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Tinker

On the Way to the Ladies Room

19 posts in this topic

On the Way to the Ladies Room

Hanging on a back wall,
five black and white poses
of a young Marilyn Monroe,
a fresh water pearl
newly platinum
and pleased with the dream.

Forgotten photos
of the ruby lipped goddess
before she faded into Technicolor.
-------- --- Judi Van Gorder

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Hi Tink,

 

Vivid imagery and an understated tone gives your poem impact. I like the use of "poses" here and how you juxtapose the "monochrome with the "technicolor":

 

Tinker wrote:

 

before fading into technicolor.

Judi Van Gorder

 

This line suggests how the effect of the "black and white" is somehow diluted by the latter.

 

Thank you for an enjoyable read.

 

goldenlangur

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Thank you gl, for your careful read. Yes stardom and all the glitz and embellishments in technicolor, sadly exploited and ultimately killed the beautiful young woman I observed in the black and white photos. These early pictures I saw on the wall were fresh and stunningly beautiful. More beautiful that I had ever seen her. She was the goddess of the movie screen when I was a teenager.

 

~~Tink

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Very nice written poem Tinker, I love how you handled with the lines, and expressions.

 

the ending part it's well done too

 

the ruby lipped goddess

before fading into technicolor.

 

Thank you for sharing

 

Aleksandra

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Hi Aleks, Thank you. I had been considering removing the ruby lips but after your comment, affirming my initial compulsion to put that in... I think it will stay. A comment had been made to me that injecting color before the last line diminished the last line. I actually put in the color to bolster the last line.

 

~~Tink

 

Here are the older versions of the poem

On the Way to the Ladies Room (revision 3)

 

On a back wall hang

five poses in black and white

of Marilyn Monroe,

a fresh water pearl,

newly platinum

and pleased with the dream, before

she faded into Technicolor.

 

 

On the Way to the Ladies Room (revision 2)

 

Five poses

in glossy black and white promote

a young Marilyn Monroe,

a fresh water pearl,

newly platinum

and pleased with the dream, before

she faded into Technicolor.

 

 

Requiem for a Blonde (revision 1)

 

Relegated to a back wall

inside the local retro café,

a tarnished frame

holds five poses

in glossy black and white

of a young Marilyn Monroe,

newly platinum

and pleased with the dream.

 

A pearl in the making

before fading into ruby and gold.

 

 

The Hollywood Bar and Grill (original)

 

On a back wall

in a tarnished frame

hang five poses,

in black and white,

of a young Marilyn Monroe,

fresh, platinum and smiling,

the ruby lipped goddess

before fading into technicolor.

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This poem reminds me of Edwar Hopper's famous painting Nighthawks (and also Helnwein's version of the same, called "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"). I like how you describe her as fresh, platinum and smiling.

 

Tony

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Thank you Tony. I appeciate the references.

 

I brought my poem over here as a work in progress. This poem sat virtually ignored by other than a couple of very new members at PFFA for a couple of days. Then I replied to another newbie's comments in the Newbie Stretching Forum. The original poster was complaining that he had been told his poem was cliche ridden without any specifics. As you know the Moderators at that site, post very generalized, standardized, somewhat rude responses to some poems posted in the General section. I responded saying I thought that the Moderators only scanned the poems there looking for patterns or violations, so they could point us Newbies to a reference section of the site to help us improve those areas. Three moderators jumped on that statement with curt responses and one I think the head guy has threatened to ban me if I don't hold my tongue. Yikes... Any way immediately after a curt remark to my statement, one moderator went to this poem and posted a critique. (by the way he said he hoped I didn't think his comments on my poem were retribution for what I had said in the other section.) I responded by PM that I did feel I was on a hit list and that he singled out my poem to critique, since I had never seen other than a generalized critique from a Moderator, but since he made some good points, though harsh in my opinion, I want to fix this poem and post a decent revision there. I am probably not going to be at PFFA much longer unless I can learn to shut up. affraid.gif

 

Here are gary's comments...

 

There's a whole lot of nothing going on with this. --- OUCH

 

Think about the effect your linebreaks have on the reading of your piece. --- (This I will do.)

 

Can you parse the last two lines? ---(not sure what this means but the last lines will get a makeover)

 

Can you justify the sprinkling of commas? ------- ( already gone )

 

*ruby lipped goddess* is every bit as cliche as what you previously had in there. ---( I know working on it.)

 

The whole idea of black and white fading into colour just doesn't work with the bland descriptions you have. -- (Something to work on. )

 

Brush up on your basic grammar. --- (uncalled for in my opinion)

 

Try to have your writing make sense. --- (again, who doesn't get this? )

 

Learn how to compose a coherent sentence. --- (and again icon_rolleyes.gif )

 

Shorter poems are hard to write. Every word must have a purpose, must carry its weight. --- (I agree)

 

If Norma Jean was really young in the pictures, she wouldn't be platinum. --- (she was platinmum in the photos and I said young Marilyn not Norma Jean who I know was brunette. Photos taken at beginning of career.)

 

Be specific. Be precise. What you have is oatmeal bland, shallow, one-dimensional nonsense. --- (Ok, here I do want to fix this. Although shallow sounds a little harsh. )

 

You need vibrant imagery, unexpected diction and some sonic awareness. --- (This is great advise.)

 

Good luck. garym supermoderator

 

My responses I added here I did not add at the other site because then I would surely be banned there and I really don't want to make waves, I just want to learn what I can there.

 

~~~ Tink

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Hi Tinker,

 

I read that thread in the newbie area and, in my opinion, you did not say anything that radical; you were merely speculating. All a moderator had to do to set the record straight was to declare that your conjecture was wrong and that the mods in fact do read the poems. But, in my opinion, the protocol there is not always logical; sometimes appearances seem to take precedence over logic.

 

For instance, a couple of years ago I posted a poem there which received critiques. In a reply I stated that, though I will incorporate what I learned from the critiques into future works, I probably would not revise that particular poem in accordance with the critiques I had received. (I didn't agree with them with respect to that poem). A moderator then locked the poem. I sent the moderator a pm and asked why she had locked the poem. Several pm's were exchanged, in which I was told that, "Nobody cares if you revise," but also that the reason the poem was locked was so others "don't waste their time" doing a critique on a poem that I didn't intend to revise. I pointed out to the mod that if nobody cares whether or not I revise the poem, and if what they say about critics becoming better poets by writing critiques is in fact true, then it's a win-win situation: I get input on the poem, and the critics get to hone their skills and become better poets in the process. I then requested that she delete the thread. A deal was made where it was agreed that if I thank the critics, the thread would be deleted per my request. (I also believe that the critiques of those critics who responded to my deleted poem counted toward the required three-critique per poem obligation of those critics.) I can understand if my stated stance on my poem didn't coincide with the spirit of their site as a workshop geared toward revision, and I offer this information only to back up what I said above re the inconsistencies in logic and re appearances.

 

 

I stand by what I stated in my "Every Day" poem/topic here at PMO: " ... I think a lot of what goes on there is rude, especially when moderators tell aspiring writers to read 30,000 more poems before they ever try to write another. Yes, I also think it's hilarious, but it's still rude and uncalled for, and I would never say that to anyone here, even if I had a PhD in English grammar and another in literature."

 

Comments like his would have to be looked at carefully and within context --

 

----"Brush up on your basic grammar.") -- Taking all that you had written there into consideration, unacceptable.

"Try to have your writing make sense.")

 

-----------------------"Learn how to compose a coherent sentence.") -------Unacceptable here.

"What you have is oatmeal bland, shallow, one-dimensional nonsense.")

 

Not only are these comments unhelpful, but their tone is one of rudeness. The rest appears to be simply his opinion -- nothing wrong with that -- but, for its lack of specifics, I question the helpfulness of most of it when it comes to that site's apparent purpose: help with revision. How is that a "focused" critique? In my opinion, without specifics, most of it amounts to nothing more than "nice poem" or "this poem sucks."

 

 

In my "Every Day" poem/topic I also stated, " ... and while there is much that can be learned there, there is also a lot that I don't like about the behavior of many of the participants there. While that site is touted as a workshop and not a showcase, and one can learn a lot on all sides by just lurking there, too many times I have seen what I believe is just wannabe critics who have no idea what they are talking about merely parroting the moderators. Much of the behavior that is tolerated (and thereby, by virtue of being tolerated, encouraged) there would not be tolerated here, even in our little workshop. Although it is not the case with that reply to my poem, too many times I have observed on that site what I feel is clueless beginners saying things that would not help but discourage other beginners ... and rudely at that!" Is that moderator whose comments are mentioned above setting a good example for newbies? I think not. Are the results meaningful when they parrot his "style"? In my opinion such behavior is not only rude and unhelpful, it's silly.

 

Lastly, I will again reiterate something I stated in the "Every Day" poem/topic: " ... many times (again, only my opinion) even the axioms adhered to there with respect to what constitutes good writing are really subjective." Yes, writing well is a skill and a craft, but so much of it -- when it comes to style and word choice -- has to do with trends and is, therefore, subjective.

 

Although the comment you received was probably not retribution, it does appear that it was made to prove a point: the moderators read the poems. With comments like his, who cares?

 

I would suggest leaving this thread here in the workshop. When your revision is complete, post the new poem back in the Member poetry forum as a new topic, if you wish.

 

 

Tony

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Thanks Tony, I didn't mean to set you off. And however rude (and I agree he could learn some people skills.) his comments did get me rethinking my poem. I had already addresses one or two of his nits but he did challenge me to become more creative in my word selection. I am posting a revision here which is not a finished product.... But it will let you see the direction I moving in with this poem.

 

Requiem for a Blonde (revision)

 

Relegated to a back wall

inside the local retro café,

a tarnished frame

holds five poses

in matted black and white

of a young Marilyn Monroe,

newly platinum

and pleased with the dream.

 

A pearl in the making

before fading into ruby and gold.

--- Judi Van Gorder

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Hi Tink,

 

 

Of all the three versions, the original's opening line "on a back wall" echoes the "faded into technicolor" and the "fresh water pearl" of the latest revision sets up a good contrast again with the "faded" and her newly acquired stardom status. Not very sure about "promote" in this version, because the " Five poses" and "glossy black and white" already state this. The deletion of "ruby lipped" works well and again the juxtaposition of monochrome and "technicolor" is still effective in the "faded".

 

Revision 1 is a little long winded, particularly the closing lines - "ruby and gold" is not as effective and inspired as the take on of "faded into technicolor'.

 

For what it is worth, my reading would be the opening line of the original with the rest of the 2nd version, without the "promote".

 

As always, this is only a suggestion for you to ignore or mull over.

 

 

But the poem still retains its impact in the revised version.

 

goldenlangur

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Thank you gl, I appreciate your comments. I am afraid this poem took on a life of its own and I lost control of it. It really was only a simple observation in a fleeting moment of time and my last version is my attempt to strip it down to that. Based on your comments I may be getting there with a little more tweaking. Thanks again.

 

~~Tink

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Ok, thanks to insight provided by golden langur... I think I may have been able to pare this down to reflect exactly what it was, a simple momentary observation without torturing it to death.

 

~~Tink

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hi Tink

 

I think wading through everyone's aesthetics, templates, tick-box beliefs and returning back to the original was sensible advice from gl.

 

The major improvement for me was the title: just sets the circumstance perfectly.

 

One of my tick boxes is structure. I feel your poem pivots on 'Marilyn Monroe'. Most readers will have a picture in their mind, an opinion on her life, a viewpoint. It is a tough ask to deliver a 'fresh' perspective with that kind of frame. So you may want to consider where you place that name or even if the poem can deliver Marilyn without the mention? Maybe in the latter case the reader has space to interact with the poem rather than react? Or would the poem lose focus? I'm not sure, personally I like the boldness and the way her name centres the poem and opens up to -

 

 

a fresh water pearl,

newly platinum

and pleased with the dream, before

she faded into Technicolor

 

Another one of my tick boxes is movement; this feels a little static, but also flows with some understated progression. Personally I have a preference for a more cinematic flow, but that's just me. The contrast between natural and artificial was effective as was the irony of the final line. The word 'pleased' seems a little tepid to me (threaded for the 'p' sound?) and 'dream' a little vague, but perhaps 'pleased' has a relevant childlike quality and 'the dream' is more part of the American psyche.

 

I don't think this fits the template elsewhere, but I enjoyed the poem and found the write an improvement on the original.

 

all the best

 

badge icon_biggrin.png

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Thanks badger for taking the time on this poem. Just a note: pleased with the dream was my image substitute for smiling which I don't think worked. Thank you for getting the fresh water pearl, icon_smile.gif I was very pleased with myself coming up with that. icon_redface.gif And yes the title change was my attempt to put the poem in perspective.

 

As I said before, this poem took on a life of its own and I let its importance get blown way out of proportion. It was fleeting thought nothing more. A poem resulting from a poetic prompt in the book on writing, In the cafe ---

 

This is as far as this poem is going. I have other things much more to my liking that I would rather spend my time on. But I learned a great deal manuevering through the maze of commentary on this poem. It was just an exercise but it ended up so much more in terms of what I learned. It isn't the poem that is important it is what I learned about writing as a result. As far as learning about myself, well I always have known I jump in with both feet with out check out the rocks below first. It is too late to change now. icon_bounce.gif

 

~~Tink

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. It isn't the poem that is important it is what I learned about writing as a result.

 

Very true Tink! In fact I have some poems I use for that very purpose!

 

badge icon_biggrin.png

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Hi Tinker,

 

I'm sorry for getting to this so late, but I really have been thinking about it for awhile. This one is certainly a challenge.

 

Personally, I prefer a little less background information within the poem itself. For example, the part about the back wall could be omitted, since the title already references the back of the establishment. Perhaps something like this might work:

 

 

On the Way to the Ladies Room

 

The black-and-whites of a then-platinum

fresh-water pearl/pleased-with-the-dream

Marilyn fade to Colorama.

 

 

The first word could also be five. But either way, it is likely that the black-and-whites are of her in various poses.

 

With something like this, the reader will gather that "Marilyn" is indeed Marilyn Monroe. S/he will probably also presume that the snapshot of this moment occurred in a retro cafe. It would also be reasonably evident that the black-and-whites dissolved for you, the narrator, since they cannot really do that on their own. Of course, we at PMO (because we are lucky enough to know the poet icon_biggrin.png ) would also have additional background information on what inspired the poem.

 

Tony

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Thanks Tony for this perspective.

 

I have been reading a lot on symbolism and voice... Your ideas certainly work with the symbolism concept. But it is your voice I hear. Hmmm, more learning. How to be a good writer and keep your own voice. It is a balancing act. Thanks again for responding with another piece of the poetry puzzle.

 

~~Tink

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Lovely Images of a special star, I have done quite a few portraits of her. You captured her style and the era well, Interesting that you put all versions to be seen...Dave

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Hi Dave, Thanks, This section is a workshop. The revisions were helped along by the comments of the other posters. This poor poem has been ripped apart and put back together again several times. But this one is done. I think I found the balance I was looking for.

 

~~Tink

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