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SteveParker Profile
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a creek in the neckriff


the grinning fossilized foetus elephant (mammoth) flat-cycles across the skin
—the sea-skin seen from Space

the half human exults in the drowning vessel
watches the men go down

the infinite verse your mother has slept

the seagod counts to the number Graham then falters wonders can there be another
—there is: Graham plus one is called the elephant embryo cycle
it is a seagate
at which lonely verses wait lonely-(verses) two lonely verses

but wait cannot compare
with the little embryo elephant smiling
in its great circle

.

Last edited by SteveParker, Feb/12/2010, 2:01 am
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culdesac101 Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


i started out thinking that line right there “Graham plus one is called the elephant embryo cycle” is key to unlocking the poem. googling throws up a lot of disparate stuff (starting with : Oprah is my plus one says Stedman graham and then a guide to the tour de france) after trying out various combos i am gingerly falling back on the poem itself which looks like a tongue-in-cheek mixture of far-sweeping strong descriptions (sea-skin, the infinite verse your mother has slept …) and the profane (i wonder if the mother here is some sort of earth mother or am i reading too much into it?): something of a Mr Parker acts as compere to nat geo. ‘grinning fossilized foetus elephant (mammoth) flat-cycles across the skin /—the sea-skin seen from Space” the parentheses works for me. mammoth as an adj as also a noun. mammoth also seems to tie in with the half-human mentioned later. i like the way “grinning fossilized foetus elephant” sounds and the sea-skin description as i said earlier is beautiful as also the mudflats hinted at . i get a faint image of a long gestation period (elephant embryo cycle), some sort of evolution in progress. i am especially taken by the lines “it is a seagate /at which lonely verses wait lonely-(verses) two lonely verses” again the use of parentheses. but i am sure i am missing out on some overt allusion in “the seagod…cycle”. also the title eludes me. which riff? say what ? the poem appeals to me but i can’t grasp it. - Kim
Feb/12/2010, 4:47 am Link to this post Send Email to culdesac101   Send PM to culdesac101
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Appeal without grasping sounds pretty much my ideal in a poem. Anyway, 'Graham' is 'Graham's Number', generally referred to by mathematicians as 'Graham'. It's basically a very large but indeterminate number that was used by Ron Graham as the bounding upper limit to a particular mathematical problem. I wanted it to be a sort of action of infinity in process and counting always one more. No one knows what Graham is, but it has more zeroes than there are sub-atomic particles in the universe. A paw hitting a keyboard maybe. Plus I wanted to characterize this process as fossilization and gestation and cartography, and also build in a demon form that exults in mortality. So I was really trying to write a little Bible here to a little dead elephant god (the youngest angel) laughing at Time.

In praise of the non-duality of it all I threw some Yeats into the pan towards the end to do with his twinborn spirits, 'Death and Love', the 'earth-enkindled pair' that wait at 'Paradise's gate' etc. So it's also an homage to my favourite poem by Yeats, which is actually two poems: Love and Death, and The Stolen Child. Obviously Bladerunner is in there too with the 'seagate' and the possibility of immortality. So all just a little thought experiment about Time and infinity and myth-making.

Thanks for having a look.

Steve.

Last edited by SteveParker, Feb/13/2010, 4:17 pm
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Terreson Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Steve, my one complaint with the poem is that it is entirely too short. Riff on the theme, man, the way a blues man would. I think I got poem's intention even before reading your exegis. I just think you need to run with it by way of fleshing out the idea.

This line is the poem's most lyrical:

"at which lonely verses wait lonely-(verses) two lonely verses"

So go ahead. Give yourself permission to run the voodoo down.

Tere
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


You've sussed me, Tere. This is far from finished. In fact this was just the notes I made from which to write a poem about this stuff. But I quite liked the sequence and thought I'd give it a go as a sort of shorthand version. Yes, it's going to be quite a lot longer when it's done for real.

Cheers,

Steve.
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Terreson Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Steveman, I hope getting sussed is a good thing, but I'm not sure. Anyway, good to hear you got more poem in mind.

Tere
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Getting sussed is absolutely fine, man. No worries at all. I'm happy that you sensed it.

Steve.
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zoe guilherme Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Hey Steve

Excuse my short postings, I'm on limited net access.


Love the opening, grinning mammoth is a gorgeous image,
flat-cycles – very cool, flat fossil - cycles of time. Sets up a very cool time line.

I’m very happy to read that you building upon what’s already here, I’m all about chances and baby mammoth’s are a wonderful example of the possibilities.

Graham plus one – that’s big, huge. I’ve used up most of the zero’s but maybe there’s a couple left…


at which lonely verses wait lonely-(verses) two lonely verses

but wait cannot compare
with the little embryo elephant
smiling in its great circle - exquisite, Steve. Really pure and I love deeply.

Very best to you, friend

Zoe

Feb/14/2010, 7:28 pm Link to this post Send Email to zoe guilherme   Send PM to zoe guilherme
 
SteveParker Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


I think I've rechanged my mind about this one. I do like it, and I think compression is good. I'm still going to do a longer exploration of this stuff, but I think this works anyway.

Thanks, Zoe. You took me back to where I was at.

Steve.
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zoe guilherme Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Yes, Steve, the compression works, works beautifully.

But I want more, might not make it better, but it may satisfy my greed.

I make no apologies for said greed.

Best

Zoe
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


How unaccountably weird that you should have written a poem that mentions a baby mammoth too. These things are not exactly everyday terms. How weird! I honestly had not read your poem before that mentioned such a thing.

This happens sometimes with poetry, though. I can give you some earlier examples of people chiming like that.

Steve.
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zoe guilherme Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Yes, funky, huh?

I know we both enjoy 'National Geographic' - there's the connection, right there.

I'm always searching for fresh images and the baby mammoth's really struck a chord, you know?

I love yours.

Zoe

Last edited by zoe guilherme, Feb/14/2010, 9:28 pm
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Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Steve Parker,
You and I have established different preferences in poetry in the past, nevertheless, I do like a lot of your poetry because you have the ability to pull out feeling and image out of the splash of notes, words, jumble. And sometimes some sort of internal rhythm, believe it or not. In this one, I've marked in red the lines I like. I can understand that the ones I don't prefer probably do support the poem, though. I'm made some additional notes. Good luck with all your work (play?). Zak

SteveParker wrote:

the grinning fossilized foetus elephant (mammoth) flat-cycles across the skin
—the sea-skin seen from Space

the half human exults in the drowning vessel
watches the men go down
[I like this image and would want to see it more central to the poem. This is strongly worded and makes some sort of statement.]

the infinite verse your mother has slept [Again, you have individual lines that evoke strong currents of feeling, memory, emotion. But this type of poetry seems to pull away from development. My wife and I talked about it this morning. Had you in mind, sort of, that much of the poetry today is like a Jackson Pollack {sic?)painting. I reference culdesac's attempt to figure this poem out. His discussion actually helped. It makes me wonder whether this is what this current poetry requires: discusssion. Poetry probably always has, but this seems more the case today. Among ten people, one will sort of "get it", though I question what "getting it" is, since any number of things can be taken from a Pollock painting. But I've gone off on a tangent.]

the seagod counts to the number Graham then falters wonders can there be another
—there is: Graham plus one is called the elephant embryo cycle
it is a seagate
at which lonely verses wait lonely-(verses) two lonely verses [I don't understand the verses in parenthesis. This, of course, kills the smoothness of the poem here.]

but wait cannot compare
with the little embryo elephant smiling
in its great circle
[Another good image.]



Feb/15/2010, 11:06 am Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
Katlin Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Steve,

The first thing that strikes me about the poem is the way I can read it, despite the lack of standard grammar and my lack of understanding about the topic. The way I can hear a voice, its tone, the rhythmic and syntactical startings and stoppings.

I am a tweaker, which some people like and some people hate. Two tweaks I would suggest:

drop "the" in the first line. It stops me everytime; without it I slide right into the poem, into the first two lines, which I love, but maybe without the article the lines are too Hopkins-esque? Could be, but I'm a sucker for such music. At any rate, now you've got me hooked.

Change "the" to "as" here:

the half human exults in the drowning vessel
watches as men go down (Mostly because the first two stanzas seem to me "the" heavy.)

In the last line of S4, is that a dash or hyphen after verses? I'm thinking it's a hyphen. I took the use of parenthesis to be a visual reinforcement of separation.

I like the way "but wait" in the last stanza echoes the interrupted faltering ("there is") in the previous stanza. But this time the interruption leads to the reverse: can versus cannot.

Without the comments up thread, I didn't understand the poem's layers, but what did come through was a sense of coming full circle, a sense not of completion but of wholeness, wholly unexpected after the infinite, lonely drowning that comes between.

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SteveParker Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Zak, I am all for trying to make poetry a real thing. Real life doesn't have mellifluous flows and sweeps of iambs, so I'm into interrupting it and breaking it in the exact same way that your head works when you have these conversations that you mention. I know your head doesn't follow some straight track to truth, but meanders and wavers and stop-starts and coughs and wonders for a while. Well, so does mine. Why should I write a poem that pretends otherwise? Is it a practiced and rehearsed stage show or is it a human stuttering out the semi-ape semi-human stuff of a personal reality? Don't get me wrong, I love the circus element of poetry too, and sometimes I do that. You'll find plenty of scansion on my blog. But my primary thing is to attempt to just do reality as it is, all the broken mosaic of a human looking out.

Steve.
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Katlin, I am okay with poetry being irritating, so I'm not losing any articles, though I get the irritation. I don't think of poetry as TV in any way, so I don't feel a need to refine it to make it more friendly or readable. Just is. In fact, the more irritating it is the more I like it. Quite often anyway.

I am a tweaker too, though some people don't say it as politely as that.

I love Hopkins.

I'm not writing poetry in any way as entertainment or to make friends. I don't care if everyone hates me and my poetry. In fact I will think that is quite cool.

I write poems very quickly, and I almost never revise them.

I love reading people's responses, positive or negative. I am never offended because I like what I do and recognise that others don't have to like it.

This response is me having a laugh about Ron Silliman.

Thank you for your critique. I'm afraid the world has changed a little since you wrote it.

An owl. An owl. Where now my fragments of death? an owl. that's all.

Steve.



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Katlin Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


quote:

SteveParker wrote:

Katlin, I am okay with poetry being irritating, so I'm not losing any articles, though I get the irritation. I don't think of poetry as TV in any way, so I don't feel a need to refine it to make it more friendly or readable. Just is. In fact, the more irritating it is the more I like it. Quite often anyway.



Hi Steve,

Honestly, I wasn't irritated by your use of the word the. My suggestions regarding the articles weren't meant to make the poem more friendly or readable. Maybe more refined in an aural sense, but I love delicious sounds in poetry and I think you have some there. I did say my suggestions might be too Hopkin-esque (could be read as too refined, I guess.)

quote:

I am a tweaker too, though some people don't say it as politely as that.

I love Hopkins.

I'm not writing poetry in any way as entertainment or to make friends. I don't care if everyone hates me and my poetry. In fact I will think that is quite cool.

I write poems very quickly, and I almost never revise them.



Good to know. I won't offer tweaks about little word choices when I critique your stuff. My hope is that something I say will prove useful to the writer. If I know someone doesn't like (read, use) a certain type of critique, I try not to give it to them. It is counterproductive, a waste of my time and theirs.

quote:

I love reading people's responses, positive or negative. I am never offended because I like what I do and recognise that others don't have to like it.



Yeah, liking what we do is most of the battle, isn't it? If we don't like what we do, why bother.

quote:

This response is me having a laugh about Ron Silliman.

Thank you for your critique. I'm afraid the world has changed a little since you wrote it.

An owl. An owl. Where now my fragments of death? an owl. that's all.

Steve.



Well, I wouldn't call what I wrote a critique. As I said in the Q&A thread, it's a start, a response. I don't feel at all qualified to critique your work or most experimental work, but if I don't try, I'll never get the hang of it. I do appreciate you being a willing victim and letting me practice on you. emoticon

If your world has changed, I hope it's for the better. If not, my good thoughts are with you. Actually, good thoughts either way. (If that's not what you meant, then I raise your owl and see you an ouch.)

Best,
Katlin






Last edited by Katlin, Feb/16/2010, 10:01 am
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SteveParker Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Katlin, please feel free to offer any tweaks or metatweaks or subtweaks or infratweaks or anyothertweaks you feel like. I'm not saying I don't take notice of them. They are always greatly appreciated, and even if they don't fit with my ideas for one particular poem they still inform all the future stuff. I'm not claiming my stuff is anything special, but it's a heck of a lot better now than it was before I started getting tweaks from kind tweakers. Please tweak away, and I will try to tweak back.

Thanks for all your thoughts here. I do appreciate it.

Steve.
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Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: a creek in the neckriff


Steve Parker, But my primary thing is to attempt to just do reality as it is, all the broken mosaic of a human looking out.

Zak, I understand that's your primary goal. So making art is a secondary goal? I suspect you'll say turning that primary goal into art is what you are after? Am I reading you right? Zak

 

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