Woodview Avenue 1960
#1
Walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
there’s no mistaking our sins
misleading us into a summer night
with rumors of an escaped mental patient
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root-wrecked wall in our backyard
protects us from spies creeping down the hillside.
The tree snake climbing through the cedar
offers no promises of knowledge or power.

We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are.  We listen
to the country and western songs of distant radios, 
and watch dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames.  This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away.



There’s no mistaking our sins
walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
misleading us into a summer night
with rumors of an escaped madman
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root wrecked wall in our backyard
protects us from secrets sliding down the hillside.
The snake climbing through the trees
offers no promises of knowledge or power.

We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are.  We listen
to the sounds of distant radios, and watch
dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames.  This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away forever.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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#2
(07-09-2022, 12:51 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  There’s no mistaking our sins
walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
misleading us into a summer night
with rumors of an escaped madman     possible cliche here.  gossip/prattle?  unhinged madman?  wayward madman?  escaped bedlamite?
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root wrecked wall in our backyard     root-wrecked?
protects us from secrets sliding down the hillside.
The snake climbing through the trees     climbing seems awkward.  slithering might be better and more alliterative with snake.  May want to use specifics here.  Like "Cobra" (considered the smartest of all snakes).  May want to be specific with "trees".  Maybe something symbolic (evergreens symbolize immortality, for example).
offers no promises of knowledge or power.

We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are.  We listen     may want to end this line with "We" and put "listen" on the next line (reason below)
to the sounds of distant radios, and watch  may want to end this line with "radios", and put "and watch" on the next line.  That way, every single line in your poem will end with a noun or pronoun.
dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames.  This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away forever.
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#3
(07-09-2022, 12:51 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  There’s no mistaking our sins
walking the cooling asphalt at twilight                 Maybe reverse the first two lines then adjust the transition into the third.
misleading us into a summer night
with rumors of an escaped madman
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.  This is great

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root wrecked wall in our backyard               Like this too.
protects us from secrets sliding down the hillside.
The snake climbing through the trees
offers no promises of knowledge or power.   

We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are.  We listen
to the sounds of distant radios, and watch
dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames.  This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away forever.           I keep wanting to end at away.
Hi TqB,
Glad to see you back.  Just some general comments above.  I think the poem would benefit from some more descriptive elements, eg what kind of "sounds", "secrets", etc.
Is this part of your historical series, based on the title?  I tried to look up the title but just got a lot of random real estate listings!
Thanks for the read.
bryn
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#4
Thanks Torkelburger and Bryn.  Edited version posted.

Bryn, it's historical only in a personal sense.  It's about my impressions as a six year old of our family home, compressed by 60 years of distorted memory.

TqB
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
Reply
#5
(07-09-2022, 12:51 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  Walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
there’s no mistaking our sins
misleading us into a summer night
with rumors of an escaped mental patient
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root-wrecked wall in our backyard
protects us from spies creeping down the hillside.               This is a good change.  Gives us a clue about the narrator
The tree snake climbing through the cedar
offers no promises of knowledge or power.

We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are.  We listen
to the country and western songs of distant radios, 
and watch dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames.  This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away.



There’s no mistaking our sins
walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
misleading us into a summer night
with rumors of an escaped madman
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root wrecked wall in our backyard
protects us from secrets sliding down the hillside.
The snake climbing through the trees
offers no promises of knowledge or power.

We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are.  We listen
to the sounds of distant radios, and watch
dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames.  This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away forever.
I like the changes you made.  Softened it just enough.  On reading the first draft, I got a serial killer/deliverance vibe which was confusing and why I thought the title was a news reference.
Well done.
bryn
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#6
Good one Tim-
Reminds me of growing up with 6 brothers on Sycamore Avenue, circa 1960.  We'd create our own worlds of tree forts and imagined dungeons, and "go to war" with dirt clods and rotten persimmons; scare the hell out of each other just to see who could last the longest. Engaged in epic farting contests and toe fights...


Walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
there’s no mistaking our sins
misleading us into a summer night  love it! and relate to the micheviousness
with rumors of an escaped mental patient
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.  Yep, there was always one of those, or witches in the woods. Maybe "slices screen doors"

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root-wrecked wall in our backyard
protects us from spies creeping down the hillside.  Those tattle-telling neighborhood kids
The tree snake climbing through the cedar
offers no promises of knowledge or power.  For me and my brothers it was green snakes.

We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are.  We listen
to the country and western songs of distant radios, Didn't listen to radio since we couldn't afford transistor radioes til later.
and watch dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:  Very interesting stanza.  We did have an old Muntz B&W TV.

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible  Reminds me of getting kicked out of Catholic Sunday school for asking questions.
just to see the flames.  This is home,  Got in serious trouble for starting a fire in "the old man's" garage.
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away.  I've visited Sycamore Avenue, but only shadows remain. 

This poem resonates with me, and I feel like I lived a version of it.
Thanks Tim



ps. I'm guessing that Woodview Avenue is in Austin TX, near Shoal creek
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#7
(07-10-2022, 12:39 AM)Mark A Becker Wrote:  ps. I'm guessing that Woodview Avenue is in Austin TX, near Shoal creek

Exactly.  A mostly unspoiled Shoal Creek was our childhood playground.  But that's another poem I guess.

Thanks for the kind words about the poem.
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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#8
I read this title as Worldview Avenue. 
That's not the poem I'm reading.

I, these last few months, start my writing before I read the poem. As I am now.


Walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
there’s no mistaking our sins

no mistaking our sins

misleading us into a summer night

mis- ?

with rumors of an escaped mental patient

with rumors of 


who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.


my gerund exposition was deleted but is relevant. who


Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root-wrecked wall in our backyard


jumble of decrepit isn't strong here / nor Behind
nor in our backyard



protects us from spies creeping down the hillside.

I see and feel the childhood flavor of that. Protection from spies down the hillside.
rootwreck is a concept to play with
Rootwreck   Rootwreck is an image to start with


The tree snake climbing through the cedar
offers no promises of knowledge[,] or power.

We’ve always lived here, no neighbors


that's a standout line



to know us for what we are.  We listen,
to the country and western songs ofn distant radios, 
and watch dancing static on a black and white TV,

static dancing . . . why that order of words?   ?



imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

that instead of it, a flat that
pattern


time to flee or make a final stand

escape, upstand 
or burn the grandmother's Bible

(I got carried away) 


or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames.  This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away.

I didn't have anything to say pro or con, the last stanza.
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#9
.
Hi TqB.

Interesting read, the 'distorted memory' you mention is evident, perhaps a little too much?
I though having 'sins' in the second line felt a bit heavy handed, which let me to wonder about ...


We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are. We listen
to the country and western songs of distant radios,
watch dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames. This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root-wrecked wall in our backyard
protects us from spies creeping down the hillside.
The tree snake climbing through the cedar
offers no promises of knowledge or power.

Walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
there’s no mistaking our sins
misleading us into a summer night
with rumors of an escaped mental patient
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.


Best, Knot

.
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#10
(07-13-2022, 10:43 AM)rowens Wrote:  I read this title as Worldview Avenue. 
That's not the poem I'm reading.

Rowens,

That was the original phrase that I started out with.

TqB

(07-15-2022, 07:39 PM)Knot Wrote:  .
Hi TqB.

Interesting read, the 'distorted memory' you mention is evident, perhaps a little too much?
I though having 'sins' in the second line felt a bit heavy handed, which let me to wonder about ...


We’ve always lived here, no neighbors
to know us for what we are.  We listen
to the country and western songs of distant radios,
watch dancing static on a black and white TV,
imagining its patterns will tell us when it’s time:

time to flee or make a final stand
or to burn a grandmother’s tattered Bible
just to see the flames.  This is home,
but its history rejects us, disbelieving liars,
for the pain of return, luring our street away.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
a root-wrecked wall in our backyard
protects us from spies creeping down the hillside.
The tree snake climbing through the cedar
offers no promises of knowledge or power.

Walking the cooling asphalt at twilight
there’s no mistaking our sins
misleading us into a summer night
with rumors of an escaped mental patient
who scratches at our screens with a butcher knife.


Best, Knot

.

Thanks Knot.  I do like your re-ordering of the stanzas.  

I'm not happy with "time to flee or make a final stand" in the second (your order) or last stanza (my order).  But so far no one else objected to it.  But it bugs me for some reason.

TqB
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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#11
(07-16-2022, 08:47 AM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  I'm not happy with "time to flee or make a final stand" in the second (your order) or last stanza (my order).  But so far no one else objected to it.  But it bugs me for some reason.
TqB

Hey Tim,
Maybe you could say something like, "time to tuck tail and run, or make a final stand".
I must admit, it's hard to think like our six year old selves, and make it believable.
Mark
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#12
Sorry Tim-
I just couldn't keep myself from the re-write. Perhaps the way I re-worked this piece will help in some way, that is, if you're still intersted in moving this one forward.  I know it's damn near impossible to recreate scenes from so long ago, but... :


We walked cool asphalt at twilight
without renouncing our sins, leading us
not into temptation on summer nights,
nor delivering us from evil
rumors of a ex-con with a butcher knife.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
was a root-wrecked wall in our backyard
that protected us from spies creeping down the hillside.
A tree snake sometimes climbed through the cedar
but offered no promises of knowledge, or power.

We had lived here forever, and no neighbors
knew us for what we were.  We heard country
and western dialed into radios in the distance, 
saw static that danced on black and white TVs-
imagined that the patterns would tell us it’s time:

time to duck and cover, or die in the Alamo,
burn grandma's tattered Bible, then piss
on the flames. This was our home,
but "progress" has rejected us as liars. Memories
now run over, on a street that no longer exists.
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#13
(07-22-2022, 06:41 AM)Mark A Becker Wrote:  Sorry Tim-
I just couldn't keep myself from the re-write. Perhaps the way I re-worked this piece will help in some way, that is, if you're still intersted in moving this one forward.  I know it's damn near impossible to recreate scenes from so long ago, but... :


We walked cool asphalt at twilight
without renouncing our sins, leading us
not into temptation on summer nights,
nor delivering us from evil
rumors of a ex-con with a butcher knife.

Behind a jumble of decrepit rabbit hutches
was a root-wrecked wall in our backyard
that protected us from spies creeping down the hillside.
A tree snake sometimes climbed through the cedar
but offered no promises of knowledge, or power.

We had lived here forever, and no neighbors
knew us for what we were.  We heard country
and western dialed into radios in the distance, 
saw static that danced on black and white TVs-
imagined that the patterns would tell us it’s time:

time to duck and cover, or die in the Alamo,
burn grandma's tattered Bible, then piss
on the flames. This was our home,
but "progress" has rejected us as liars. Memories
now run over, on a street that no longer exists.

Hi Mark,

No need to apologize.  A re-write helps me see what others are seeing in the poem.  It's a more intense critique.  At first I was taken aback by your "duck and cover, or die in the Alamo" but it sunk in after a few minutes.  Also liked "We heard country/and western dialed into radios".  And I like the last lines.

Perhaps I will revisit this one this weekend.  Haven't put in any writing time since i wrote it initially.  Time to put fingers to a keyboard again.

Tim
“All persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.”  Kurt Vonnegut
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