“the why of substractions…” by @m_blanc_

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by @m_blanc_ in continued discussion of my poem

(Thank you for your discussion!)

MT: There’s the issue of repetition, which stops the reader, jerks them out of the flow, hence the removing of the repeated words/phrases you’re suggestion—right? Is this why you suggested that?

@m_blanc_: My edit suggestions are not to soften the jerk effect nor is it to render ‘flow’. As within any art work, repetition has both its strengths and its weaknesses. The edits I suggest concern those words which weaken the inner strength of the piece and dilute its potential. What you describe as the jerk for the reader out of an anticipatory flow, is to my reading the inner suggestive rhythmic syncopation and there is a strength there held by the intrinsic idea, which does not need the kind of repitition I suggest to edit. If anything the edits would deepen the syncopatory aspect and leave the juxtapostions a cleaner landscape in which to be experienced by the reader, who then has more scope by which to make his or her assumptions as to where next or even imagine the textural flow that would be the story being told.

MT: Adding that extra “the” in the third line to me goes along with, say, having “air” all by itself on one line—making each line a realization, or a new {opening-into (kind of space)}.

@m_blanc_: the in this case becomes pedantic: it weighs down the natural rhythmic pulse into a linearity that does not sharpen the reading but threatens to dull it.. there are moments where repetition like this works and is an effective element in creating momentum: this is like pulling the handbrake when the reader is looking for an opening of the throttle… it depends on what your goal of the piece is at the end of the day… what kind of resonance are you looking to leave behind in any reader? They are never in the poem from your perspective: they read and breathe what they read from their own, so how you serve them the opportunity of a journey; however long short, simple or complex…where is it you want to take them and why? As a technician, you can never overlook this relationship for all the submersion you may wish for them of the emotively evocative in whatever you write.. this latter part is or should always be secondary. Your craft demands a singularly different focus at the time of shaping whatever idea into the piece.

Let me come
in silence spoken
(leave my words behind)

these three lines as written conjure a plea and an apology: the emotional mindset is defensive and almost passive: permission is sought and a justification given of what the speaker is willing to give up… a suitor/admirer/lover risks here the very kind of idealistic act of self erasure: on one level that plays into a scenic rendering of the forlorn lover helpless but to begging and even then losing out…on a different level altogether, ‘in silence spoke’ is a beautiful gracious willingness to participate respectfully, yet with being and soul intact…there is nothing defensive about the charm and the wit, which stands alone in a rather breath taking solitude and speaks of want desire and a certain playful sacrifice… for none of his words could be left behind even if he tried…and this is very clear to the reader… the implicit gallantry of that line is the page turner… keeping (leave my words behind) is like the sap line at the end of a scene in a soap and every woman sighs for the lack of courage ..kind of thing.
to my reading it is superfluous and negating.

(each line should be a hint not an explanation and not even a realisation at the moment of doing… that reflectiveness comes after the fact)…

the plaintive to melancholic colour should be its strength, not its dilution.. the dependency should be reciprocal not what weighs it down to a mafia cull :-)) ( just kidding)

my edit seeks to have the syncopatory dynamic reel off the lyricism…

the more you edit, the more it becomes something other: I work with text to reveal its essence which is where brilliance and sheen is to be found..

Considering edits from @m_blanc_

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I think I see the general ideas behind your edits-to-consider.  (I may not, though–if you’re game, tell me more, tell me more..!)

There’s the issue of repetition, which stops the reader, jerks them out of the flow, hence the removing of the repeated words/phrases you’re suggestion–right?  Is this why you suggested that?

I kind of (or typically would) agree on going that route, although in this case I was enjoying playing with making the reader stop at new lines in most cases (except the Let me come / in silence spoken / (leave my words behind) stanza).  Adding that extra “the” in the third line to me goes along with, say, having “air” all by itself on one line–making each line a realization, or a new {opening-into (kind of space)}.

And then you suggested (I think) removing the last line of the 3rd and 4th stanzas..which I like..and I get..but..if I start doing that, I start to become tempted by other changes:

If this:

Let me come
in silence spoken
(leave my words behind)

Put me on your back
carry me
there’s a place in this bag

:becomes this:

Let me come
in silence spoken

Put me on your back
[…]carry me

:I start to want to put an “and” or a “to” before “carry me” to maintain the new meter that’s been somewhat established:

Let me come
in silence spoken

Put me on your back
to carry me

Though, clearly, breaking the meter (at least of the last two stanzas–breaking that) at the very end with either “…carry me” or just “carry me” or even “Carry me” as a further-emphasized {possibly-new-stanza}..would be nice at the end of the poem because it stops them at the end, breaks the read-flow at the end.

Something else that’s tempting to me, with that line and with “air” is to do this:

–air–

..and..

–carry me–

:to set them off from everything else.

So, when I play with the removal of the last line of the last two stanzas, and then adjust-around other areas to fit my own reading, I end up with something like this:

Midnight rail you left
alone

Next time
you need a break
of air
the space of stars

I’ll come along
in silence

Spoken
tucked away

:or:

Midnight rail you left
alone

If next you need a break
in time
in air
in space of stars

I’ll come along
in silence

Spoken
tucked away

:which I like, but are different.  Part of what I like about the first way is it has a pleading element to it, like the pleading of a love relationship can sometimes get to be, perhaps a touch of codependence..an idea of {take me with you even if I have to fit into this place in your bag}-type of {needing to be loved}.  The phrasing of it is definitely less smooth than what I think you’re suggesting.  I think there’s a weakness, or a piano, or a light-footedness in my original version that–or a tentativeness or a lack-of-self-assurance (of the voice of the speaker)–that I hoped would give the feeling of this dependency-relationship between them (from the speaker’s point of view).  I feel certain there is some other way..with the meter/spareness I think you’re suggesting, yet still embodying that original plaintiveness..it might be interesting to find.  Thank you so much for your suggestions, they’ve given rise to pleasant thought, so thanks.  It’s heartening to have caring discussions about poetry/text, twitter has made that happen more for me lately, and for that I am glad.

This was a strange but interesting read and I would certainly read on if there was more to read. You seem to have got inside her head pretty well and captured the jumbled up thoughts of a teen. I found the breaking up of words a little disconcerting at the start but it’s clear this is the style you’re going for as it adds to the chatty nature of the character. You capture the nature of being a teen and aimless or certainly having all sorts of nonsense tumbling through your head very well. I have marked this in the higher range of what I have read on ywo. I like it – best of luck with it.

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This was a strange but interesting read and I would certainly read on if there was more to read. You seem to have got inside her head pretty well and captured the jumbled up thoughts of a teen. I found the breaking up of words a little disconcerting at the start but it’s clear this is the style you’re going for as it adds to the chatty nature of the character. You capture the nature of being a teen and aimless or certainly having all sorts of nonsense tumbling through your head very well. I have marked this in the higher range of what I have read on ywo. I like it – best of luck with it.

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