Parrot Calm During Interrogation.

This place, a living palace of comforts and solitudes,

Which yet describes for me an arc,

somewhere beginning, nowhere ending,

which I suppose is my story to follow.

 

As yours is of the fine lines, antique modes, steam,

The geological disaster. And his is

 

Of the curved city, the expression of pleasant surprise,

The wheel, locomotion.

These stories, hard as stones to compare,

Our vagrant paths northward, and the threat

Or gain of that fiendish move south.

 

To know names, I am taught. To be caught

In wheat fields, touching each stalk, calling it by name.

 

To stand on a city corner, to wait

In a city of peeling paint,

 

a surface

That refuses

To connect.

 

 

——————–

Okay, for me this one needs some very particular help. I know the enjambment is key here–where the lines end, how long they are, how consistent they are in length, how varied they are in purpose–but I have too many totally different ideas to post them all. I’m looking for suggestions, radical or otherwise.

Finally, some good news:

A compact T. Rex with good language skills, fine vision, and the ability to fly.

 

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One response to “Parrot Calm During Interrogation.

  1. Nice job. I actually don’t think there’s a lot to do. Maybe consider this: “These stories, hard as stones / to compare our vagrant paths northward, / and the threat or gain of that fiendish move south.”

    This part to me is standout: “To know names, I am taught. To be caught / In wheat fields, touching each stalk, calling it by name.” I think the poem might be well served if you start with this stanza, then go into the “This place….” Then you have the field image and the city image framing the rest of the poem.

    The current second and third stanzas are solid generally and are what move the poem forward, even if stanza four is the knockout. I do have an issue with the first stanza and the last one, but on review, maybe it’s just the first stanza that I have an issue with and the proper set up of the final stanza might make it shine more.

    So, first stanza: “This place, a living palace of comforts and solitudes, / Which yet describes for me an arc, / somewhere beginning, nowhere ending, / which I suppose is my story to follow.” I like what you are trying to say here, I think maybe it can be better with some cleanup. It feels like you spend the first stanza trying to get into the rhythm of the poem; perhaps this is due to the enjambment. For some reason I don’t really like the first line; the imagery isn’t as strong as in the rest of the poem. Maybe remove “comforts,” because of a redundancy with “palace?” I don’t like the “which” repeated or even used, it has a different, halting feel than the rest of the poem. And the second line feels a little awkward with the “describes for me an arc” construction. If you start with the stalk stanza, then have the original first stanza come next, maybe my rewrite looks something like this: “To know names, I am taught. To be caught / In wheat fields, touching each stalk, calling it by name. // So this, a living palace of solitude / implying my trajectory somewhere / beginning nowhere ending, / my arc to follow.” Anyway that’s just an idea, you can play around with it more, but I think my rewrite of your original stanza at least frees up the language some.

    Last stanza thoughts: “To stand on a city corner, to wait / In a city of peeling paint, // a surface / That refuses / To connect.” “A somewhere / that refuses / to connect.” This ties it back in to the poem a little more explicitly and gives it some more force. Maybe: “A surface, a name, somewhere / refusing to connect.” Or if you want to be devious and make the narrator more a part of the refusal to connect, you might try this: “To stand on a city corner, to wait / In a city of peeling paint // refusing to connect / a surface, a name, somewhere.” Hrm. I kinda like this last one, connects even more into the “palace of solitudes” and the naming.

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