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Thread: When the sated go to vote

  1. #1
    Registered User DieterM's Avatar
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    When the sated go to vote

    The neighbourhood gymnasium
    still smells of rancid sneakers,
    of teenage sweat and coaches yelling.

    Brown, navy blue and beige
    Italian prêt-à-porter
    and hand-made suits
    prevail today. No red –
    good Lord, don’t tempt the devil!

    They wait in queue, politely,
    while the Mayor-cum-MP
    flutters around, greets friends,
    shakes hands, talks of the weather.

    The younger couples babble
    and show off well-groomed kids
    who run around in frilly blouses,
    pleated skirts and sailor shirts
    like glossy Laura-Ashley-ads.

    Mostly, though, it's old and ageing money;
    ladies in their cream-white pearls
    that gleam on wrinkled throats,
    their husbands’ Hugo Boss-rimmed goggles
    sparkling as brightly as their flawless smiles –
    the local dentists all drive Porsches.

    Their choice is narrowed down
    from ten to one, the undisputed candidate,
    whose self-awareness holds up heads
    for fear of revolution floats
    like a dazed ghost in smelly rags
    that stumbles through the Ritz.

    Some flip through online guides
    on state-of-the-art smartphones,
    considering a villa in Sankt Moritz,
    in Luxemburg or on a Channel Island,
    figuring out how to claim
    a Green Card for the state of Delaware.

    Others keep faith in their ability
    to know someone who knows someone
    who might become Someone,
    in case things turn out bad.

    And each time the assessor says
    the ritual “A voté!”, they fold their hands
    and pray that nothing ever changes.
    Last edited by DieterM; 04-27-2012 at 03:28 AM.
    "Im Arm der Liebe schliefen wir selig ein…" ("Liebesode" - Otto Erich Hartleben)
    New poetry collection: "the solid and thoughtful cow" on amazon and smashwords
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  2. #2
    The puddytat you saw Hawkman's Avatar
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    Interesting picture you've painted here, Dieter. I was particularly struck by the idea of the smell of coaches yelling - doubtless they have bad breath I don't thing you need the second of in the first verse. Apart from this I'm just curious as to why you have eschewed full stops.

    I think S5 is my favourite, particularly the crack about smiles and dentists

    I do have some suggestions for this stanza though which might even out its rythm.

    "Mostly, though, it's old and ageing money;
    ladies in their cream-white pearls
    that gleam on wrinkled throats,
    their husbands’ Hugo Boss-rimmed goggles
    sparkling as brightly as their flawless smiles –
    the local dentists all drive Porsches"

    but it is only a suggestion.

    The sense of S6 is confused a bit and could be rationalised like this:

    "Their choice is narrowed down
    from ten to one, the undisputed candidate,
    whose self-awareness holds up heads,
    for fear of revolution floats
    like a dazed ghost in smelly rags
    stumbling through the Ritz"

    Always enjoy your take on things - long may you continue to share them.

    Live and be well - H
    Oh no, not again...

  3. #3
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    Nice little satiric portrait. You should see what it's like over here on Election Day. Let me put it this way, if you ever want to be alone, go to a Polling Place. (But-- unfortunately, more and more, you might have to show I.D.)

    My only criticism about this fine piece of light verse is the inconsistency of puncutation and capitalization. Choose one or the other -- no punctuation marks and all lower-case, OR punctuation where it's called for and capital letters either to begin each new line or (as in contemporary style) at the beginning of each new sentence.

  4. #4
    Registered User cogs's Avatar
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    what i got out of this is rich people who are voting in someone who has the power to keep them at their level of wealth; or they fear he won't, so they must have a backup plan. i enjoyed the children playing, repeating the energy of the scent from the beginning.

  5. #5
    Something's gotta give PrinceMyshkin's Avatar
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    Apart from "Sankt Moritz" I was dazzled by this profusion of name-brands, and the over-all picture is brilliant!

  6. #6
    Registered User DieterM's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your comments. I did take up your suggestions, Hawk, because the lines really flow with more ease and casualty. And of course, Auntie and Hawk, you're right: it's not that I'm inconsistent but that I'm a real mess because of too much (tedious) work. Tell you what? I simply FORGOT the full stops! But now I put them nicely back in.
    You know, Auntie, I just accompanied my boyfriend; of course, as an Austrian, I have no right to vote. They have installed that brand-new electronic voting system, which made people queue up for 1 1/2 hour where previously, they did their thingie in 10 minutes. So I had plenty of time to watch my neighbours (by the strangest of chances, I've landed in one of the poshest suburbs of Paris, don't ask me why nor how). And it was worth the wait, as the poem (I hope) clearly shows! I just love to observe people!
    Btw, Prince, Sankt Moritz IS one of the possible spellings (for me as a native German speaker, the only acceptable one), together with Saint Moritz, Saint Maurice (ugh) or San Maurizio (if I remember correctly).

    Wish you all a fabulous weekend (I cannot wait for it to start!!!)
    "Im Arm der Liebe schliefen wir selig ein…" ("Liebesode" - Otto Erich Hartleben)
    New poetry collection: "the solid and thoughtful cow" on amazon and smashwords
    http://www.ebook-fix.com – YOU write the books, WE make them look good

  7. #7
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    I really like the almost Dickensian satirical aspect in this. It reminds me of the parts in The Pickwick Papers that dealt with the coming election. There's an understated grotesqueness here that's very affective. I think the problem is that you have too many stanzas that are saying the same thing, and it's structured a bit awkwardly. EG, the opening stanza seems a bit disconnected from the others. I understand that it there to establish the setting, but I think when the majority of the other stanzas are describing the people there and it becomes more about social satire the gymnasium location seems inconsequential in retrospect. I think, perhaps, it's in what's being described: I like "rancid" because it has the connotation of something dead and rotting, which fits in well with the satire of the "ageing money" of the community, but the idea of teenage sweat and coaches yelling doesn't seem to tie in with the rest.

    I actually feel as if S3 would make a better opening, then followed by S2 and S1 just eliminated or rewritten. I think S6 is the strongest as it feels like a genuine climax to the piece with its ending with such a strong simile:

    for fear of revolution floats
    like a dazed ghost in smelly rags
    that stumbles through the Ritz.

    is just great because of how it manages to weave together the ideas of death, life, revolution, stasis, high society and low society all together at once. The ghost is in "smelly rags," which brings one back to the gym (a plus), but is suggestive of the lower classes, which is something that could be seen as pathetic, but is made more fearful with the image of the ghost in the Ritz. Although, I'm not sure if "floats" and "stumbles" are the best verbs possible here; I think you could do better. How about making the ghost more active, less aimless, so it may seem like even a bigger threat to the status quo?

    To me, S7 and S8 seem like a needless repetition of S2-5, and I don't think they add anything to the meaning or atmosphere. I would suggest eliminating one or both of them and putting them before S6, as I feel that S6 really needs to the be thing thing that the poem is leading up to, with S9 being the closing, because the prayer that nothing ever changes has more impact when juxtaposed against the image of the ghost of potential revolution.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

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