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Saturday, December 03, 2011

A poem I've been fiddling with forever... Draft for comment

One-Act Day

My play today is dialogue
at the deli’s open door
with an old woman who sits
on the padded seat
of her walking frame.

As we talk, back
and forth, tradesmen bounce
out of utilities and trucks
to buy choc-flavoured milk
and Mrs Mac’s pies.
Stained with years,
the old lady sips her coffee
and meditates in
their exhaust. Dress
faded, hair grey,
she likes to watch
tradesmen come and go.

Local low-lifes own
the shopkeeper’s son who
now pushes his daughter—
thin, bespectacled, thirty—
toward a law degree.

This family’s history
is written in skin:
Gran’s Auschwitz number,
his bikie gang symbols,
daughter’s rosebud and wren.

- Andrew Burke 

1 comment:

Janet Jackson (poet) said...

Hi Andrew

This seems to be a quick sketch of a family and their context: their shop and a few of the local people.

The final stanza, with the mention of Auschwitz, really hits me. The tattoos seem to be the central image of this poem, yet we don't get to them until the end -- maybe that stanza belongs at the beginning of the poem.

This poem might benefit from more imagery and less narration: for example, use imagery instead of an abstraction such as 'low-lifes'. 'Low-lifes' is also judgmental, perhaps unintentionally so. I would rather have these people described so that I could make up my own mind about them.

The narrator doesn't seem to be a character in the story so maybe could be taken out.

That's enough from me! I'm not going to take your poem apart bit by bit -- I know you know how to do that :-)

Hope this helps