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nightlife

Cityfolk are empty

  • 7th Apr, 2005 at 11:55 PM
I sit at a table with my large double-double
Gazing through the window at the souls outside. As

Some rush past, some stroll by, some enter
Drawing in the dark, drizzling night. I see

The lonely wanderers wearing dark upon dark
To blend and fade with the urban shadows. Hiding

Hands in their pockets, they mask aimlessness
With a purposeful stride. Left, right, left

Out on their own: independence, which is but
Another word for lonely. Then just as I look

Away in a doorway, two bright spirits take shelter,
Arm linked in arm, she whispers in an ear. Then

They giggle with giddiness. They laugh with love.
They kiss with kindness. I happen to hope.

Simon Law
7 April 2005, 11:57.
Montréal, QC.

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
rverghes
8th Apr, 2005 05:35 (UTC)
Only Canadian poetry would have the phrase 'double-double'.

I like it! (Though not really sure about the word 'mortals'. Seems out of place with the rest. Not sure if that's intentional or not.)
sfllaw
8th Apr, 2005 05:45 (UTC)
Though not really sure about the word 'mortals'. Seems out of place with the rest. Not sure if that's intentional or not.

I struggled to find the right English word to put there and had to settle for this one. But maybe, I'll change it to spirits?
rverghes
8th Apr, 2005 05:55 (UTC)
'Spirits' is good. Also maybe 'souls'?
elliptic_curve
8th Apr, 2005 05:44 (UTC)
Poetry is good and all, but explain to me why you're having tim horton's in Montreal???? :-P
sfllaw
8th Apr, 2005 05:46 (UTC)
Artistic license.

How else would you know what kind of shop I'm sitting in?
sfllaw
8th Apr, 2005 05:47 (UTC)
Also, I bought the last good coffee in all of Montréal and shipped it to you.

It's a choice between Tim Hortons and vending machine coffee. Just like in Ontario.
elliptic_curve
8th Apr, 2005 06:36 (UTC)
All of it? All of it is here with me?

All the cool montreal people are thereby invited to come over to my house for coffee!
pphaneuf
8th Apr, 2005 07:35 (UTC)
Well, hrm, yeah, but only in a month or so. Can you keep some around for me? Thanks!
blue_lightning
8th Aug, 2005 15:02 (UTC)
I remember first reading this one! That, and when I tried to critique this yesterday, my computer froze half-way through. Teh Suck.

Cityfolk are empty - your title is too blunt, too preachy; let the reader learn this from the work itself, and perhaps make the title reflect something more tangible about the situation - a place name, a time, etc.

I sit at a table with my large double-double
Gazing through the window at the souls outside. As
- this too is over-the-top, and can be condensed to the benefit of the piece. i.e. "and watch the pedestrians outside. Some rush past, / Some stroll, and some enter [fill this with some physical aspect - perhaps a disorientation?] / Drawing..."

Some rush past, some stroll by, some enter
Drawing in the dark, drizzling night. I see
- see above. Otherwise, I really love "Drawing in the dark, drizzling night."

The lonely wanderers wearing dark upon dark - you've now used the word "dark" three times in two lines, though; expand upon your image in fresh ways!
To blend and fade with the urban shadows. Hiding - what are these urban shadows? Can you use a more tangible image to explain them?

Hands in their pockets, they mask their aimlessness
WithIn a purposeful stride. Left, right, left -

Out on their own:; independence is just another / word for lonely. Then just as I look
- condensed this as an illustration of my point: tighten your imagery. This will give you more room to develop transition points, like this "Then just as I look [away]". As it stands, it's not really portraying the speaker's response to these "lost souls"; for that, you need to clarify what you're looking away from (and now you have space to do so!).

Away in a doorway, two bright spirits take shelter[.] - here again you're giving away the point in overly blunt terminology. "two bright spirits" should be the underlying impression we get from your description, not the whole of it. Try to describe them in more visceral terms, and leave the symbolism to itself.
Arm linked in arm, she whispers in an ear. Then - why is this important? What is it about the whispering that makes them different than the other lost souls? I feel an extra couplet here would help the reader get a fix on why the speaker is putting such hope in them.

They giggle with giddiness. They laugh with love.
They kiss with kindness. I happen to hope.
- you've got consonance overkill here, and while the last sentence is kind of cute, the whole thing seems a little overdone, and a lot silly. Can you try to convey this sudden feeling of hope in a more tangible way, through the actions of the girls? Perhaps rewriting this couplet will better serve to elaborate on the part before.

All in all, I love the simplicity in your writing but fear you do too much of the reader's work, as if unable to trust a reader to make the same symbolic connections you did. As such, you wear all your metaphors and themes very much on the surface of this poem, which means there's not much in the way of layers for your reader to enjoy. Strive always to create a strong, visceral outer layer and let these pervasive themes and symbols to manifest on secondary levels. Focus first and foremost on creating a distinctive image of the scene, and the significance will arise on its own.

That said, these are all suggestions, no more, so feel free to disregard all of them if you don't agree. Oh, and thanks for linking me your poem!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )