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Obituary

Picture the dead man long ago,
standing in his baby bed,
gazing through blinds at the
man in the moon, who closed his eyes,
lashes curled against his face.

Living a comet’s elliptical orbit,
the sun a speck, Earth unseen,
he dreamed of fishing,
waking to an empty creel,
silent notes from fretful songs.

The victim died from a mugging by stars.
Gemini crushed his skull with a
thumb-thick club of Milky Way:
death by astronomy.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
nodressrehersal
Mar. 6th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
Having shared the writing process here, this is especially interesting to read.

As a thick-skulled reader when it comes to most poetry, I must admit I'll always be the one who wants more - maybe as much needs as wants.

I was so totally smitten with the previous version, it's hard for me to embrace this one with equally open arms. I understand what you did and why, and you've created a beautiful piece; but my heart aches for the murdered bluesmen.
patrick_vecchio
Mar. 6th, 2009 02:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the honesty; I appreciate it.

In this reply, I just wrote about a hundred words about exactly why I deleted the blues guys from the poem, but I really can't explain it clearly so I deleted the attempt.
nodressrehersal
Mar. 6th, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
See, there's the difference between us. You know when to cut your losses and I'll just ramble on about whatever until everyone has left the room.

And, too - I understand that there'd be no such thing as good writing if everyone wrote to the lowest common denominator. I really do struggle with poetry and I probably shouldn't embrace that so readily but I'm also comfortably lazy about some things and there I go, off and rambling.

Edited at 2009-03-06 04:56 pm (UTC)
patrick_vecchio
Mar. 6th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
Literature shouldn't be a struggle, it should be fun. Life's too short to struggle with stuff unless you enjoy the fight. Take art, for example: I know I should appreciate the abstract expressionists more than I do, but it doesn't speak to me at all, so I don't spend any time there. We take enough medicine in life as it is, and eat enough broccoli.
minnesattva
Mar. 7th, 2009 12:13 am (UTC)
And for what it's worth, I really like this lean, mean fighting machine version. I think it's all the more powerful for saying so much in so little. But I struggle a bit with poetry too (though sometimes I just fall head-over-heels for a random poem...) and perhaps as a result I like best the ones I can sort of hold in my head all at once, like an intricate hors d'oeuvre that you can pop into your mouth, like an interesting thing you pick up and find it nestles just perfectly in the palm of your hand.

I'm almost enough of a writer to know how hard it is to kill one's darlings, too, so I admire this version of the poem for that reason too.
vivitalia
Mar. 6th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
I wonder why you put "man in the moon, who closed his eyes," on the same line. Same with "the sun a speck, Earth unseen,". It seemed jarring to me, and kind of stopped me in my tracks as I was reading. Otherwise, I love the last stanza especially. Great image.
patrick_vecchio
Mar. 6th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comments, Lizz.

In the first instance, I thought keeping the "who closed his eyes" would make the strongest possible link between "who" and the man in the moon. In the second instance, I pictured myself looking back toward the sun from somewhere beyond Pluto, where I'd be looking for the Earth as soon as I figured out which star was the sun. In other words, the speck of the sun and the lack of a speck of the Earth would be in the same field of vision.

vivitalia
Mar. 6th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, okay. That makes a lot more sense then. It's always impressive when a writer can explain exactly why he used a particular device, or said something a certain way. You've obviously put a lot of thought into this one.
patrick_vecchio
Mar. 6th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
It's one thing to be able to explain something, but it's something else entirely to make sure those devices click with the readers.
cwmackowski
Mar. 7th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
This had a Bob Dylan-esque rhythm for me as I read it. Good stuff.
patrick_vecchio
Mar. 7th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
And you know what a huge Dylan fan I am.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

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