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Untitled

by Jordan789 

Posted: 15 March 2007
Word Count: 126
Summary: been a while, it feels like poetry isn't really spurting from any open wounds these days. Shame!


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I walk through the beat,
Read me, like me?
Take a taste of me,
Sir, maíam, itís okay.
Iím a pretty decent guy,
I think.
That is, if you will talk to me.
Sir, maíam, please, donít walk
Away from me.
My skin is on fire,
Please, allow me to drink a drop of
Your water.
Sir, maíam, I donít want to hurt anybody,
But I do, I think.
Not with my fists or feet, guns or machete,
But with slight undercurrents, I think
I remind them of bad thoughts,
The negative man in their head who
They try to keep at bay.
The voice of someone like me,
Whoís no good for no one, anyway.
Sir, maíam, please give me a sip of your tea?






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Comments by other Members



James Graham at 23:43 on 16 March 2007  Report this post
A lively monologue, which manages to make low self-esteem interesting. I like the deference that runs through the poem, in the repeated 'Sir, ma'am' and 'please' and the generally humble tone. Also the minimal demands - a drop of your water, a sip of your tea. This is careful use of language. None of this shouldn't be read too literally, of course - 'take a taste', 'don't walk away', 'allow me to drink a drop of your water', 'please give me a sip of your tea' are figurative ways of saying, 'I want to reach out to you and I wish you would respond. I'm giving something of myself, please give just a little back'. The particular things like asking for water or tea symbolise more general needs, and putting it in concrete terms is much better than the whole thing being abstract.

It's remarkable how often WW poets come up with at least one really good line in a poem. These two lines will push a lot of buttons, even with people whose self-esteem isn't as low as that of the poem's speaker:

The negative man in their head who
They try to keep at bay.


I don't know about other WW folks, but for me this negative man is never far away. It's a good way of expressing it.

I usually think 'Untitled' isn't the best title. ('Poem' as a title is probably the most problematic, though Elizabeth Bishop has at least one that makes you think, well, what other title does it need?) Thoughts that might lead me to a title for this one would be: This is a monologue, spoken (or thought) by someone. Someone other than yourself, I imagine. Maybe yourself on a bad day. If so, yourself-on-a-bad-day can be turned into a fictional character, even given a name. So 'Soliloquy of Mr X', 'X Faces Another Day'. Having got this far I realise that maybe this train of thought would lead me to a title, but it might not lead you to one. It might not be helpful at all. I'll just finish by saying that I think occasionally a poem can go 'Untitled' but this one could perhaps be given a title that would add something to what it has to say.

James.

Account Closed at 02:03 on 19 March 2007  Report this post
Jordan,

Thereís a stage and I see a character in the guise of a beggar. Every so often he tilts towards some non-visible person who hurries past, pretending not to see, as he pleads for that drink of water / sip of tea. Then heís back into his monologue and his thoughts behind the pleas.

His beggarliness is deceptive. It is a weapon to draw pity and trick someone into giving him attention, which affords him the excuse of taking a position of superiority (because they fell for his trick.) And he gains a free pass to awaken their sleeping pain, which he sips at for pleasure. I think the beggar exposes that feeling of secret schadenfreude, and it is an attitude which gives the poem bite. It recognizes private and shared human behavior, whether we chose to admit it or not.

When the emotional sustenance of the water / tea is denied, he says it is because people donít wish to be reminded of their own critics. This beggar may be a personís internal critic. Heís not a true personality but a facet, or fragment part of the whole. This beggar-critic talks out at others, attempting to engage as if it were a separate entity that also has private thoughts, which is unusual, I think, if you take it literally. The poem, however, does not attempt to explain why the beggar- critic has this freedom, or whether it is has become tyrant to the person it resides in. Nor do I think it needs too.

Two lines I was unsure of:

Away from me
My skin is on fire


Iím not sure what he is saying or why he is burning. Is it burning up, as in he has an illness? This could alter the overal meaning.

I do find this poem seems to bend in on itself, twist and reflect. An effect created, I think, by the author's beggar-chap having an internal and external dialogue with two distinct voices, tones, and speech patterns. I thought that lively and well done.

Good work,

D.

Jordan789 at 06:15 on 20 March 2007  Report this post
Two very different readings on the poem, how interesting.

I have a question for you, D : where in the poem do you see the actor acting as if with a weapon? How are you so convinced that his intentions are to harm others?

James: Your reading of the poem coincides with my own. And I like your thoughts on the title, and I think, if it meant anything, and publishing something were a consideration, I would certainly make use of your suggestion.

Thank you both for comments, as always,

-Jordan

Account Closed at 13:22 on 20 March 2007  Report this post
where in the poem do you see the actor acting as if with a weapon? How are you so convinced that his intentions are to harm others?


Sir, maíam, I donít want to hurt anybody,
But I do, I think.
Not with my fists or feet, guns or machete,
But with slight undercurrents, I think


Jordan, I wasnít clear. I donít mean a physical weapon like a knife, or cannon. I mean the actor uses the emotion of others as a weapon. His outward disposition appears benign, but he is semi-aware it hides malicious intent.







Jordan789 at 18:26 on 20 March 2007  Report this post
interesting reading. I hadn't thought of it that way, but I like it. I'm sort of enjoying talking about my own writing as if it's not mine. But I should tell you the truth that your interpretation was caused by me writing this poem so expediantly, and not proof-reading it properly. Those lines should have been read as:

Sir, maíam, I donít want to hurt anybody,
But I do hurt them, I think.
Not with my fists or feet, guns or machete,
But with slight undercurrents, I think

I hope those italics show up--I don't know a damned thing about HTML. But to be honest, I like your more villainous, venomful character far more than my whimpering one.

-Jordan

Account Closed at 12:57 on 21 March 2007  Report this post
I'm sort of enjoying talking about my own writing as if it's not mine.


If you hadnít made that post on feedback comments I wouldnít have said these things Ė no idea how youíd take them. Even if you are writing about yourself, my comments are not personal, or indictments on your character. I donít believe we are always our writing, well, thatís what I tell myself anyway.

I like your more villainous, venomful character far more than my whimpering one.

Heh.



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