Author Topic: Twelve Month Lock-in  (Read 1606 times)

Offline indar

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Twelve Month Lock-in
« on: August 21, 2009, 02:00:29 AM »
Twelve Month Lock-in

Police took her
and we didn't get to say
goodbye.

We went home.

Jenny read a book
about otters
and Earl smoked one cigarette
after another.

I cleaned her room
and tried to divine the meaning
of colored yarns
tied to her bedposts
and the knots in corners
of her curtains.

I searched her drawers
and the pockets of her clothes
for signs or notes that could tell me
why.

There were flowers pressed
between pages of her school books.

I played Lou Reed
and the Velvet Underground
over and over

and watched her goldfish
swim around and around.
Even after dark I could sense that fish
circling in the bowl

and the glow
of Earl's cigarette
in the room
below.

Twelve Month Lock-in (revision)

After she was taken from the courtroom
we went home.

Earl smoked one cigarette
after another.

I cleaned her room
but left the colored yarns tied
to her bedposts and knots
in the corners of her curtains.

I searched her dresser drawers
and the pockets of her clothes
for signs or notes that could tell me

why.

There were flowers pressed
between pages of her school books.

I played Lou Reed
and the Velvet Underground
over and over

and watched her goldfish
swim around and around.
Even after dark I could sense that fish
circling in the bowl

and the glow
of Earl's cigarette
in the room
below.


« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 07:43:41 PM by indar »

Offline Mark H

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2009, 05:18:17 AM »
Hi indar

I like this and I think it has the potential to be very good.

IMO the opening is weak. You should either give us more or in fact you could drop it. The title tells us the back story so you could start with something like this ...

Back home

Earl smoked one cigarette
after another.


The bit about the otters is superfluous. It sounds to me as if it is included because it happened. Jenny has no part in this poem.

The middle section about cleaning/searching is very good, but still needs work IMO. N does not need to tell us she tried to "divine the meaning" because it is implied by her actions. Also, it is the kind of phrase you would find in a poem and not in real life and so should be avoided.

"I searched her drawers" is accidental comedy for the English. You may not care about that. Drawers is an old fashioned term for knickers.

I like the ending, but of course we are left with no hint as to what the girl had done. That's OK ... I think.

Good work  :)

Mark


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Offline eric

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2009, 09:56:56 AM »
in general, i agree with mark.  good work, probably your best to date.

i agree also about the start, except that i would shorten it drastically (to a line or less) instead of dropping it altogether.

Offline indar

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2009, 12:53:18 PM »
Thank you so much Mark. Do you suggest i drop all reference to Jenny? My intention was to talk about family members suffering alone. And then there is the delemma about the drawers--can't have inappropriate laughter in the middle. How to fix it? Would it work to say dresser drawers?

Both Mark and Eric, the most puzzling thing for me is how to give enough information and have a strong beginning. If I eliminate the police does "lock-in' in the title do the job?

Thank you both for your comments

Offline Mark H

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2009, 01:15:52 PM »
Quote
Do you suggest i drop all reference to Jenny?

What does that Jenny line add? I think the actions of N and Earl are sufficient. That's just MO though. See what others think.

Quote
Would it work to say dresser drawers?

Yes. Plus you have he added benefit of the alliteration.

Quote
If I eliminate the police does "lock-in' in the title do the job?

This is a dilemma. Some readers seem to ignore the title. Perhaps that's way some writers (like JY) dispose of it all together. For me, the title is enough and you can move straight to the house scene. This also has the benefit of getting rid of the segue. If you were writing a short, I would suggest that you expand on that first scene and show the reader what happens as she is driven away. For the poem though, the house scene is all you need. That does the job.

M
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Offline eric

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2009, 03:25:50 PM »
mark is exactly right on here, far as I can tell.

Offline gibberatu

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2009, 08:55:24 PM »
When I read the title I thought it meant an unfeasibly long illegal drinking session in a pub. The 'drink' meaning is the second one listed when I google 'lock-in', but I don't know if google are tailoring the results for me or for the UK. I'm guessing your intended meaning is clear in the USA. I'm fairly sure I would have worked it out by about halfway through, without the first line.

Otherwise I agree with Mark.

It's engaging. I'm less curious about the reason for the lock-in than I am about what Earl had to say, because I remember him from a poem with 'Oh Earl' in it. I'm not saying it should go in the poem, though.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2009, 08:58:00 PM by gibberatu »

Offline Akeith (Gray)

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2009, 01:07:51 PM »
Sorry to be so long with a response to your poem. I know you've been on pins and needles, turning blue, waiting in anticipation.  :D

To be quite honest, although every poem has room for a critique (even Shakespeare's I've been told), I can not find the words for one here.

This is the best effort on your part that I've seen yet. I can get a true sense of how those left behind to wonder why must feel.

I love the "snapshot" ending:

Even after dark I could sense that fish
circling in the bowl

and the glow
of Earl's cigarette
in the room
below.


It provides a great conclusion, I think, to the poem while enhancing the poem's tone of resigned frustration.

I am left with the feeling of wondering the why the event occurred myself. I hoping that is your intention.

Well done.

(P.S. I took "drawers" to mean the kind that pull in and out of a cabinet rather than up and down a pair of legs; but I can see Mark's POV and the humor therein. I also took the title to mean a time spent in jail....for what ever that is worth.)


Offline emma112

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2009, 02:55:40 PM »
I agree with everyone who has commented on this poem. It definitely does have potential. If you make the little changes that Mark suggested, then it will be a very good poem.

As Gray said, I also like the ending. It gives an atmosphere to the poem and finishes it well. The poem overall has interesting imagery, and I like it. Well done, Indar. :)
Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us - Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

maverickmuse

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2009, 04:59:30 PM »

hey, im not overly knowledgable on the technicalities of poetry, i just know what i like ^^

i loved how many questions can be raised by this piece. you have given just enough information for the reader to make up their own image and backstory. initially i thought that 'she' had been taken away by the police, arrested. then i thought well what if it is a death?? and the viewpoint could be from anyone...a child, a friend of the family. really, i admire how you can get the reader filling in the blanks.

i also liked the ending very much. the glow of the cigarette sounds foreboding, as though this is just the calm before the storm...very very good ^^

MM

Offline indar

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Re: Twelve Month Lock-in
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2009, 07:42:06 PM »
Thank you everyone who commented on this poem while I have been absent and then wildly busy. Gib, a protracted period of drinking is NOT what is meant in this case. In the US its commonly used to denote a court-ordered period of rehabilitation or intervention of one sort or another in which the individual is denied any outside contact. Gray and Emma, thank you both for your comments regarding the conclusion, often the things i write sort of drift off---just one of my many problems.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2009, 08:03:25 PM by indar »