Draft 3: Shell
#1
Like the distant sounding of the nightly train,
the day reverberates through joints and muscles,
into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.

Memories that leave their scales in corners
unseen in our presence,
scurry into weeds that grew from pavement cracks
of the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.

In the dislocation of today
from yesterday and you, those shopping crowds
did not diminish—we simply vanished
and it feels like
those balloons that slipped into the sky
still roam the ether.

But tonight, the moon's face basks in sunlight
with the peace that I'm reminded of
by a full tank's
click.




Feedback addressed and changes:
Draft 2

S1L1-L2: Omitted "dull pain" and swapped "from" with "through". Reverberation of the day suggests some pain already, especially if in the joints.
S2L1-L2: These lines were left alone. I understand that "sleeping lake" kind of leans into cliche, but I think that the way it is used is fine. Of course, if others begin to point this out as well, then I will make some changes.
S2-L1: "nearly" added to maintain consistency with the weeds whispering in S3L5.
S2L3: "Illuminating" is rewritten as "that illuminates" to indicate it is the memory, not the pavement, that illuminates the darkness past the street.
S2L5: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium-vapor_lamp
S3L1: The phrase "stark detachment" has been swapped for "dislocation". At first, only "stark" was omitted, but "detachment" didn't have the immediacy in action I was looking for and it felt bland. "Dislocation" took its place because it has that immediacy and also other implications that I feel match the poem's themes. Hopefully, this change promotes a smoother read.
S3L5: "Whispers" changed to "whisper" to resolve the grammatical error.
Draft 1, S3L7: The entire line was cut to shorten the sentence and hopefully make it easier to understand. I feel like it is suggested enough that the N is staring out into a dark parking lot (S2L4), so this line was unnecessary.
S3L7: "Wander" was swapped for "roam" because it simply sounded better, in my opinion.
S4L1: "Ghostly" was omitted in agreement with Wjames' feedback. The term may also steer the reader into different interpretations that are not intended.
S4L4: This line was left as is. If it were to be placed anywhere else within the poem, then I would understand the critique that it breaks the flow of the poem. But, it is at the end of the poem, where the poem is at the end of its flow. I think that feeling of breaking the poem's flow is actually the effect of snapping the reader out of this reverie, which is intended so I find it difficult to remove this line.


Draft 2: Shell

Like the distant sounding of a train,
the day reverberates through joints,
into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.

Pavement, nearly silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories
like a loon's lament that illuminates
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.

In the dislocation of today
from yesterday and you, those crowds
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, whisper that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
still roam the ether.

But tonight, the moon's face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click.


Draft 1: Shell

Like the distant sounding of a train,
the day reverberates dull pain
from joints, into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.

Pavement, silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories
like a loon's lament, illuminating
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.

In the stark detachment of today
from yesterday and you, those crowds
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, whispers that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
on the way to parked cars
still wander the ether.

But tonight, the moon's ghostly face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click.
Reply
#2
(11-04-2021, 01:22 PM)alexorande Wrote:  Like the distant sounding of a train,
the day reverberates dull pain I would get rid of this rhyme, I rolled my eyes a bit the first time I read it thinking this would be a cliche rhyming poem with all the same tired rhymes - which this is not. My suggestion would be to change "dull pain" to "an ache".
from joints, into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.  Nice image and feeling.

Pavement, silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories
like a loon's lament, illuminating
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street. This sounds beautiful to read aloud, and is very pretty - my only nit is: what is illuminating the lot? Pavement? Memories? Memories sort of makes sense I guess from a weird perspective but not entirely. Of course, making sense isn't everything.

In the stark detachment of today I don't know is "stark" is needed here, you could cut it.
from yesterday and you, those crowds
did not diminish---instead we vanished. This isn't super clear, I'm taking this to be about the memories disappearing - I like it.
And the weeds that burgeoned i wonder if weeds here is a play on "pain from joints" above - makes me think about it at least.
from our echoed silhouettes, whispers that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
on the way to parked cars
still wander the ether. Beautiful, the mystery of the poem, and the disappearance of the narrators memories sort of come together "slipped into the clouds" "wander the ether" - it made me smile.

But tonight, the moon's ghostly face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click. I think you could cut "ghostly" - the moon is inherently ghostly to me. I love the idea of the moon basking in sunlight. To my read, the narrator has a full tank and is ready to drive - to leave the lot and the memories behind.

I really enjoyed this, Alex - I had a few nits, but limited critique. It is difficult to critique a poem that is so ethereal, so I mostly provided my feelings and interpretation after reading a few times, so you can get a sense of how a reader might react or interpret it. Beautiful imagery, and it sounds beautiful read aloud - two things I love about combinations of words. I think you found a great title as well, Shell is beautiful and fragile, and it ties in with the car and lot metaphors nicely.
"A hippopotamus is just a really cool opatamus."
Reply
#3
Like the distant sounding of a train,
the day reverberates dull pain This rhyme is too sing-song-y for my taste.
from joints, into a sky where all the stars From it's joints? What are the significance of these joints?
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower. I love this image because of its specificity!

Pavement, silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories I feel like the stillness of a sleeping lake has become cliche.
like a loon's lament, illuminating
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street. I love sodium-lit, it is an innovative use of language.

In the stark detachment of today
from yesterday and you, those crowds
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, There are a lot of components to this phrase, making it hard to follow and dissect. Consider simplifying. whispers that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
on the way to parked cars
still wander the ether. Is this sentence a fragment? I think it is a bit confusing as a fragment, at least for me.

But tonight, the moon's ghostly face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click. I love this image/ending! It is the perfect mixture of vague and profound. This is just my opinion and you might disagree, but I would recommend that you remove "with a click" because it seems to interrupt the flow of the poem.
Reply
#4
Hi Alexorande, 

Some in-line notes follow:


Like the distant sounding of a train, 
the day reverberates dull pain—-(The rhyme in S1L1 & L2 seems to portend that a rhyme scheme will ensue. Not being a formalist I’m glad it didn’t)

from joints, into a sky where all the stars—-(Do you mean arthritic pain from body joints? If not that is the way it read to this reader?)

have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.—(Is the sky clouded over and the stars not visible?)

Pavement, silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories
like a loon's lament, illuminating
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.—( It is unclear to this reader how sodium/salt might be used as a flammable light-producing element/substance.)

In the stark detachment of today
from yesterday and you, those crowds —(S3L1&L2 is awkwardly worded. It made this reader stumble.)
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, whispers that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
on the way to parked cars
still wander the ether.—(This strophe is at the crux of the poem’s rhetoric. It seems to point to a post-apocalyptic world. Are the balloons that slipped into the clouds —nuclear detonations?)

But tonight, the moon's ghostly face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click.

The last strophe seems to indicate that in this new order gasoline seems to be the new precious element in mankind’s existence — which is reminiscent of the “Mad Max” series of movies. Does the title perhaps allude to “Shell” gas stations and/or a world that is a shell of its former incarnation. Enjoyed the read. Best of luck with any further revisions.

Cheers,

Beowulf
Reply
#5
Thank you all for the feedback. Did the best I could to address all of them in this edit. As always, would love to know your thoughts.

Much appreciated,
Alex
Reply
#6
.
Hi Alex,
the 'loon's lament' in S2 isn't working, and some of the enjambments feel almost random. Not convinced that the late introduction of 'ether' helps, either.

Shell ................................................ don't think this is doing enough, and the ending makes me think of petrol/gas stations.


In the dislocation of today .............
from yesterday and you, ................ like the idea of this, but could it be unpacked slightly?
In the dislocation of yesterday
from today, and the _________ of you
from ....... ?
or, alternatively
In the dislocation of this day
from yesterdays and you

those crowds ............................... which crowds? Or crowds of what?
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, whisper that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
still roam the ether. .................. this seems to be trying to hard, and not succeeding.

Like the distant sounding of an evening a train, ............ added 'evening' to pair with 'tonight' in the final verse (I think you need to establish the time of day earlier in the piece, and something like this might help. Likewise 'dying', below).
the aching/dying day reverberates
through joints, into a sky ................... whose joints?
where all the stars have been replaced
by one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower. Nearly silent

with the stillness of a sleeping lake,
the pavement bears memories ....... is 'bears' the right word?
like a loon's lament
that illuminate the abandoned ..... given 'sodium-lit' 'illuminate' seems needlessly confusing. Would 'animate' work? Or even 'glow'?
lot and supermarket ..................... are both the supermarket and lot abandoned (are they the same place)?
supermarket, the empty lot,
past the sodium-lit street. ............ in what sense are they 'past' the street?

But tonight, the moon's face basks in sunlight
with the peace a full tank brings ......... where's the subject of this line (who has the full tank, the moon?)
with a click. ...............................an ending that doesn't seem to amount to much (I read it like WJames did, but linguistically it falls rather flat.).


Best, Knot


.
Reply
#7
(11-04-2021, 01:22 PM)Velasco Wrote:  Like the distant sounding of the nightly train,       -- nightly train home? 
the day reverberates through joints and muscles,      -- comma feels a bit awkward here. [our] before joints and muscles perhaps? 
into a sky where all the stars                                   
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly  -- think about moving 'have been replaced' up to the previous line and possibly 'from a radio tower' to this one 
from a radio tower.                                            -- also, 'tiredly' feels a little more tell than show. gently? 

Memories that leave their scales in corners                  -- scales? scurry? what animal is this? 
unseen in our presence,
scurry into weeds that grew from pavement cracks.    -- grow not grew works better here. consider moving l3 to l1, i.e. ' ... cracks, leaving their scales ... ' 
of the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.                                    -- I like the thought behind this stanza, but it feels unwieldy for the simple thing it is trying to say. do you need l4? 

In the dislocation of today
from yesterday and you, those shopping crowds
did not diminish—we simply vanished
and it feels like
those balloons that slipped into the sky           -- the not those works better here
still roam the ether.                                    -- my favorite stanza. the line breaks are now working in your favor.  

But tonight, the moon's face basks in sunlight                -- how?? 
with the peace that I'm reminded of                           
by a full tank's                                               
click.                                            -- neat last two lines. anticlimactic feeling but in a good way. 

Nonetheless 'full tank' is throwing me off. gas station? if so, a mention in stanza 2 might tie it in better, but there is also the train in stanza 1. I like each individual part of this poem but the narrative girding it doesn't seem very cohesive to me -- both the characters and the environment, and what relevance they have to each other. this is so far a pleasant, interesting read, and if you have more changes to come, I will be looking forward to them. 

Feedback addressed and changes:
Draft 2

S1L1-L2: Omitted "dull pain" and swapped "from" with "through". Reverberation of the day suggests some pain already, especially if in the joints.
S2L1-L2: These lines were left alone. I understand that "sleeping lake" kind of leans into cliche, but I think that the way it is used is fine. Of course, if others begin to point this out as well, then I will make some changes.
S2-L1: "nearly" added to maintain consistency with the weeds whispering in S3L5.
S2L3: "Illuminating" is rewritten as "that illuminates" to indicate it is the memory, not the pavement, that illuminates the darkness past the street.
S2L5: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium-vapor_lamp
S3L1: The phrase "stark detachment" has been swapped for "dislocation". At first, only "stark" was omitted, but "detachment" didn't have the immediacy in action I was looking for and it felt bland. "Dislocation" took its place because it has that immediacy and also other implications that I feel match the poem's themes. Hopefully, this change promotes a smoother read.
S3L5: "Whispers" changed to "whisper" to resolve the grammatical error.
Draft 1, S3L7: The entire line was cut to shorten the sentence and hopefully make it easier to understand. I feel like it is suggested enough that the N is staring out into a dark parking lot (S2L4), so this line was unnecessary.
S3L7: "Wander" was swapped for "roam" because it simply sounded better, in my opinion.
S4L1: "Ghostly" was omitted in agreement with Wjames' feedback. The term may also steer the reader into different interpretations that are not intended.
S4L4: This line was left as is. If it were to be placed anywhere else within the poem, then I would understand the critique that it breaks the flow of the poem. But, it is at the end of the poem, where the poem is at the end of its flow. I think that feeling of breaking the poem's flow is actually the effect of snapping the reader out of this reverie, which is intended so I find it difficult to remove this line.


Draft 2: Shell

Like the distant sounding of a train,
the day reverberates through joints,
into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.

Pavement, nearly silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories
like a loon's lament that illuminates
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.

In the dislocation of today
from yesterday and you, those crowds
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, whisper that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
still roam the ether.

But tonight, the moon's face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click.


Draft 1: Shell

Like the distant sounding of a train,
the day reverberates dull pain
from joints, into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.

Pavement, silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories
like a loon's lament, illuminating
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.

In the stark detachment of today
from yesterday and you, those crowds
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, whispers that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
on the way to parked cars
still wander the ether.

But tonight, the moon's ghostly face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click.
Reply
#8
(11-04-2021, 01:22 PM)Velasco Wrote:  Like the distant sounding of the nightly train,
the day reverberates through joints and muscles,
into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.

Memories that leave their scales in corners Enjoyed this imagery. 
unseen in our presence,
scurry into weeds that grew from pavement cracks
of the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.  This sentence has a lot going on (memories leaving scales, weeds growing from cracks, the sodium-lit street, etc.) and I wonder if breaking it into two sentences somehow would make the section more powerful by allowing the reader to savor the individual elements.

In the dislocation of today
from yesterday and you, those shopping crowds
did not diminish—we simply vanished
and it feels like This felt a bit uneven since it's the only simile introduced and the rest of the work uses such direct imagery. (Memories leaving their scales, etc.). Could be tightened with the above edit. 
those balloons that slipped into the sky
still roam the ether.  This is a close call to me, but "Ether" feels a bit bombastic for the tone of the rest of the poem. Maybe it's 50/50. 

But tonight, the moon's face basks in sunlight
with the peace that I'm reminded of
by a full tank's
click.      The onomonopia here really hits. Glad you made this change.  However, we come to rest, finally, on imagery from an automobile. Consider whether it makes sense to introduce the idea earlier in the poem. (Maybe there's an abandoned car in the supermarket parking lot, or some other allusion to the car). 




Feedback addressed and changes:
Draft 2

S1L1-L2: Omitted "dull pain" and swapped "from" with "through". Reverberation of the day suggests some pain already, especially if in the joints.
S2L1-L2: These lines were left alone. I understand that "sleeping lake" kind of leans into cliche, but I think that the way it is used is fine. Of course, if others begin to point this out as well, then I will make some changes.
S2-L1: "nearly" added to maintain consistency with the weeds whispering in S3L5.
S2L3: "Illuminating" is rewritten as "that illuminates" to indicate it is the memory, not the pavement, that illuminates the darkness past the street.
S2L5: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium-vapor_lamp
S3L1: The phrase "stark detachment" has been swapped for "dislocation". At first, only "stark" was omitted, but "detachment" didn't have the immediacy in action I was looking for and it felt bland. "Dislocation" took its place because it has that immediacy and also other implications that I feel match the poem's themes. Hopefully, this change promotes a smoother read.
S3L5: "Whispers" changed to "whisper" to resolve the grammatical error.
Draft 1, S3L7: The entire line was cut to shorten the sentence and hopefully make it easier to understand. I feel like it is suggested enough that the N is staring out into a dark parking lot (S2L4), so this line was unnecessary.
S3L7: "Wander" was swapped for "roam" because it simply sounded better, in my opinion.
S4L1: "Ghostly" was omitted in agreement with Wjames' feedback. The term may also steer the reader into different interpretations that are not intended.
S4L4: This line was left as is. If it were to be placed anywhere else within the poem, then I would understand the critique that it breaks the flow of the poem. But, it is at the end of the poem, where the poem is at the end of its flow. I think that feeling of breaking the poem's flow is actually the effect of snapping the reader out of this reverie, which is intended so I find it difficult to remove this line.


Draft 2: Shell

Like the distant sounding of a train,
the day reverberates through joints,
into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.

Pavement, nearly silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories
like a loon's lament that illuminates
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.

In the dislocation of today
from yesterday and you, those crowds
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, whisper that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
still roam the ether.

But tonight, the moon's face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click.


Draft 1: Shell

Like the distant sounding of a train,
the day reverberates dull pain
from joints, into a sky where all the stars
have been replaced with one that blinks tiredly
from a radio tower.

Pavement, silent with the stillness
of a sleeping lake, bears memories
like a loon's lament, illuminating
the abandoned lot and supermarket past
the sodium-lit street.

In the stark detachment of today
from yesterday and you, those crowds
did not diminish---instead we vanished.
And the weeds that burgeoned
from our echoed silhouettes, whispers that
the balloons that slipped into the clouds
on the way to parked cars
still wander the ether.

But tonight, the moon's ghostly face
basks in sunlight with the peace
a full tank brings
with a click.
"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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