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Poetry Magnum Opus

I sat...


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I sat... where debauched minds

unfit for human company go;

and knew that I'd found her.

Standing on a small table--- naked

and gyrating for men.

They offered grubby bank-notes to her

with crude talk-- and she smiled.

She was beautiful, barely sixteen

but the fat man owned her.


There in his purple light

a multi-lingual audience cheered

as tickets were passed out

to the highest paying few, who took

her to a nearby booth.

And as I listened to grunts and squeals,

I remembered the child

next door, who'd played skipping games with me,

and my heart almost broke.

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There is, to me, a certain value in observing the unspeakable. I'm usually able to put some observations and experiences of my life out of mind and nail the door shut. I have seen worse than this beautifully written event, but it managed to wedge open mental defenses. Not your poem, but my own experiences will likely haunt me for some time until I can make mental repairs. Don't take this wrong; there are no subjects off limits for the poet, else there would be few true poets.


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Some things we experience stay with us for ever-- and one of the advantages of old age is that occasionally we dare weigh them up objectively. Not that it changes anything, although hopefully it may make us feel just a little more human . G.

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

We are only as old as we feel, but tradegies of life like this seem to benefit the greedy sadly as it may be. my heart reaches out. the only way i could weigh it is if it was two 16 years old a consenting boy and girl. but this is the topical filth we have to live with in the world in the good ole U S of A they (the many) claim to care and try to feed the hungry of the world and turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to such atrocities and injustices in the world will continue. but how do we still look are self in the mirror



Larsen M. Callirhoe

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This one has some layers to it, starting right off with I sat ... where debauched minds/unfit for human company go. This is the hook and draws the reader in. Really, he wonders, Why? But already it's okay, whatever the reason why, because the speaker has earned points for honesty.


By line three, it has become clear that he has found her, yet, again, there's the why. I like that that's left open.


And how long has he been looking for her? That one's answered. From the first verse, it's clear that she's sixteen, and from the last lines, it's learned that she's the speaker's peer, so it couldn't have been long. A couple of years maybe. He's around the same age, though his perspective could be that of a parent. It's retrospective.


But the thing I wonder most about is the use of "almost" in the last line. Why almost? For hyper-reality? To maximize the effect of the breaking heart image? Or did it almost break because it didn't break enough for him to try to do something about the situation? If it's the latter, it takes us back to the debauched mind(s).


This is a very compact piece with a lot going on in two verses. This aspect, along with the rest of it, makes for a very good poem.



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

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It's when an event is presented to us in such a manner, bit by bit, do we end up following up the trail to a jarring conclusion as Tony detailed. Actually, it's stuff of movies now. What made this piece intriguing to me after successfully leading the reader to the end is the huge gap between "child next door" and "barely sixteen but the fat man owned her".

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

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks guys,for the comments and particularly Tony for your insight and detailed review. Sorry for the delay in responding.


A lifetime ago, I witnessed daily life in a busy dockland area: many obscene and illegal things took place there. Circumstance as always dictating fate. B.

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