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  #1  
Unread 11-25-2021, 10:57 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Default The Ingrate

The Ingrate DRAFT THREE plus tweaks to Q2

This year, I won’t be home to reminisce
about the childhood you insist I had,
in which you were the wise, devoted dad
who saved my soul from hell. I’ll phone a kiss.

I just can’t make it, Mom. I’ll have to miss
the meal you’ll bless atop a rust/gold plaid
of humblebrag allusions to how bad
I was before you turned me into this.

How brave you were, to do what must be done
and spank the kid who tried to make you hear
“attention-seeking lies” about your friends.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad. You won.
You made my troubling stories disappear.
And now, me too. That’s how this story ends.


LL6-8 were:
the feast you love to serve atop a plaid
of jeremiad/brag about how bad
I was before you tamed me into this.
Later, LL6-8 were:
the meal you’ll serve on your dramatic plaid
of light-dark humblebrag, which hints how bad
I was before you made me into this.
Then L6 was:
the food you’ll bless atop a festive plaid
L10 was:
about the kid who tried to make you hear
Then L10 was:
to tame the kid who tried to make you hear


The Ingrate DRAFT TWO

This year, I won’t be home to reminisce
about the childhood you insist I had,
in which you were the wise, devoted dad
who saved my soul from hell. I’ll phone a kiss.

I just can’t make it, Mom. I’ll have to miss
your usual display of ironclad
faith your faith’s what turned me good, from bad.
(This much is true: it's why I’m now like this.)

How brave you were, to do what must be done
and spank me when I tried to make you hear
“attention-seeking lies” about your friends.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad. You won.
You made my troubling stories disappear.
And now, me too. That’s how this story ends.



L7 was:
faith your faith’s what turned me from the bad.
Then LL7-8 were:
faith your faith’s what stopped my being bad.
your discipline’s why I’m as prim as this.

LL13-14 were:
You made my awkward stories disappear.
And me as well. That’s how this story ends.
Then L13 was:
You made my sinful stories disappear.



The Ingrate DRAFT ONE

This year, I won’t be home to reminisce
about the childhood you insist I had,
in which you were the wise, devoted dad
who saved my soul from hell. I’ll phone a kiss.

I just can’t make it, Mom. I’ll have to miss
your half brag session, half jeremiad,
on how I was unmentionably bad
before harsh discipline brought household bliss.

How brave you were, to do what must be done
and spank the kid who tried to make you hear
“attention-seeking lies” about your friends.

Congratulations, Mom and Dad. You won.
You made my troubling stories disappear.
And now me, too. That’s how this story ends.

Berkeley, Thanksgiving 1986

Last edited by Julie Steiner; Yesterday at 01:03 AM. Reason: Draft Three tweaks to Q2 posted
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  #2  
Unread 11-25-2021, 11:10 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Wow! Hard-hitting content and a slice of truth for Thanksgiving. I like it a lot. But I can't get the meter of S2L2 to work for me. When I try to hear it, the rhythm sounds like this: your HALF-brag SESsion, HALF-JEReMIad. It stumbles in the middle. Maybe something along the lines of "your monologue--half brag, half jeremiad--"?

Susan
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  #3  
Unread 11-25-2021, 11:16 AM
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RCL RCL is offline
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My bet is Larkin is smiling and approves! Plath as well. Like it.
__________________
Ralph

Last edited by RCL; 11-25-2021 at 11:47 AM.
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  #4  
Unread 11-25-2021, 11:57 AM
David Callin David Callin is offline
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Yes, this is very good, and highly charged, Julie. I agree with Susan about "jeremiad", which I think you will find, ultimately, is unusable (despite being a great word to use) due to where the natural stress falls.

I wonder, too, about "unmentionably" (because clearly it wasn't unmentionable, although perhaps the phrase would work better in inverted commas). And is "harsh discipline" leading the reader too much? Would "your discipline" work better? Or even "your regimen"? Maybe not.

Good call from Ralph about the Larkin-ness of this.

Very well-chosen title too.

Cheers

David
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  #5  
Unread 11-25-2021, 12:17 PM
Max Goodman Max Goodman is offline
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Strong stuff, Julie. The revelation that the speaker as a child was abused by parents' friends is well-timed. Powerful.

I don't mind that the rhythm isn't always strictly iambic. I do wonder about punctuation. "[H]alf brag session" seems awkward to me. So would "half-brag session" (which would also suggest a hyphen for "half-jeremiad") or "half-brag-session"). I'm stymied. Apparently no one else is, so...

If this is based on something you went through, condolences.
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  #6  
Unread 11-25-2021, 12:26 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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Fine poem. I have no nits. The meter is fine, even if it may or may not break a rule of prosody.

My only question is whether you need the time and place identified after the poem. The poem is crystal clear without it. I suppose adding that info is a way of representing to the reader that it is a true story, but it sounded true enough without that.
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  #7  
Unread 11-25-2021, 01:18 PM
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Rick Mullin Rick Mullin is online now
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Nothing but the net, Julie.
You had me at the title!~
Rick
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  #8  
Unread 11-25-2021, 01:23 PM
John Riley John Riley is online now
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This is full impact, Julie. I wouldn't change a thing.
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  #9  
Unread 11-25-2021, 01:51 PM
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Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is online now
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I agree with what John has just said.

It packs an emotional punch, provokes empathy, is deeply, searingly sad.

Sarah-Jane
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  #10  
Unread 11-25-2021, 01:56 PM
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R. Nemo Hill R. Nemo Hill is offline
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Aces!

Nemo
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