meeting the bar

there is graffiti
between the dark and I’m
not sure when I will leave that tunnel,

cheer the bold or those lunatic
sick and odd enough
to spray their lives
onto the walls

traffic jammed & windows open,
wondering if I’ll suffocate on exhaust fumes,

thinking of last night, when
we fucked uninhibited until we crashed
unconscious to the floor, I’m

counting car lights, worn down faces,
music level 12 ; you told me i’m extreme,

nervousness, pressed tight
against wet concrete and pale mildew
splays on dark-grey tunnel walls,

i die amidst the crowd and no one sees
but a drizzling highways’ sprayer,
riding for a fall to bring some off-beat color
to a road I won’t remember

.
i’m linking up with the new form and crit forum at dVerse Poets Pub – a place to learn and hone our craft. this is where we will receive and give honest and constructive crit and grow our poetic skillz.

as i’m heading for my holidays tomorrow morning, i won’t be able to return comments and i’ll be offline for most of the time until august 2nd.. from friday morning on i have enabled comment moderation to keep spam away while i’m gone..just in case you’re wondering…see you soon..

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22 responses to “meeting the bar

  1. The dissatisfaction with life feels vivid and raw in this poem. You convey the message so passionately, that I’m not sure it could be improved..maybe only with the punctuation a little? But it works, oh boy, does it! Another fabulous write!

  2. Hi Claudia, as this is for a crit exercise I thought I’d do a line by line on this one as you’re used to my style of critiquing and I know you always weigh up any advice offered before you edit your work. So here goes

    there is graffiti
    between the dark and I’m [between doesn’t seem to be the right choice of word here as it would normally be between one thing and another, I’d suggest changing it to ‘in’ or amid]
    not sure when I will leave that tunnel, [this might work better here but not sure if it will change your meaning]

    cheer the bold or those lunatic
    sick and odd enough
    to spray their heart [‘heart’ a little cliché, ‘core’ would be a little more gritty perhaps and would give you some assonance with ‘walls’ in the next line]
    onto the walls

    traffic jammed & windows open, [not a fan of & in poetry]
    considering if I’ll suffocate on exhaust fumes [‘considering’ – ‘wondering’ would give you some alliteration with ‘windows’]
    if i inhale them for too long [cut ‘them’]

    thinking wistful of last night, when [wistfully]
    we fucked uninhibited until we crashed
    unconscious to the floor, I’m [great change of pace in the piece here]

    counting car lights, worn down faces,
    music level 12 ; you told me i’m extreme, [I don’t usually like numbers in poetry but it works here as it’s what you’d see on the digital display – gives a subtle visual]

    feeling nervousness, pressed tight [nervous, not sure you need ‘feeling’]
    against wet concrete and pale mildew
    splays on dark-grey tunnel walls, [fabulous visual here and the pale mildew gave me the chills]

    i die amidst the crowd and no one cares
    but an insanely drizzling highways sprayer, [highways’]
    riding for a fall to bring some off-beat color [I like the use of the word ‘riding’ here, ‘heading for a fall’ is very overused but ‘riding for a fall’ alludes to the car journey]
    to a road I won’t remember [killer last line]

    So it would look like this

    there is graffiti
    in the dark and I’m
    not sure when I will leave this tunnel,

    cheer the bold or those lunatic
    sick and odd enough
    to spray their core
    onto the walls

    traffic jammed and windows open,
    wondering if I’ll suffocate on exhaust fumes
    if i inhale for too long

    thinking wistfully of last night, when
    we fucked uninhibited until we crashed
    unconscious to the floor, I’m

    counting car lights, worn down faces,
    music level 12 ; you told me i’m extreme,

    nervous, pressed tight
    against wet concrete and pale mildew
    splays on dark-grey tunnel walls,

    i die amidst the crowd and no one cares
    but an insanely drizzling highways’ sprayer,
    riding for a fall to bring some off-beat color
    to a road I won’t remember

    Beautifully thought out poem Claudia, you’ve painted the mood in much the same way as your graffiti artist and in doing so have brought colour and depth to your piece.

  3. Whoa! Julie’s really gone to town on this one. What can I add? Plenty to like; More grit here than I’m used to from you. Single use of the word ‘fuck’ quite powerful and and a scorching final two lines –

    riding for a fall to bring some off-beat color
    to a road I won’t remember

    some issues here –

    cheer the bold or those lunatic
    sick and odd enough
    to spray their heart > ‘lives onto walls’ maybe better? Or at least ‘hearts’ plural
    onto the walls

    traffic jammed & windows open,
    considering if I’ll suffocate on exhaust fumes
    if i inhale them for too long >redundant line

    thinking wistful of last night, when
    we fucked uninhibited until we crashed
    unconscious to the floor, I’m >also redundant line

    i die amidst the crowd and no one cares >’no one cares’ feels little ‘woe is me’/over-sentimental
    but an insanely drizzling highways’ sprayer,>adj. ‘insanely’ is one too many and well overused IMHO.

    Got lots to run with here. Still feels like it needs some editing and get a slight sense of at least two narratives and they may not be pulling in the same direction. This may be ok if you can make them sit happily together. It doesn’t have too much focus right now IMHO. As usual very good though and will like to see it polished! Thanks much for linking up Cloudy

    • Sorry Luke, didn’t mean to step on your toes, you know I get a bit carried away some times, especially with pieces like this that have so much potential. I thought it might be useful for poets to see how a line-by-line works.

  4. i definitely appreciate seeing the line by line critique, Carys. this is my first experience with critique.

    Claudia ~ i hope through these critiquing sessions at the Pub to learn enough to be able to give you the compliments you deserve. in the meantime, i’ll fall back on what i always feel with your poetry ~ your words are infused with passion, intensity and vivid imagery. love your style! ♥

    have a fabulous vacation!

  5. mmm…i like it….def a bit more grit than usual, which i love…think maybe you need to fire the guy that looked at it prior, lol…have a great trip and so look forward to your return…smiles.

  6. I learned a lot reading the earlier critiques. My experience has been rather rigid and not with much softness offered. In college we explicated masterpieces to milk every possible meaning. In workshops we felt the surgical knife of novelists who didn’t understand meter or the need for rhyme schemes even in sonnets. I think as a result I may lack tact as I became aggressive in the lion’s den.

    I fell for this poem as I do for all of yours, Claudia. When I read your work, the thing that always happens for me is that I imagine I am there beside you, experiencing it. Not seeing it through your eyes, not hearing you tell me about it, but being “in the moment” with you. That is some writing ability! You did it for me again here. We’re in the car, we’re seeing stuff…together.

    As I read the opening, between the dark and I’m not sure when I will leave this tunnel
    was like “between the moon and New York City” – in other words it’s dark, then it’s murky and then you realize you can see words (graffiti) in the murk but the tunnel curves and there’s still no obvious light ahead – I don’t know if there would be punctuation that would better convey that interpretation, but I see it as “between the dark and (I’m not sure when I will leave this tunnel)”. It’s one of your techniques that makes experiencing it so immediate.

    I think both Carys and Luke show ways to tighten the write which would make it more powerful and I agree with what they said. Not sure I agree about changing “heart” though. I do agree about the sounds but perhaps not the meaning as I interpret that you wanted to project those Sally “hearts” Harry things boldly sprayed everywhere – those hearts that once were carved into tree trunks with pocket knives. It’s the beginning of that I would play with – not that I have any idea how – but these lines:

    cheer the bold or those lunatic
    sick and odd enough

    They’re cool but I think you can make them work for you more.

    Other than that, I have no more to add. I loved it. I love the way you write and I’m eager to see how you will change it to make it even better.
    Thanks for offering it and thanks to Luke and Carys for showing me way to approach the critique. Much appreciated.
    Gay

  7. First of all – have a great time. Will miss you. Love your poem (You said “fuck”- so real and honest.) Wish I knew enough to give criticique. Just know I love the way your words flow to create a mood, a scene, a lovely poem.

  8. Have a fab holiday – with regard to ‘heart’ – I agree with Luke – I think ‘hearts’ plural – I prefer Heart/s to lives or cores but that is merely my opinion. I feel with you in the car and can see the scene. The shift in mood in these two stanzas operates as a nice surprise for me but in my opinion you could do more with the images –

    nervous, pressed tight >> I am assuming the cars but you could make more of this
    against wet concrete and pale mildew
    splays on dark-grey tunnel walls,

    i die amidst the crowd and no one cares >>>> you could play around with the order of the lines in this stanza – I am not sure this line is actually needed because the next three are vivid.
    but an insanely drizzling highways’ sprayer,
    riding for a fall to bring some off-beat color
    to a road I won’t remember

    This is only my opinion so please feel free to disagree 🙂

  9. Looks like you have a good amount of comments to sift through. The poem is stunning as always and whatever you choose to do will be just right. In the meantime Ciao, baby. Have fun!

  10. Claudia, thanks for visiting my blog. You blew me away with this piece – I will be seeing you are dverse; already posted there! Have a great vacation and don’t worry, we’ll meet up again soon! Amy

  11. wow – thanks to all of you for your feedback and crit…esp. julie – wow – you rock lady!!
    took quite some of the suggestions and changed it a bit. those of you who want to see how it looked before the change, have a look at Carys comment..

  12. traffic jammed & windows open,
    considering if I’ll suffocate on exhaust fumes
    if i inhale them for too long

    This, like the rest of your poem flows with the ease of a cool evening breeze. Now, I’m likely divulging too much information here but I’ve never been rendered unconscious by sex. Either I’m missing out on something or you’re exaggerating for effect so we believe the line ‘you told me I’m extreme’. I’m not sure if it fits but then you may be meandering through thoughts as the car is travelling.

    i die amidst the crowd and no one cares
    but an insanely drizzling highways sprayer,
    riding for a fall to bring some off-beat color
    to a road I won’t remember

    Is lovely but I got caught on ‘insanely drizzling highways sprayer’ is there a word that could condense this phrase? Overall it has the surreal intensity of some of your other poems. For whatever reason, after I read your work, I want to go out into the world and really look at things.

  13. Hi! Claudia…
    What a very descriptive [as usual] and beautiful poem [as usual]…Thanks, for sharing![postscript: I truly hope that you are enjoying your vacation time too!]
    deedee 🙂