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Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

General Poetry - post, comment, review, critique
Tim J Brennan
Posts: 646
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:59 pm

Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Tim J Brennan » Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:29 pm

All landscapes are equal
and you have visited too many,
lived in too many places
to not understand the neutrality
of an earthly setting.

You sleep so long one morning,
the wife enters to to see
if you have slipped smiling
into a coma or worse—

death removes all horizons,
but time’s gravity pulls
all we know flat as a casket
in the country ground—

Your best friend returns to his home
town, walks into the red-brick school
where thirty-five years earlier
he was voted:

Most Likely to Succeed

and weeps at the size
of the classrooms, the narrow hallways,
remembers dancing with his last year dead wife
in a gymnasium filled with confetti falling
from a strobe-lit ceiling.

It is possible to smell desire, become addicted
to flesh and all its landscapes—

it comes with the price of resisting
the gravity of an inevitable demise,
knowing there is no special place
to live here.

Dave
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:07 pm

Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Dave » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:43 pm

A visually strong poem with several interesting ideas and images and several cliches. I like the first line
'All landscapes are equal'  After that not sure if it necessary to have visited and lived in too many places or to repeat 'too many'. 

Interesting use of 'the' in 'the wife', not sure about that. Makes it sound like there is only one wife in that town. 
The cliches include time's gravity and the casket in the country ground and the whole sad story of the 'most likely to succeed' friend - how many Hollywood movies revolve around that idea?
A couple of other small things for me are the use of 'It' at the beginning of the last stanza; it is not clear what the it actually refers to - the smell of desire, the flesh or the addiction? 

Gravity makes a return in the last stanza too but weakens the idea. I think you could easily leave the first two lines of the last stanza out and have a valid sense.

Tim J Brennan
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:59 pm

Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Tim J Brennan » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:37 pm

Thanks for the fodder, Dave.

FYI: there is only one wife in town. For me. I know some folks who have been married, divorced (one four times) but not sure that counts as multiple wives ;)

Anyway. Just anyway.

Dave
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:07 pm

Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Dave » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:49 pm

😄

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Mark
Posts: 376
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Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Mark » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:12 pm

Yeah, nice read. A longish poem, tilting toward a narrative style, which can perhaps open a few technical soft spots.For me, the piece works via the tone of the almost dichotomous feel of the narrator caught between nostalgia and the remorseless slide toward physical dissolution and the sense that the present is strangely amorphous. That's not really accurate but the evocation I found is difficult to nail down. The title seems loaded more with exposition than irony, though. 
 

Tim J Brennan
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:59 pm

Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Tim J Brennan » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:36 pm

Mark wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:12 pm
Yeah, nice read. A longish poem, tilting toward a narrative style, which can perhaps open a few technical soft spots.For me, the piece works via the tone of the almost dichotomous feel of the narrator caught between nostalgia and the remorseless slide toward physical dissolution and the sense that the present is strangely amorphous. That's not really accurate but the evocation I found is difficult to nail down. The title seems loaded more with exposition than irony, though. 
 

Thanks, Mark. I like you put this somewhere between nostalgia and remorseless. Not sure why you were expecting irony though. More realization, so exposition is fitting, methinks. Another thanks for that.

Irony is happening as I write this by Trump verbally attacking Romney (a guy of deep faith who made a life-changing decision based on that faith) at a Prayer Breakfast. Classic irony. The N of the poem took his whole life to come to his realizations. I think irony comes from more situational life events.

poet-e
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Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:10 pm

Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by poet-e » Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:16 pm

Very dark for a nostalgic poem.

At 1st read some lines threw me off:
-35yrs earlier...
-" remembers dancing with his last year dead wife" perhaps could be remembers dancing with his wife, who died last yr.

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Tracy Mitchell
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Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:41 pm

Strong narrative, Tim.  The 'exposition' is not off-putting in the least.  It is telly (S.1, S.8), but not unduly so. 

I like the dual use of 'landscape'  -- very nicely done.   

I question the crying at the size of the school rooms.  We learn almost immediately the real reason for the crying -- you might want to leave it at that.

Wonderful ending -- a recognition of coldness at bottom.  

Cheers.

T

Tim J Brennan
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:59 pm

Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Tim J Brennan » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:43 pm

poet-e wrote:
Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:16 pm
Very dark for a nostalgic poem.

At 1st read some lines threw me off:
-35yrs earlier...
-" remembers dancing with his last year dead wife" perhaps could be remembers dancing with his wife, who died last yr.

If you're reading "nostalgic"...I'm okay. with that. Changes the poem, methinks and I can't say, as a reader, you're wrong. As a writer though, it's not meant to be nostalgic, which carries positive connotation, also methinks. And this is not meant to be a positive poem.

Thanks for the look & comments. The wife comment worth revisiting.

Tim J Brennan
Posts: 646
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:59 pm

Re: Small Town Dreams & Those Who Live Them

Post by Tim J Brennan » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:45 pm

Tracy Mitchell wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:41 pm
Strong narrative, Tim.  The 'exposition' is not off-putting in the least.  It is telly (S.1, S.8), but not unduly so. 

I like the dual use of 'landscape'  -- very nicely done.   

I question the crying at the size of the school rooms.  We learn almost immediately the real reason for the crying -- you might want to leave it at that.

Wonderful ending -- a recognition of coldness at bottom.  

Cheers.

T

Will look again at the classroom image, Tracy. Not meant to be about the size of the room but the number of desks (graduating class) that would fit in it. But perhaps too much. I've never been accused of being at a loss for words ;)

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