by eric phetteplace
There is not
such a confluence as whatâ€”
au revoir gale
cuz I have a new cubicle. It is next to the window.
The name of my position
is Reports Generator, which is sort of like a cross
between a reporter and a robot. When the robots
finish enslaving humanity
Iâ€™ll be there
typing it up in stilted grammar. Â The guy next to me
cannot speak. Â When I read about autism
on Wikipedia, I thought of him and how
a homosexual from Monadnock
who hit on me
outside of Martuniâ€™s with Shayak
We ended that night as we do most
newspapers down onto Valencia
while the pedestrians passed
0 thoughts on “unhindered”
This reminds me of some obscure character in “Office Space” taking a crack at poetry. The use of line breaks is used so indiscriminately that I can’t find a flow to read the poem in. Could be interesting with a rewrite that is mindful of flow and rhythm. Why should I care that the quiet guy reminds you of a homosexual from Monadnock? What would hinder the pedestrians in the first place? Why “cuz?”
These may sound mean, and in reality all poetry only has to be approved by the author, but I ask these questions because, as a reader, I leave this piece confused and thinking about what could have been a much better piece with a rewrite and not so many obscure personal moments that I cannot attach to.
Sorry. I feel like Simon Cowell all of the sudden.
I have to disagree with Shawn – mostly on the line breaks. Hardly indescriminate, they generally break before verbs, prepositions and conjunctions. In other words, very discriminate, along the patterns of speech and phrasing from which the flow, um, flows. So I have no trouble finding a way to read this with a drawn out emphasis neatly placed on words prior to the break, precipitating a “flow” into the next unit of speech. In other words, a kind of syntactical rhythm that works well (for me) and is intelligently constructed. The details, people and places referred to in the poem, are oblique but hang together okay. A slice of corporate life in Southern California with a recollected sidetrip, apparently to San Francisco (I had to google Maruni’s and Monadnock, and they fit in nicely with Valencia, or Valencia Boulevard). The long second stanza is pretty good, but the first one is obscure as hell. “Au revoir gale”? “Confluence” is the word I have to key on when I read this, but I have no idea (yet) what the writer is getting at. The “robots … enslaving humanity” sentence is my favorite part of the poem, and everything that follows kind of runs in the same groove, counter to the corporate mechanization of life. Its not a great poem, but its interesting and makes good (if relatively obscure) use of detail. The first stanza seems clumsy, but trying to understand it focuses my attention on the second – which is okay. All in all, not bad. At least for me.
The first stanza, which is extremely oblique, is meant to invoke looking out the window, airy-ness, meditation, a lost avenue of escape. Then the 2nd is back inside the cubicle, the jarring inhumanity of the job, ending with a nighttime recollection. The associations are personal, the line breaks often meant to build anticipation or create a feeling of disjointedness (thus why so many conjunctions, verbs…Fogman is very much correct in his analysis), and overall I went about this trying to be robotic; not in a monotonous manner but in a simply inhuman, a-rhythmic way. It’s a poem about being maimed by work, I want form to reflect content, so I don’t want it to flow in a comfortable or smooth manner.
If it’s confusing and you don’t care, then it’s not for you, but I made very deliberate aesthetic choices based on what I like in poetry, which just so happens to be confusion, strange juxtaposition, a compelling (I hope) mixture of the personal and the abstract. I find Fogman’s comment to be much more constructive since I can take a revision away from it (i.e. maybe the 1st stanza could be clarified, linked more), as opposed to Misener’s “do a rewrite” as if I vomited this onto a notepad while on the morning commute and then submitted it. Misener would write it differently, that’s great, but where does that leave me?
P.S. The picture is perfect.
Right on. My comments weren’t very constructive. I’ve just been pissy lately. This poem really isn’t so bad at all, just confusing to me. You make good points. . . I see your work in a different light as a result.
Great dialogue on this one. Insightful. Some poems are easy to find photos for, things just pop up like they were waiting for something to be written. This one wasn’t one of those. Took a while to find something that we were comfortable with.