The Names
#1
The Names

There are names 
I need to forget.

I’m teaching myself to isolate
them, to detach them 
from their personae,
turn them into artifacts
I can no longer interpret.

When they appear in my mind
I discourage their masks 
from taking the stage;
their enactments are not helpful,
they turn into a riddle
of imagined moments,
stories I tell myself 
to reprove the present.

The present is all there is,
all there will be. These names
obscure and mislead, they
tell me lies I can no longer afford
to believe.  It only remains to be seen
which of them will outlive me
which will be waiting for me
on the other side.
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#2
(09-08-2023, 06:34 PM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  The Names

There are names  nice opening that could lead in many directions, draws the reader in
I need to forget.  and then a turn - well done.

I’m teaching myself to isolate good line break - expected "myself" next [which is what's actually happening, but not for the speaker]
them, to detach them 
from their personae,
turn them into artifacts  good potential play on "facts"
I can no longer interpret.  are these names, really, or epithets?

When they appear in my mind  is "my" necessary here?
I discourage their masks 
from taking the stage;  this seems a bit clumsy, if not quite cliche
their enactments are not helpful,  "enactments," too, you mean the parts they play?
they turn into a riddle  "drama," perhaps?
of imagined moments,  better word than "moments," more stagey... scenes? dialogs? monologs?
stories I tell myself 
to reprove the present.  these last two lines are excellent

The present is all there is,  good enough, could maybe be improved
all there will be. These names
obscure and mislead, they
tell me lies I can no longer afford  maybe line break after "afford?"
to believe.  It only remains to be seen  appropriate but unfortunately cliche
which of them will outlive me
which will be waiting for me  "which will await me?"  Just a thought.
on the other side.  pretty sharp turn here.  Bit of a cliche, too... does get the point across, though.

In mild to moderate critique, don't take the above criticisms too much to heart - especially the suggestions.  It actually works pretty well, adding a description of the obfuscations of language to Piet Hein's

I'd like to know
what this whole show
is all about
before it's out.

The idea that *some* of the suspicious names are actually eternal verities is particularly good.
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#3
(09-08-2023, 06:34 PM)TranquillityBase Wrote:  The Names

There are names 
I need to forget.

I’m teaching myself to isolate
them, to detach them 
from their personae,
turn them into artifacts
I can no longer interpret.

When they appear in my mind
I discourage their masks 
from taking the stage;
their enactments are not helpful,          The cut part is implied by the surrounding statements but obviously you would have to redo the next line somehow to make it work.
they turn into a riddle                   such as...'turned into riddles' or something like that.
of imagined moments,
stories I tell myself 
to reprove the present.         my favorite lines

The present is all there is,  This seems out of place here.  I tried to move it around but couldn't make it work.  other than to rework this last stanza to make these the ending lines.  It does seem to be the central theme of the poem.
all there will be. These names
obscure and mislead, they
tell me lies I can no longer afford
to believe.  It only remains to be seen
which of them will outlive me
which will be waiting for me
on the other side.
hi TqB,
This one, again, brings up that telling vs showing thing.  I've decided to call these poems 'thought poems' cause even though there is really no imagery in it it still makes me feel and see things.  The main thing I wanted to end with is that the last stanza seems to muddle the message for me as I alluded to in my comment above.  The poem starts with the narrator teaching themselves how to gain power over these names which seems to continue until the middle of the last stanza where is seems the names will win either way.  Maybe I just want the cliche of the good guy winning in the end.
Thanks for the read,
Bryn
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