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Poetry Magnum Opus

Old Man #7


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The fire kept mosquitoes away throwing shadows

about like rag dolls, smoke drifting up into the stars

the kid talking about things that didn’t matter,

like how much wood they had for the fire.

He was saying that money was huckstering,

a licensed system of fraud for the rich.


They listened but it didn’t help, someone said

Engels but that didn’t help either, he said

he was designing shoes for walking the natural way

the way we were made to, without shoes.


The old man didn’t think much helped anymore

Engels wasn’t getting him where he was going,

What counted was a good strong pair of leather boots

laced up past the ankles.


When they woke in the morning the kid was gone

So was their money, except for the old man

He slept in his boots where he kept his money,

but he didn’t say anything.

He thought it was bad, but he thought they were fools

when they picked up the kid standing by the road

and he shuffled over to make room and the kid started talking.


He’d seen a few hucksters smiling and talking, the big ones

from the city came for his home, when he pulled a gun

they stopped talking, just their mouths hanging open.


Im hoping to hear what others think of this, so critique welcomed.







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Terry A

In the fashions of today, prose poetry is a thing.  

What I would call this not so much a poem but a 'vignette', almost a short story, where line breaks just pace the read, almost unnecessarily. Assembled with the others, you might make a book devoted to the themes you have presented so far. It might give the writing more power to move it entirely into prose.

From the working class, where the more brutal/raw aspects of life are real, you have your finger on that pulse, simply by the lack of pretence that sugar-coating provides. In the tradition of Hemingway and Steinbeck, back in time.

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Yes, you are right about a “vignette”. I’ve had problems placing these in a poetry sections on another site. It seems to be a matter of form, and falls in between poetry and prose. Which I was happy with but received critiques from both sides about what they were because they didn’t seem to fit. I think I’ll rearrange line breaks and submit them under prose. 

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Terry A

The novel, 'Moby Dick' by Melville, has the most powerfully poetic language I have ever read and I was astounded by it, and that it could be sustained throughout the long novel. And so there is precedent for the writing you are doing. It's just a matter of experimenting with the best way to present it. I have read that there is a return to the classics going on, among readers who have had enough of the "bestsellers" presented them. Just remember, somehow, somewhere in it all, the nobility of the human spirit must also be included. For without that, it just all gets too depressing.

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