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tonyv

Slave Trade

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tonyv

A marble sickle pendent in the murk
primps up the late-night blacks and blues. The wow
from how her mother would not part with her
for less than a whole brick lingers. By now,
the port of Little Popo is a blur.
For trim, I chose the diamond nostril stud
and gave my little haul a body mod.

__________________________________
brick -- slang. A kilo of any illicit drug.
LITTLE POPO -- on the SLAVE COAST
haul -- the "take," or loot; the "booty."


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dr_con

Tight- unbearably so- fascinating bore about 5X readings, and when it crystallized, I was horrified and pleased at this sparse biography- a picture which is worth a thousand words!

 

Well done!

 

DC


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waxwings

Very tight and impressive, esp. since the rhythmic force and the rhymes are barely noticeable during the reading but linger on in the aftermath.

 

I am a bit unsure if you mean "pendant", as a piece of jewelry, or "pendent" as in hanging/suspended.

 

I wonder if that "from" starting L3 is grammatically acceptable. Since you do need that syllable, would "said" work instead?.

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tonyv

Thank you, both, for your close reads and kind replies.

dr_con wrote:

 

Tight- unbearably so- fascinating bore about 5X readings, and when it crystallized, I was horrified and pleased at this sparse biography- a picture which is worth a thousand words!

 

Well done!

 

DC

That's exactly the type of reaction I had hoped for, Dr. Con. I thought I would focus a little on the gritty side of life.:shock:

 

waxwings wrote:

 

Very tight and impressive, esp. since the rhythmic force and the rhymes are barely noticeable during the reading but linger on in the aftermath.

 

I am a bit unsure if you mean "pendant", as a piece of jewelry, or "pendent" as in hanging/suspended.

 

I wonder if that "from" starting L3 is grammatically acceptable. Since you do need that syllable, would "said" work instead?.

Indeed, I wanted a word which meant "suspended," Waxwing. My dictionary showed "pendent," but it also showed a secondary/optional spelling of "pendant." I was tempted to go with the latter in order to take advantage of the double meaning it would elicit but opted instead for the clarity of the former; I figured I'd let the reader make his own subconscious association to the "bling" mentioned in the penultimate line. But I do wonder whether my use of sickle in reference to the moon is clear. I also considered crescent, but liked the image of a sharp, gleaming yet somehow tarnished and dirty field tool.

 

As for L3, perhaps there's some confusion resulting from my use of the word "wow" in L2, which I'm using as a noun. My first choice would have been "thrill" (or "rush"), but I wanted to use some rhyme, and the former would have required the use of "still" or "until" in L4, both of which I made work in an acceptable fashion in earlier versions but felt their use (in this case) yielded a slight modicum of banality. (I didn't explore the possibilities with "rush.")

 

 

Thanks, again, to both of you for your valuable and rewarding feedback.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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waxwings

I did see "marble sickle" (crescent moon) as being a "bling" and, therefore, either "pendant" (for the "bling") or "pendent" (for something previously suspended and still hanging) would fit.

 

The poem is unbelievably tight and I keep on thinking about it. For that reason I do think tightening up those two spots cannot hurt, perhaps even heighten the impact.

 

Marble crescent, suspended in the murk,

primps up the late-night blacks and blues. The wow

her mother made--she would not part with her

for less than a whole brick-- lingers;

 

My take does not seem to affect your marvelous rhythm or the essential image, and I can think of several other ways to do the same.

 

There is no way anyone can take "wow" for anything but a noun, though you might want to get out of that off-grammar situation. Please, believe me I know how painfull it is when a small piece of one of my poems sticks out/will not conform to the elan of the rest.

 

But this is merely a desire to give you a side view, and, ultimately, you are the one to follow your heart. Yes, I do wish I had written a poem like that..

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tonyv

Thank you, Waxwings, for your continued support on this poem. It seems that the wow is problematic. Again, it wasn't my first choice. What I really was trying to convey was something more sinister on the part of the narrator, to exhibit how he derives enjoyment from attending the slave trade, bidding on, and collecting his "prize." This is really what I want and mean:

 

A marble sickle pendent in the murk

primps up the late-night blacks and blues. The thrill

of how her mother would not part with her

for less than a whole brick lingers ... until

the port of Little Popo is a blur.

For trim, I chose the diamond nostril stud

and gave my little haul a body mod.

 

 

The only problem I was having with this version was that, after lingers, I really need a caesura, and I wasn't sure how to force one. I tried the ellipsis, but I balked, because I didn't like the look of it. However, perhaps the ellipsis is in order here, or even an em-dash (--). I didn't consider the comma, though. Perhaps that would be the best, so long as it's grammatically correct. Is it?

 

Other words I considered in lieu of thrill were kick and treat. Use of another word would, of course, require some minor modification, like this:

 

 

A marble sickle pendent in the murk

primps up the late-night blacks and blues. The treat

of how her mother would not part with her

for less than a whole brick lingers; the heat

and port of Little Popo are a blur.

For trim, I chose the diamond nostril stud

and gave my little haul a body mod.

 

 

But, I really prefer the version with thrill ... for clarity. I would like to edit the poem and use thrill. Which do you think I should use after lingers? Ellipsis, em-dash, comma, or nothing? I'm just not sure ...

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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waxwings

I joined this group suspecting poets in it to be capable of never entirely giving up to somehow 'improve' any poem they write. Of course, one does run out of possibilities, but... and don't hesitate to rip anything I post.

 

I still think your original to be most adequate, in the main. I sensed all the things you say you wanted to include but not as blatantly clear (which you seem to achieve in the re-writes) which is just the kind of air/mistery the very best poems of this type become famous and beloved for.

 

I am sure you can make it more of what you wanted to be, and I hope others will throw in their 5 cents to give your mind all kinds of nudges.

 

Here is another take

 

A Marble sickle, pendent in the murk,

primps up the late-night blacks and blues. The wow

from how her mother made to would not part with her

for less than a whole brick, lingers. and Now,

the port of Little Popo is a blur.

etc.

 

I think you might do w/o the opening "A", but that depends on what "marble sicle" is. I feel "sickle" creates a cacophony, whereas the rest is acoustically smooth.

 

If you want "pendent", you need the commas I show, for it is part of an explanatory interjection and not of the clause.

 

I am not sure what you mean by "the murk". Same goes for "late-night blacks and blues" esp. re "primp".

 

I just love the "wow" for the unforced rhyme it makes. (I finally caught on that Little Popo is a place name, wherefore, the "now" is semantically indispensible. Whatever you decide, a period is as good as any for an 'artificial' caesura, esp. when in mid-line.

 

The rest is fine as is, and I think "haul" seems to fit, but dare I say what I think "body mod" is?

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tonyv

Thank you, again, Waxwings, for all the time you've put into helping me this one.

 

waxwings wrote:

 

I still think your original to be most adequate, in the main. I sensed all the things you say you wanted to include but not as blatantly clear (which you seem to achieve in the re-writes) which is just the kind of air/mistery the very best poems of this type become famous and beloved for.

I must say, also, that the more I read it and explore all the variations we've been discussing, the more I'm inclined to stay with the original version, mainly because it doesn't "lay everything out on the table" in front of the reader.

 

waxwings wrote:

 

I am not sure what you mean by "the murk". Same goes for "late-night blacks and blues" esp. re "primp".

Murk = the night, its sky, etc. (and any other more profound associations the reader wants to make). As for "late-night blacks and blues," I left that one entirely up to the reader. Whereas a "black and blue" is a bruise, I say it in the plural, not "black-and-blues" (which would be obvious and more limited in scope), but "blacks and blues," which, hopefully, will (like "murk") conjure a plethora of associations in the psyche of the reader, with "black(s)" being a word which, like "(the) blues," can be either a noun or an adjective with the way both are being used in this case. Together, they could even point back to the murk mentioned earlier. "Primps up" I chose from a host of options for "adorns," "decorates," or "dresses up."

 

waxwings wrote:

 

If you want "pendent", you need the commas I show, for it is part of an explanatory interjection and not of the clause.

Are the commas optional or mandatory? For example, if I were to say, "A small boat afloat upon the sea is like a girl in a world of hurt," would commas be in order after boat and sea?

 

waxwings wrote:

 

I just love the "wow" for the unforced rhyme it makes.

I'm starting to like it more, too. Thank you for this.

 

waxwings wrote:

 

... but dare I say what I think "body mod" is?

icon_eek.gif That's another one I'll leave to the reader. While some people partake in body modification (piercings, tattoos, and whatnot), it usually involves a consensual act. In this poem, it's likely to be something more ... ungood.

 

I've very much enjoyed this discourse. Thank you again for all the help and insight.

 

With appreciation,

 

Tony


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dedalus

Is a 'brick' one thousand dollars? There is a lot going on in this poem, maybe more than you realise!


Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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tonyv
Is a 'brick' one thousand dollars? There is a lot going on in this poem, maybe more than you realise!

 

It could be, but what I meant was even worse than that: a brick is a kilo of any (illicit) drug. I'll add a few footnotes to the poem ...


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waxwings

I could be more flattered, than by your reactions, only if I were chosen the next PL. You have clarified/satisfied my musings over most of the words in your poem I thought need a second and third look.

 

As for the commas. They are correct and syntactically valuable, though not mandatory (in poetry,little is, but...). They can be more effective the more the interjection obscures the point at which the main thought continues. That is not the case in your example, even though you could use the comma and no strict stylist/grammarian would have grounds to object.

 

Looks like you are not wanting "murk" for a rhyme. and "dark" would be simpler, more instantly grasped/absorbed a word. Even "night" would do.

 

Again, I militate against unfruitful complexity.

 

I recognized the "blacks and blues", clear enough w/o hyphens. They hint 'speaker' abuses the girl physically while being gaga over her sexually; wants to both enhance her looks and, at the same time, condone his abusiveness. "Primps up" seems crude/tame/simplistic. How about "disguises/hides". BTW, "late night" looks like inoffensive boiler plate that is OK, unless you can otherwise hint at his desire to both cruelly use her and enhance her appeal. Tough one, I know, but the better poem always is..

 

I think I have now said enough, and it is up to you whether to have any further discussion. All this has made me love that poem even more than at first.

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tonyv

Hello, again, Waxwings. Although I don't think it should be necessary for a poet to explain any poem, I'm excited to be able to talk about this one and feel the need to say a little more.

 

waxwings wrote:

 

Looks like you are not wanting "murk" for a rhyme. and "dark" would be simpler, more instantly grasped/absorbed a word. Even "night" would do.

 

Again, I militate against unfruitful complexity ...

 

BTW, "late night" looks like inoffensive boiler plate that is OK, unless you can otherwise hint at his desire to both cruelly use her and enhance her appeal. Tough one, I know, but the better poem always is..

I can certainly understand what you mean about complexity. That's precisely why I think that the boilerplate of "late night" works well to provide a contrast and (in some strange way) balance out the bustle which is present in the speaker's head with his environs. Which brings us to this:

 

waxwings wrote:

 

I recognized the "blacks and blues", clear enough w/o hyphens. They hint 'speaker' abuses the girl physically while being gaga over her sexually; wants to both enhance her looks and, at the same time, condone his abusiveness. "Primps up" seems crude/tame/simplistic. How about "disguises/hides".

 

Slavery is often thought about in a sanitized, historical sense. In this poem, I attempted to provide the reader a glimpse of the symbiotic relationship between the cruelty (on the part of the speaker) and the greed, apathy, and complicity on the part of others in society (exemplified by the mother, who is also a slave in her own way). From your additional thoughts (and indeed, my own), the poem is starting to look like a glimpse into the mind of a sociopath, a serial killer. But is there really any difference? I think (I hope) the crudeness, tameness, and simplicity of "primps up" help to magnify the calculated coldness on the part of the speaker which, in itself, reminds me of this memorable, tense exchange from some television series (I forget which one) between a serial killer and investigator:

 

killer (calmly): "Why do you think it is that I do the things I do?"

investigator (calmly): "Because you're a homicidal maniac."

killer (calmly): "Yes, it's all starting to become quite clear."

(at which point the killer flies into a rage and attacks the investigator)

 

I have enjoyed and learned from our discussion. All this from seven lines! That alone tells me the poem is working in some way. Thank you for all of it.

 

Tony

 

 

Edit in the poem: I changed "and now" in L4 to "by now."


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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waxwings

I have always belived that thoughtful, warm exchange between poets makes everyone involved grow in understanding of our craft and fosters a deeper insight into a poem than could be had without.

 

Before I respond to everything you just said, I must take perhaps a day to re-evaluate and perhaps recast all I have expressed. But there are a few points I am rather certain of. How you dispose of my 'takes' still remains your prerogative.

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tonyv

Ah, Waxwings, I was just about to reply with a thank you and tell you that I'll need a few days to absorb and digest everything in your last reply, but I saw that you just edited and removed a substantial part of it. Even so, I am grateful for all your input and time. For now, I added the poem to the Audio Section ... I hope you'll give it a listen.

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Lake

Wow, wow, wow! There's so much going one here. I'll find time to digest, both the poem and the discussions.

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Aleksandra
A marble sickle pendent in the murk

primps up the late-night blacks and blues. The wow

from how her mother would not part with her

for less than a whole brick lingers; by now,

the port of Little Popo is a blur.

For trim, I chose the diamond nostril stud

and gave my little haul a body mod.

 

__________________________________

brick -- slang. A kilo of any illicit drug.

LITTLE POPO -- on the SLAVE COAST

haul -- the "take," or loot; the "booty."

 

 

Tony, amazing. I am working hard to read some of your poems, because the first what comes to me is that I like the poem, I feel it, but I can't explain it. Is that because of me as a reader or non English speaker or it's because of you, as a wonderful poet. - Or maybe both icon_question.gificon_wink.gif.

 

I love how the poem starts and how it sounds while you read it.

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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tonyv

Thank you, Alek, for your sweet comment.

 

Aleksandra wrote:

 

I love how the poem starts and how it sounds while you read it.

I love how it sounds when you read it.

 

Tony icon_smile.gif


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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