Author Topic: Black Ice (yet again)  (Read 369 times)

Offline indar

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Black Ice (yet again)
« on: May 14, 2017, 04:25:01 PM »
There is an interesting history to this one. The storyline was confusing to those who critiqued my first postings of it. I went down a rabbit hole trying to fix it. Tom has been bringing it up for years. Here is one more incarnation. Thank you Tom for keeping after me.

Black Ice

I yell,
he turns the wheel over hard,
the car spins,
bears dangerously
on the right-hand tires--

our little girls
hold spoons in awkward fists,
their faces earnest, eating cereal
while auntie measures water
for the coffee--

We are sliding sideways to the bridge,
I want to say:
oh God Earl, we'll never see them again;

I am sorry for my harbored anger
but there is time for one word only,
I shout goodbye.

We strike and bounce:
Earl's mouth and eyes are frozen Os
falling backward out the door
feet crimped in place
by crumpled metal
he slides until we come to rest
against the freeway fence.

I think he's gone
until I feel his pulse, strong and steady.
We just swung an arc through more than space.

A lifetime later
our grown daughters turn away
as I climb onto Earl's
hospital bed,
his eyes and mouth open in perfect Os
trying for the breath that will not come:
asbestos clogs his lungs,

he wants to warn me he is falling backwards
to that black and frozen place.

I never found the words, the grace.
I whisper one word only:
goodbye.


Offline Tom 10

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Re: Black Ice (yet again)
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2017, 04:47:41 PM »
This still gives me chills.  The ending doesn't feel quite right, but I have no suggestions at the moment.  I will be back to this. :)
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Offline indar

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Re: Black Ice (yet again)
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2017, 05:03:02 PM »
I will be waiting.

Offline Mark T

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Re: Black Ice (yet again)
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2017, 05:23:25 PM »

What a strong yet understated narrative piece. Powerful images. The ending's fine, not really seeing any alternatives to describing the moment. Only thing that niggles me are the plural Os - the imprinted imagery is central to the piece - although correct they distract a little but I'm not seeing any viable options there either. 

Offline indar

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Re: Black Ice (yet again)
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2017, 05:51:12 PM »
Oh the Os---a heretofore unmentioned problem. But yes, if read aloud perhaps they would seem strange. I keep thinking there is no way to get this written satisfactorily. But sometimes we stumble on an answer. Like Gyppo says the rewrites can be a great joy (sometimes). Thanks Mark.

Offline Tom 10

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Re: Black Ice (yet again)
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2017, 11:09:12 AM »
If you are uncomfortable with the O's repeat, then in  S.7 I suggest:

his eyes and mouth open in perfect Os full round
trying for the breath that will not come:



Just a thought.

T
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Offline indar

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Re: Black Ice (yet again)
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2017, 02:38:14 PM »
And one worth thinking about---thanks T

Offline duck

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Re: Black Ice (yet again)
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 04:12:02 AM »
Hi Indar
I am so uncertain about this poem. It has so many merits , not least being clean and clear emotional writing and yet it seems too deliberate now and in some places too exact and overstated:

I yell,
he turns the wheel over hard,
the car spins,

what is lost if we leave the last two lines of S1? For me we lose that awkward last line that reads too technical and too undramatic.

Then there is the placement of S2 - how about making it S1 instead? Why does it interrupt the flow of the accident exactly there?

The juxtaposition of these two lines is awkward as one could assume the harboured anger is related to not seeing them again - which is a viable possibility - is it meant?

oh God Earl, we'll never see them again;

I am sorry for my harbored anger


I think he's gone
until I feel his pulse, strong and steady.
We just swung an arc through more than space.
I would drop 'I think' - it is unneeded

Lastly, there is something strange abouot you climbing onto Earl's bed, it make you sound either very small or a child.

In general I like it but overall find myself dsitracted by all the phrases necessary to explain the narrative elements such as 'a lifetime later'.

Dave

Offline indar

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Re: Black Ice (yet again)
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 11:12:53 AM »
Hi Duck,
This poem has long ago lost any dramatic impact for me. Its getting kind of funny. The original disappeared years ago and much of it has been pasted in by way of explanation. Somewhere in this thread I said I believe its a poem impossible to write. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you believe you are about to die in something like a car crash. I won't say that happened to me but there were thoughts racing and images flashing. I included more of that in my original but as the poem made its way through many critiques more and more of that came out and attempts to explain the two events (car crash--death of ex-husband) years apart got written in. The reason S2 is there is because, as I believed we were doomed, the scene at the breakfast table is exactly the way I "saw" our two daughters at that moment. There is a strange suspension of time or a slow motion unfolding of the event during which one is hyper-alert to every detail and yet capable of mile-a-minute thinking. That is what I was going for in my original draft. But it was too confusing as written.

I have spoken to people and I believe someone on this site had also had a "racing thoughts" experience. Its weird.

Thanks for the read and comments Duck I will put up a rewrite with your suggestions in mind.