On a Scale of 1-10, I am Complicit
#6
(09-16-2022, 11:27 AM)brynmawr1 Wrote:  
(09-15-2022, 12:46 PM)ZHamilton Wrote:  On a Scale of 1-10, I am Complicit

It’s raining now. But I haven’t turned on the windshield wipers yet. 
In the distance, tail lights line the evening’s horizon.   Ahead,   less is more usually
The highway is straight, mostly. 
The radio is playing Stevie Nicks, I think.   I agree with SC, 'maybe' as it resonates with 'mostly'

I’m nodding, as the woman in the passenger’s seat tells me that she’s signing up for her local fitness studio. Three of her friends have left their husbands after joining that gym. Her first day is Monday.     this is great foreshadowing but loses its punch when the women only has an ex-boyfriend, maybe make him a husband?

Harder now,
It’s raining harder. The rain which had been beading up on the windshield is now distorting the road like a funhouse mirror.
She’s telling me about the ex-boyfriend who has been charged with…     Here you write that he's been charged but then write that she didn't press charges.  I suggest moving the 'didn't press charges' to this line, will have to adjust wording a bit  e.g ,she didn't press charges...

Stevie Nicks is signing about Sweet Little Lies.     singing?
But he’s a really good guy and it was just one time, so she didn’t press charges...

The windshield has blurred the world outside beyond recognition. the way written makes it read like the windshield is doing the blurring, maybe fixed with punctuation. Important line though as signals progression of the narrative.
She looks over at me
As if about to ask if I can see, 
And whether I’m going to turn the wipers on. on the wipers.  never end with a preposition, so they say...

I move my hand to the knob. line break The tail lights are now refracted through so much water that their distance is unknowable. 
The road and the horizon indistinguishable. 
The only certainty is that it is growing closer at 68 mph. shrinking or narrowing?  This line is a little vague and confusing, not sure it's needed
The rain has drowned out Stevie’s voice.   drowns
I feel the ridges of the knob on my fingertips. I like how you start the stanza with moving to the knob and then the feel of it.  very vivid.  You could almost cut 'of the knob' like a continuation of the first line

And she hasn’t had a drink since the fight at Amanda’s wedding but is thinking of starting again

The rhythm of the worn windshield wipers matches Mick Fleetwood’s drum beat and, for a moment, the road is clear, before the rain begins to form streaked arches across the glass.
The ending is good but could be strengthened by strategic line breaks.
Hi Z,
very nice piece.  I like the story within a story.  The women with her vapid banter and the narrator's indifference with a seasoning of self destruction. You have already gotten good input so I thought I would throw my own in to muddle things even more.  Most of my suggestions above involve tightening up the language.  It does read a little prosaic for a poem but I think if you cut some of the fluff, it will read better, to my ear.  One of the strengths of the piece is this sense of impending doom, of both characters.  Making the language a little more immediate, I think, will add to that effect.  Good work.  i look forward to seeing how it progresses.
Take care,
bryn
Thanks, Bryn. I appreciate the close read and will work on tightening the language. And thanks for catching that issue regarding "pressing charges," the conflict was the result of an earlier edit where I changed one of the lines. I recently read this piece at a workshop and did find it wordy, but wasn't sure how to remedy. I think your edits, along with the other input offered, will definitely help. Cheers.
"What I want in poetry is a kind of abstract photography of the nerves, but what I like in photography is the poetry of literal pictures of the neighborhood." -John Koethe
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Messages In This Thread
On a Scale of 1-10, I am Complicit - by ZHamilton - 09-15-2022, 12:46 PM
RE: On a Scale of 1-10, I am Complicit - by ZHamilton - 09-17-2022, 02:15 PM



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