My Writers Circle

Poets Corner => Review My Poetry => Topic started by: Tom 10 on May 24, 2017, 12:30:46 PM

Title: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Tom 10 on May 24, 2017, 12:30:46 PM

These
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Mark T on May 24, 2017, 03:42:05 PM

Really like this crumbling portrait of Anywhere USA. Savagely honest writing, the sense of a society's pathos is palpable, grimly hanging onto yesterday's images and icons but the water's chlorinated and fluoridated to disguise MT Debt looming in the background, a future sold for ticky-tack chinese crap no-one really needed.

Could almost be a companion piece for Marlboro Moment.     ::)
       
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: kateD on May 24, 2017, 04:20:58 PM
This is such a poignant, realistic slice of life -- you've really captured the feel of blue-collar, suburban/rural monotony. S4 is a terrific wind-up (down?). Good work, T.
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Tom 10 on May 24, 2017, 04:49:44 PM
Thank you Mark.  I appreciate your comments, though the politics of it are complex and varied.

Kate - I always wait for your verdict on such narrative-heavy writing.  It is so far from much of what i write I feel on thin ground.

Thanks for the feedback.


T
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Gyppo on May 24, 2017, 08:21:25 PM
Very evocative, Tom.  'Restlessness without a name' struck particularly deep.

Deft brush-strokes for someone who claims to feel on thin ground ;-)

Gyppo 
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Tom 10 on May 24, 2017, 09:07:04 PM
I am on thin ground, Gyppo - you know what I write.  I guess the narrative current of NaPo swept me away. ::) ::)

Thank you for the very kind comments.

T
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: indar on May 26, 2017, 12:17:47 AM
Hi T,

I encourage you to get onto thin ground more often, this I love. Of course if you give it some thought you know I can relate to all of the details. You may be writing of west central MN but it could just as well be my grandpa Prescott's place up on Gull Lake. He was on the channel. Those big Northerns came through there where the current cut the ice kind of thin. You better not take the car out there unless you know where to drive. I don't know what happens to people on thin ground but we know what happens to cars on thin ice.

OK enough of that. I mourn for those towns and the people who fought tooth and nail to keep the school district from closing the local grade school.

And where can those people go and why should they have to. This poem reminds me of the movie about a small town in Texas: "The Last Picture Show". I know there is an abandoned movie theater where kids went to watch Saturday matinees in your town, you just didn't mention it.

This poem is a spot-on perfect I can see your town and I can hear those conversations at the beer joint---my peeps

A couple of things: it might just be me having lived near Uptown in Mpls. But the uptown bar and grill didn't read right to me. I can't imagine anyone in Renville, Clair City or Nisswa calling their hometown 5 block stretch "uptown".

"talk smart" brings to mind that oft-used phrase "drink beer and talk smart" which, I admit is pretty accurate but maybe is too easy. Once the subjects of their conversations are brought up it sounds like survival recipes. I think hunting and fishing among those out-of-work men preserves their sense of providing.

There is little small-town charm in this poem for me, only a sense of things coming to an end like that wisp of smoke from the ice fishing house or as someone else put it a whimper rather than a bang.

Wonderful poem T. I hope writing about these things and thinking about them will remind and remember what we might be losing.





Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Tom 10 on May 26, 2017, 05:14:05 PM
Gull Lake!  It seems, Indar, that our footprints have overlapped a fair turn.

I spent 4 days on Gull Lake last fall -- you recognize no doubt:

(http://i1287.photobucket.com/albums/a640/titan685/DSC_3659_zpsduck2hwp.jpg)

You are right about the fight going out of towns when they finally lose their school.  Still, lots of character.

Good point about 'smart talk', and survival recipes.  No matter, these guys are hunter/gatherers at heart. :)

Thanks for the generous comments.

T
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: drab on May 28, 2017, 12:56:52 PM
Very nice Tom. You've painted such a vivid picture.
I'd prefer if 'these towns' was removed from the 2nd line, that would mean rejigging the 1st line...but that's easily done. JMO.

Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: duck on May 29, 2017, 03:07:17 AM
Hi Tom
You don't need me to tell you that this is an excellent poem which beautifully captures the life and past lives of small town America - and indeed is so specifically American it almost hurts. Good writing.
Dave
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Tom 10 on May 29, 2017, 05:30:51 PM
Dave, drab - glad you like.  drab - town/town/uptown -- too much, right?

Indar - I feared I failed at avoiding the temptation to caricature the folks.  I tried to just present for straight, but looking back, it does seem judgmental to include the details I did, and not others.  The flip side of course, is these places actually have sunlight, can do July and August without a trillion BTU's retained in concrete for evening play-back.  You don't have to stand in lines or look over people's shoulders, and the sidewalks don't smell like urine [at least not people urine].  Maybe that's the next topic.  "Talk smart'  -- good point.  My peeps, too, Linda. :)

thanks for the FB, ya'll.

T

Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Tragopandemonium on June 08, 2017, 09:46:05 AM
A pleasure to read.  I find myself wanting more connection between the portrait of the abandoned schoolhouse and the rest of the piece. Crumbling small town I get, but where is the energy of the poem headed in that stanza? I guess maybe I need help getting from "dormant" to "restlessness without a name"?  Maybe that's it.  Anyway, terrific writing, thanks for the inspiration!!
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Tom 10 on June 08, 2017, 10:01:19 AM
Hi Trago,

Thanks for the read and comments - you give something new to think about, how the old school house plays here.

T
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Catherine F on July 14, 2017, 03:23:40 PM

Could almost be a companion piece for Marlboro Moment.     ::)
       

I felt the same as I read...Another one one of these USA snapshot matching my imagination  :)
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: Catherine F on July 14, 2017, 03:25:33 PM
(Hi there, I'm nearly out of the tunnel, and have some time available again  8) )
Title: Re: These Towns are Built on Water
Post by: midnight candle on July 24, 2017, 11:52:36 AM
These Towns are Built on Water

All of these towns are built on water–
these towns where breakfast is served
at the uptown bar and grill on main street
by a waitress named Jenn, or Crystal,
while her  kids stay over at Gramma’s. 

Trucks parked at the curb.  Guys out of work
talk smart through the morning– bass fishing,
recipes for sugar tip venison jerky.

Two blocks north sits a brick building
formerly the schoolhouse, now dormant,
but for sparrows, and juvenile break-ins.

Restlessness without a name
paints paths outward from the trailer park
to the west, drifting toward the highway
like smoke rising in a late afternoon sky
from the flue of a fish house stove.



Wonderful, evocative poetry as expected from you, Tom. 3rd verse - just perfect.