Wreched? <es>? I think the grammar is o.k.; the reference is like saying, "The poor" or "The wasted". With the other awkward twists in the poem, this is just another to stumble the reader, I suppose.
["old-fashioned"] [Not everything that you've done that's long is too long.] Thank you for the distinction. It's like a fresh zeroing of a gauge somehow.
["Eye sex"] - I like how you parse moral issues. I'm wondering what you think of my clarification, and any ideas to bring that sense of it out. I'm genuinely surprised at the newness of the term; I thought it in more general use.
[It's what you do] - I get where you are coming from, but intentions do matter also. And are often leading indicators. But not to get allergic in one's response to them. In some countries the penalty for adultery is death, but I doubt even they would carry it out for eye-sex.
["older"][tighter] Prune. - I agree in spirit. I think it will need two more passes. By now though, you will have read what I'm trying to do with structure, so I can't reduce the length, but as Mark confers, it doesn't justify its length yet as, say, "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Ballad of Reading Gaol" do.
Hopefully, this is all cleaned up. Apologies to all for sloppy first run.
Thanks for your solid thoughts.
[Rather than a vivid narrative] [vague and general] --> This I had some feeling for, to some degree, but wasn't sure. My feeling now is that the poem is about 1/3 done. It will take one full pass to clean up the generalizations that aren't useful and put in concreteness. And one pass to smooth the caesuras.
[overuse of questions = confusing, tiresome.] --> This hadn't occurred to me at all. That's why we post. Get 'em past our blind-spots.
[Ancient Mariner] Also, less directly, Reading Gaol.
2. [metre falls apart.] [enjambment random] [caesuras] --> No rationalizations from me; no form = content for the caesuras and enjambments. This was my chief struggle and concern. I was painfully aware because I question much smaller caesuras, like those caused by punctuation (e.g. a semi-colon mid-foot), and other technically non-metrical effects.
["Amazing Grace"] As I mentioned earlier, it goes all the way from the beginning. The theme being, after a fashion, the grace is there inside us. That IS a form as content thing. I hear you about the bagginess. I think the A-ha! will land if I can just clean up the flow.
BTW, this church actually does exist on a road called Folly Road. Who could let that go?
Worth saying again that eye-sex is indeed a "thing" which is not casual or even somewhat aroused looking, but an active, deliberate mutually participatory act, which if seen as the reference of Jesus' comment clears up the otherwise impossibility of it.
*I think S8L1 is a beat short. -- I HATE doing stuff like that. But I seem hardwired for careless mistakes. Often need many layers of recursion to weed them out. Thanks for the catch. Pondering. Might be a chance to make more fixes than one.
"my self in bar- and pillow- talk
What's better than the sound <-- can this be made to end here?
##I settle-reveled in the sound. and ah, the -, the sound ...nyeh...
of those? What's better than <-- -1
the sound of whispers meeting"
[the Gavin Bryars & Tom Waits tape loop of a homeless man singing “Jesus’ blood never failed me yet”] Love Tom Waits! I hadn't heard this before. Feels, musically, like "Frank's Wild Years".
Cameron, howdy, howdy.
A quick note on helpfulness. Crits as characterizations are not terrible actionable. I'm listening to what you say, but concreteness of example rather than impression gives a poet much firmer ground from which to begin choosing edits.
[metre being used skillfully but not very innovatively or unordinarily,] - This confuses me, really, especially with some of the positive commentary below. I don't get out enough, as it were, poetically, but a lot of what I do I haven't seen or heard of elsewhere. E.g. in the simplest of example, the structure of this with AG buried from the start - and the inversion of they rhyme at the point of redemption (easily overlooked, though I concede) and the dropping out of lines to bring AG out more and more in a disciplined way. Or another simple example, the 'butt too big' poems are Petrarchan sonnet, strings really, not cycles-- but are linked by two lines, not one. Not a huge innovation and likely done before, but certainly not ordinary. I'm not de-validating your experience, but puzzled by it's source.
[idiosyncratically personal] - Mixed feelings about this comment, but perhaps the most useful of this particular post. On the one hand, I find it the post-modern one-trick pony, the monoculture that all poems must be a certain way, the ruling out of different genre's, etc etc. On the other hand, it's easy to slip inappropriately away from the personal into any number of retreats: the general, the technical, the formal, the archetypal-only, the philosophical. A personal poem is a painful thing to produce, post, and improve/receive critique. There are a number of variations of those two poles.
In any case, thanks for the feedback. It's not an easy craft we find ourselves in.
Yves, I appreciate your tenacity.
I expected to get a sharp shot on this stanza, not for meandering, but for totally abrupt, almost non-sequitor transition from lust to anger. Chopping that out for the moment, the point
shouldn't seem as convoluted.
I have to laugh
was that adultery?
But if a look became eye-sex;
it's strange, but now I see
that it's the same. Is that not why
The "Is that not why it's done?" is meant to cap it off irrefutably. If eye-sex weren't "the same" as sex we wouldn't do it. I'm being sloppy with "same" because it could be understood as "isomorphic" which would make it a false statement (as Allen basically notes). "Same" could be understood as having a common root, or isomorphic only within a bounded limit.
I have heard a large number of sermons, presentations, apologetics wrestling with this phrase and none of them has addressed it in this way. To me, in those twenty-nine words to have reframed the statement (not a parable) into something doable, practical, and specific, and to add a capping proof on top of it doesn't seem meandering. It seems gigantically compressed.
And yet I do see where you are coming from. I think I'll first clean up the transition and some of the other twistiness in the vicinity and see where that leads.
[the narrator seems to be discovering for the first time] - I don't think a close read justifies this statement. In the 'butt' poem, the narrator explicitly states he's had this figured out and should have known better. In this poem, the fact of it being the narrator speaking prevents it from being a first discovery. As I type this I see how the historical present could mislead though. That gives me something concrete I can work with.
[What is the connection between the spiritual and the physical?] I had thought this would be clear from the symbol of the hand and eyes and mind being interlaced. The joining of three deliberate physical yet symbolic things in redemptive tears. Brokenness becoming wholeness. Through a Rinzai-Grace if you will, not Virgilian calculation. Does that make sense?
Thanks for chiming in. I've written a lot already that probably addresses your thoughts, but wanted to just chime back and thank you for giving it a go.
What a fascinating question! How odd that I'm really not sure. This is the second poem in a new style I've called variously called "meta-formal" poetry or "symphonic style" or "sonata style" which takes much description. It's loaded up under two deep-end posts [Concerto]. Now, back to the main. The version of this song that went through my head was Ani Defranco's version from Dilate. Perhaps, a read while a relatively secular song whose chords are close enough to AG plays, but are transitioned to the exact tune of AG by the end. Perhaps one added voice to the reading which came in at strategic intervals where a buried line of AG was, untill a full crescendo chorus sang the final lines of only AG.
It might cause all the other commenters to facepalm when they learn that this was actually substantially longer - I'd re-written The Animals' version of "House of the Rising Sun" into "House of the Risen Son" and had that as a kind of bridge in the middle. That was actually the original inspiration. I landed on that first as I was thinking about the more famous "Mother Emmanuel" Baptist church in Charleston where Dylan Roof entered and started shooting people and yet most if not all the Christians there stepped up and forgave him. To re-cast a movie quote: "The will to do that, perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure." Problem was, there was no way I could find to address the evil and forgiveness without it being a poem about racism alone. Anyway, not sure if "House of the Rising Sun" could be that "relatively secular song", but there's some ideas.