Plain American Language

I cut a sliver/of WC William's finger
and placed it inside/my philosophy...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Elegy for Cousin Steve (waaay revised)

After I hung up the phone,
the fact that you died
didn't register. Only
the way my brother said it.
Suddenly it sank in
that all of my family,
all of yours, watched you go.
And I was in Chile.
Now that I'm back,
I'm furious that all I have left
are vague, but warm impressions:
your large, friendly body;
your compass-like smile;
laugh like a big, brass instrument.
All these ghosts and
not even a wink of you.

3 comments:

Olgasmic said...

hey hey hey! Andrew, I think this poem has great potential. I'm not a fan of the first half, because it seems that the language is weaker there and you take too long to get to the point - the most effective lines, in my opinion. I would recommend jumping right in, for example:

The way my brother said it
suddenly sank in:
all of my family,
all of yours,
watched you go.
And I was in Chile.
Your large, friendly body;
your compass-like smile;
laugh - a big, brass instrument.(more specific here?)
All these warm impressions
not even a wink of you.

It may be too condensed, but I like that it might force specificity. I really liked warm impressions. I loved the way you described him. ghosts in elegy poems don't work, in my opinion.

thehubcapkid said...

i reordered some of the sections, and condensed it a bit. you were definitely right about going right to the images. what say you this:

I hung up the phone,
blank. Suddenly it sank in
that all my family,
all of yours, watched you go.
And I was in Chile.
Your large, friendly body;
your compass-like smile;
laugh, a big brass instrument.
Now that I’m back,
I’m furious that
all I have left of you
are warm impressions,
and not even a wink of you.


i still think it's important to get that i'm mad at it all...what do you think?

Olgasmic said...

I definitely like the revised version more, but I would still rethink some word choices, but the poem is a lot more punchy this way. Words to reconsider, in my opinion: blank (not sure you need it there - you could just end stop the first line and create the same pause effect); furious (seems too telling and not much showing). Other than that, I like it a lot. I would put not even a wink of you right before the furious line, maybe I like warm impressions too much - great poem Andrew :)