Mother wakes at five thirty in the morning even Sundays, though the newspaper hasn't been delivered to me sitting at the top of the stairs. She squints at me with Hitchcock eyes, says that my bathwater is turning light gray, it's time to get in. Sundays, we go to church, which isn't-just-a-social-thing-young-lady. I'm here because I would neverever ask for anything else if she bought me a dog.
It dawns, and her voice percolates my future, drip drip drip, we say Scholarship. I have a hard time knowing her without her glasses and her makeup in its technicolor glory. She drives me to school every day, to save on parking. Trucks and equinoxes blow past us as I stare out the window, drawing pictures in the condensation with my thumb.
Sunburned afternoons She says did you know that Beethoven never saw the sea? Later we should go to the beach, she'll show me a picture of a furtive flute of a girl in a poodleskirt and a yellow-spattered room. We can walk up and down the sand together but it makes us uncomfortable to look at the sea so we'll give up and squint against the brine. Of course, we don't have time this afternoon but we will soon.
Evening, mother wears an apron made of iron and cooks like a woman who's angry at pans. Her eyes flicker towards the ceiling which is covered in white paint and invisible pancakes. Sometimes we argue and I say the only thing stopping her from slitting her wrists is fear that the paramedics would notice kitchen floors had waxy yellow buildup. She screams do I think that's funny. I say that I do.
At night when I'm not sleeping ironing board is folded up in the closet like Tutankhamun she is lying still with her hair spread over the pillow like a book glasses off, caps shut. She's going to wake at five thirty in the morning before the newspaper, to see me sitting on this stairwell, and she will blink, and I will live on that contact until tomorrow morning.
You've already received a lot of valid criticsm that I agree with, so I'll see what's left over for me to say in my sick state. (If I were healthy, i'd probably have more to say)...
Surface Impressions: A day-in-day-out story of a domineering parent driven organisationally mad and conservative (in outlook, experience, and opinion) and is virtually incapable of relating to her progeny, and at the end of every day, once her drive has been sated, she lowers her defenses for but a second at night and the child responds that most from her mother.
Stanza 4: The double-meanings here are great, giving the humour a different flavour. and I think it would help the setup if you removed the comma from "Evening, mother wears an apron...". Since she percolates earlier, you could make another kettle reference here.
(can't use this either) because it's not formal. I would like to see you take a pause as in put a period in the last line and start this line with a capital if only to get that momentary pause that you breathe and accept that this all happens again tomorrow.
First four lines, fine. Final lines, fine. The only thing which I will bring up, and it's truly more out of curiosity than anything, is the continuation of the dashes even through "young-lady", instead of a comma offsetting it. Did her inflection not vary even then? Just curious! (Other people reading this critique feel free to rip me a new one if something I suggest or bring up would detract. I don't mind going out on a limb; nor do I mind the risk of being embarrassingly wrong, as long as my point has been brought up and addressed.) End of this stanza = heartrendingly cute.
? Wow. I remember the original...or at least the other version. I hope this was changed once you knew you were entering the contest, and have decided that you know, at least somewhat, the audience. I can't recall the exact phrasing of the other version, so it's rude for me to say this; but my intuition tells me I prefer the other. (Tough shit, Hoodi; it ain't your poem, nor your life!) Yeah, yeah...still. There was a phrase that just, resonated, and I don't see it here. This has become stainless steel, where once it was fine leather.
It's still brilliant, make no mistake about it. But...something happened to the poetic side of it. I'm gliding to the next stanza, praying like hell it hasn't undergone a similar metamorphasis.
You did change it. This had something to do with family and the sea, but I can't recall it. Perhaps it was too out there to be clear, which is fine. This is still fine, though. I see nothing to change, but again...my intuition wants to call out..."What have you done to a masterful piece?" The line between conversation and action is blurred, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I don't really recall that blurred sense, though...I would have remembered telling you about it, and I didn't. It means I'm not reading it well enough now, or I didn't read it well enough then. I'm sorry that I can't tell you for sure which it is.
It's fucking priceless. I remember laughing my ass off reading your retort about the floor, and I laughed my ass off again, even though I know it was born in an argument, thus painful. I can just hear it...and your images are well done, also. As for the poetic paring knife and immediacy: if you remove "and" as the first word in the second line, you can use either a comma or semicolon at the end of the first line, and you can start with a verb instead of a linking word. Just a thought. Here's another "just a thought". "who's" in the second line? Necessary, based on how immediate you made the first line?
Evening, mother wears an apron made of iron;
cooks like a woman angry at pans.
Ebb, flow. Not that the way you have it is wrong, but why not offer an alternative, is my way of looking at it. Your poems work hard, meaning: you put your words to good damned use, and they earn their keep. I just don't see the two words I mentioned above as earning enough keep, but then...I'm not the poet you are, so I may well be full of shit! Woot! (Since your punctuation is spotty here and there, don't sweat the semicolon and let the line break do the work.) lol
See? Even here, you don't have an article for "ironing board", yet you had the superfluous "and" in the second line in the previous stanza. Consistency.
Don't add an article here, damnit! It's not needed. What's with your spotty puncuation? Not very typical of you. I love the images and the comparisons. Strong finish, to be sure.
Okay. Overall, my senses and memory, although they did not reproduce the version I read so long ago, tell me that something has been lost somewhere.
Maybe not everything which has been altered has been for the negative, but some damned strong parts have flown the coop. I can't tell if I'm more affected by what I know of the original, or by this poem as it is. It's a combination, I think.
Overall, I think this should take it, but then, I don't know the parameters of the contest, and sometimes they can be limiting, which sucks.
This used to be more poetic than it is now, in some subtle way.
Perhaps it's just me not wanting to believe that something you wrote could need such drastic revision, so "why change what worked"? It might just be that. I won't be so foolish as to deny the possibility.
I wish you best strength in your efforts...and you know...that has NEVER changed.
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