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  #1  
Unread 11-10-2020, 07:59 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default Americology

Americology

At Lucky's Tavern, which is COVID-slow,
a jukebox pumps the past into the air.
Whoa, it is thirty, forty years ago—
Grunge, Metal, Hip-hop, Disco. Why stop there?

I warp on: Bull Run, Concord. I am with
Columbus and Cortez (those mad explorers),
then Sioux and Mandan, since, to get the myth
that is America, with its sacred horrors,

you gotta range at random, man, run wild,
communing with it all: the misfit spirit,
the snake-bit dissident, the touched stepchild.
I don’t reach El Dorado but get near it

from where I’m sitting, staring at the heart of
this fucked-up fabled dreamscape I’m a part of.

. . . . .

Line 1 was: "At Lucky, which is dim and COVID-slow"

Line 4 was: "Grunge, Hip-hop, Metal. Disco. Why stop there?"

Line 9: "you gotta" for "one has to"

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 11-11-2020 at 02:07 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 11-10-2020, 09:40 AM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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This is strong.

I wonder whether the ending might hit harder if the poem had given us clearer hints about how the speaker participates in this fucked-up dreamscape. All we know is that he shops at Lucky, which can connect him to a lot of economic abuses, but only if the reader supplies those connections. (I'm assuming he's not the stepfather abusing a child.)

"You have to" or even "ya gotta" might better match the rest of the poem's language, but maybe the variety, the implication that the speaker stands for many people, the "one has to" as well as the "random, man" is intentional. Certainly the speaker is erudite.

"Sitting" near the end suggests that the speaker's reflections on America have outlasted his shopping trip. I'm not sure that's helpful.
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  #3  
Unread 11-10-2020, 10:25 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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.
After reading the first stanza I had hoped it was going to continue with the jukebox-as-time machine — But you dropped the jukebox metaphor like a hot potato. Yet he voice is fluid and the rhythm and rhyme are music of their own.

I don't know if this is complete. You breeze through epochs like a checklist. It ends back in the present epoch of the hip that are quick to disparage. I like it, but don't know that you've said anything other than that the speaker is a skeptic.

But, as always, it's a breeze and a pleasure to read your verse.
.
.
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Unread 11-10-2020, 11:42 AM
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RCL RCL is offline
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Aaron, I love the dual-rhymes spirit/near it; heart of/part of. I also note that a “touched” child could be one that mentally challenged.
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Unread 11-11-2020, 12:47 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, gentlemen.

Max,

I have revised the first line to clarify that the setting for the poem is a bar. Also, thank you for the "you gotta" suggestion--I think that's better.

Jim,

I started writing a poem about music, the past and memory, but, after a few drinks and, perhaps under the influence of our political situation as well, wanted to do something bigger. I fear the first poem I intended would have been predictable.

Ralph,

thank you very much. Yes, "touched"--I do intend it in the sense of "whacked" or "crazy," though I am comfortable with the uncomfortable implications of molestation as well.

What do you think of the revisions?
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Unread 11-11-2020, 01:16 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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“COVID-slow” means what? I think a reference that touches on universal daily experience should be easier to understand than decorative surrealism, for example, might be. Otherwise, some of the catalogue is more immediate than other items. All should be there, however. “COVID-slow”?
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Unread 11-15-2020, 01:03 PM
Bill Marsh Bill Marsh is offline
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The travel to the past starts out as musical nostalgia, but from the second stanza on, there is no music or experienced past, but the just historical past. Also, I wasn't clear where Eldorado comes in or why the poet gets near it. The sonnet is a compressed form and so jumps are OK as is asking the reader to make connections, so don't know what to make of it, but after three readings I am concerned the piece is too loose.
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Unread 11-15-2020, 02:48 PM
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Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Bill and Aaron, in this case I can relate somehow to many of his references and am not troubled much by those that slide by. I’ve read it a vague number of times and might read it more. This is in one of Aaron Poochigian’s signature styles. Are there particular historical areas that trouble you? Why not ask him. He will speak for himself.
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Unread 11-16-2020, 06:49 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Hello, Bill and Allen,

yes, I regard the "leap" as a hallmark of exciting rather than predictable poetry.

It was Cortez who was looking for El Dorado (he didn't find it).

Best,

Aaron
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  #10  
Unread 11-20-2020, 07:37 PM
Bill Carpenter Bill Carpenter is offline
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Great beginning. I don't find the race through highlights of American history persuasive.

Last edited by Bill Carpenter; 11-20-2020 at 09:45 PM.
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