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communication

by Tina 

Posted: 31 August 2005
Word Count: 187
Summary: Well we finally have our Internet fixed after almost 8 weeks - ho hum. This is a gathering of images I 'collected' on holiday - part real experience and part fantasy - the blue room and the people were 'observed' and the heat was real! I am posting this now 'cos I am a bit stuck with it and need some objectivity. I know this is a bit of a theme for me but I am fascinated by peoples responses to each other. Anyhow all help and comments welcome


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Heavy afternoon heat invades the room.
Near the window frowning at evasive clues
and mentally re-ordering squares to the perfect solution
he slaps the paper rigid.

She watches him closely,
silence expanding for her like unnecessary insulation.
Occasional glances feel like bottles cast into the ocean without messages.
The mantle clock chuckles mocking chimes.

A jazzy rug bought once in a moment of joyous spontaneity
stretches between them like an empty highway
or a bridge that finds no banks.
Polished floorboards groan under the weight.

The room is awash with blue,
indigo and ultramarine patterns and plates
endlessly lapping the walls like so much flotsam.
Scattered photographs anchor lives momentarily caught in a net of purpose;

The leather chair sighs;
she crosses to the bookcase with its darkness of closed books
inside each a life evidenced by finger prints.
She wishes to be lost, an ant in a city of peonies perhaps.

He clicks the biro in triumph.
Anger rises; a boiling kettle spewing steam clouds masking the world.
Leaving the room the long tongue of the lock licks the door frame,
the mischievous kiss barely audible.






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Comments by other Members



lieslj at 06:08 on 01 September 2005  Report this post
Hello Tina,

This poem is giving voice to a desperately suffocating existence and contains some wonderful images - the paper slapped rigid, the bottles containing no message, the bridge with no banks and the photographs as anchors.

It also feels as if there are too many diverse images and metaphors which create quite a jumbled sense. To my thinking, if you could concentrate on a few images that have common elements, you might get a more concentrated effect. I particularly like your 'sea' related images.

I think you might find something within this poem that would create a more enigmatic title than the one you're currently using. I love that image of 'Photograph Anchors', because it works as an adj/noun and as noun/verb concept.

Lastly, words like 'chuckling' and 'mischievous' undermine the gravity of the narrator's despair.

I've square bracketed the words that don't significantly add anything for me, and round bracketed possible punctuation or other suggestions.

Keep tinkering, Tina, you'll get something that works from this one yet.

Warm wishes
Liesl

-------------------------

Heavy [afternoon] heat invades the room.
Near the window frowning at evasive clues
[and] mentally re-ordering squares (linebreak?) to the perfect solution
he slaps the paper rigid.

She watches [him] closely,
silence expanding [for her] like unnecessary insulation.
Occasional glances [feel] like bottles cast into the ocean without (a) message[s].
The mantle clock [chuckles] mocking chimes.

A jazzy rug bought once [in] a moment of joyous spontaneity
stretches [between them] like an empty highway
or [a] bridge that finds no banks.
Polished floorboards groan under the weight.

The room [is] awash with blue,
indigo and ultramarine (linebreak?) patterns and plates
[endlessly] lap[ping] the walls like so much flotsam.
Scattered photographs anchor lives momentarily caught in a net of purpose;

The leather chair sighs;
she crosses to the bookcase with its dark[ness of] closed books
inside each a life(,) evidenced by finger prints.
She wishes to be lost, an ant in a city of peonies perhaps.

He clicks the biro in triumph.
Anger rises; a [boiling] kettle spew(s)[ing] steam clouds masking the world.
Leaving the room the long tongue of the lock licks the door frame,
[the mischievous] (its) kiss barely audible.


Elsie at 21:41 on 01 September 2005  Report this post
Hi Tina, I wondered at first what he was doing - maybe those soduku puzzles? I think you conveyed the opressiveness, the feeling of being unable to make contact meaningfully, very well.

The mantle clock chuckling line seemed a bit of a tonguetwister for me. I really, really liked the last line, it is as if the door is mocking.

Tina at 18:09 on 02 September 2005  Report this post
Hi Elsie and Liesl

Thanks for your feed back and positive remarks

I very much agree with your suggestions liesl - I wrote this following constructing a short story so I think I was very much in narrative mode - what I wanted to convery was the need of the woman for communication that was not forthcoming from the man using the silence in the room as a metaphor for the silence in their relationship and contrasting this with the noises created by inanimate objects such as the clock and chair to contrast.

I too think that there are a lot of contratsing images but think that there are many strong ones that I really like and amnot so sure which to take out. ??

I like your redraft and will repost - thanks for taking time with this and apologies for lack of input lately but as I said above our internet had been out for ages.

Tina



James Graham at 20:19 on 02 September 2005  Report this post
On first reading, and reading your note at the top, I wondered why you were saying you were stuck with this one. The room, the tensions, the complex silence, all came across very strongly. A little trimming would tighten it up here and there, but it couldn't possibly need major reworking. Coming back to it after a few days I'm sure that the poem is basically ok.

I agree with some of Liesl's suggestions, but not all. These would be the essential bits to rub out, I think.

[and] mentally re-ordering
silence expanding [for her] like unnecessary insulation.
Occasional glances [feel] like bottles cast into the ocean without (a) message[s]
[endlessly] lap[ping] the walls like so much flotsam.
a [boiling] kettle spew(s)[ing]

But I wonder, why leave out simple verbs such as 'is', or particles like 'and' or 'in'? The style of the poem is narrative/descriptive and some of these omissions would elide the normal syntax which is appropriate in a poem like this, one that recounts a scene or an episode. In everyday life, giving an account of something we saw happening, we don't leave out ins and ands. Let it flow like an articulate eye-witness account. Maybe a wide range of imagery is appropriate to that too - the observer casts about for ways to express atmosphere or imagine how another person might be feeling.

I don't find either 'chuckles' or 'mischievous' out of place. One or two deliberately frivolous touches can sharpen a sense of despair, or any dark mood that pervades a poem.

You should just do the minor revisions meantime, then see how it looks.

James.

Tina at 08:11 on 03 September 2005  Report this post
OK James. Lieslj and Elsie here is a revised draft which I am posting here rather than removing the original. Thanks James for your comments - insightful as ever.



Heavy heat invades the room.
Near the window frowning at evasive clues,
mentally re-ordering squares to the perfect solution
he slaps the paper rigid.

She watches closely,
silence expanding like unnecessary insulation.
Their occasional glances like bottles cast to sea
without a message. The mantle clock chuckles.

A jazzy rug bought in a moment of joyous spontaneity
stretches like an empty highway;
or a bridge that finds no banks.
Polished floorboards groan under itsí weight.

The room is awash with blueness,indigo and ultramarine
patterns and plates,lap walls like so much flotsam.
Scattered photographs anchor lives
momentarily caught in a net of purpose.

The leather chair sighs;
she crosses to the bookcase with itsí dark closed books
inside each a life, evidenced by finger prints.
She wishes to be lost, an ant in a city of peonies perhaps.

He clicks the biro in triumph.
Anger rises like a kettle spewing steam clouds masking out the world.
Leaving the room the long tongue of the lock licks the door frame,
the mischievous kiss barely audible.


James Graham at 16:40 on 03 September 2005  Report this post
A few more tiny adjustments and a spot of oil, and it should go like a Swiss watch.

Comma after 'solution'.

Possibly comma after 'insulation' rather than new sentence. The lines about 'their occasional glances' seem attached, and related, to 'she watches closely'.

'Stretches like an empty highway' - I'd keep 'between them', otherwise there's a slight niggle about where the carpet/highway is leading, and I think you need the further emphasis on the significance of the carpet in their relationship.

'Blueness' is an awkward word. Just 'blue'. Also leave out the comma after 'plates'. Leave out 'so much', which is just padding.

'The room is awash with blue: indigo and ultramarine
patterns and plates lap walls like flotsam.'

'its mischievous kiss'?

Finally, treat the poem with a little anti-apostrophe spray. Two squirts of Mr Muscle apostrophe remover.

This is a poem that works very well. It seems to convey a sense that this woman has felt the emptying of the relationship for some time, but this is the moment when the reality of it becomes clearer to her than ever before. Your characteristic long lines are still very effective - especially the second last, which is so well balanced in its rhythm and sound - and they're very nicely offset by the shorter lines.

James.

engldolph at 21:32 on 08 September 2005  Report this post
HI Tina,

Like others, I think this highly atmospheric and well written. The measured pace of the lines capturing the clostrophobic feeling of an osified relationship. The re-write moves it in the right direction for me. There are a few lines not quite as strong as others..
e.g. inside each a life, evidenced by finger prints.

but many more very good lines..

My favourite lines:

* Their occasional glances like bottles cast to sea
without a message.
*Scattered photographs anchor lives
momentarily caught in a net of purpose.

The last line introduces an ambivalence that is interesting..not too easy to place (maybe too ambigous, not sure)..I take it as her slightly sarcastic kiss as he leaves..but as it is mischievous, it implies to me that she has a way to have her revenge..

The title implies that the focus is on the non-verbal signals that take over from talking in well worn relations... but communication seemed a bit flat of a title for such a rich piece.



enjoyed
Mike


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