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by Zettel 

Posted: 10 October 2006
Word Count: 148
Summary: Initially prompted by a movie - The Devil Wears Prada - then it just kept getting darker.

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.


Angled razored scissored lines
diamond sharp neon hard
facet cut to mirror
reflect not reveal
unfed unsustained
shameful needing flesh
cover clothe secrete
the fragility of life

Look look at my display
the me that I and you may see
denying time denying age
A stylish morality
has fashioned
an androgenous
sexless bloodless
cool celebrity

Beauty is appearance
you must look
but may not see
the horror
of my mortality
Look look I beg you look
polish my perfection
validate my vanity


And Charles Roberts
father of three
rose shaved and dressed
breakfasted his kids
dropped them off to school
and went on
his just another day
With meticulous care
he assembled his C-store wares
and innocence
(donít talk to me of sin
donít you fucking dare)
in unadorned homespun browns
and non-designer black
was blown away

And Charles Roberts
got himself noticed
after a fashion

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Comments by other Members

Jordan789 at 03:55 on 13 October 2006  Report this post
Hello! I'm new here in the poetry section, and this being my first post and the first post under your poem, i guess I am rather nervous. I suppose I will start with my gut, and go from there.

I liked how the poem began, the sound of it, with many strong and sharp adjectives that really slowed the reading to a crawl and forced the reader to feel the blast of each syllable. The negative effect of this is a lot of it is rather redundant, because a lot of the words emit the same feeling or even image. "Angled razored scissored" = all pretty much the same in my book when listed one after another. The same goes for diamond sharp and hard. Isn't a diamond already sharp and hard? Neon strikes out at me in this group though, because it's connected to a different sensation, sight.

And then we have all of these sour words, almost projectile vomited out from the speaker, to describe what i can only imagine to be the speakers view on... fashion? As if the speaker is flipping through the pages of a glamor magazine and thinking how ugly and hatefilled these women must be, or spiting them for their youth, which is somewhat eternal on the page. But I feel as if I'm projecting too much.

The last line of the first stanza, "the fragility of life," really throws me, because it doesn't seem to be a consistent speaker, and I don't know what causes the speaker to think of the fragility of life at this point. But perhaps I'm trying to focus too much on the content of the poem and less on the emotions it projects by sound and word association. I don't know.

I just realized if I continued to go through each line and stanza, as I am now, i'm going to run out of breath. So, on the bigger picture, I felt confused, quite a bit. I think some good concrete images could really take this poem to new heights--i'm a fan of images and pictures, and abstractions without physicality can really throw me for a loop. For instance, stylish morality?

I am the most confused on the two sections, and how they connect. Is this man simply an example of fashion taking precedence over human life? Ie. the stylish morality, where human life takes the back seat to a news story? I enjoyed this section though, of the simple details that I can see and picture, of this man rising and caring for his children. Charles Roberts, hurm. So I just googled Charles Roberts and found a Pipemaker, a guy who kidnapped a woman in 1990, and the guy who recently shot a bunch of amish children. This last one makes the most sense with the non-fashioned greys and browns--amish wear. But before I knew that I had no idea what the backstory of the man was, not from reading the poem, and I didn't even know if he died or if anyone died.

After learning abotu Chuck, I really like the second part of this. My only suggestion is to replace "was blown away" with a strong verb phrase: "Blew himself away," "Splattered his face all over the chalkboard," You get the idea.

got himself noticed
after a fashion

I don't necessarily like "got himself noticed." how this attempts to tie this instance to the idea of fashion. I don't see the connection made in this poem, but i'm no good with subtleties.


Zettel at 22:31 on 13 October 2006  Report this post
Jordan - welcome to the group.

Thanks for the comments which you've obviously taken time to think about. I won't respond to everything because in the end responses to poetry are inevitably subjective. Thankfully.

I'm not usually in to post hoc analysis of my poems. You put what you can into the creation and adapt perhaps in the light of other's comments.

However: the genesis of the poem as I said, was the film - The Devil Wears Prada. My review of the film on WW indicates my view about the film as such. What the film does is to demonstate the articiality of the fashion world. It is highly lucrative and its stars are part of the culture of celebrity that the poem questions. A frighteningly large number of young people are desperate for celebrity and to be known. To be noticed one may say. As the lead in the film remarks - "My dear everyone wants to be us." Even if we cherish no desire to be a celebrity there is a widespread cultural desire to read, see, hear about celebrity that is reflected in book, newspaper dvd and movies sales. So following your points:

- repetiton is a poetic device. I am regularly reading my poetry out loud now at the Poetry Society and the repetition you mention is for rhythm. The words were chosen for their resonances - 'angular' because this is a an angular world where the normal curves of womanhood are eschewed. 'Razored' to continue the sharp lines motif but to carry the echo of harm, cutting, menace. 'Scissored' obviously as part of the process of cutting clothes but also a hint of excision, cutting out. 'Diamond' wealth, riches, coldness, sharp, unyielding and permanance. 'Neon' for the literal and metaphorical glare of this world, its 'look-at-me' quality, see see: I am so brightly lit you cannot, must not miss me. 'Hard' because neon light is unforgiving, implacable, it shows everything, nothing can be hidden. Neon exposes.

Not sure about the "projectile vomit" stuff, I think that's you getting a bit carried away. But the natural process of eating, the enjoyment of food for its own sake, is anathema in the fashion world. Models are are tyrranised by their need to keep their weight within unnatural and unhealthy limits. Eating is a regrettable necessity. Leading to bulimic solutions or anorexic consequences. These 'models' and their celebrity provide a toxic combination that leads so many young people to extremes of stress about their peer conformity. And even older people to unhappiness and los of self-respect. This part of the poem is trying to express the sense of self-disgust models feel literally about their bodies. And by extension their youth and by further extension about mortality itself. This is a world that reeks of denial - of the most natural and healthy, and invetitable things of normal human lives.

This is a narcissistic, look at me world, creating an illusion of an impossible perfection of human shape. Its creations hide the naturalness of our bodies and lives. The denial of our bodies, our imperfections, our mortality. All of these qualities were denied by Roberts. His desperation was for his feelings to be recognised. A narcissistic self-obsession that overcame all else. And a fatal solipsism that rendered all but himself unreal. Lethal.

Far too much for my poem to capture. But what it tries to gesture at. Good luck with your first posting to the group.



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