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Poetry Magnum Opus

Independence Day


JoelJosol

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Another holiday excuse is coming,

flags not withstanding, do you recall

the answers to serious questions

from your last exam? You failed

again, thinking memories are so volatile

even the national anthem seemed

like jigsaw puzzles, singing

the wrong lines at the wrong time.

What did you do with that Chinese guy

now that you are in Hong Kong? Right,

it has nothing to do with Disney world.

Don't shake my hand for now. Everything

American seemed to have caught a virus-

Your peanut butter, American stocks,

and airports. Drop your accent, will you?

Nasa Pinas ka na. Mag-tagalog ka.*

 

 

* You are home now. Speak the native tongue.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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A caustic rebuke, Joel. (I'd hate to be on the receiving end.) It burns right to the bitter end:

... Drop your accent, will you?

Nasa Pinas ka na. Mag-tagalog ka
.

Seems to say, "Who do you think you are? You're not anyone."

 

Tony

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

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JoelJosol wrote:

 

Another holiday excuse is coming,

flags not withstanding, do you recall

the answers to serious questions

from your last exam? You
have
failed

again, thinking memories are so volatile

even the national anthem seem
s
ed

like jigsaw puzzles, singing

the wrong lines at the wrong time.

What did you do with that Chinese guy

now that you are in Hong Kong? Right,

it has nothing to do with Disney world.

Don't shake my hands for now. Everything

American seem
s
ed
to have caught a virus-

Your peanut butter, American stocks,

and airports. Drop your accent, will you?

Nasa Pinas ka na. Mag-tagalog ka.
*

 

 

* You are home now. Speak the native tongue.

 

tonyv has said all that needs be said, and my feelings run same as yours. However, I would use present tense in L 4, 6 & 13 to be uniform (imaginatively consistent). Past tense is most definitely proper in L 9.

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JJ,

 

Meant to compliment this piece earlier, but it is a bitter piece to swallow;-) I actually disagree with the change of tense- The inappropriate tense in this (to me) helps convey the jagged sensibility of the exchange and feels appropriate to some of my conversations with ESL friends- I do not know Tagalog, so please forgive me if this is incorrect, but is the presentation of tense etc. radically different than in English? Because, I have heard the same things from others, when they are passionate about something, and drop the standard Grammar rules when speaking in English...

 

So, much appreciation for the discrete and direct world this piece portrays to me;-)

 

DC

Gate(less.thumb.png.dc23b19d2478d37a9f6fcdc563973026.pnghttps://conjurd.substack.com/welcome Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-)

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My prior post contained a few ideas re minor tweaking on a most excellent poem. Having lived in the USA for only 60 years I am not affected by the poem as strongly as DC is but did at one time share JJ's observations. They are true to some extent.

 

The quality of the poem is self evident and any words of praise seem pale next to what it says, like it or not.

 

It is good for DC to disagree, for I too might learn something I had not realized, but my prior thoughts were based on the following.

 

The poem is written in correct English, wherefore there is no dropping of standard grammar rules. (Are there non-standard grammar rules?)

 

The use of appropriate tense or the proper offset or synchronicity (of the distinctly different utterances) is a matter of style not of grammar.

 

The jaggedness is there apart from and not because of tense.

 

It is OK to use localisms, jargon, vernacular or any kind of pidgin, but, until that is evident (and it isn't here),

poetry has never been an excuse for poor language and I mean any language I know and not just English.

 

waxwingS

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Thank you all for your comments. It's not an advocacy of nationalism but one's attitude that everything American is the greatest and best.

 

I recognize the points of waxwings. I am not a native English speaker and writer so ...

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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JoelJosol wrote:

 

It's not an advocacy of nationalism but one's attitude that everything American is the greatest and best.

To me, it seemed more like a reprimand of a native who has outside ties and for whom things American (i.e. non-local) are somewhat of an affectation ...

 

Tony

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

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JJ,

 

I know you are, just like I, not a native English speaker, but you do very, very well. Points I made have to do with certain things about English it took me tens of years to learn, for my native tongue is highly inflected and requires none of the meticulous use of tenses. I made them because dr_con did perhaps not grasp the intent of my original ideas/suggestions. I hope I have not managed to offend you.

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Hi Joel, I enjoyed reading a poem because of its unique theme. You took me right out of the realm of things I know and plopped me down into a much larger world. The simple exchange in the poem would never have occurred to me, a moment of enlightenment. Thank you. As always I love reading your work.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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