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Not even bread and water

General Poetry - post, comment, review, critique
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Colm Roe
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Not even bread and water

Post by Colm Roe » Wed Sep 22, 2021 2:07 am

The occasional suck on a damp sponge, stuck
on a stick, moistened his final year.
A clinical lollipop, void of lols, and
suitably sterile,
just enough to unglue lips
that eventually demanded a gun.
The unused bullet
ricochets.

Matty11
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Re: Not even bread and water

Post by Matty11 » Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:22 am

Grim Colm, scary, but then that is often the reality!

Phil

 

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Tracy Mitchell
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Re: Not even bread and water

Post by Tracy Mitchell » Sat Sep 25, 2021 6:36 pm

Colm -- back to TTB, back to death poems. 
Resoundingly good poem, though as Phil says, scary.  

Just a suggestion to consider:

The occasional suck on a damp sponge, stuck
on a stick, moistened his final year.
A clinical lollipop, void of lols, and
suitably sterile,

just enough to unglue lips
that eventually demanded a gun.
The unused bullet
ricochets.


The line breaks feel erratic, though I can't say why.  Goodness knows what J. Yamrus would do to it, and I am not suggesting that.  I think every 18 months or so I lose all bearing with respect to line-endings and perhaps I am again entering one of those phases.  

The blunt ending is like a trap door opening below my feet.

T

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Gyppo
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Re: Not even bread and water

Post by Gyppo » Sat Sep 25, 2021 7:40 pm

Hard hitting, Colm.
I've been writing ever since I realised I could.  Storytelling since I started talking.  Poetry however comes and goes  ;-)

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Colm Roe
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Re: Not even bread and water

Post by Colm Roe » Sun Sep 26, 2021 12:56 am

Hi guys, thanks for reading.
I think you might be right about those lines Tracy, maybe...(I was going to make a minor edit...but this happened)

He loved a mug of tea, hard work,
God and family.

Crucified and peg-fed
in his final year, reduced
to suck on a damp sponge, stuck
on a stick
with just enough moisture
to unglue lips.

He eventually demanded a gun.

The unused bullet
ricochets.

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

Re: Not even bread and water

Post by Dave » Sun Sep 26, 2021 11:41 am

Hi Colm
One of those poems that say a lot in few words and aim for the solarplexus.

The new lines you added at the beginning add sentimentality but not much real character and make the rest somewhat maudlin IMO. Besides, the add that kind of detail that suggests a person's suffering is more if they were nice. I am not sure of their relevance to the later suffering.

And, while I think the new second stanza an improvement, I would also drop 'in his final year' without really knowing why. To me it reduces the power of the poem and makes the idea of the gun almost unecessary (I know that sounds cruel what I am saying but don't want to imply any less pain for the person involved).

For the purpose of the poem though it actually benefits if this could be happening to anyone of any age and fundamental fitness.

Just my thoughts.
Dave
 

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Mark
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Re: Not even bread and water

Post by Mark » Sun Sep 26, 2021 6:35 pm

Strong writing without dramatics. The title works too.  Creative word-play with lol. The short narrative connects very well and leads to the powerful last sentence. Something made me want to read 'echoes' somewhere in that ending.    

TrevorConway
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Re: Not even bread and water

Post by TrevorConway » Sun Sep 26, 2021 7:08 pm

Hi Colm,

First off, the title drew me in. Great stuff. I felt lost on the first reading, but I think I "got" it on second reading, though I'm not getting what the ending implies. Maybe that not using the bullet/killing himself is more damaging than doing so would've been?

I like the "Crucified..." addition. The other 2 lines added don't work as well, but could work if more context was put around them. Probably would be best adding material, as what you have feels to me like the second half of a poem rather than a complete one.

Some specific feedback below.

Good luck with this. It's engaging and pretty original.

Trev

Crucified and peg-fed [Not sure what peg-faced is, but I still like it]
in his final year, reduced
to suck [maybe "sucking" is more natural phrasing?] on a damp sponge, stuck
on a stick ["stuck on a stick" feels contrived/punny - "mounted on a stick", one complete line?]
with just enough moisture
to unglue [add "his papery"?] lips.

He eventually demanded a gun. [or "One Tuesday, he deamnded a gun"?]

The unused bullet
ricochets. [Bit too short/sudden/underdeveloped of an ending. Could you fit another idea/2-4 lines before this?]

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Colm Roe
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Re: Not even bread and water

Post by Colm Roe » Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:35 am

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
This is another one about my father who died last year. People used to say he was 90% tea, he loved it so much. In his final year he was on a peg-feed and wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. Reduced to a damp sponge for a little moisture, he eventually started asking me to bring a gun the next time I visited him. I have to admit to actually thinking about using a pillow to put him out of his misery...and still think that maybe I should have; the unused bullet.
Mark, echoes was an option. But I thought 'ricochets' hammers a more visceral sense of the regret. (Glad we're talking again)
BTW people, being a personal poem doesn't mean it should be treated 'kinder'. It's just a poem.
Regards.

AlienFlower
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Re: Not even bread and water

Post by AlienFlower » Sun Oct 10, 2021 1:29 pm

I wonder (now that I've read your explanation) how in all my readings I skipped over "clinical" and had set this in a prison. Perhaps it was, for him, but I did not imagine I was seeing this through sympathetic eyes. I did understand that the ricocheting was in the memory of someone grieving, and thought it a strange departure from the rest, that seemed to describe torture.

I still think the original is more powerfully written. A tweak somewhere might show that it was a son watching him—substituting pleaded/begged for demanded, maybe? Or inserting the 90% tea thing?

I think Tracy has a point that the line breaks seem off.

I appreciated reading this!

Jackie

 

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