Checkout

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TrevorConway
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Checkout

Post by TrevorConway » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:30 pm

Aisles piled with products,
vivid as paintings on gallery walls.
There is a pageant
of fascinated souls here:
One waits by the door,
pinching his hood, hostage of the rain
that batters an afternoon beat overhead.
He stalks the mood of the sky,
his bags engorged
with all that sings
in jars and packets.

A man with a thin moustache
like a dusted fossil above his lip
creeps towards loaves of bread,
gropes a sliced pan
till he finds one that yields most
to the curl of his hand.

Behind,
an old lady trundles her trolley,
squeaking and jerking with neglect,
dysfunction.
She eyes jars on a high shelf,
jammed tight as stained glass.
Pity her
as her fingers tremble.

A crude curator jabs cookies
to a barren shelf,
distracted by the pretty student
who burdens her phone with talk of deadlines
till she ends the call, studies the shelf
and fixes a pack of Fig Rolls snug
to the corner of her basket.

There’s sweet relief from the breath of the freezer,
with chicken corpses dismembered, minced,
mummified in breadcrumb.
Time to consult the shopping list
and be sure nothing’s missed,
time to study the casts of queues
and make a decision.

A muscly man
with mountainous arms
red as the meat pressed to his chest
regrets his choice as the lady at the till
dashes off to fetch an item.
He closes his eyes,
wonders
how much life he’ll spend in queues,
how many minutes waiting
as others fumble
with petty change

QUERIES

How does the title fit? Boring?

Same for the first 3 lines? Ditch them?

Are many of the images a touch too far?

Other weak points?

Thanks a million, everyone. I appreciate you giving the time and energy to this.

T

NotQuiteSure
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Re: Checkout

Post by NotQuiteSure » Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:54 am

.
Hi Trevor.

I'm ok with the title, it efficiently sets the scene. Though I did wonder if this was about people in the queue/line at a checkout. And yes, cut those first three (make that four) lines, totally unnecessary.
Being rather brutal, I think only the first two verses have much to offer in terms of character and interest. Things become more prosaic (with the exception of the 'stained glass jars') as the piece progresses and the ending doesn't satisfy. I also found myself bridling at being told to pity someone (which wasn't good).

I thought this was going to be a meditation on social isolation/social distancing in a supermarket queue but, by the end, I didn't know what it was about,.


One waits by the door,
- change 'one' to something more descriptive?
pinching his hood, hostage
of the rain that batters the afternoon
- is if 'of' or 'to'?
He stalks the mood of the sky,
his bags engorged with all that sings

- 'engorged' hits a rather sexually inappropriate note (or maybe that's just my dirty mind?)
And I'm not really following 'sings'
in jars and packets.

A man with a thin moustache
- in what way is this 'man' different to the one in S1? 'Older' is implied.
like a dusted fossil above his lip
- like the image, but the phrasing 'a thin'/'a dusted' could be improved.
And it's a moustache! Where else would it be than above his lip? :)
creeps towards loaves of bread,
gropes a sliced pan
till he finds one that yields most
to the curl of his hand.

- I can see that one might 'fit' the 'curl' but not how it 'yields'.


Regards, Not


.

TrevorConway
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Re: Checkout

Post by TrevorConway » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:28 am

Hi Not,

Thanks very much for commenting. I just intended it as a snapshot of a supermarket scene. So, despite the semi-misdirection of the title (making you picture the people at the checkout rather than in the aisles), you think it's okay? I think that potential misdirection was why I felt the need to mention the aisles at the beginning.

Re the more proasic development, do you think that was because the imagery wasn't vivid or because the subjects/characters themselves just weren't interesting?

Hope I'm not pestering you with the follow-up questions. Feel free to ignore if it's too much, and thanks again. Really appreciate the feedback.

T
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:54 am
.
Hi Trevor.

I'm ok with the title, it efficiently sets the scene. Though I did wonder if this was about people in the queue/line at a checkout. And yes, cut those first three (make that four) lines, totally unnecessary.
Being rather brutal, I think only the first two verses have much to offer in terms of character and interest. Things become more prosaic (with the exception of the 'stained glass jars') as the piece progresses and the ending doesn't satisfy. I also found myself bridling at being told to pity someone (which wasn't good).

I thought this was going to be a meditation on social isolation/social distancing in a supermarket queue but, by the end, I didn't know what it was about,.


One waits by the door,
- change 'one' to something more descriptive?
pinching his hood, hostage
of the rain that batters the afternoon
- is if 'of' or 'to'?
He stalks the mood of the sky,
his bags engorged with all that sings

- 'engorged' hits a rather sexually inappropriate note (or maybe that's just my dirty mind?)
And I'm not really following 'sings'
in jars and packets.

A man with a thin moustache
- in what way is this 'man' different to the one in S1? 'Older' is implied.
like a dusted fossil above his lip
- like the image, but the phrasing 'a thin'/'a dusted' could be improved.
And it's a moustache! Where else would it be than above his lip? :)
creeps towards loaves of bread,
gropes a sliced pan
till he finds one that yields most
to the curl of his hand.

- I can see that one might 'fit' the 'curl' but not how it 'yields'.


Regards, Not


.

NotQuiteSure
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Re: Checkout

Post by NotQuiteSure » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:38 am

.
Hi Trevor.
TrevorConway wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:28 am
Re the more proasic development, do you think that was because the imagery wasn't vivid or because the subjects/characters themselves just weren't interesting?
For me it was the later characters/subjects weren't interesting/intriguing enough. There are questions which the descriptions of the first two raise: why is the hoodie 'stalking the mood of the sky'? Why is 'fossil moustache creeping'? But the old lady, curator and muscly man seem far too straightforward and obvious.
Looking at it again today, I wonder, if you are going to pursue the 'art gallery' idea then maybe each verse/subject should be (descriptively at least) in/of a different artistic style. A cubist in a hoodie, and impression of an old lady, a vortecist muscly man etc. And an ending that relates to the 'art' idea, not queuing. I'm off now to listen to Mussorgsky.

Regards, Not

.
Last edited by NotQuiteSure on Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TrevorConway
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Re: Checkout

Post by TrevorConway » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:44 am

Thanks for the extended feedback, Not. And for the new ideas to boot! Definitely worth exploring and seeing what comes of it.

Much appreciated,

T
NotQuiteSure wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:38 am
.
Hi Trevor.
TrevorConway wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:28 am
Re the more proasic development, do you think that was because the imagery wasn't vivid or because the subjects/characters themselves just weren't interesting?
For me it was the later characters/subjects weren't interesting/intriguing enough. There are questions which the descriptions of the first two raise: why is the hoodie 'stalking the mood of the sky'? Why is 'fossil moustache creeping'? But the old lady, curator and muscly man seem far too straightforward and obvious.
Looking at it again today, I wonder, if you are going to pursue the 'art gallery' idea then maybe each verse/subject should be (descriptively at least) in/of a different artistic style. A cubist in a hoodie, and impressionistic of an old lady, a vortecist muscly man etc. And an ending that relates to the 'art' idea, not queuing. I'm off now to listen to Mussorgsky.

Regards, Not

.

penguin
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Re: Checkout

Post by penguin » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:47 am

The problem, I think, is that the opening lines promise what's not delivered - vivid, pageant, fascinated. Unless you're just intending to be ironic. But then, I'd say the characters are neither interesting or mundane enough to make much of an impression.

TrevorConway
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Re: Checkout

Post by TrevorConway » Fri Apr 24, 2020 1:56 pm

Hi Penguin,

Thanks for the feedback. Will keep it in mind and re-assess the poem.

Appreciate your input,

T
penguin wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:47 am
The problem, I think, is that the opening lines promise what's not delivered - vivid, pageant, fascinated. Unless you're just intending to be ironic. But then, I'd say the characters are neither interesting or mundane enough to make much of an impression.

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Firebird
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Re: Checkout

Post by Firebird » Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:08 pm

Hi Trev,

I think I agree with Penguin’s comment. The poem does have some good lines but overall I wanted more from the end and it didn’t engage me enough when reading. I felt the description of the characters was too flat. Some specific comment below.

Cheers,

Tristan

TrevorConway wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:30 pm
Aisles piled with products,
vivid as paintings on gallery walls.
There is a pageant
of fascinated souls here:
One waits by the door,
pinching his hood, hostage of the rain
that batters an afternoon beat overhead.
He stalks the mood of the sky,
his bags engorged
with all that sings
in jars and packets.

A man with a thin moustache
like a dusted fossil above his lip (Like the idea of this, but no sure if it works, because fossil is too general to visualise. You need a specific fossil, like an ammonite, I think)
creeps towards loaves of bread,
gropes a sliced pan
till he finds one that yields most
to the curl of his hand.

Behind,
an old lady trundles her trolley, (A bit cliched - language and image)
squeaking and jerking with neglect, (nice metaphor, if intended)
dysfunction.
She eyes jars on a high shelf,
jammed tight as stained glass. (This image just about works for me. It may not work for others though)
Pity her
as her fingers tremble. (This seems like N is requesting ‘pity‘ of the readEr. Is this correct? If so, I find this this a bit strange)

A crude curator jabs cookies (I like the line - great)
to a barren shelf,
distracted by the pretty student
who burdens her phone with talk of deadlines
till she ends the call, studies the shelf
and fixes a pack of Fig Rolls snug
to the corner of her basket. (besides the first line, this stanza isn’t doing enough for me)

There’s sweet relief from the breath of the freezer,
with chicken corpses dismembered, minced,
mummified in breadcrumb. (Nice phrase and sonics)
Time to consult the shopping list
and be sure nothing’s missed,
time to study the casts of queues
and make a decision.

A muscly man
with mountainous arms (Too cliched for me)
red as the meat pressed to his chest (Strong line)
regrets his choice as the lady at the till
dashes off to fetch an item.
He closes his eyes,
wonders
how much life he’ll spend in queues,
how many minutes waiting
as others fumble
with petty change. (Is the ‘petty change’ maybe an image for the characters you have described? It’s fairly harsh if it is.)

QUERIES

How does the title fit? Boring?

Same for the first 3 lines? Ditch them?

Are many of the images a touch too far?

Other weak points?

Thanks a million, everyone. I appreciate you giving the time and energy to this.

T

TrevorConway
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Posts: 217
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2020 10:09 am

Re: Checkout

Post by TrevorConway » Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:21 pm

Hey Tristan,

Thanks for the close reading and commentary. Yep, a request for pity, I suppose. It was just how it sounded, and the change in tone it gave, that appealed to me. But it needs revision, like other parts.

Thanks a mill,

T

Firebird wrote:
Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:08 pm
Hi Trev,

I think I agree with Penguin’s comment. The poem does have some good lines but overall I wanted more from the end and it didn’t engage me enough when reading. I felt the description of the characters was too flat. Some specific comment below.

Cheers,

Tristan

TrevorConway wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:30 pm
Aisles piled with products,
vivid as paintings on gallery walls.
There is a pageant
of fascinated souls here:
One waits by the door,
pinching his hood, hostage of the rain
that batters an afternoon beat overhead.
He stalks the mood of the sky,
his bags engorged
with all that sings
in jars and packets.

A man with a thin moustache
like a dusted fossil above his lip (Like the idea of this, but no sure if it works, because fossil is too general to visualise. You need a specific fossil, like an ammonite, I think)
creeps towards loaves of bread,
gropes a sliced pan
till he finds one that yields most
to the curl of his hand.

Behind,
an old lady trundles her trolley, (A bit cliched - language and image)
squeaking and jerking with neglect, (nice metaphor, if intended)
dysfunction.
She eyes jars on a high shelf,
jammed tight as stained glass. (This image just about works for me. It may not work for others though)
Pity her
as her fingers tremble. (This seems like N is requesting ‘pity‘ of the readEr. Is this correct? If so, I find this this a bit strange)

A crude curator jabs cookies (I like the line - great)
to a barren shelf,
distracted by the pretty student
who burdens her phone with talk of deadlines
till she ends the call, studies the shelf
and fixes a pack of Fig Rolls snug
to the corner of her basket. (besides the first line, this stanza isn’t doing enough for me)

There’s sweet relief from the breath of the freezer,
with chicken corpses dismembered, minced,
mummified in breadcrumb. (Nice phrase and sonics)
Time to consult the shopping list
and be sure nothing’s missed,
time to study the casts of queues
and make a decision.

A muscly man
with mountainous arms (Too cliched for me)
red as the meat pressed to his chest (Strong line)
regrets his choice as the lady at the till
dashes off to fetch an item.
He closes his eyes,
wonders
how much life he’ll spend in queues,
how many minutes waiting
as others fumble
with petty change. (Is the ‘petty change’ maybe an image for the characters you have described? It’s fairly harsh if it is.)

QUERIES

How does the title fit? Boring?

Same for the first 3 lines? Ditch them?

Are many of the images a touch too far?

Other weak points?

Thanks a million, everyone. I appreciate you giving the time and energy to this.

T

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