2002
#1
1st edit (thank you for the feedback!) : 

How you could run so fast but never get very far
is a mystery, a tragedy
far removed from the prime of your life
yet still fully formed in its image. 
With growing unease
I stare at the fading edges of your photograph
and think of what you were, 
what might have survived you: heat, water, bone, 
a favorite lipstick. Your fear of the light. 

Standing before the gorge, the hunter-gatherer
come to the end of his route, he finds
the yellow canyons of his youth long exchanged
for an ocean of flat prairie grass. 
Looking for the warp over the scar, 
the yolk on your fingers, a twin without twin: 
what did you realize
when you saw in yourself an open wound? 

I imagine you
nursing by the small window, 
condensation tracking down the water glass
and breast milk drying on your skin, 
the ants in my ear humming a strange lullaby. 
I used to listen to you sleep, sometimes, through the door - 
you were almost always quiet. Rise and fall. 
In stillness, I think stars could burn you
but metal couldn't cut you. Fabric couldn't touch you. 

I slide the picture back into its cover
but am unable to flip the page. 
Springtime has arrived in Texas: white blossoms cupping your smile,
the baby. Sunlight streaming in softly
over your head, and the asphalt under your feet
warming, a warning. 
Entropy studies me the way I study
  you. 

** 

Original version: 

Dry soil, dust lifting, and underneath it
a floating wound or flaxen youngness...
how you could run so fast but never get very far
is a mystery of its own. 
A tragedy far removed from your prime
yet still fully formed in its image. 
With growing unease
I stare at the fading edges of your photograph
and I think of what you were, 
what survived you: heat, water, bone, 
your fear of the light, a favorite lipstick, maybe.
Standing at the gorge, the hunter-gatherer
come to the end of his route, 
he finds the yellow canyons of his youth exchanged
for flat prairie. Looking for the warp over the scar, 
the yolk on your fingers, a twin without twin: 
what did you realize
when you did? Nursing by the small window, 
condensation tracking down the water glass
and breast milk drying on your skin, 
the ants in my ear humming a strange lullaby; 
in stillness, stars could burn you 
but metal couldn't cut you. Springtime
in Texas: white blossoms cupping your smile, 
the baby. Sun
over your head, and the asphalt under your feet
warming, a warning.
Entropy studies me the way I study
  you.
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#2
(01-01-2023, 12:25 AM)s3 Wrote:  2002 

Dry soil, dust lifting, and underneath it
a floating wound or flaxen youngness...                    needs something other than "youngness"....awkward phrase as it stands
how you could run so fast but never get very far
is a mystery of its own. 
A tragedy far removed from your prime
yet still fully formed in its image. 

With growing unease
I stare at the fading edges of your photograph
and I think of what you were, 
what survived you: heat, water, bone, 
your fear of the light, a favorite lipstick, maybe.

Standing at the gorge, the hunter-gatherer
come to the end of his route, 
he finds the yellow canyons of his youth exchanged
for flat prairie. Looking for the warp over the scar, 
the yolk on your fingers, a twin without twin: 
what did you realize
when you did?                           

Nursing by the small window, 
condensation tracking down the water glass
and breast milk drying on your skin, 
the ants in my ear humming a strange lullaby; 
in stillness, stars could burn you 
but metal couldn't cut you. 

Springtime in Texas: 
white blossoms cupping your smile, 
the baby. Sun                                                      this line seems orphaned....too disconnected.....whose baby?  I assume yours, so why not say "my baby"
over your head, and the asphalt under your feet
warming, a warning.
Entropy studies me the way I study
  you.

This is a very interesting poem with a unique voice.  Fabulous last line!  The connections from stanza to stanza (as I broke it up with line breaks, which I think would aid the reader) are elusive but not in a damaging way.  Altogether a pleasure to read.

Welcome to Pig Pen,
TqB
Reply
#3
Hi S3,

I agree with all TqB said, including the line/stanza breaks. There's a lot to like here, though it needs some structure. Maybe a bit more clarity of the theme would help too. I thought it was about a distant planet at first, then it seemed to veer away from that.

Some highlights for me:


a floating wound 
 
A tragedy far removed from your prime
yet still fully formed

Looking for the warp over the scar, 
the yolk on your fingers, a twin without twin: 
what did you realize                   

breast milk drying on your skin, 

the ants in my ear humming a strange lullaby; 

white blossoms cupping your smile, 

Entropy studies me the way I study
  you.

All the best,

Trev
Reply
#4
Nothing to say yet.

But at least now people will see your Edit.
Reply
#5
a couple of housekeeping edits:

...huntergatherer
comes (not come)

...please don't use 'very' in any poem moving forward. Ever.

...I don't mind the 'baby' reference as it is introduced in S3

...last image is kick ass.

...an adjective like 'fading' is okay but a bit redundant when coupled with the following line.

...the edit is GOOD in its now use of stanzas. I like that improvement. Muchly.

I enjoyed reading this. A keeper.
Reply
#6
(01-01-2023, 12:25 AM)s3 Wrote:  1st edit (thank you for the feedback!) : 

I miss your original opening lines

How you could run so fast but never get very far
is a mystery, a tragedy
far removed from the prime of your life
yet still fully formed in its image.                this line baffles me a bit
With growing unease
I stare at the fading edges of your photograph
and think of what you were, 
what might have survived you: heat, water, bone, 
a favorite lipstick. Your fear of the light. 

Standing before the gorge, the hunter-gatherer
come to the end of his route, he finds                    comes
to the yellow canyons of his youth long exchanged    inserted "to"
for an ocean of flat prairie grass.                            the transition from the hunter imagery and the next four lines needs work.  the jump from a third person narrative to lines addressing "you" and "your" is confusing.
Looking for the warp over the scar, 
the yolk on your fingers, a twin without twin: 
what did you realize
when you saw in yourself an open wound? 

I imagine you
nursing by the small window, 
condensation tracking down the water glass
and breast milk drying on your skin, 
the ants in my ear humming a strange lullaby.                     love this line almost as much as the last line
I used to listen to you sleep, sometimes, through the door -    listened
you were almost always quiet. Rise and fall. 
In stillness, I think stars could burn you
but metal couldn't cut you. Fabric couldn't touch you. 

I slide the picture back into its cover
but am unable to flip the page. 
Springtime has arrived in Texas: / white blossoms cupping your smile,    maybe a line break here
the baby. Sunlight streaming in softly           move over your head to this line
over your head, and the asphalt under your feet   and warming, a warning to this line
warming, a warning.                         Maybe a line break to let that brilliant last line stand out 
Entropy studies me the way I study
  you. 

Thanks to Rowens for bumping this one back up the list.  One of my favorite of recent posts.
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