an outside perspective

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Mirrorball
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an outside perspective

Post by Mirrorball » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:55 pm

at work, the policeman says
i behaved inappropriately
and my boss sends me back
to the guest house. the owner’s
daughter asks me to leave.
she says her mother thinks
i'll drive her regulars away.
i check into a hotel, say farewell
to a friend I only met the night
before. i lose my job, they think
i am crazy.

my friend collapses at the bar,
stools crash like pins on the deck.
he's not drunk, he says he has weak
ankles, i prop him with my shoulder,
and the landlord says i'm barred
i ask why, he says i make customers
uncomfortable with my wisecracks;
the bar girls don’t like the way i look
and the prison officer glares from
one end of the bar, he says
i am crazy.

my dating website page locks up.
another landlord points to the door,
i belong in a secure unit, he says,
not his pub. the moderator terminates
my account, he says there is an oblique
threat in my posts. the nursery director
says he must exclude me from
his premises, he says i intimidate
his staff, i make them feel uneasy.
this is bullshit, they all say
i am crazy

outside the night sky is clear and still,
the dark space between the stars
is vast and free of gravity.
other people pull me
hard to ground.

Perry
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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Perry » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:26 pm

There is so much happening in this poem. Before I comment, may I ask, is this about some incident that the public might know about?
If I forget to come back to critique your revised poem, don't hesitate to send me a note.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Mirrorball » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:11 am

Thanks for reading Perry,

I want to leave the details to the readers imagination to some degree. N is getting attention in public but it's unlikely that a crime has been committed or this is headline news if that's what you're asking.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Perry » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:34 am

I just thought that you might be writing about something that had been in the news, but which I hadn't heard about.
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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Perry » Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:36 pm

MB, the poem is certainly unique. It is a narrative, but the events happen fast and chaotically without much explanation as to why these things are going on. To that extent, the poem doesn't seem to have a central point. I wonder if the narrator really is crazy. Perhaps you are trying to capture the events in a day of a disturbed person. If so, I should point out that this is still a poem, and poems usually make a point (or have a moral, etc.), and I don't see much of a point in the poem -- just a succession of events and reactions.

On the positive side, you have written clearly, as you always do.
If I forget to come back to critique your revised poem, don't hesitate to send me a note.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Mirrorball » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:44 pm

Thanks Perry, I appreciate it's a strange one and I wonder if a better title is required.

In the case of the most severe forms of mental illness:

How do you know you're mad?

Or, from the outside looking in, do we live in a profoundly sick society where it's easier to judge and ostracize?

I suspect from your response you're looking at N with suspicion rather than sympathy.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by David » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:40 pm

I like it. It may be very obvious of me - I'm like that - but I think you're missing a trick by not using "i am crazy" as the closing line - suitably set up in a final stanza, of course.

Cheers

David

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Perry » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:10 pm

Actually, I do feel some sympathy for the narrator. The people in the world who have the hardest lives are the ones with inadequate impulse control -- and we all have strong impulses. However, mentally ill people with poor impulse control also commit serious crimes, and society has little tolerance for those people. In the case of your narrator, it sounds like he is misunderstood and being treated harshly and unfairly.

My thoughts are about the poem, which seems to be pure narration. It reminds me of stream-of-consciousness fiction, which, if I recall, came in and out of style half a century ago. Whether a literary piece is a novel or a poem, the reader is depending on the author to make sense of it for him/her. In this case, you are just putting the events out there without explanation. If your poem works -- which I think it does -- it is only because you have written the narration so clearly. If you had written this in abstract language, I wouldn't feel that way.

So, I see the poem as one which works, in the sense that it tells a comprehensible story and generates a reaction from the reader. But reading it also made me feel uncomfortable (like seeing an upsetting news story on TV). The language isn't particularly beautiful (and shouldn't be, given the subject matter), and it didn't leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. But this is your poem, and you decide what you want it to be. I'm sure there will be people out there who will relate to it more than I do.

If I were writing this poem, I wouldn't write about a chain of events. I would focus on one incident (one preferably with irony) that illustrates what I want to say, and try to reveal to the reader the deeper meaning in it.
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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Mirrorball » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:34 pm

David wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:40 pm
I like it. It may be very obvious of me - I'm like that - but I think you're missing a trick by not using "i am crazy" as the closing line - suitably set up in a final stanza, of course.

Cheers

David
Thanks David, I can see where you're coming from with the suggestion.

In my personal experience, no truly psychotic or delusional person believes they are mentally ill until they regain full insight and even then very few accept the label that is thrust upon them by the hell that is other people. Apologies for quoting Sartre out of context. I know the poem is not exactly subtle. Psychiatry is a sphere of creative writing in it's own right

Perry, thanks for returning. You're right about impulse control but a very small minority (less than 1%) of psychiatric patients commit crimes and they are much more likely to commit suicide with the more severe conditions (20%). I know the poem could be better. It's a reflection on a series of events in my 20s that resulted in a lot of exclusion. I have to write about what I know and it's not pretty sometimes.

I'll think about focusing on one event for another poem. Thanks for the suggestion.

I take your point about the stream of consciousness too. I always feel like I've failed with a poem when I have to explain myself.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Perry » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:48 pm

Mirrorball wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:34 pm
I take your point about the stream of consciousness too. I always feel like I've failed with a poem when I have to explain myself.
To the best of my knowledge, you haven't provided an explanation for the poem, and I think I understood it well enough (after familiarizing myself with it), so there is no failure here. It stands on its own. It was just a disturbing piece for me to read -- we all have a crazy person inside that we are trying to control. It is also a somewhat unusual poem, being all narrative as it is.

No failure here.
If I forget to come back to critique your revised poem, don't hesitate to send me a note.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Macavity » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:20 pm

I like the delivery of this MB. A detached, disconnected feeling.The outsider being judged by the insiders. The latter having the power of exclusion.
Mirrorball wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:55 pm
at work, the policeman says
i behaved inappropriately
and my boss sends me back
to the guest house. the owner’s
daughter asks me to leave.
she says her mother thinks
i'll drive her regulars away.
i check into a hotel, say farewell
to a friend I only met the night
before. i lose my job, they think
i am crazy.

my friend collapses at the bar,
stools crash like pins on the deck.
he's not drunk, he says he has weak
ankles, i prop him with my shoulder,
and the landlord says i'm barred
i ask why, he says i make customers
uncomfortable with my wisecracks;
the bar girls don’t like the way i look
and the prison officer glares from
one end of the bar, he says
i am crazy.

my dating website page locks up.
another landlord points to the door,
i belong in a secure unit, he says,
not his pub. the moderator terminates
my account, he says there is an oblique
threat in my posts. the nursery director
says he must exclude me from
his premises, he says i intimidate
his staff, i make them feel uneasy.
this is bullshit, they all say.....................perhaps cut out the personal and keep the judgments to 'they'
i am crazy

outside the night sky is clear and still,
the dark space between the stars
is vast and free of gravity..............................enough implied for the reader to write
other people pull me
hard to ground.
I'm enjoying your writes

cheers

mac

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Mirrorball » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:17 pm

Thanks Mac, I should give the reader more credit. I think you're right about the last two lines. The bullshit line is a bit more tricky because I'm not sure if it comes across in the poem that 'N' doesn't agree with the label coming from them 'all'.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by churinga » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:39 pm

Hi there Mirror, Mirror on the ball. :D :D :D

stools crash like pins on the deck. I assume this refers to 10 pin bowling, but 'deck' in that game is the 10 pins when laid out in their trianguar pattern.

I think you over do it somewhat, the exagerration is there for effect but it becomes for me a bit tedious as is the contant repetition of 'he says, she says etc.'


outside the night sky is clear and still,
the dark space between the stars
is vast and free of gravity. I like this very much as a contrast to the 'never a dull moment' feel of the former verses.


other people pull me
hard to ground. I don't like this at all, it seems again gratuitous.

It is an unusual poem and there's a lot to like. In its present form it would be great read aloud. On the page as i have mentioned it feels overdone but that may have been your intention. I would say this person has Aspergers syndrome.

kind regards

Ross

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Macavity » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:08 pm

Mirrorball wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:17 pm
Thanks Mac, I should give the reader more credit. I think you're right about the last two lines. The bullshit line is a bit more tricky because I'm not sure if it comes across in the poem that 'N' doesn't agree with the label coming from them 'all'.
Fair point MB. A positive in not accepting the label.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by Mirrorball » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:20 pm

Cheers Ross, there's some shrewd suggestions in your crit. I've had a quick search and I think I can get away with deck as 'the area of the lane the pins rest on.'

https://www.thoughtco.com/bowling-pin-rack-420521

I'm not sure if I should be using a figure of speech in that stanza though.

You, Mac and I all agree that the last two lines need to go.

I do like to use repetition to good effect where I can as discussed previously. It's ideal when a poem is good on paper and effective as a read out loud piece but one or the other is still a success.

Interesting you went for Asperger's, the poem is about the reaction to mania with paranoid psychosis. The paranoia may have been mood incongruent. I could say more but it's rather embarrassing.

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Re: an outside perspective

Post by churinga » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:30 pm

Hi again

Deck defintiely refers to the lay out of the pins, not the lane they are on, it is used in the same way as 'deck of cards'. as a group in a particular order. Given that deck in the context of your image could also mean simply 'hit the deck' in a broad way i think it still works. I can see that mania ( perhaps hypomania) and psychosis is a better fit than Aspergers.

cheers

Ross

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