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Between Lines (Revision 2)


REVISION 2:

Damn…
Can’t seem to get it right,
he raised a creased brow, she prepared
to leave – poised, she stood on air:
one wrong move might disturb
his muse…

It’s all right, he said, right now,
I’m between lines.

With a swift
mock bow she sat without
moving. Bare arms, brown, the color
of coffee-froth, rested on the table
without occupying
space.

The play
of light and shade
traveled up her dress onto
her face, splitting her smile
in two: one reassured,
one unnconvinced.

Two moon
drops caught the light,
flashed on either side. He watched
their angle of retreat, into the
black clouds of her hair:
sensual discreet.

Suddenly
he was alert.
Suspicion sharpened senses:
was she dressed differently?
He watched like a hawk
from the haze of his
cigar smoke,

The blush
on her cheeks, was it
natural or put-on? She had never
bothered about make-up before.
On her dresser was a
photograph

of the kids,
her and him. A vase
stuffed with flowers, night-cream,
two brushes…her soft words broke his reverie:
Between the devil and the deep sea
is a good place to be,
she winked.

He thanked
His stars, leaned back
with a sigh of relief: another cup of coffee?
I wouldn’t dream of it, she rose so fast,
tipped the cups; sank his heart.
Her shadow danced.

Gracefully
gliding like a ballerina
in Swan-Lake: she made a smooth exit.

Damn… those lines that come between…


REVISION:

Damn…
Can’t seem to get it right,
he raised a creased brow,
she prepared to leave.
It’s all right, he said, right now,
I’m between lines...

Poised
on her toes, she stood on air,
hesitant to impose, as if,
one wrong move might
disturb his muse.

He insisted...
She smiled, a distraction
between lines...with a swift
mock bow she sat without moving.
Bare arms, warm, brown, the color
of coffee-froth, rested on
the table without
occupying space.

The play
of light and shade
traveled up her dress onto
her face, splitting her smile
in two, one reassured,
one unnconvinced.

Two moons
dropped from each ear,
he watched their angle of orbit,
tease the smooth sphere of her cheeks,
watched them disappear in the black
clouds of her hair:
sensual, discreet.

Suddenly
he was alert.
Suspicion sharpened senses:
was she dressed differently?
He watched like a hawk from the haze
of his cigar smoke, was the blush
on her cheeks natural
or put-on?

She had never
cared about make-up before.
On her dresser was a photograph
of the kids, her and him. A vase
stuffed with flowers, night-cream,
two brushes…her soft words
broke his reverie:

Between
the devil and the deep sea
is a good place to be, she winked.
He thanked his stars, leaned back
with a sigh of relief. Another
cup of coffee?

I wouldn’t
dream of it, she rose so fast,
tipped the cups; sank his heart.
Her shadow danced like a flame, gracefully
gliding like a ballerina in Swan-Lake:
she made a smooth exit.

Damn…
those lines that come between…
He banged his fist hard, the maid came in:
another cup of coffee?


ORIGINAL:

Damn…
can’t seem to get it right,
he raised a furrowed brow;
she prepared to leave.
It’s all right, he said, right now
I’m between lines…

She smiled…
the smile of a street urchin.
Her shadow danced like a flame
on the wall. A ballet dancer -
she stood on air, hesitant to impose.
One wrong move, might disturb the muse,
he’d been trying to invoke!

With a swift mock bow,
she sat without moving.
Head bent like a stalk,
her vulnerable back,
guarded by dark coils,
was white as snow.

Bare arms, warm, brown –
the color of coffee froth,
rested on the table without
occupying space. The play of light
and shade traveled up her dress,
onto her face, splitting her smile
in two: one reassured;
one unconvinced.

Moon drops
from sea-shell ears
tantalizingly teased:
coy, sensual, discreet.
Suspicion sharpened senses,
suddenly he was alert:
was she dressed differently?
Eyes narrowed, he watched
like a hawk from the haze
of his cigar smoke: was the blush
on her cheeks natural or put-on?

She had never cared
about make-up before.
On her dresser was a photograph
of the kids, her and him. A vase
stuffed with flowers,
night-cream, two brushes…
her soft words broke his reverie:

between the devil and the deep
sea is a good place to be.
She winked and mocked.
He thanked his stars
and leaned back with
a sigh of relief!

Another cup of coffee?

I wouldn’t dream of it,
she rose so fast, she tipped
the cups, sank his heart.
A brisk rustle, she left
the few hairs on his head,
standing on edge.
Gracefully gliding like
a ballerina in Swan-Lake:
she made a smooth exit.

Damn…
those lines that come between…


Last edited by queenfisher, Nov/5/2012, 5:12 am
Oct/23/2012, 5:37 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Between Lines


Hi queenfisher,

Another in your series of bedroom dramas. I use the word drama deliberately because I can see this scene being acted out in a play.

I know you like to play around with cliches and appreciate the sense of familiarity and universality using cliches can bring to a piece. That said, I stumbled on "furrowed brow," especially coming so early in the poem. I think "creased brow" would work better, still hint at and skirt the cliche without a direct hit.

In S2, I thought you might drop the last line: "he'd been trying to invoke!"

I really like the way you described this moment of uncertainty:

. . . The play of light
and shade traveled up her dress,
onto her face, splitting her smile
in two: one reassured;
one unconvinced.

I think you could comfortably cut a few adjectives here in the 3rd ad 4th lines:

Moon drops
from sea-shell ears
tantalizingly teased:
coy, sensual, discreet.
Suspicion sharpened senses,
suddenly he was alert:
was she dressed differently?

Love "Suspicions sharpend senses" followed by "was she dressed differently?" Also like the playful repartee here:

between the devil and the deep
sea is a good place to be.

I think you can drop "mocked" from this line, as the winking conveys what the reader needs to know about this part of the exchange:

She winked and mocked.

Overall, I think the poem has great potential but is a bit overwritten in parts. This poem isn't quite as purposefully campy as a few others you have posted, so I would suggest you paint the scene with a slightly lighter touch and trust the reader to make the connections, something I think most readers would enjoy doing. In the scene described, a little game is being played, a little dance enacted, and by opening up the meaning of the poem, you would allow the reader to more actively participate/play along too. If that makes sense. And if it doesn't, you know what to do. Use or lose as you see fit.

Last edited by Katlin, Oct/29/2012, 8:00 am
Oct/27/2012, 12:07 pm Link to this post Send Email to Katlin   Send PM to Katlin
 
vkp Profile
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Re: Between Lines


Damn…
can’t seem to get it right,
he raised a furrowed brow;
she prepared to leave.
It’s all right, he said, right now
I’m between lines…

Agree with Kat about "furrowed brow" but like the way the poem starts. Pulls reader in to a moment, an inside moment. Like the double entendre of "between lines" and I'm thinking this: that he wants her to work pretty hard to read between his lines.... But as it turns out, her lines are harder to read between....

She smiled…
the smile of a street urchin.
Her shadow danced like a flame
on the wall. A ballet dancer -
she stood on air, hesitant to impose.
One wrong move, might disturb the muse,
he’d been trying to invoke!

Not really sure what the smile of a street urchin is. That is not calling anything up for me. I keep picturing the Artful Dodger, quintessential urchin! I get a sense of their dynamic, her as dancing muse, flickering like a flame, him as demanding artist, straining to pin the muse down....

With a swift mock bow,
she sat without moving.
Head bent like a stalk,
her vulnerable back,
guarded by dark coils,
was white as snow.

I read Kat's reply so have an idea that you like to play with cliche, but I admit that "white as snow" is just too much for me.... Can heads bend like stalks? Isn't it the neck that is stalk-like? I like the line: "guarded by dark coils" and see the image of her hair on her back. Nice.


Bare arms, warm, brown –
the color of coffee froth,
rested on the table without
occupying space. The play of light
and shade traveled up her dress,
onto her face, splitting her smile
in two: one reassured;
one unconvinced.

This strophe is lovely to me -- I likethe idea of her arms resting without occupying space and the two parts of her smile -- good stuff. But my mind stopped at coffee froth -- not because it isn't a great way to describe a color (it is) but I thought her skin was white as snow...?

Moon drops
from sea-shell ears
tantalizingly teased:
coy, sensual, discreet.
Suspicion sharpened senses,
suddenly he was alert:
was she dressed differently?
Eyes narrowed, he watched
like a hawk from the haze
of his cigar smoke: was the blush
on her cheeks natural or put-on?

Seeing her through his eyes and the squinting, the haze, it's all there. Agree that the adjectives are overdone. Not loving seashell ears, just because it's been done. Again, that may be your intention here....

She had never cared
about make-up before.
On her dresser was a photograph
of the kids, her and him. A vase
stuffed with flowers,
night-cream, two brushes…
her soft words broke his reverie:

I'm not sure what is happening at this point -- mostly re. first two lines, though I take away from them that she is real, no subterfuge or games. But the rest of the poem belies that, and so I am left curious....

between the devil and the deep
sea is a good place to be.
She winked and mocked.
He thanked his stars
and leaned back with
a sigh of relief!

The scene has been well drawn so that, at this point, I can see the stage set perfectly in my mind's eye. She seems to hold all the cards though he either wants to or thinks that he does. His relief is palpable without the need for "with a sigh of relief" -- again a bit trite and also simply overkill.

Another cup of coffee?

I wouldn’t dream of it,
she rose so fast, she tipped
the cups, sank his heart.
A brisk rustle, she left
the few hairs on his head,
standing on edge.
Gracefully gliding like
a ballerina in Swan-Lake:
she made a smooth exit.

Damn…
those lines that come between…

So in the end he is surprised after all that it is she, not he, who calls the shots, and his relief was ever so short-lived. I especially love this: "she tipped/the cups, sank his heart." Not crazy about "few hairs on his head,/standing on edge."

Lots here, and a very atmospheric treatment of a moment, with many many deft touches. I am very hopeful that you will show us a tweaked version of this. I will look forward to that!
vkp
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Re: Between Lines


queenfisher,

I think you definitely have a gift for narrative. I thought, as I was reading this that you probably could comfortably write fiction. It wouldn't take much of a leap from this. The others have mentioned the cliches, and I would have to look at this poem more closely to make any pronouncement on that, so I'll stay neutral. Lately I've been reading about David Foster Wallace and other writers who seem to embody the anti-Hemingway niche; that is, they explode with detail -- which I suppose means adjectives. It has me reconsidering my position on all this. I did enjoy it, even if I have not fully absorbed it all. Thanks for posting this for us. Zak
Oct/29/2012, 7:12 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
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Re: Between Lines


dear katlin

thanks for the reading & the inputs

i agree with you completely - it is overwritten - & has to be more subtly played out with tight nuances & a great deal of sophistication!

thanks for pointing me in the right direction - i get what you mean - & this one poem i'm very keen to revise - as it will be a great excercise.
Oct/31/2012, 1:21 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
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Re: Between Lines


dear vkp

many thanks!

was trying to give the man a burly heavy ponderous image & a fey quality to the woman - sometimes women disappear in a long marriage! unseen by dear husbands!

i'm not quite sure what's happening here - it's all insinuation - perhaps she's come to seduce her husband who maybe a successful writer but somewhat pompous.

she could be having an affair or not - but he's forced to see - the air around her is different or was but he never saw.

i thought furrowed was a heavier word - describing the guy

i guess her arms got more sunburnt than her back! but yes i agree - it is over written

your writer's mind is always at work & i love your analysis:

 that he wants her to work pretty hard to read between his lines.... But as it turns out, her lines are harder to read between....

&

I get a sense of their dynamic, her as dancing muse, flickering like a flame, him as demanding artist, straining to pin the muse down....

i learn a lot from your analysis i'm so glad you take the trouble!it is of immense help.

i will keep in mind - all those overwritten parts that you & katlin mention & will definitly be tweaking this.

thanks a ton!





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Re: Between Lines


hi zak

thanks! i am trying to write a short story - only it's turning out rather long!

yes it is pretty much an explosion - i'll have to make it a controlled implosion!

glad you enjoyed!
Oct/31/2012, 1:57 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 
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Re: Between Lines (Revision in progress)


Queen, Your responses to my responses are often just as great to read as the poetry. I mean, not really emoticon , but very thoughtful. I'm so looking forward to the tweaked version!
vkp
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Re: Between Lines (Revision 2)


Hi queenfisher,

I'm liking your revisions. Rev1 is tighter than the original, and Rev2 is tighter still, which means that the poem reads faster and has more tension in keeping with the uncertainty of the romantic scene.

BTW, don't be afraid to bump up a thread when you post a revision. If you don't, folks may not realize there is one. emoticon
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Re: Between Lines (Revision 2)


QF---

yes, a short story? Romance novel?

i see the flair, the desire and writing chops to give more. Great!

i wonder if you are playing a little trick, making the woman viewed by the narrator not so much as real, but a character in his composition that he seeks to get just right.

if so, different physical backgrounds become possible and offer the poet an opportunity for a line or so open to other genre cliches:


Blue Mountain lay silhouetted against a moonlit Jamaican sky.



this is what prompts my interest in the Romance type story---

Two moon
drops caught the light,
flashed on either side. He watched
their angle of retreat, into the
black clouds of her hair:
sensual discreet.


Kavanagh:

But now I am back in her briary arms;
The dew of an Indian Summer morning lies
On the bleached potato stalks



and these lines that particularly suggested a tribute, however tentative, in your poem:


With a swift
mock bow she sat without
moving. Bare arms, brown, the color
of coffee-froth, rested on the table
without occupying
space.


sweet and very, very nice.


by Dublin's Grand Canal, inspired by his poem "Lines written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin":

to commemorate me where there is water
canal water preferably, so stilly
greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
commemorate me thus beautifully.

Where by a lock Niagariously roars
the falls for those who sit in the tremendous silence
 Of mid-July. No one will speak in prose
 Who finds his way to these Parnassian islands
 A swan goes by head low with many apologies.
 Fantastic light looks through the eyes of bridges
 And look! a barge comes bringing from Athy
 And other far-flung towns mythologies.
 O commemorate me with no hero-courageous
 Tomb -- just a canal-bank seat for the passer-by.


Kavanagh



the coffee didn't stir my bones:

with a sigh of relief: another cup of coffee?
I wouldn’t dream of it, she rose so fast,
tipped the cups; sank his heart.
Her shadow danced.


what about a Romance set in.....you name it.

good work making the narrative interesting.

and here, just for fun, this wonderful stuff that is hard to find these days:

Ronald Firbank's thrilling description ---circa 1918---


She wore a 'dishabille' of mignonette-green silk and bead-diapered head-dress that added several inches to her height

here's the near opening of his novel, Vainglory (1915)

On such a languid afternoon how hard it seemed to bear a cross! Pleasant to tilt it a little—lean it for an instant against somebody else.... Her listener waved her handkerchief expressively. She felt, just then, it was safer not to speak....

On a dark canvas screen were grouped some inconceivably delicate Persian miniatures.
She bent towards them. 'Oh, what gems!'










bernie





Last edited by 36064, Nov/19/2012, 4:08 pm
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Re: Between Lines (Revision 2)


I am so thrilled to see the revision. I think it is very well done.
Nov/24/2012, 1:38 pm Link to this post Send Email to vkp   Send PM to vkp Blog
 
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Re: Between Lines (Revision 2)


thanks vkp!

returned recently from no-net country up on the mountains - catching up!

thanks bernie for all the wonderful inputs!

hi katlin - thanks for looking into the revision
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Re: Between Lines (Revision 2)


This is quite a good poem. What strikes me is how disarming the writing is. Not all apparant at first how accomplished is the story telling. Then I realize, oh, the writer knows what she is doing all right, just playing with me.

Quite a scene getting depicted here, not the kind of thing often found in poetry. And the layered sense alive between the two characters. Alive and conveyed deftly. Yes. The psychological portrait of the marriage that has been created by 2 people. More I think on it more I think the poem says a lot more than it lets on it's saying.

Maybe you know this prose poem by Charles Baudelaire. http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/61378/

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Re: Between Lines (Revision 2)


dear tere

yes the execrable wife is right! exactly the kind of marriage - settled in & yet...

the giver of pleasure & pain...one you could kill...at times. the ending is superb! ah dear angel how i thank you for my skill!

thanks for sendng the link - hours of good reading!

Is not the slaying of the monster Time the most ordinary and legitimate occupation of man?--enjoyed the piece!the irony!

you seem quite the marksman yourself!

& thank you for your so very generous comments & for honoring me with such accomplishments i dare say i feel like emily dickinson - or thereabouts & it has increased my enthusiasm tenfold to improve upon my art.
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Re: Between Lines (Revision 2)


i think someone might have washed the forum's
mouth with soap & water one too often - it just wont type dick even if it's part of a name! i'll change that to the bronte sisters!
Dec/14/2012, 4:57 am Link to this post Send Email to queenfisher   Send PM to queenfisher Blog
 


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