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carolinex Profile
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Man Tears


He suckled his secret lover
yet lips devoured
without tenderness.

I don't know why
he cherished his pale ale
more than me.

I listened in the dark.
He sunk to his knees
and supplicated to the toilet.

The day our son drove him home,
he retched in the living room,
on the dog's bed.

My shame grew
into strength.

After he moved away,
dirty clothes still in the closet,
I dreamed about him
lying on the sidewalk

around the block,
no one to pick him up,
wearing one earring

a butterfly.

Last edited by carolinex, Jan/29/2010, 5:23 pm
Jan/20/2010, 7:23 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
carolinex Profile
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Re: Man Tears


I think I wrote and posted this here a long while ago. I recently revised and added the middle. I have some ideas to make this one into a collage so I want to finish off the poem.
Jan/20/2010, 7:25 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Man Tears


I find this quite offensive actually, this idea that there could be man tears. I have never wept in my life and neither have any of the men I have ever known. What sort of gender sabotage is this?

Steve.
Jan/20/2010, 8:51 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
carolinex Profile
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Re: Man Tears


That is actually my biggest question about the piece, the title. But I'm concerned about other conceptual stuff too of course...
Jan/21/2010, 12:32 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Man Tears


Obviously I have no political objections to the title, Caroline. I weep like a baby at the slightest excuse. But there could be a thing about the whole idea of 'man xxxx'. Most often when you get that construct it is a pejorative. 'Man Flu' and 'man boobs', spring to mind. It probably lifts itself beyond that sort of consideration, but maybe it's sort of there playing in the background. I've no idea at all if anyone else would think the same. Anyway, I haven't finished reading it properly yet, so I'll say more later.

Steve.

Jan/21/2010, 3:30 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
carolinex Profile
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Re: Man Tears


I knew you were kidding. You cry more than me.


Jan/21/2010, 4:43 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: Man Tears


You're right. I cry professionally for England.

 emoticon
Jan/21/2010, 4:58 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
eman resu Profile
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Re: Man Tears


Hi, Caroline,

It's funny; I thought the title was God-awful (to be frank) until I read that you were kicking around collage ideas. All sorts of visual possiblities that might, erm, redeem the title and then some. Anyway. . .

I like the opening sequence that is presented in the first four Ss -- a brief vignette-list of sorts. In particular I like the balance of form and content, the repetitive 3 liners giving a certain defeatist quality to the sequence in tandem with the content. I do think a couple linebreaks (after L2 and L4 specifically) are awkward. I get the wanting to isolate "no tenderness," but offer that the break is possibly sacrificing too much to get there. Looking again, I see a play with "he" and "knees" so you might want to ignore my nit on L4.

"My shame / grew into strength" seems unnecessary. . .or at least unfulfilled by the rest of the poem. Maybe more a visual cue toward the collage there?

I really like the rest -- the 'breaking away' from the sequence in terms of format as well as the movement of commas emerging from all those full stops.

Definitely enjoyed the read. .. and hope to see the completed collage if you go that direction!

Best,
E-

Jan/21/2010, 6:17 pm Link to this post Send Email to eman resu   Send PM to eman resu
 
Dragon59 Profile
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Re: Man Tears


Title didn't bother me in the slightest. It intrigued. Made me want to read the poem. Maybe the overly-testosteroned folk among us need to get over it. emoticon

If you wanted to go slightly avant-garde with the title, you could make a one word run-together: Mantears. That might shift the initial impression somewhat, if that's what you wanted to do.

It's a Bukowskian poem, both in tone and in content. In that sense I like those first four stanzas, the sequence of anecdotes of drunken stupidity.

The fifth stanza is the hinge of course. I wonder if it's too plain and blunt a hinge. It sort of tells us what the poem is about, what we're sort of expected to think. I wonder if it's too much telling, not enough eliciting.

The ending also works, like the first four stanzas. It's strong because it's anecdotal, like the beginning, and just shows us what's happened.

So I guess what I'm saying is that the hinge part of the poem isn't working as well for me, because it's too blunt and plain and straightforward. I wonder if it could be more oblique, more showing than telling. Of maybe it doesn't need to be there at all. It might be a better poem without that stanza; the hinge would be there still, implied if not blatant.

Just wondering if that would work better.

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Jan/21/2010, 9:38 pm Link to this post Send Email to Dragon59   Send PM to Dragon59
 
deepwaters Profile
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Re: Man Tears


Hi Caroline -

I like how this poem starts and ends; however, I find the poem uneven. I think Dragon raises a very good point.

When I get to

My shame grew
into strength.


for this reader, "shame" comes from no where. I had no idea that the poet had been expressing anything shameful about themselves or had shame about anything. And after that, "strength" is too much of a push. Just reading about the dream is enough to know that it was a sign of strength.

Just my two cents. Thanks for posting.
-s

Jan/22/2010, 12:23 am Link to this post Send Email to deepwaters   Send PM to deepwaters
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Man Tears


Hi Caroline,

Strong poem. Gritty, straight-forward, honest. The ending took me by surprise, in a good way. About that pivotal stanza:

"My shame grew
into strength."

It stopped me, both because of what was said and because of how it was said (emotional telling). I like what Dragon said about it being the hinge stanza in the poem. When I thought about lines in that context, I struck me that there is something about the telling that isn't so straight-forward after all. It makes me think that the N had something to do with the husband's leaving, that he didn't just go away on his own. This complicates and adds a layer of meaning to the ending for me.

I'm looking forward to seeing the collage for this.


 
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SteveParker Profile
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Re: Man Tears


Hi, Caroline. I guess this is about the dichotomy of what we are, and especially what men are, and more especially what one man is/are/was/might be/other...

It seems to start off about alcoholism and the mixed security of that. 'He' feels loved by it but really doesn't get what he wants from it. It's a lover, but a very jaded and dead lover. I wonder about this 'suckled' thing. I mean like did he suckle it or did it suckle him? Who was sucking from who? But then again maybe that works, or could do. Of course there is this reciprocity, and of course there is the thing within that has to be suckled. The outer thing suckles the inner thing by feeding it alcohol. Yes, okay.

I'm not wild about the examples of the toilet etc; they seem routine stuff about alcoholism. I'd rather have the startling shots from the narrator than the routine examples. Maybe there have to be examples here as background material, but I much prefer the dynamism of 'my shame grew/into strength', and hey, what a line break there. That is a very classy way to duplicitize a line of poetry. Okay, I think I made that word up.

I suppose by the end I come out feeling that this isn't really about man tears as such, but about tears about men. I like that the narrator finds it in her/himself to be so kind by the end, despite everything, and that the poem can still talk in gentle terms like 'a butterfly'.

I guess that's my main sense of this, that it's a very unusual poem about this sort of thing. It's ostensibly an affectionate poem about an abusive alcoholic partner. So I suppose what it's really about is the state of peace with all of that of the narrator. That's not overtly stated, but it's very much the necessary conclusion. I know there is all the resignation and the reality of accepting dysfunction here, but there is also all this kindness. That's a pretty rare thing in this sort of poetry.

What a fine read.

Thanks,

Steve.

Jan/22/2010, 7:15 pm Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: Man Tears


but there is also all this kindness. That's a pretty rare thing in this sort of poetry.

Yes, there is so much tenderness that comes through at the end, which is the real gift of the poem to me. That ending reminded me so much of my grandfather, who is now dead, but who came home late one night from the bar. He said he fell, but we suspected he had gotten into a fight. His eye was bruised and the ring finger on his right hand was broken. It got so swollen that when he finally went to the emergency room, they had to cut his Masonic ring off his finger. The image of that sawed off ring, once one of his prized possessions, haunted me for years. Still does it turns out. The image of the butterfly earring in your poem, Caroline, brought the memory back to me with all its tender (in both senses of the word) feelings. TY. Sartre once said, "Writing is an ax for the frozen sea within us." Your poem's affect on me reminds me that this is so.

Last edited by Katlin, Jan/22/2010, 8:57 pm
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SteveParker Profile
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Re: Man Tears


I meant to mention also that there is the other possibilty in the title here, that 'man tears', as in man rips apart. It's kind of appropriate that that is there in the background.

Steve.
Jan/23/2010, 6:27 am Link to this post Send Email to SteveParker   Send PM to SteveParker
 
carolinex Profile
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Re: Man Tears


This is so helpful to me to hear how each of you take the poem. Just when one convinces me that something needs to change another convinces me to keep it as it is.

I love that idea of hinge Dragon. That is what I meant to express, that thing that can happen to make you finally change. Shab, the shame I guess is implied, how you feel to have your son witness this.

And yes Kaitlin the telly lines meant to express that she booted him out the door. I see how this brought back your grandfather memory (and perhaps this will lead to another poem). I like how one person's experience can reopen anothers. First person is not just about "I".

I was thinking of "One Man's Tears" but of course there are many ways it could be read and as you point those out Steve I think I like it. I meant it to tie with the ending somehow too. My concern was that it might sound like All Men's Tears.

For now I have only changed that one line break you suggest Eric and will let the rest settle. THe collage will could be a long time, though I started a pencil sketch this morning...

Many thanks for such sensitive reading and responses.
Jan/23/2010, 4:06 pm Link to this post Send PM to carolinex
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Man Tears


Caroline,
I read the notes the other day, but I don't remember them, and purposely so. This poem is pretty much a mystery to me, Caroline. I'm sorry I couldn't give you more feedback. Maybe now I'll reread the notes. I do remember there was a lot of discussion about the title Man Tears. That didn't bother me so much as the content of the poem. The title is just s bit strange. Zak

quote:

CarolineX wrote:

He suckled his secret lover
yet lips devoured with
no tenderness. [I don't understand this first stanza.]

I don't know why
he cherished his pale ale
more than me. [I'm guess this means he likes his drink more than me?]

I listened in the dark.
He sunk to his knees
and supplicated to the toilet. [He's throwing up?]

The day our son drove him home,
he retched in the living room,
on the dog's bed. [That's really low, to throw up on Spot's bed.]

My shame grew
into strength. [There's not enough explanation for why the shame grew into strength. The first several stanzas simply explain the condition of the man, but don't really cover the changes in the narrator.]

After he moved away,
dirty clothes still in the closet,
I dreamed about him
lying on the sidewalk [This is probably the best stanza in the poem. There's real material here, and even a bit of Magical Realism.]

around the block,
no one to pick him up,
wearing one earring [I don't get it. There are hints he may have been gay, but I just don't know.]

a butterfly.



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pjouissance Profile
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Re: Man Tears


Hi, Caroline,

I love the title, but I agree it's a liitle confusing as the poem seems to be about tears for a man.

The poem seems to pick out just the right details to me. The dirty clothes are a very good touch. I think sometimes that it is the musical faculty in us that teaches us to end on just the right note -- in this case, you contrasted the ugly details at the beginning with the one bit of beauty still imagined to be part of the man. It's the perfect end-note. I also think that butterfly represents the N's feelings -- all that is left of her love for him, a small but telling thing.

Nice job!

Auto
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Terreson Profile
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Re: Man Tears


This is the montage artist I know. Your eye may be uniquely your own. S1 strikes me as awkward. Fumble fingers. I am not saying the poem starts with S2. I am saying the poem needs a stronger, less self-conscious opening.

The strength of a butterfly's flutter by works for me, Wrenfriend.

Tere
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Patricia Jones Profile
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Re: Man Tears


I have no nits with this poem...nor with all the comments being given to it. I've read it over and over again and think the poem is painfully clear and lovingly, beautifully stated.

I would love to see the collage that comes from it.

Not much in the way of a crit, I know...but if one has no nits after many reads, why go looking for one in order to respond to the poet? : )
 
Pat

Last edited by Patricia Jones, Jan/24/2010, 1:18 am


---
"Don't you worry--I ain't evil, I'm just bad".
~Chris Smither~
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carolinex Profile
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Re: Man Tears


quote:

I also think that butterfly represents the N's feelings



Thank you Pam. This is very true. I'mglad that comes though. THanks for your impressions.
I wonder why straight men can't wear butterfly earrings Zak?
Anyway thanks for your impressions. Long time no see! Hope things are well and to find you here more .

Tere--I did change a couple words in the opening stanza that might make it smoother.

And Pat
It's so nice to read that you wanted to spend time with this poem. I know you to mean just what you say and feel very complimented.

I guess this one is a keeper. Have appreciated so much attention. (Thank you to everyone!) I'll let it set for now...

Last edited by carolinex, Jan/29/2010, 5:47 pm
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