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  1. #1
    Registered User paperleaves's Avatar
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    401

    the mocha loveseat, dusted with ashes
    from the foot of your Maduro cigar,
    wheezes
    as you flip through the classifieds.
    my nimble hands
    wrestle with angels,
    folding gently around a mug of
    hot vanilla chai.
    briefly, you look out the apartment window,
    following the movements
    of the colored boys' legs, as they swingdance in clean tennis shoes
    between jumpshots and free throws.
    I can see the longing in your laugh lines, papa,
    as you wobble over your cane
    to the back porch, and call out,
    with a wounded yelp
    to what remains of God.
    once, you scrounged for scraps of bread
    on the hollow Ukrainian streets, you asked for water
    and he gave you
    the Holodomor.
    so now, you cry, in an antiquated accent,
    sobbing for sleep,
    and the pity is, papa,
    that you think He can hear you
    "real
    loneliness
    is not
    necessarily
    limited to
    when
    you are
    alone
    "
    -C. Bukowski

  2. #2
    Something's gotta give PrinceMyshkin's Avatar
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    As if the whole of this wasn't already magnificent,

    Quote Originally Posted by paperleaves View Post
    once, you scrounged for scraps of bread
    on the hollow Ukrainian streets, you asked for water
    and he gave you
    the Holodomor.
    so now, you cry, in an antiquated accent,
    sobbing for sleep,
    and the pity is, papa,
    that you think He can hear you
    you conclude it with these heartbreaking lines!!! And did I ever tell you that my mother was born in Ukraine, in Yekatarinaslav, on the Ukrainian side of the River Dnieper?

  3. #3
    Registered User paperleaves's Avatar
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    No way!!!
    I had no idea. Thanks for the comment, Jer
    "real
    loneliness
    is not
    necessarily
    limited to
    when
    you are
    alone
    "
    -C. Bukowski

  4. #4
    Philologist Nietzsche's Avatar
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    I can see the longing in your laugh lines, papa,
    as you wobble over your cane
    to the back porch, and call out,
    with a wounded yelp
    to what remains of God.
    I love it! Especially the quoted lines, but as a whole it is great.
    "I teach you the Übermensch. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? … What is ape to man? A laughing stock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be that to the Übermensch" -- from Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche

    “Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.” - Nikola Tesla

  5. #5
    Registered User NisreenS's Avatar
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    I liked the details of everyday life in the poem.It is enjoyable to read.

  6. #6
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    An evocative poem, Paper, and a pleasure to read. Thanks

    H

  7. #7
    Still, on a chalk plateau Bar22do's Avatar
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    You're back, Paper! how nice. I love your poem, but was more particularly caught by:

    Quote Originally Posted by paperleaves View Post
    I can see the longing in your laugh lines, papa,
    as you wobble over your cane
    to the back porch, and call out,
    with a wounded yelp
    to what remains of God.
    Also, through your dad, you remind here of those horrible times of starvation in Ukraine, far from being enough researched on and that should never be left to oblivion.

    Be well, Paper and thanks.

  8. #8
    chercheur ~Sophia~'s Avatar
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    Hi paper! Sorry to be so late to this party. I too have a Ukrainian ancestry. In fact, I was first generation born in Canada. I full well remember my grandmother and parents stories of the forced famine and the horrible things they had to do to stay alive. I'm not sure if you are referencing your dad or grandfather but if you want some authenticity in that regard - father is tato and grandfather is dido (pronounced tahto and dyido - in both cases the o is a short sound like the o in object ). Love this poem... as usual, you have such a unique voice and perspective. I always look forward to reading you!!!!!!!!! Hugs

  9. #9
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    It's very good Paper. I'm not sure the ending is right. I would probably cut those last two lines. Seems like you're fishing for empathy and I think there is just the right touch without them. Those last two lines bring in an abstract idea that seems to not go with the rest of the poem.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Something's gotta give PrinceMyshkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    It's very good Paper. I'm not sure the ending is right. I would probably cut those last two lines. Seems like you're fishing for empathy and I think there is just the right touch without them. Those last two lines bring in an abstract idea that seems to not go with the rest of the poem.
    I can't see what you mean by the "abstract idea" in those last two lines but in any case I would like to support them in the face of your objection that they are appealing for empathy. I tend to think, as a generality and in respect to this poem, that once a poet has made a good solid case for her or the situation, she's earned herself the right to a naked expression in her own, spontaneous voice.

  11. #11
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceMyshkin View Post
    I can't see what you mean by the "abstract idea" in those last two lines but in any case I would like to support them in the face of your objection that they are appealing for empathy. I tend to think, as a generality and in respect to this poem, that once a poet has made a good solid case for her or the situation, she's earned herself the right to a naked expression in her own, spontaneous voice.
    I guess the abstract idea I was referring to is the dichotomy between the father's belief in God and the narrator's implied disbelief. It seems to bring in an abstract debate that wasn't the intent of the poem. I'm not siding one way or the other on the debate - that's for Paperleaves to decide - but the debate seems to enter there unprepared within the poem. Does that make sense? If Paper wanted that dichotomy to be the subject, or at least a strong element in the poem, she needed to work it and integrate it somehow earlier.

    Also I do think she's fishing for sympathy there. A broken man appealing to God already has enough sympathy associated with it, and that's the heart and raison d'etre of the poem, and that's fine. But to double up at the end in an O'Henry type of closure with a unprepared twist reaches for bathos. She even uses the word "pity" there at the end.

    As to spontaneous voice, I'm not objecting to that. She does have a wonderful spontaneous voice. I think where her poems (I'm speaking to you too Paper on this) is that the spontaneity needs to be managed afterward. Go with the spontaneity, build a draft, but then you have to look it over with a critical eye and edit.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  12. #12
    Something's gotta give PrinceMyshkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    I guess the abstract idea I was referring to is the dichotomy between the father's belief in God and the narrator's implied disbelief. It seems to bring in an abstract debate that wasn't the intent of the poem. I'm not siding one way or the other on the debate - that's for Paperleaves to decide - but the debate seems to enter there unprepared within the poem. Does that make sense? If Paper wanted that dichotomy to be the subject, or at least a strong element in the poem, she needed to work it and integrate it somehow earlier
    Nor is she, I think, asking us to judge between the father's continuing belief and her skepticism, which I think she did foreshadow earlier with:

    you asked for water
    and he gave you
    the Holodomor.

    In a similar vein, at the end, she is any child inveighing against God in the face of her imminent loss of her father.

    Also I do think she's fishing for sympathy there. A broken man appealing to God already has enough sympathy associated with it, and that's the heart and raison d'etre of the poem, and that's fine. But to double up at the end in an O'Henry type of closure with a unprepared twist reaches for bathos. She even uses the word "pity" there at the end.

    As to spontaneous voice, I'm not objecting to that. She does have a wonderful spontaneous voice. I think where her poems (I'm speaking to you too Paper on this) is that the spontaneity needs to be managed afterward. Go with the spontaneity, build a draft, but then you have to look it over with a critical eye and edit.
    It was not, to me, an O.Henryish twist at the end, because we feel the father, enfeebled, dying throughout the poem.

  13. #13
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceMyshkin View Post
    Nor is she, I think, asking us to judge between the father's continuing belief and her skepticism, which I think she did foreshadow earlier with:

    you asked for water
    and he gave you
    the Holodomor.
    Oh, is the "he" referring to God? I missed that. Ok, perhaps not as off as I first read it.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
    All are at the crossroads qimissung's Avatar
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    I have to agree with the tone, and voice of paper's poem, Virgil. I think the narrator sees this naked pain, lives with it, and is shouting her own imprecations to the world to stop, to leave him alone, haven't you (You?) done enough? But the reasoned voice of reality won't quite let her believe. She is left,, then, with his pain, and her own.

    I simply do not see a plea for sympathy. I can certainly understand the difficulty when writing about painful material. One cannot underestimate that it does leave an effect on the writer, too. It does. But I think she handled this material quite deftly.
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its' own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Bonzai
    "Some people say I done alright for a girl." Melanie Safka

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    Registered User neilgee's Avatar
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    I think Hawkman was right to call this "evocative". It definitely qualifies for what I think of as a mood poem, one of those that can change the reader's mood with its emotional pull, whether you understand the background or not.
    What are regrets? Just lessons we haven't learned yet - Beth Orton

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