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Jalopy

by Mickey 

Posted: 04 September 2017
Word Count: 204
Summary: Contrary to what Iíve said before about Ďknocking outí a poem quickly, Iíve tried for years to get this one to work. Iíve tried different formats and line breaks but this seems to be the nearest I can get to the irrational emotional panic that I am trying to convey. I am probably trying to get a too sophisticated and structured rhyming scheme into it than I am capable of, and I should have dumped it ages ago, but I was pleased with the storyline (if that makes sense?)


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Version 2

I’m sitting here now in our old jalopy                                                                                     
looking out of the window straight ahead                                                                  
and remembering how, when we felt soppy,                                                             
we used to watch the sun go down                                       
and kiss by the light of the moon instead                                                                              
in that woodland car park                                                                                                      
overlooking the town                                                              
                                                           
I’m wondering if you still remember                                      
the way that we both laughed till we cried                            
at that pollen-laden honey bee                                              
staggering along the wiper blade?                                        
And how we wondered whether he                                       
would ever get back to the nuptial hive                                 
and get his precious honey laid?                                           


Or the time that you were so annoyed
when wind through your side window
had spoilt your hair and I had laughed?
You said that you had felt betrayed
I thought your annoyance had long since passed.
But now you’ve gone and there’s only me,
I still have the car, but there’s only one key.


So here I sit but, unlike before,                                   
the offending windows are tightly closed.                            
Our woodland excursions will be no more                           
now you tell me your feelings have run their course.            
So, I’m staring instead at the closed garage door                
and hoping that you wouldn’t be too opposed,                      
to the gap for the hosepipe from the exhaust?






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Comments by other Members



joanie at 15:03 on 04 September 2017  Report this post
Hi Mike.  I understand your summary perfectly.  Hats off to you for returning again and again to a poem.  After the initial enthusiasm I tend to leave mine.  I can't remember ever coming back frequently. As for the content, yes, I think it's a great story-line, with sitting in the car being the focus all the way through, whether memories or the present.......... 

I know what you mean; it doesn't feel quite right to me either.  I am trying to connect with the rhyme scheme and metre but as I am reading aloud, I am struggling somehow. 

I think the two 'no more's in the last verse jar a bit and the last comma (although it's such a small thing) spoils the flow.  I wonder if ending the line with 'he' in the second verse is right; I feel like I have to stress it but it doesn't sound right.

These are just a few thoughts as I'm reading.  Sometimes, I think if poems are read aloud to an audience (of one person or several!) they take on the exact meaning which the reader is wanting to convey.  Perhaps we shouldn't be pulling it to pieces!   I will say again that it would be great to have audio on here and the option to print a poem or read it aloud.

I like it!

joanie

Mickey at 15:33 on 04 September 2017  Report this post
Hi Joanie
 
Thank you for your comments.  I’m glad now that I have finally put this one up for scrutiny.  You are absolutely right about the repeated ‘no more’s and the comma, although both have been inadvertently caused by my cutting and pasting the various lines of the last verse in an attempt to get the ‘A’s, ‘B’s, C’s etc to gel.  It was essential that the final line close the poem, but I’ll go back and try to re-work lines 1 and/or 3 to sort out the problem.  With regard to stressing the ‘he’ in the second verse, that was exactly what I had intended in order to rhyme with ‘bee’ so I’m so glad you felt the need to stress (I must have got something right!).  Just off for another attempt.  Stay tuned!
 
Mike

Mickey at 15:39 on 04 September 2017  Report this post
Hi again Joanie,

Mission accomplished I hope.  Thanks for your help with this.  I reads much better now

Mike

Mickey at 15:40 on 04 September 2017  Report this post
IT reads much better now!

joanie at 23:52 on 04 September 2017  Report this post
Yes, that's better!  Joanie

James Graham at 21:00 on 06 September 2017  Report this post
Hello Mike- I would say the long time and effort you’ve spent on this poem has paid off, because it’s a very accomplished piece of formal verse, written in carefully crafted, regular 7-line stanzas. Even to set yourself to write regular stanzas and never have to pad one of them out to make it fit the pattern, is quite an achievement. It reads well – and would go down well if read aloud.

There’s just one thing about the story that I’m a bit uneasy about – but I’m sure you’ll be able to put me right. On first reading, when I came to the end my first impression was that the narrator is actually about to take his own life. If so, his tone throughout the poem is surprisingly cheerful, with fond recollections of  those times in the woodland car park – too cheerful unless we are to suppose he has gone a little crazy and lost touch with reality. But then I thought, am I missing the point altogether? He’s not seriously contemplating suicide, he’s making a joke! The fact that she has told him her ‘feelings have run their course’ has come as a serious blow, and being the kind of man he is – humour is very central to his nature – his response is to make a really grim joke, wondering if she, having once taken a tantrum because the draught spoiled her hair, would object to a window being slightly open to admit a hosepipe. Only a joke as grim as that would measure up to what she has done to him.

Have I arrived by a roundabout route at what you really meant by the ending? My first impression still lingers. I may, as I say, have missed the point (not for the first time). If we can clear this up, then we can discuss the poem further if you wish.

James.
 

Mickey at 22:21 on 06 September 2017  Report this post
Hi James
 
Thank you so much for your observations on this piece.  I have had it on the go since 2003 but have never before been able to present it in a form that felt right.  Previous versions have all consisted of four extended 4-line stanzas which, as you can imagine, were completely unbalanced.
 
I said in my summary that I should have dumped it years ago, but I have always been pleased with the storyline and images that make up the poem.  I got it out again last week and, by adapting and adding a couple of lines, finally managed to achieve a balance by (quite accidentally) extending each verse to seven (shorter) lines.  Thank you for once again giving me undeserved credit for any poetical ‘expertise’ that I may have managed completely by accident.
 
The poem has always rested on the 4 visual ideas.  The first is the hackneyed US movie scene of the young courting couple sitting in a deserted parking area high above the city looking down at the lights of the town spread out below.  The second is of their enjoying the shared pun of the bee ‘getting his Honey laid’ back at the ‘nuptial’ hive.  The third is the narrator’s wistful regret at what he now realises was his insensitivity to his girlfriend’s anger (had there been other occasions when he should have been more understanding he wonders?), and the last is him sitting in his locked garage waiting to be overcome by the exhaust fumes.
 
Your first impressions were correct James.  He is certainly not joking.  This is not a sort of jocular ‘up yours’ response to his lost love.  If that were the case, he wouldn’t be sitting in the garage looking at the inside of the locked garage door.  He is actually in the act of committing suicide.  His despair has overtaken any rational thoughts and, in his unbalanced mental state, he is recollecting happier times as he awaits his fate.
 
I am so pleased that this final version at last reads as a viable poem and that I persevered with it (or at least didn’t just dump it)  Thank you again for your encouragement
 
Mike   

Thomas Norman at 14:24 on 07 September 2017  Report this post
Hello Mike,

To me this is a well constructed poem that is somewhat anomalous. This is just my personal feelings. The subject appears to be a serious one; the narrator committing suicide. But the overall impression is of joviality enhanced by the use of rhyme which lends a touch of humour. The general feel of the wording also seems light-hearted. Then in S3 I understand that the girlfriend is dead...
But now you’ve gone and there’s only me
This would seem to be why he's committing suicide. Would he do that if she had only gone away. ie. left him?


Sorry Mile but I can't figure it out.

Thomas.
 


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