The View From the Ambulance (v2)
#1
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v2
The View From the Ambulance


is limited, by design. Strapped securely
the dislocation, the shabby franchise-
ification of high street, signage blinking
by, the discomfort
: this wasn't here before
is dulled. Everything looks old already,
except the crew,
busy with their screens.

Last time, past eleven, a decade almost
gone, I was thinking of my mother, as urine
from a woman in her eighties
runnelled closer.
Her carer
finished yawning, said: Missus,
I asked you if
you needed to go before we left.
Nightgowned Europe meeting Africa,
the bump of continental drift.


All three lanes are worse now, as we off-road
on the flyover, gritted teeth, grimacing
past the tumorous growth of shopping centre.
I imagine that the phone-in's about council tax
and potholes, but I don't speak Punjabi,
and it's Ramadan, so more than likely not.

I want to marvel at the weather, because the air,
the wind, is Ocean, and I almost have a memory

of what it was to swim. The hairs along my arm
act like light is gravity, pulled
towards the unseen
sun, I'm aching in my heliophilic skin. And I wonder
how I can still smell the rain above the diesel,
and the smokers,

as the automatic doors close
, with a hiss.










The View From the Ambulance


is necessarily partial. But strapped in,

the dislocation, the shabby franchise-
ification of high street, signage blinking
by – the discomfort: this wasn't here before
is muted. Everything looks old already,
except the crew. They both seem too young.

Last time, close to midnight, a decade almost

gone, I was thinking of my mother, as urine
from a woman in her eighties runnelled closer.
Her carer finished yawning, said: Missus,
I asked you if you needed to go before we left.
Nightgowned Europe meeting Africa
in a small tectonic shift.

All three lanes are worse now, as we off-road

on the flyover, gritted teeth, grimacing
past the tumorous growth of shopping centre.
I imagine that the phone-in's about council tax
and potholes, but I don't speak Punjabi,
and it's Ramadan, so more than likely not.

I want to marvel at the weather, because the air,

the wind, is Ocean, and I almost have a memory
of what it was to swim. The hairs along my arm
act like light is gravity, pulled towards the unseen
sun, I'm aching in my heliophilic skin. And I wonder
how I can still smell the rain above the diesel,
and the smokers,

as the automatic doors close with a hiss.










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#2
This seems to be impressionist and I like how you build up powerful imagery to convey an abstract sense of something deeper than what you describe. The exploration of memory and aging and familiarity in a vaguely nihilistic manner works well to give a perspective to the persona you build up as not conveying any stance on the subject matter would decrease the meaning of the poem. The conveying of a general decaying within the environment is a great influence of gothicism and even though it’s cliche it still empowers the aged voice of the persona. The last few lines, “And I wonder how I can still smell the rain above the diesel, And the smokers,” create a sense of hope due to nature still being perceivable and enjoyable, which may prove to be inconsistent with your overall use of language and imagery but since it is at the end I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt as doing it purposefully. The overall use of technique is strong, I don’t think you need much help with that since your style comes through so clearly. I have trouble understanding the references to phone-ins and Ramadan and Punjabi and so that makes it less accessible to me personally, but I’d rather learn what you mean than you change the poem. 9/10.
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#3
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Hi Oden,
a grade Smile excellent!

Thanks very much for your critique.

doing it purposefully

- Yes, still joy to be had in small things (however infrequently they might be experienced).

I have trouble understanding the references to phone-ins and Ramadan and Punjabi

- would this be a function of geography?
and so that makes it less accessible to me personally, but I’d rather learn what you mean than you change the poem.
- On a non-emergency trip to hospital the crew are listening to a local talk radio show, which is in a language that N doesn't
understand. N does know that the crew is Muslim so makes the leap to Punjabi (the majority language in Pakistan, wiki). 'Pot
holes and council tax' are staples of a certain type of radio phone-in shows (is local government spending money wisely?) In
short, plus ça change ...


Best, Knot.




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#4
I didn't address this in my last critique but are the 'the's' really necessary in this line, "the dislocation, the shabby franchise-
ification."
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#5
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The View From the Ambulance


is necessarily partial. But strapped in, 'But' seems to interfere with the flow of the line, and seems unnecessary

the dislocation, the shabby franchise-
ification of high street, signage blinking Not sure how I feel about break between L2 and L3. Like the meaning shift, but L3 then starts out  bit awkward of first read
by – the discomfort: this wasn't here before
is muted. Everything looks old already,
except the crew. They both seem too young. Nice contrast with the ages
Nice assonance throughout S1. Doesn't jump out at you, but you feel it

Last time, close to midnight, a decade almost
gone, I was thinking of my mother, as urine
from a woman in her eighties runnelled closer.
Her carer finished yawning, said: Missus,
I asked you if you needed to go before we left.
Nightgowned Europe meeting Africa
in a small tectonic shift.

'Last time' is confusing for me. Last time N was in an ambulance he was thinking of his mother? You've maintained the nice assonance from S1.

All three lanes are worse now, as we off-road
on the flyover, gritted teeth, grimacing
past the tumorous growth of shopping centre.
I imagine that the phone-in's about council tax
and potholes, but I don't speak Punjabi,
and it's Ramadan, so more than likely not.
I don't really have any nits to pick on S3.
Nice hook to S2 with the cultural differences


I want to marvel at the weather, because the air,
the wind, is Ocean, and I almost have a memory I'd like to see a more descriptive verb than 'is'. Curious why 'ocean' is capitalized
of what it was to swim. The hairs along my arm
act like light is gravity, pulled towards the unseen
sun, I'm aching in my heliophilic skin. And I wonder
how I can still smell the rain above the diesel,
and the smokers,

as the automatic doors close with a hiss.


Mild shift of voice in the last stanza - smoother and more contemplative to me - an appropriate contrast signalling the up-coming closure of the poem. Kind of like to see the last stanza end with a full stop, and the 'as' in the last line removed. A stronger break between the penultimate and final line. More final. Just personal preference, though. Kudos.

VERY nicely done.

Sorry it took so long to respond. Been busy and pre-occupied, and this took several reads.
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#6
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Hi Oden,
yes, I think so. Happy to hear arguments to the contrary though.


Best, Knot.


________________________


Hi Seraphim,
thanks very much for the critique.

is necessarily partial. But strapped in,
'But' seems to interfere with the flow of the line, and seems unnecessary
Probably just me then. Any alternatives?
the dislocation, the shabby franchise-
ification of high street, signage blinking
Not sure how I feel about break between L2 and L3. Like the meaning shift,
but L3 then starts out bit awkward of first read
I think it's worth the risk.
(There's another shift marked by the hyphen, the 'shabby franchise' is a reference
to the privatised transport service, which is less than adequate now. Though, I
admit, this is gloriously obscure.)
by – the discomfort: this wasn't here before –
is muted. Everything looks old already,
except the crew. They both seem too young.
Nice contrast with the ages Nice assonance throughout S1.
Doesn't jump out at you, but you feel it
Thanks for that, makes for a more satisfying read (aloud) I hope.
I'm wondering if the final sentence is necessary, 'except ...' has
done the work already. Toying with '...crew, blue-lit from below'
Any thoughts?

Last time, close to midnight, a decade almost
'Last time' is confusing for me. Last time N was in an ambulance he was thinking
of his mother? You've maintained the nice assonance from S1.
'Last time' - not so much in an ambulance (necessarily) but the last time N was
travelling to/from hospital. Would 'reminded' for 'thinking' improve matters.


I don't really have any nits to pick on S3.
Nice hook to S2 with the cultural differences
Thanks Smile

I want to marvel at the weather, because the air,
the wind, is Ocean, and I almost have a memory
I'd like to see a more descriptive verb than 'is'. Curious why 'ocean' is capitalized
Suggestions gratefully accepted. As to capitalized, if felt like it wanted to be. Smile
of what it was to swim. The hairs along my arm
act like light is gravity, pulled towards the unseen
sun, I'm aching in my heliophilic skin. And I wonder
how I can still smell the rain above the diesel,
and the smokers,

as the automatic doors close with a hiss.



Mild shift of voice in the last stanza - smoother and more contemplative to me -
an appropriate contrast signalling the up-coming closure of the poem. Kind of
like to see the last stanza end with a full stop, and the 'as' in the last line removed.
A stronger break between the penultimate and final line. More final. Just personal
preference, though. Kudos.
I take you point. I was trying to indicate (in the last three lines) the transition from the
vehicle intothe hospital: which was/would be one continuous movement, hence the commas.

VERY nicely done.
Thank you.


Best, Knot.


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#7
Like Rapha, I worried about the enjambment of frachise-ification and the use of this complicated word. I thought it referred to franchise restaurants.
I was confused about the 'phone-in' segment, hard to figure out what is going on.
I like the last verse and the endline. You could say 'oceanic'.
The slightly disjointed syntax reinforces the feeling of being in a unusual and frightening situation.

Did the siren wail?

all the best

Ross
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#8
Alternative? Just delete the word ‘but’ from the line, I think.
Reply
#9
(06-26-2019, 12:06 AM)Knot Wrote:  .
The View From the Ambulance


is necessarily partial. But strapped in,

the dislocation, the shabby franchise-
ification of high street, .....this is a great couple of lines
signage blinking
by – the discomfort: this wasn't here before
is muted.  .....I like how the title becomes the first line. I can see through the eyes of the speaker: the descriptions are appropriate and vivid


Everything looks old already,
except the crew. They both seem too young. ...I can see the speaker more clearly now

Last time, close to midnight, a decade almost

gone, I was thinking of my mother, as urine
from a woman in her eighties runnelled closer. .....the bathos of an active mind and a noncompliant, alien body
Her carer finished yawning, said: Missus,
I asked you if you needed to go before we left.
Nightgowned Europe meeting Africa
in a small tectonic shift. .... Indifferent about the 'small'. I'd like something better, but clearly this isn't as eventful as the true formation of Pangea, so I'll let it be. Also, I hope the 'shift' wasn't a weak pun

All three lanes are worse now, as we off-road

on the flyover, gritted teeth, grimacing
past the tumorous growth of shopping centre.
I imagine that the phone-in's about council tax
and potholes, but I don't speak Punjabi,
and it's Ramadan, so more than likely not. ... I can see the speaker even more clearly now!! this is brilliant

I want to marvel at the weather, because the air,

the wind, is Ocean, and I almost have a memory ...I think it's better with the 'almost', which makes it sound too self conscious as this stage
of what it was to swim. The hairs along my arm
act like light is gravity, pulled towards the unseen
sun, I'm aching in my heliophilic skin. And I wonder
how I can still smell the rain above the diesel,
and the smokers,  ... the whole of S3 is a flight into the sun, lyrical and beautiful

as the automatic doors close with a hiss.






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'like light is gravity'
'heliophiliac skin'

Some memorable lines there
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#10
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Thanks very much for the feedback busker.

.... Indifferent about the 'small'. I'd like something better, but clearly this isn't as eventful as the true formation of Pangea,

so I'll let it be. Also, I hope the 'shift' wasn't a weak pun
It's a nod to changing demographics, and of course, s a weak pun! Smile (couldn't be helped) Just be grateful 'small' wasn't 'tiny', though
now I've said it ... 'tiny seismic shift' ?


Best, Knot


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#11
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- revision -

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#12
Howdy. This poem has been worked quite a bit, so I will refrain from content and structural changes as it all seems proper.

but not deletions, as I have one tiny suggestion. I would end the poem on 'smokers' the reason why, as a reader

I want to leave it where it began, on the street with the noise, the smells and the dark and dying glamour of it all.

that's probably just me, sheer preference, and a lover of untidy endings. even though I have a tendency to write tidy ending myself.

well done. it's evocative, full of flavor. The speaker is in the thick of it in a very organic way. Have a nice weekend. one lass
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#13
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Thanks for the read lass,


but I'm a sucker for sibilance, I do like the 'hiss' Smile ... Still ...


Best, Knot.


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#14
I like the revisions.

For me, the ending line would be stronger with a single declaration without the comma - 'with a hiss' almost seems an afterthought.
Perhaps:

as the automatic doors hiss closed.

or

The automatic doors hiss closed. {no enjambmentfrom previous line}

Nice work
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