Author Topic: [in grunions]  (Read 2423 times)

Offline eric

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[in grunions]
« on: November 26, 2008, 01:06:35 PM »
[in progress]


  
« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 02:38:06 PM by eric »

Offline Mark H

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2008, 05:03:54 PM »
Eric

Very enjoyable to read out loud. It's another thanksgiving mystery but I very much enjoyed the rhythm and rhyme. There are times you have to force the emphasis -- for example: hot gas -- but the rhythm is so well established that it is not really a problem.

Mark

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Offline eric

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2008, 05:13:14 PM »
Thank you indeed, Mark.  Yes, I agree the hot gas is somewhat forced, but somehow that's appropriate, no?  Seriously, the rhythm is not quite as tight as it should be for a good comic poem, I grant you that, and thanks for noticing.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2008, 05:16:26 PM by eric »

Offline Xerika

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2008, 08:37:28 PM »
Another Thanksgiving Mystery (with apologies to Mark for nicking his phrase).

Whilst I can understand
that the 4th of July is important
to you chaps
because we let you win that time
(even though the last goal was definitely* offside)
I still don't get the
Thanksgiving
thing.

What exactly are
                 you                 
                              giving
                                              thanks
                                                               for
            exactly? **

I've never really understood it
and nor have the turkeys.

_ _ _

* = To emphasise a particular gripe of mine where I've seen definAtely so often recently.

** = I only did that because I know it annoys the hell out of you and Amie when people mess about with word positioning, etc.

P.S. Have (hope you had?) a great Thanksgiving, whatever it's for.

P.P.S. The above P.S. includes everyone in our erstwhile colony as well as eric.

P.P.P.S. Not a bad poem I s'pose but don't think for one moment that I'm going to praise you after you (not without reason) slagged off my own poim ritting scills just the uvver day.

P.P.P.P.S. Dash it all, I can't remember what this postscript was going to be so I'll move on to P.P.P.P.P.S.......

P.P.P.P.P.S. Ah yes, good heads up (oh, what a dreadful American expression) re Zimbabwe.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I have to go to bed now as I'm supposed to be harvesting olives at the crack of sparrow fart tomorrow.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Hope this helps.
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Offline eric

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2008, 09:33:09 PM »
Well, X., I did indeed have a great Thanksgiving, a very traditional 30-lb. Turkey sit-down dinner with about 20 courses at the home of a very traditional American-Spanish-American (Santa Fe, really; also traditional, but you'd have to be there to know that) family of sewage-pumpers (a profession which, as you can imagine, is immune to the recession, at least so far), the which was just ended a little while ago.  Not the recession, the Thanksgiving dinner. (Sewage pumping is likely to continue as a business going strong unless the recession gets so severe that Americans become irreversibly constipated, which could happen.)  There were eight or nine big strong men (not including me) and about seven beautiful women ranging from 4 yrs. old to about 80.  The scene, with various ethnic-woodfire-couchpotato-Hispanic/Santa Fe/American Indian/football/sewage pumping flares, was more or less as Gray described it (despite intensely different cultural attributes) in his recent poem.  The people were absolutely wonderful.  It reminded me of hippie dope parties forty years ago on the West Coast, except there were no drugs, no alcohol, no tobacco inside the house--only great food, tea, pop, candles, dogs, vigas, shawls, terrible football, and good talk--and everyone was respectful of everyone else.

Thanksgiving is supposed to commemorate the big feast the Pilgrims, early 17th century English (!) settlers on America's east coast, threw for themselves and the local Indians to celebrate their survival (actually only about half of them or less survived) after the first, extremely hard and brutish winter they faced in the New World, the only effective means of survivng which was aid from aforesaid Indians.  The thanks were not provided to the Indians so much as to God (the God of the Christians) ("Thank you, God, for letting me live and making that snotty brother of mine, who always annoyed me, die.").  The mainstream history when I was growing up failed to mention that the Pilgrims, who were by all accounts people of faith, apparently lured the Indians to this feast by pretext in order to murder them later.  Not a very warm and fuzzy holiday after all.  But judging from this evening it has morphed from eating turkey for turkey's sake into an excuse to gather family and friends of whatever background together into one warm room while the snow falls outside the window for a ceremony of high dignity and fond affection, conducted by the women and assorted male helpers and participated in by all.  You would think that if strict tradition were observed, the visitors would be murdered after dinner, but many if not most Americans have dispensed with that last part and simply use the time for a lovely excuse to get together and be sweet to one another.

The following day, Black Friday, officially kicks off the uber-commercial Christmas shopping season, which in good years starts as early as July 4, when we all get drunk, eat BBQ and kick each other in the butt, pretending the other guy's English (cough, cough).

Now, at last, to your poem.  Yours is a brilliant offering of near-genius,
though again I have to say, ahem, you definAtely can't write poetry at all are far better than merely mediocre poor lousy okay
yet something annoys the hell out of me but I can't remember what it is
I'm saying this was a terrific job, which you'd know if you only bothered to take the time to learn my idiolect (no, not my idiot-lect)

And I have to say, Mr. Hemingway-of-humor, you had me rolling in the aisles, laughing helplessly,
but it's all better now and I'm being respectable again.

ps.

regarding your rather offhanded comments on this my poem, though they were brilliant and incisive nonetheless, I might add that the Macy's Day Parade is a televised Thanksgiving tradition from New York, when huge helium balloons (oh, forty feet high or so) of all sorts of grotesque creatures (not as grotesque as they'd be in Mexico, but that is part of the horror) (can you just imagine Gordon Brown?) are inflated and they go bobbing down these weird street valleys in NYC, between the skyscrapers, while drunken New Yorkers line the streets cheering, throwing confetti, and vomiting in the gutters at 12 noon on Thursday.

You seem to get this reference, but for others I might also explain that the Zimbabwe-ites term actually meant to refer to Republicans, who laid America (poor dear) to waste in a manner strongly reminiscent (in this poet's mind at least) of what Robert Mugabe has done to his country of late.  Hence the last line.

It seems your former colonies are still on a learning curve.  I blame that, of course, on you.  No doubt Obama will set it all right, though.  No thanks to you limeys, however.  Though we can tip our hats to the Kenyans.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to drug the dog.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 12:40:27 PM by eric »

Offline Xerika

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2008, 06:06:18 PM »
eric, dear chap, many thanks for the detailed explanation and I now understand why you would wish to celebrate the British colonising the US of A in the first place. However, it seems a little odd that less than eight months hence, you'll all be celebrating kcking us out. Strikes me as a tad fickle if you don't mind me saying so.

I was also interested to learn that the day after Thanksgiving is traditionally the start of the Christmas shopping frenzy season as I have just read that a member of staff at a Wal-Mart branch was trampled to death by a horde of desperate bargain hunters. I don't think this news requires any further comment so I think I will just sigh and possibly even scratch my head.

P.S. As to your "I'm being respectable again", I sincerely hope you're not being serious here.
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Offline eric

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2008, 07:06:56 PM »
X., old bean, I'm continually promising to be good to people who do not know that I lie.  I can't remember actually having stated the fact, so I wonder if that might not have been someone pretending to be me.  I noticed the news about the dead Walmart store clerk.  Having observed their hiring practices first-hand, I wonder if the mad crowds actually trampled this poor fellow, or was he just lying in the way when they stampeded in?  In any case, I think it is clear that no one could blame the death on a turkey.  Other than himself, that is.

Offline Hyperviper

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2009, 10:10:10 PM »
Feelin' the sarcastic tone here. I was grabbed by the intro- felt rich with content. I also like how it flowed. I was reading it and I noticed it had this rhythmic flow.

Offline MarkHill

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2009, 07:45:48 AM »
Its really nice story to read. I read it loudly and enjoy it very much. I like your style of writing.
review

Offline eric

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2009, 08:01:03 PM »
thank you, Mark Hill, for an interesting reaction.

Offline SweetRosalyn

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2009, 03:13:00 PM »
Quote
Thanksgiving Day in The US of A

The turkey gobbled in the rubble in an alley in New York.

First impression: the opening line starts off well, but then goes on a bit too long for my taste; the rhythm feels a bit off by the end. I presume the repetitive form with the fast beat is deliberate?  It's almost rap-style - and I don't mean that as a criticism. It's interesting.  The long line might just work if you keep the pace up.

Quote
It missed the Macy's Day parade, the submarine, the plate of pork.
Inflated to unseemly heights, it heard the sounds and saw the sights;
policemen came, broke up the fights, and footballers turned businessmen.

Well, you do keep the rhythm and rhymes up well here, without it feeling contrived.  I like.  I'm not sure about 'footballers turned businessmen'. It sounds like you're saying footballers turned into businessmen, rather than describing footballers who have turned into businessmen, if that makes sense?  It just jarrs a little.

Quote
An effigy of Gordon Brown, filled with hot gas, floated down
the street and trundled round the town
with turkeys painted blue and brown
oh God! what were we doing?

Am I missing something?  Why would there be an effigy of Gordon Brown in America?  Or have we moved to the UK?  There is nothing to indicate such, and as we don't have Thanksgiving parades over here, it seems odd.  Perhaps I'm just ignorant of American festivities and they do have effigies of British PMs, but it seems odd to be talking about him, when the scene has been set in the US quite clearly and deliberately; I'm not sure what Gordon's doing there.  It could be a reference to the British-US relationship, especially regarding war, but it seems a little over-simplistic symbolically if it is. 

'Gordon Brown, filled with hot gas' feels a little too... smug to me. It's obvious what you're saying, and obviously it fits metaphorically well, but it's a little... heavy-handed?  I'm not sure. It's quite acidic-sounding, there's a very strong editorial slant, but that fits the whole piece.  I dunno, maybe it's the tone you're going for.

Otherwise, I rather like this strophe.  'Trundled' is a lovely word.

Quote
American Zimbabwe-ites
shot shotguns at the karma
of flies and tiny little mites
in the dried up mud on farms

I don't really get this strophe.  I've seen your explanation that American Zimbabwe-ites are supposed to be republicans, but I still don't really follow, sorry.

Quote
of a wrecked and ruined land
where a dictator's hot hand
ruined the economy and made
people starve and use cheap grade
of petrol and of whiskey in their glasses
and slap good looking women on their asses--

'wrecked and ruined' is a bit unoriginal, although it scans well. 'hot hand' I like.  'Ruined the economy' I really dislike - it feels like far too clinical language for the setting, and I'm sure you could have found a way to show us that rather than just tell us.  It feels like you're in too much of a hurry to get your point across, you need to slow down and take your time a little more on how you get it across.

'and use cheap grade of petrol and of whiskey in their glasses' feels a little clunky.

I'm a little unsure of the last line - the dictator made people slap good looking women on their asses?  Did you mean that his 'hot hand' slapped good looking women on their asses?  It doesn't come across that way is all.

Quote
oh hell! what were we thinking?
and that's not to mention Zimbabwe.

I presume this is the big reveal, when you show that you're actually talking about America, not Zimbabwe?  It's actually pretty well done, considering I hate those kinds of 'twists'.  I like 'oh hell! what were we thinking?' - the repetition works nicely, I think, and it softens the last line, makes it less ... smug.  If that makes sense?

All in all, it's not bad.  It's an enjoyable read, there's nothing really jarring, the language is neither overly simplistic, nor overly-obscure.  It's not something that clicks with me, but it's a neat enough little piece.
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Offline eric

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Re: Thanksgiving Day
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2009, 08:19:38 PM »
Well, I am thrilled to get an extended critique from you Rose.  I think all your criticisms are valid, some entirely and others at least on their own terms.   This poem was a little fluffy and had lines in it like the slapping of asses that were only for retrograde comic effect, and not meant to make real sense.  That particular line should have been more thought out.  The connection between the US and the UK is that around Thanksgiving, Bob Mugabe was busy linking the two as great satans in the Zimbabwe spectacle.  But that was probably too topical a reference to hold water past Christmas, if that long.  Most of my poems now reside in the Workshop if you come by this way sometime soon, which I hope you do.