The Morning After
#1
The Morning After

Your shaky hello
the first callback I had
in years.
You forgot your cellphone
on my nightstand,
only to be answered by the same mouth
you kissed goodbye
a few hours ago.

You thanked me by asking me to dinner,
and what was supposed
to be just one more night,
turned into more.

Years drained into a one-way
conversation, going on until
I stopped to notice you had stopped
long before me;
your phone stolen by your lover,
who never got an infection
from a caesarean,
who didn’t know your children’s names,
who’s voice nervously crawled
out from her throat
as I said hello.

Silence should have been our ringtone,
it could have saved us
so much more.

-From NaPM 2019
Time is the best editor.
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#2
hi richard. i really liked this but do see room for a few changes in the edit. at first the opening line felt weak but after a few reads it felt stronger. i do think your first stanza break could be after years on line 3, those first 3 lines sort of set the poem off. the poem feels very personal and it does match the title. i think you could trim or change some of the you's. all in all, it's a very readable poem that holds the reader. the middle section comes quick enough and lasts long enough to engage me till the end.

(05-03-2019, 07:36 AM)Richard Wrote:  The Morning After

Your shaky hello
the first callback I had
in years.
You forgot your cellphone
on my nightstand,
only to be answered by the same mouth
you kissed goodbye
a few hours ago.

You thanked me by asking me to dinner,
and what was supposed
to be just one more night,
turned into more.

Years drained into a one-way
conversation, going on until
I stopped to notice you had stopped no need for stopped to, it reads as filler, i noticed might suffice instead.
long before me;
your phone stolen by your lover,
who never got an infection
from a caesarean, i like these lines. theres' pain and regret all rolled into one with a little hatred.
who didn’t know your children’s names,
who’s voice nervously crawled
out from her throat
as I said hello.

Silence should have been our ringtone,
it could have saved us
so much more.

-From NaPM 2019
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#3
Hey billy,
Thanks for the feedback. I really like your suggest about the first three lines. I will probably let this sit a bit longer before attempting an edit.

Thanks again,
Richard
Time is the best editor.
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#4
Primarily, I don't see much reason for most of your line breaks. It's one of my bigger issues with free verse, and I've mentioned it before, but I consider line breaks to be important. In free verse, they often feel artificial and misjudged, and I get a bit of both in this case. I know that the sight of long lines can be intimidating to readers, but I personally prefer it to an aimlessly broken verse. I can perceive pauses in speech as I read, but no separation of thought, which I'd prefer to see. Interestingly, I think my argument against the line breaks probably stems from my second criticism, which is that I don't see any significant use of language here. Most of it feels like disguised narrative. There's some imagery -- not much, but enough that I don't have any criticism against it. But the images and tone of the poem don't seem to reflect the mood of the narrative itself. I don't read of it with echoes of a shaky voice or a phone conversation. That's where I think some manipulation of the language would help. I want the content of the poem echoed in the language, not just some images within a narrative.
If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

"Or, if a poet writes a poem, then immediately commits suicide (as any decent poet should)..." -- Erthona
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#5
Hey UselessBlueprint,
Thanks for the feedback. I'm a little confused with some of what you said though. Are you saying that this poem isn't poetic enough, or suggesting it would be better written in a more formal form. or both?

Thanks again,
Richard
Time is the best editor.
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#6
(05-04-2019, 12:22 PM)Richard Wrote:  Hey UselessBlueprint,
Thanks for the feedback. I'm a little confused with some of what you said though. Are you saying that this poem isn't poetic enough, or suggesting it would be better written in a more formal form. or both?

Thanks again,
Richard

That might depend on how you define "poetic." I might go a little beyond mild critique to explain, so just stop if you feel it's too much.

No complaint against the form, free verse is free. But for me, being free verse means that you, as the poet, must work extra hard to ensure that whatever form your poem does take has some reasoning behind -- poetic or otherwise. I often see arbitrary line breaks in free verse -- people tend to use them mimic a pause in their own thinking or speaking, which would probably be natural for the reader anyway. To me, that sort of reasoning doesn't add much. Now perhaps I'm missing something in your poem, but I see the line breaks as excessive and mostly arbitrary here. When that happens, any well-executed line breaks lose their strength. Example: a good line break occurs at "notice you had stopped / long before ..." -- it forces a hard stop that echoes your scene. Other breaks seem to only extend the line count and stretch clauses out, such as "I had / in years" or "nervously crawled / out from ... " Does any of that make it less poetic? It may depend on your definition, but in my opinion, it does not make it any less poetic.

My other criticism, that it feels more like narrative than a poem, might have been partially due to a lack of coffee. It's nowhere near what my first reply makes it seem like. But I still maintain that I want a poem to use language (not just poetic devices, but language) that echoes its contents. The story that's being told her just doesn't feel supported by the mostly static word choice, and it feels more like prose with imagery (a short story, perhaps) than poem. And that, in my opinion, does make it less poetic.

Now these are just my opinions and critiques -- I'm no expert so take my words for what the words themselves are worth.
If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.

"Or, if a poet writes a poem, then immediately commits suicide (as any decent poet should)..." -- Erthona
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#7
Hey UselessBlueprint,
Thanks for the clarification. I will give what you said some thought when I attempt an edit.

Thanks again,
Richard
Time is the best editor.
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