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Questions

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:05 pm
by Jackie
Version 3
cashiers have stopped asking
did you find everything all right
ghost crowds down these aisles
slaked their panic with paper buying
skilled workers from abroad
can’t get here to bring the harvest in
new brands on the gap shelves
sign me to want them
instead isolated by the evening light
I walk down our sidewalk
facetiming with my mother’s nurse
to ask can they stop the intubation

did you find everything all right
my husband asks into the night




Version 2
cashiers have stopped asking
find everything all right
now ghost crowds in these aisles
have slaked their panic with buying
now skilled workers can’t get here so
no one’s brought the harvest in
now fill-ins on near-empty shelves
sign me to want them

we walk down our sidewalk
in the fading evening light
me calling my mother’s nurse
to know can the intubation end
find everything all right
my husband asks into the night




Version 1
cashiers have stopped asking
did you find everything all right
ghost crowds down these aisles
slaked panic with paper buying
skilled workers from abroad can’t
get here to bring our harvest in
now substitutes on the gap shelves
sign me to want them instead
I walk down our sidewalk
in the fading evening light
facetiming with my mother’s nurse
to ask can they stop the intubation
did you find everything all right
my husband asks into the night

Re: Questions

Posted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:27 pm
by NotQuiteSure
.
Hi Jackie,
falls down a bit at the end, for me. It's the repetition of 'ask'
(might the nurse 'want to know if ...' or the husband 'wonder'?)
Seems to be lacking question marks.

ghost crowds down these aisles
slaked panic with paper buying
cashiers have stopped asking

"find everything all right?"

skilled workers from abroad can’t
get here to bring our harvest in
now substitutes on the gap shelves
sign me to want them instead

- not sure about 'gap shelves'
substitutes on the wide shelves'
want me to consider them, instead.

or
have you considered/why not try ... Instead ?

I walk down our sidewalk
in the fading evening light
facetiming with my mother’s nurse
to ask can they stop the intubation

- is it N asking if they can stop the intubation, or the nurse?
would it work as
... mother's nurse
"can we stop the intubation?"


did you find everything all right
my husband asks into the night

- is there a way to rework L13 that
doesn't include 'did you find' but still
contains the inference?


Regards, Not


.

Re: Questions

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 12:23 pm
by Firebird
Hi Jackie,

I think the ending is fine meaning-wise. However, I agree with Not about the repetition of ‘ask’ in the final three lines. I also don’t think ‘gap shelves’ works. As there is no punctuation in the poem, I don’t think it needs question marks. I like the symmetry between the second and penultimate lines (nice repetition). It thought it worked well.

Enjoyed the read and hope your mother is recovering now.

Cheers,

Tristan

Re: Questions

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:22 pm
by Jackie
Thank you, Not and Tristan, for taking the time to review this and picking up on those things I didn’t see. I’m posting a version 2—still a work in progress.

As you say, Tristan, I’m suspending conventions; this poem takes place in survival mode and caps and commas don’t live there. I appreciate your sympathy, but this is my neighbor’s mother, or N’s, I suppose. My own mother, thankfully, did not live to know COVID-19.

Jackie

Re: Questions

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:24 pm
by Firebird
Hi Jackie,

My first impression on reading your revision, is that without ‘do you’ at the beginning of the second and penultimate lines (especially the penultimate line) it might be difficult to recognise these lines as questions.

I like the repetition of ‘now’ to start lines in S1. I miss ‘paper buying’. Just my first thoughts.

Overall, I prefer your revision though.

Cheers,

Tristan

Re: Questions

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:59 am
by NotQuiteSure
.
Hi Jackie,
still not finding the repeated question successful, it's a bit too much of a non-sequitur,
and wouldn't N's husband wouldn't be asking about the intubation at that point?

Would it be too repetitive to maintain the 'nows'?

'harvest in' the 'fill-ins' - too many ins?

'sign me to want them' isn't a question. Shouldn't it be?

'fading evening light' could be improved.


now cashiers have stopped asking
did you find everything all right
now ghost crowds fill the aisles
their panic slaked with buying
now skilled workers can’t get here
no one’s brought the harvest in
now substitutes stock the shelves
have you thought about us

now we walk down our sidewalk
in the fading evening light
now I call my mother’s nurse
it's late, can the intubation end
now we're home my husband asks
did you find everything all right


Regards, Not


.

Re: Questions

Posted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:57 am
by Macavity
did you find everything all right
Hi Jackie,

I like the irony and circularity of question in the original and the did to indicate a question, but, as I always say, reading tastes are limitless. In fact, to quote the absent David, I prefer the original for a more fluent read (the now revision is too weighted). The original lines had less passive line beginnings. I feel the isolation is best left to the concluding lines, which reinforce the state of separateness in that irony ie I prefer I walk.

As always, your poems have an original slant, which I've come to appreciate.

best

mac

Re: Questions

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:26 am
by Jackie
Thank you so much Tristan, Not and Mac for your thoughtful ideas.

Mac, the number of times I've heard "I prefer the original" has convinced me I'm a lousy reviser. Nonetheless, I revise. :D See above.

Jackie

Re: Questions

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:44 am
by Macavity
Mac, the number of times I've heard "I prefer the original" has convinced me I'm a lousy reviser. Nonetheless, I revise. :D See above.
:lol: Been there! I guess revisions can lose the freshness of the original, become the product of consensus or worse (the template of another voice or aesthetic). I remember reading an editor claiming they recognised a workshop poem (overworked I presume). Personally, I find a workshop helpful for understanding how readers engage with a poem. In your poem I like the sense of stream of consciousness, its liquidity, so I wouldn't use spacing or 'instead' for time progression, but that is my reader preference.

best

mac

Re: Questions

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:53 pm
by Jackie
I like the sense of stream of consciousness, its liquidity,
Thanks, Mac. Hearing from others that something I've written has "an original slant" or "liquidity" encourages me. I usually like to collect comments and swish them around in my mouth for a while to see if they're my voice before doing anything about them.

Jackie