The Poet's Diet
#1
Sativa mostly,
Lipton’s tea, tobacco and words.
With every poem I grow thinner
first my belt became too long
now a wedding ring has slipped
off a thinning finger into oblivion.
A poem about our lost boy
thins me until I am almost invisible
so I retreat into surrealism
where failing pianos fill an empty stomach.
I guess the scale is next.
It will guess my weight and tell my fortune:
“Pleasures await you by the sea”
not a good place to be thin.
If I get any thinner
I’ll be able to dissolve paint, ha, ha
Nonsense rhymes are next:
“There was an old man of Sativa
Who grew thin as a snake for dinner
They cut off his head and pulled out the thread
That  attenuating old man of Sativa.’ 
And finally, the thinness beyond thinness,
as defined by Aquinas,
and the diet is done.  
"Take what you need and leave the rest"
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#2
I think there is a distrust of poets writing poetry about poets writing poetry

There are some tense issues

It meanders too much - feels more like a structureless collection of thoughts, might help to clarify to yourself a strategy for structure

I like the idea of using a diet as a metaphor, I wonder if it would be more effective as something else

Perhaps use something mundane to compare it to

Just my initial thoughts
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#3
(03-13-2021, 11:01 PM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Sativa mostly,
Lipton’s tea, tobacco and words.
With every poem I grow thinner
first my belt became too long
now a wedding ring has slipped
off a thinning finger into oblivion.
A poem about our lost boy
thins me until I am almost invisible
so I retreat into surrealism
where failing pianos fill an empty stomach.
I guess the scale is next.
It will guess my weight and tell my fortune:
“Pleasures await you by the sea”
not a good place to be thin.
If I get any thinner
I’ll be able to dissolve paint, ha, ha
Nonsense rhymes are next:
“There was an old man of Sativa
Who grew thin as a snake for dinner
They cut off his head and pulled out the thread
That  attenuating old man of Sativa.’ 
And finally, the thinness beyond thinness,
as defined by Aquinas,
and the diet is done.  
I  wrote out a list of things that should be changed, and then I scratched it out
Even though the “thinner” / paint pun and the nonsense verse reference might appear to be distractions, they contribute to the development of the poem
It’s hard to improve upon “with every poem I become thinner”

Wouldn’t change a thing
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#4
Hey Tim-

This poem, for me, is really about losing weight due to the grief/stress of "our lost boy", and I've weeded out the parts that I didn't need to emphasize that.  Perhaps the title might be "This Poet's Diet" since the poem really is quite personal.  The only other "suggestions" I made were to correct some issues with tense and to reserve the line with "a poem about our boy" for the very end. 

Though I don't like the uneven line lengths in my suggested revision, I think you get the idea (pretty damn presumptuous of me to make wholesale changes, but I think you have the potential for a very strong poem here, if you strip away unnecessary parts). I think the playful humor of the piece, esp the paint thinner pun, is turned on its head by introducing "our lost boy" at the end. 

Since you posted this in BASIC, I view your piece as an early draft, and thus figure you are open to significant changes. 

Thanks for the read, Tim,
Mark 

This Poet's Diet

Sativa mostly, Lipton’s tea, tobacco and words.
With every poem I grew thinner-
first my belt became too long
now my wedding ring has slipped
off a thinning finger into oblivion.
I retreated into surrealism
where failing pianos
filled an empty stomach.
If I get any thinner
I’ll be able to dissolve paint.
And finally, a poem about our lost boy
thins me until I am almost invisible.
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#5
Hi TranquillityBase,

I'm Leaf and this is my first critique here. I hope it's useful; apologies if it's rubbish (pls feel free to ignore).

I like the title; I also like Mark's suggestion, 'This Poet's Diet'. 'The' led me to expect general observations, whereas this poem is indeed quite personal. But in 'The' I find a distancing that's echoed in 'retreated', if that makes sense at all.

It's a strong start. I like the examples of how you've grown thinner. I think you could add another example, so it's 'first... then... now', all leading up to the reason for your thinness, 'our lost boy'. I note 'my belt' yet 'a wedding ring', but perhaps that isn't significant? I like 'slipped / off' too.

The 'failing pianos' is good as well. Do you mean you're writing surrealist poetry? After that, I like the way you turn to humour and I enjoy the nonsense rhyme. I didn't know about Aquinas' 'thinness beyond thinness', so I looked it up. For me, the mention of Aquinas makes the end of the poem less accessible than the rest of it, but it'll be fine for more learned readers, of course.

I'm sorry for your loss.

All best,
Leaf
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#6
Thanks Leaf, I look forward to seeing your poems.  Read your Hello, and I doubt they are rubbish.  You have achieved founder Billy's first (maybe not first, but it's in the Advice to Novice Poets) dictum: if you think you've written a great poem, you probably haven't.
"Take what you need and leave the rest"
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#7
Thanks, TranquillityBase. It's good to know I've achieved one of founder Billy's dictums; I'll have to check out that thread.
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