising and racially biased poem they applied but when you have re-used them, by your own confession purely motivated by revenge, it doesn't and your comments lose any validity they might have had due to self confessed bias.
When I came onto this forum I came fully prepared to accept informed criticism with the emphasis on INFORMED. When criticism is directed at my work that clearly demonstrates a lack of understanding of the medium of poetry I, like all members here, have the right, as I have with you, to correct the errors and perhaps in doing so help the critic understand better what they are attempting.
Let me finish by quoting the forum rule back to you
"This is a serious poetry forum...for... detailed, constructive criticism
Criticism motivated by revenge doesn't comply with the above.
I suggest you desist from juvenile behaviour so that those of us on this forum who love and write poetry to the best of our ability. can present it to an informed and unbiased adult audience whose work doesn't read like a lurid newspaper account.
For myself I shall not be commenting on your work as my interest is purely in poetry and I would appreciate it if you did not comment on my work, subject of course to the approval of management.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby 1lankest » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:16 am

I found it an honest, reasonably nuanced investigation into the bigotry surrounding attitudes towards the dispossesed. It made me consider my own attitudes too. The conflicts in one's conscience are explored with a direct satiricism that I don't think can be confused for bigotry on behalf the author.
That said, apart from some effective line breaks and a compelling metre, I didn't find too much poetry here. But perhaps that wasn't the point. It isn't a subject to overly render in florid words so you were probably right not to try.

L
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby ray miller » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:57 pm

I've no particular problem with the tone of the poem and I wouldn't necessarily expect it to represent your own views. Trouble is, this kind of thing has been done to death, Streets of London etc. and there's little enough that's novel. Anyway, to details.

fortytwo wrote:Here once again he pesters me, steps into my world where I’m set - maybe "steps in my world and I'm beset"
fair, imposed upon by his misfortune, self indulgence now regret. - to make the rhythm work I'd suggest leaving out "fair"

He always seems to be around, whichever street or square I walk
jabbering loudly in my ear, I make clear I don’t wish to talk.

Is his the filthy blanket hid amongst the bushes in the park ?,
those kids have used it for a toilet, soaked it in their nasty larks. - toilet seems a bit prudish, the rhythm is crying out for piss/ shit, summat of that nature

The little money that he gets who knows if it is wisely spent,
he may well blow it all on drugs, he’s on the streets for missing rent.

Most likely he's a total waster blaming some infirmity,
he's claiming that his autism is lifelong since his stepmum's knee. - a weak line, I think, "mumbling about his autism, adoption and anxiety"

Now that his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not of course that it's my problem, sure someone else will see him right,

Much better purchase his “Big Issue”, nullify my conscience clean, - "nullify my conscience clean" is not very well put
his kind always fall by the way, we are wealthier than we’ve ever been !
- "we're richer" would fit the rhythm better
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:50 pm

Hi Ray. Yes it is a theme that has been explored a good deal in song and verse but I had very personal reasons for wanting to express my view on the topic. I have looked over you suggestions for revision and there are some good points that I am happy to use. Will do that soon.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:55 pm

Thanks 1lankest for you honest appraisal and I take on board what you say.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:39 pm

Revised version head of page
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby Macavity » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:56 am

Now his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight.
Not of course that it's my problem. Someone else will see him right.


I wondered FT of there would be an option to vary the pace in the poem by using a full-stop on occasion?

I've noticed at this formalist site that posters tend to 'soften' the rhyme by using punctuation:

https://www.ablemuse.com/erato/showthread.php?t=28903

I thought the voice in the poem provokes a reaction and therefore is not stale.

The Guardian is running an appeal for Christmas:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... in-10-days

best

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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:55 pm

Mac, I see your point about full stops sometimes [ I hope not always ] I try too hard to maintain flow, often to avoid the "look" of forced rhyme. Thanks for the link, interesting set of reviews but as always each contradicting the other in their preferences and advice. Just demonstrates how selective one needs to be when it comes to revising
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby David Smedley » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:16 pm

FT said.
For better or worse constructive dialogue has led to this revised version. I like it better now.
The poem is about "everyman" prejudices and little cruelties, intentional and unintentional therefore is aimed to touch YOUR prejudices.
Please do not mistake common experience for cliche.
I also reject the idea that because a subject has been focused on by other writers we should reject it. If that was the case the vast body of nature poetry would be pretty thin. Misconceptions about "originality" in poetry are widespread hence the rejection of rhyme. It is no coincidence that the supposed revitalise interest in poetry has coincided with its exposure on the media in the Nationwide advertising campaign. I think some of those frustrated novel writers who jumped onto the "modern poetry" bandwagon" could yet be left standing in an outworn and unfashionable suit.
For me originality isn't in the choice of subject but in the choice of context and expression.
My poem isn't me regurgitating what I have heard or read but me relating a first hand experience with someone I knew and taught as a child.

I also reject the idea that because a subject has been focused on by other writers we should reject it.

If you read the replies to your poem you will see that no-one has suggested rejecting a subject that has been "done to death," what your first reader actually said was that the poem you gave us was clichéd in its content, and that the content should be presented to us in a fresh way. See below.
If the whole thing is a scenario played out nationwide, then I ask myself if you have given me a new angle on the scene or cliché after cliché, and it's the clichéd feel I get from this not a fresh angle.


Your second reader put it thus.
Trouble is, this kind of thing has been done to death. Streets of London etc, and there's little enough that's novel.

Note the words, "there's little enough that's novel" it means the same thing as "there is nothing fresh here."

For me originality isn't in the choice of subject but in the choice of context and expression.

Exactly!!!. Now ask yourself if your "context" and "expression" here are "original" in any way, shape or form, or just cliché for the subject.


Had a go at different punctuation and line structure. Odd word added or taken away.

David.


Once again he pesters me, tramples my world so I'm upset,
imposed upon by misery, my self indulgences I regret.

He's always around, whichever street or square I walk,
misfortune's voiced loud in my ear, despite him knowing

I wont talk. I see his filthy blanket pulled from bushes
in the park, that the kids have soaked with streams of piss

in bored amusement as a lark. And the little money that he gets
who knows if it is wisely spent? He may well blow it all on drugs,

he’s on the streets for missing rent. Most likely he's a total waster,
hid behind infirmity; complaining about autism, adoption and anxiety.

Now his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not that it's my problem of course, someone else will see him right.

Much better I purchase his “Big Issue,” keep my conscience clean,
not my fault he's in the gutter with folk denying the whole scene!
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:27 am

DS. Could I respectfully request you yet again to ignore this piece and preferably any further work of mine as the motivation for your comments was exposed previously as some form of revenge for my comments on one of you pieces. I am not here to play silly tit for tat games no other member as adopted the patronising and frankly insulting stance you have in regard to my work whatever you claim they wrote. You have the benefit of more than charitable responses to your own work, enjoy the delusions such comments create in you but don't patronise your betters and don't waste my time and your with revisions that only reinforces why you don't employ metre and rhyme in your own work.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby JJWilliamson » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:11 am

Hi ft

I was drawn to the title because I often feel a sense of embarrassment when I'm asked to buy a copy. "No thanks, mate" is the stock reply.

I see this is an ironic examination of prejudice, stereotypes and common misconceptions rather than an attack on homeless people etc.

We've all wondered how a person ends up on the streets and why they haven't sought government help, but facts are facts. The streets are
full of homeless folk in every UK city, and even though every citizen is entitled to help the problem still exists.

I'm not in command of the full facts so I can't, with any certainty, say why this has happened, but I do know the reasons are many and varied.
If we could only remove blame from the equation we might find an answer. By "we" I mean all citizens from all ethnic and political sectors.
We have a collective responsibility.

A good one for Christmas, I'd say.

Best

JJ
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:21 pm

Thank you JJ . My poem was initially "inspired" by a particular young man I knew since childhood though the poem obviously isn't meant to be specific to one persons experiences but uses them to make more general points related to common experience.
The question of homelessness certainly isn't going away, in fact they reckon it is going to increase massively and here on the toe of GB with its milder climate and increasing general population we are certainly seeing an effect.
I think there is an urgent need for some Government intervention in terms of thorough research into the causes in so far as one can arrive at any overall conclusions and on that basis attempting some solutions that hopefully include employment and accommodation.
There is work here in Cornwall, mainly seasonal and until now reliant on temporary immigration but with Brexit that will change. Accommodation here however is in short supply and expensive and in this context is bound to impose on the tax/ratepayer in which case sympathy will soon evaporate.
For all of these reasons I felt it was a topic worth focusing on.
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby Firebird » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:34 pm

I like it FT. It’s a good character piece, showing the prejudices associated with homelessness. My main crit is that the whole piece is badly in need of some full stops/semi-colons or just better punctuation. Some specific points below.


fortytwo wrote:Here once again he pesters me, steps into my world where I’m set (for me, ‘set fair’ a strange expression here. ‘set up’ would make more sense I think)
fair, imposed upon by his misfortune, self indulgence now regret.

He always seems to be around, whichever street or square I walk
jabbering loudly in my ear, I make clear I don't want to talk .

Is his the filthy blanket hid amongst the bushes in the park ?, (no comma needed here)
those kids have used it for a toilet, soaked it in their nasty larks. (‘Larks’ seem slight wrong here. Maybe it’s that ‘nasty’ and ‘larks’ seem a bit incongruous)

The little money that he gets who knows if it is wisely spent,
he may well blow it all on drugs, he’s on the streets for missing rent.

Most likely he's a total waster blaming some infirmity,
he's claiming that his autism is lifelong since his stepmum's knee. (Run on sentence)

Now that his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not of course that it's my problem, sure someone else will see him right,

Much better purchase his “Big Issue”, nullify my conscience clean,
his kind always fall by the way, we are wealthier than we’ve ever been !


REVISED VERSION

For better or worse constructive dialogue has led to this revised version. I like it better now.
The poem is about "everyman" prejudices and little cruelties, intentional and unintentional therefore is aimed to touch YOUR prejudices.
Please do not mistake common experience for cliche.
I also reject the idea that because a subject has been focused on by other writers we should reject it. If that was the case the vast body of nature poetry would be pretty thin. Misconceptions about "originality" in poetry are widespread hence the rejection of rhyme. It is no coincidence that the supposed revitalise interest in poetry has coincided with its exposure on the media in the Nationwide advertising campaign. I think some of those frustrated novel writers who jumped onto the "modern poetry" bandwagon" could yet be left standing in an outworn and unfashionable suit.
For me originality isn't in the choice of subject but in the choice of context and expression.
My poem isn't me regurgitating what I have heard or read but me relating a first hand experience with someone I knew and taught as a child.

Here once again he pesters me, tramples my world so I'm upset
imposed upon by misery so self indulgences regret.

He always seems to be around whichever street or square I walk,
misfortune's voiced loud in my ear despite him knowing I wont talk.

I see his filthy blanket there pulled from the bushes in the park
that kids have soaked with streams of piss in bored amusement as a lark. -

The little money that he gets who knows if it is wisely spent,
he may well blow it all on drugs, he’s on the streets for missing rent.

Most likely he's a waste of space just hid behind infirmity,
complaining about autism, adoption and anxiety.

Now his bedding is so soiled I wonder where he’ll sleep tonight,
not of course that it's my problem, someone else will see him right.

Much better purchase his “Big Issue”, that way keep my conscience clean,
not my fault he's in despair with folk denying the whole scene !

Thank you to all contributors and special thanks to Ray for a much improved line.
fortytwo
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Re: The Big Issue

Postby fortytwo » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:46 am

Hi Firebird, thanks for taking the time and trouble to read and review. Some of your suggestions I had already incorporated in my final revision which was below the earlier version you reviewed but your points still had relevance as they help reinforce the changes I made. Also you are correct and I am getting a bit sloppy on punctuation, I'll do something to rectify that. Again thankyou for the positive tone of your review.
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