Pradeshi Police
#1
Edit #1

Insensate, the daroga
railed at the autowallah.
Mammoth blows
his lathi squealing
(had seen much practice)
landing on the poor man's back
“How dare you talk back?
You motherfucker!”
 
I watched on, impotent,
followed them to the police station.

The false ember I felt in my chest faded
when the drunk shitheel threatened me 
“Fuck you, you fancy dandy!
Getting off to get fucking food packed,
piece of shit.”

I could barely open my mouth
while trying to complain about his behavior
and could not bring myself say his name.
The inspector at the counter told me to fuck off.

Outside, a few policemen surrounded a man
crying, laughing, demanding to be let off
"Harmless drunk fucker."
A few punches later, his voice died down.

The daroga claimed the auto was stolen.
"It's a friend's auto, sir, let me just call him,"
said the autowallah, blows landing on his face
"He has all the papers-"
"I'll strip the hide off your back!"

The autowallah told me to leave;
it was okay
his friends were on their way.
I wished a good night to the daroga and his brats
and gave him the finger when he turned away.
I couldn't sleep that night.
 
A few days later, I met the autowallah
he looked like shit but seemed triumphant.
I asked him about how he got out.
“The fucker knew who my friends were
and still hit me. Took him to court yesterday,
the fucker apologized. Got to slap him around for a bit after.”
He laughed.


Original:
Foaming at the mouth, the daroga
railed at the autowallah
no-holds-barred.
A thrashing;
lashing out with all his strength
his lathi flicking through the air expertly
has seen much practice
landing on the poor man’s back
“How dare you talk back?
You motherfucker!”
 
I watched on, impotent,
while an innocent man got the shit beaten out of him
because I asked him to park next to a drunk policeman
while I got some food packed for myself.
His crime - complaining about the ticket a little too loudly.
 
The false warmth I felt in my chest
deserted me when at the police station
the drunk shitheel threatened me
“Fuck you, you fancy dandy!
Getting off to get fucking food packed,
piece of shit.”
I could barely open my mouth
and could not bring myself say his name
while trying to complain about his behavior.
The policemen at the counter asked me to fuck off.
 
Outside, a drunken man taken off the streets threatened to kill himself
while twenty policemen and the bastard daroga surrounded him and laughed
“Harmless drunk fucker!”
A friend tried to calm the drunk man down
So he wouldn’t get his face caved in.
 
The autowallah was crying in a corner;
the bastard had impounded his auto
and told him to get ready for a night of brutal beatings.
He asked me to leave and told me his friends were on the way.
I wished a good night to the daroga and his brats,
and gave him the finger because he deserved it.
I couldn't sleep that night.
 
Seven days later, I met the autowallah,
He looked like shit but seemed triumphant.
When asked about how he got out,
He said, “The fucker knew who my friends were
and still hit me. Took him to court yesterday,
the fucker apologized. Got to slap him around for a bit after.”
He laughed.
 
I wish I never got on the auto that night.
The Chronicles of Lethargia
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#2
(05-29-2018, 07:17 PM)Radetof.Yahska Wrote:  Foaming at the mouth, the daroga  Is this a little overstated?  I can see the drunk spitting and some drool on his face, but not actually foaming.  It sets the tone well, though.
railed at the autowallah
no-holds-barred.  Bit of a cliche, perhaps something more unusual here.  And "no-holds-barred" implies both are fighting when the autowallah is merely taking it (I know, the fight is verbal, but still one-sided).
A thrashing;
lashing out with all his strength
his lathi flicking through the air expertly  this line could use a couple of commas despite the work's general (and effective) lack of them
has seen much practice
landing on the poor man’s back
“How dare you talk back?
You motherfucker!”
 
I watched on, impotent,
while an innocent man got the shit beaten out of him
because I asked him to park next to a drunk policeman
while I got some food packed for myself.  "food packed" is the only cultural reference here that I didn't get immediately
His crime - complaining about the ticket a little too loudly.
 
The false warmth I felt in my chest "warmth" doesn't seem quite the right word here - "heat," perhaps, or another term implying (false) courage rather than sympathy?
deserted me when at the police station
the drunk shitheel threatened me
“Fuck you, you fancy dandy!
Getting off to get fucking food packed,
piece of shit.”  Use of "shit[heel]" is excellent here, placing viewpoint and abusive daroga on the same level, used by both
I could barely open my mouth
and could not bring myself say his name
while trying to complain about his behavior.
The policemen at the counter asked me to fuck off.
 
Outside, a drunken man taken off the streets threatened to kill himself
while twenty policemen and the bastard daroga surrounded him and laughed
“Harmless drunk fucker!”
A friend tried to calm the drunk man down
So he wouldn’t get his face caved in.
 
The autowallah was crying in a corner;
the bastard had impounded his auto
and told him to get ready for a night of brutal beatings.
He asked me to leave and told me his friends were on the way.
I wished a good night to the daroga and his brats,
and gave him the finger because he deserved it.
I couldn't sleep that night.  Perfect reaction to one's own unsatisfactory behavior.  This is the crux of the poem:  corruption exists because good people are afraid to tackle it.
 
Seven days later, I met the autowallah,
He looked like shit but seemed triumphant.  That word again... presaging his becoming a sinner as well.
When asked about how he got out,
He said, “The fucker knew who my friends were
and still hit me. Took him to court yesterday,
the fucker apologized. Got to slap him around for a bit after.”
He laughed.  Wish there were a way to make this revenge seem even emptier, but this draws the circle well enough to be going on with.
 
I wish I never got on the auto that night.  Not sure this line is necessary.  The poem might bite sharper ending with "He laughed."

This one is difficult to critique because it's so true and well expressed:  corruption is universal, though it manifests in different ways and magnitudes.  However, to work.

In mild to moderate critique, please take the above as observations and suggestions rather than demands for change.  Overall, there is a tension between the viewpoint character's presence and the incidents described:  the title tells us the poem's subject (I would say, corruption) but the viewpoint character is an honest foil to it.  I think the balance between describing the action and describing his reactions to it is good, though (as noted)  it might leave an even more bitter taste in the reader's mouth without the last line.

This is an admirable work on a difficult subject.
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#3
Hi duke,

Thanks for the critique. I added the last line as an afterthought, and yes, it does seem unnecessary. Also, as pointed out, warmth is not the best word to be used there, heat is in fact closer to what I was looking for. I will need to have a look at the opening stanza again, your feedback helped me see a few things - I'd abandoned this for a long while before finishing it yesterday because I thought it was no good, so I think the opening does need some work.

I'm still struggling with some parts which I can't express properly and so haven't mentioned, like the sticky sound of a lathi hitting a man's wet back, and horrific impotent anger that brought visions of death, which is why sleep was impossible that night. I'll work on this some more, thank you. Smile
The Chronicles of Lethargia
Reply
#4
Hi Radetof.Yahska

Pradeshi Police
I don't think this is the best title,
personally I'd be tempted by 'The Daroga'
or 'His crime'

Foaming at the mouth, the daroga
Agree with duke that 'foaming at the mouth'
is rather weak. Lacks detail; bubbles, flecks, grains etc.
railed at the autowallah
(in what language?)
no-holds-barred.
you don't need 'no-holds-barred'
(railed and thrashing take care of it)
A thrashing;
lashing out with all his strength
his lathi flicking through the air expertly
had to look 'lathi' up; is 'flicking' the right word?
has seen much practice
this is implied by 'expertly'
landing on the poor man’s back
The ambiguity of this sentence is very good
(one poor man, or all the poor men).
I agree with you, you need to make this more visceral.
How dare you talk back?
You motherfucker!”
excellent end to the verse
I think this is your strongest verse,
needs polishing though.

I watched on, impotent,
while an innocent man got the shit beaten out of him
because I asked him to park next to a drunk policeman
while I got some food packed for myself.
His crime - complaining about the ticket a little too loudly.
Apart from the first line (which would make an interesting
opening), I'm not sure that this verse adds anything.

The false warmth I felt in my chest
agree with duke about 'warmth'
deserted me when at the police station
you could describe the police station a bit more, I think.
the drunk shitheel threatened me
second use of 'drunk', could you not describe rather
than simply state?
Fuck you, you fancy dandy!
Getting off to get fucking food packed,
piece of shit.”
excellent.
I could barely open my mouth
and could not bring myself say his name
this seems to be the same thing, said twice.
while trying to complain about his behaviour.
perhaps swap the order of these two lines (above)
The policemen at the counter asked me to fuck off.
the contrast of these two lines is good.
asked?

Outside, a drunken man taken off the streets threatened to kill himself
while twenty policemen and the bastard daroga surrounded him and laughed
Harmless drunk fucker!”
A friend tried to calm the drunk man down
So he wouldn’t get his face caved in.
I don't think you need this, it doesn't add much to the main story
(and the introduction of another character is distracting)
it also seems unfinished. Did he get his face 'caved in'?

The autowallah was crying in a corner;
the bastard had impounded his auto
and told him to get ready for a night of brutal beatings.
He asked me to leave and told me his friends were on the way.
the phrasing here is awkward, I think, and the significance of
'friends' needs to be established at some point.
(Did the autowallah ask N to leave, or tell N not to stay?)
I wished a good night to the daroga and his brats,
bravely?
and gave him the finger because he deserved it.
where it could be seen?
I couldn't sleep that night.

Seven days later, I met the autowallah,
'seven days' is both awkward and oddly precise.
He looked like shit but seemed triumphant.
When asked about how he got out,
who asked him?
He said, “The fucker knew who my friends were
and still hit me. Took him to court yesterday,
the fucker apologized. Got to slap him around for a bit after.”
He laughed.

I wish I never got on the auto that night.
Not sure you need anything after 'laughed'
but repeating 'I couldn't sleep...' would be
better than this line.


Lots to like here, Personally I'd want to see a more
closely observed/drawn portrait of the daroga
(physical description at the very least). Make him
the star.


Best, Knot.
Reply
#5
A new edit is up. Struggling with describing the daroga, Knot!

Criticism is welcome!
The Chronicles of Lethargia
Reply
#6
Hi Radetof.

Going in the right direction, I think.

Edit #1
Pradeshi Police

Insensate, the daroga
'insensate', it works, but seems
odd. Would 'incensed' serve?
railed at the autowallah.
Mammoth blows
his lathi squealing
'squealing', still not there yet.
(had seen much practice)
landing on the poor man's back
Have you considered something like,
His lathi squealing
mammoth blows landing
on the poor man's back
with a precision born of practice.
(Just to get rid of the parentheses)?
How dare you talk back?
You motherfucker!”

I watched on, impotent,
(was it a hot night?)
followed them to the police station.
I think you could add a little bit here
describing how N followed them
(reluctantly, sluggishly, determinedly...?)

The false ember I felt in my chest faded
You don't elaborate 'false ember', so why not
simply 'my courage deserted me...'?
when the drunk shitheel threatened me
(Just for clarity, I'd add suggest
when the dagora, that drunk shitheel, threatened me
[spat] “Fuck you, you fancy dandy!
Getting off to get fucking food packed,
piece of shit.”

I could barely open my mouth
(Think you need 'So I could...)
while trying to complain about his behavior
and could not bring myself say his name.
still seems to lack a bit. Why couldn't N name him?
The inspector at the counter told me to fuck off.

Outside, a few policemen surrounded a man
crying, laughing, demanding to be let off
"Harmless drunk fucker."
A few punches later, his voice died down.
Still not adding anything to the main story.

The daroga claimed the auto was stolen.
Ok, good detail, explains much. Now,
to whom was he speaking?
"It's a friend's auto, sir, let me just call him,"
Shouldn't this sentence start with a denial?
said the autowallah, blows landing on his face
I think you need to describe the blows. Presumably
the daroga isn't using the lathi?
"He has all the papers-"
"I'll strip the hide off your back!"
Is the daroga still drunk, is his speech slurred,
is he getting tired with all the physical exertion?

(Would it still work it you moved S4 (I could barely...) to here? )

The autowallah told me to leave;
There's clearly something missing between
the preceding verse and this. (Also, the crying
in a corner was a good detail)
it was okay
his friends were on their way.
You've been quoting speech up to here, why stop?
I wished a good night to the daroga and his brats
How? Politely, defiantly...?
and gave him the finger when he turned away.
better for the explanation
I couldn't sleep that night.

A few days later, I met the autowallah
he looked like shit but seemed triumphant.
I asked him about how he got out.
The fucker knew who my friends were
ok, but I don't. Who are they that they had power?
and still hit me. Took him to court yesterday,
the fucker apologized. Got to slap him around for a bit after.”
why did D apologise? Who made him?
He laughed.
Maybe a little more than 'he laughed'.
The sound of it, was he miming slapping D, had he lost any teeth?


Best, Knot.
Reply
#7
loved it . it captures life in an indian town the way i'd imagine it to be. though i wasn't sure with some of the names, i was able to work them out within the context of the piece. for it it verged on prose but not completely. i enjoyed the story a lot.

(05-29-2018, 07:17 PM)Radetof.Yahska Wrote:  Edit #1
Edit #1

Insensate, the daroga
railed at the autowallah.
Mammoth blows
his lathi squealing
(had seen much practice)
landing on the poor man's back
“How dare you talk back?
You motherfucker!” excellent start, though i don't think the opening line does enough to entice the reader to continue, however continuing was well worth it and the rest of the stanza drew me in.

I watched on, impotent,
followed them to the police station.

The false ember I felt in my chest faded good image of fear
when the drunk shitheel threatened me
“Fuck you, you fancy dandy!
Getting off to get fucking food packed, would a period or em dash work better here?
piece of shit.”

I could barely open my mouth
while trying to complain about his behavior
and could not bring myself say his name.
The inspector at the counter told me to fuck off.

Outside, a few policemen surrounded a man
crying, laughing, demanding to be let off
"Harmless drunk fucker."
A few punches later, his voice died down.

The daroga claimed the auto was stolen.
"It's a friend's auto, sir, let me just call him,"
said the autowallah, blows landing on his face
"He has all the papers-"
"I'll strip the hide off your back!"

The autowallah told me to leave;
it was okay
his friends were on their way.
I wished a good night to the daroga and his brats
and gave him the finger when he turned away.
I couldn't sleep that night.

A few days later, I met the autowallah
he looked like shit but seemed triumphant.
I asked him about how he got out.
“The fucker knew who my friends were
and still hit me. Took him to court yesterday,
the fucker apologized. Got to slap him around for a bit after.”
He laughed. a solid ending and a fine outcome


Original:
Foaming at the mouth, the daroga
railed at the autowallah
no-holds-barred.
A thrashing;
lashing out with all his strength
his lathi flicking through the air expertly
has seen much practice
landing on the poor man’s back
“How dare you talk back?
You motherfucker!”
 
I watched on, impotent,
while an innocent man got the shit beaten out of him
because I asked him to park next to a drunk policeman
while I got some food packed for myself.
His crime - complaining about the ticket a little too loudly.
 
The false warmth I felt in my chest
deserted me when at the police station
the drunk shitheel threatened me
“Fuck you, you fancy dandy!
Getting off to get fucking food packed,
piece of shit.”
I could barely open my mouth
and could not bring myself say his name
while trying to complain about his behavior.
The policemen at the counter asked me to fuck off.
 
Outside, a drunken man taken off the streets threatened to kill himself
while twenty policemen and the bastard daroga surrounded him and laughed
“Harmless drunk fucker!”
A friend tried to calm the drunk man down
So he wouldn’t get his face caved in.
 
The autowallah was crying in a corner;
the bastard had impounded his auto
and told him to get ready for a night of brutal beatings.
He asked me to leave and told me his friends were on the way.
I wished a good night to the daroga and his brats,
and gave him the finger because he deserved it.
I couldn't sleep that night.
 
Seven days later, I met the autowallah,
He looked like shit but seemed triumphant.
When asked about how he got out,
He said, “The fucker knew who my friends were
and still hit me. Took him to court yesterday,
the fucker apologized. Got to slap him around for a bit after.”
He laughed.
 
I wish I never got on the auto that night.
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#8
The false ember
You are curious, you follow to the police station, curiousity is not deceptive, so I question the use of 'false'.

The rest is interesting, it is reportage and a blend of violence, comedy and pathos. Not great poetry but well observed.

all the best

Ross
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