You Smell Like A Brewery

You Smell Like A Brewery
by mike meraz
“you smell like a brewery.”
scared and nervous, it was the only way
I could handle her standing in line
at the ten item express.
bread, milk, tampons, love in a box,
cereal, pasta and a fashion magazine.
“27.83” the cashier said.
“oh,” I said, “sure.”
“you guys have a good night.”
if she only knew…
I was on my last leg running from God.
every one of my pay checks was spent
every week to the last cent.
I was avoiding my family.
I was four thousand dollars in debt.
my mothers death was beginning to dawn on me.
my girlfriends drug problems were surfacing.
everything around me was beginning to consume me.
how did I get here from a childhood filled with so much promise?!
I picked up the bags of groceries
and put them under my arm.
“thank you,” I said to the clerk.
“come on, let’s go,” I said to my girlfriend.
and like two people about to climb Mount Everest
we walked out the door.

9 thoughts on “You Smell Like A Brewery

  1. A few reasons why this poem sucks:
    1.) Why is the speaker nervous about the “her” (I’m assuming it’s the speaker’s girlfriend) standing in the express line with tampons? It seems stupid and immature.
    2.) The third stanza is excessively whiney, not to mention trivial. Yes the speaker’s got problems, but I can name 10 people who have it far worse than the speaker here.
    3.) The simile that concludes this poem is not only boring, but it’s melodramatic (it might even be a cliche)… which I guess is consistent with the whole Boo-hoo motif the poem has got going.

  2. While this isn’t the finest poem ever written, “sucks” is kind of vague – and unreasonably harsh. As is “stupid and immature”, “whiney”, “boring” and “boo hoo motif”. You should consult a thessaurus Joe, and at least try to demonstrate a little wit and compassion in your critiques. So, yeah, the poem tends toward the melodramatic. If there’s something to build on, its the speaker’s attempt to convey a facade of casual conversation while he seems to be falling apart in his private life. Focusing on the situational context of a grocery store check-out lane is good, and so is some of the detail relevant to that context. The metaphor at the end is okay, it conveys the sense of emotional hopelessness at the heart of the poem.

  3. I’ve read a ton of Mike’s stuff at various places around
    the net, and while I agree that this one might be a bit
    pedestrian, and not up to his usual excellence,
    “sucks” may be a bit too strong a word.
    If you want to read poetry that truly sucks on every level,
    head over to MySpace and poke around. With a few exceptions,
    what you read there will make your teeth itch.
    We can’t all hit one out of the park everytime. It doesn’t “suck”,
    but it does need some tweaking, some language changes, and different
    line breaks.

  4. I don’t see how I was being vague, but I’m not going to say you broke my fragile little poet-heart. But I have to say that it’s the witty and compassionate sugarcoaters and hollow yes-men that do more harm than anything. Adversity is one of the key components to greatness, and if one is too sensitive to take a harsh comment every once and a while then perhaps one shouldn’t post. I said what I thought. I gave my reasons. And I make no apologies.
    In addition, I never insulted the poet himself. Notice how I refer to THE SPEAKER as stupid and immature. It’s THE SPEAKER who is whiney and so on. I crossed no lines. If I called the poet a name, that would be inappropriate. “Sucks” was the word that came to mind and I used it. It is not that harsh of a word. But then again, you’re free to disagree.
    Finally, I’ll be sending poetry to this site in the future. When and if I get posted, you are free to say whatever you think in the way you want to say it.
    PS: Criticism shouldn’t be witty or compassionate. Whether it’s positive or negative, it should be critical. That’s the whole point

  5. I agree, Joe, but I do think telling somebody why their work “sucks” is just immature criticism. I want and need critique, but I would expect something more professional. What is the point of making a critique? To help the poet improve. Calling his work whiny and trivial and stupid and immature might not be my preferred route to his escalation as a good writer.

  6. “sucks” is a needlessly harsh entry point into what purports to be an intelligent critique. I’m sure I’ve probably stumbled over that stone more than once in my life, but I had the common sense to at least regret it. In fact, if I’ve learned anything, I’d say fine tuning your language to the purpose at hand is crucial, and I’d expect poets (of all people) to understand this. As for adversity being “one of the key components to greatness,” I can only say that how a person responds to adversity is probably quite a bit more crucial.

  7. Joe’s starting to get pissy. That’s unfortunate, since (s)he’s actually spurred some fairly interesting dialog here. Now the benefits of having him here are starting to cloud over with the creeping nastiness.

  8. Agreed Savagewave. “Sucks” is an idiotic way to describe something, but he went on to tell why. We’ve all been around for many years here and now and again we have a younger, know it all type blow through and post some mediocre poetry and dwindle back to where they came. I’ll continue to monitor, but all seems okay for now. I think Cloyd has some relatively valid ideas, that I’ve seen and heard repeated many many times and I always enjoy a reminder of the different styles of poets out there.
    Enjoy Haggard and Halloo and continue to comment your feelings and submit your poetry.

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