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> He Wrote it on a Napkin
Guest_Lone Wolf_*
post Jul 25 07, 09:51
Post #1





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He Wrote It On A Napkin

As he sat there staring downward
at his newly emptied plate,
his mind returns to breakfast
and the things that he just ate.

Hash browns and scrambled eggs,
and jelly on some toast.
Then suddenly he turns pale white.
He looks just like a ghost.

He grabs his pen and looks around.
No paper can he find.
The urgency to write them down;
these thoughts upon his mind.

He struggles hard to no avail,
lookin for somethin’ to use.
A napkin will work nicely
for a place to record his muse.

Frantically, he scribbles away
on napkins from the dispenser.
Now he records his muse non stop.
there is no time for censor.

Now the coffee’s cold. The muse
has stopped. He puts his pen away;
then stuffs the napkins in his pocket;
pays the tab and walks away.

And then a few days later,
his wife finds in the wash,
what remains of 15 napkins
as she washed away his thoughts.

Yes he wrote it on a napkin.
And it was sure to be a winner.
It’s gone for now and will have to wait;
until he goes for dinner.
 
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Guest_Don_*
post Jul 25 07, 11:12
Post #2





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Very cute!

But for one detail, heh? Putting the pen away closed all doors.

Don
 
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Mary Boren
post Jul 25 07, 11:22
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Fun schtuff, Brent. I'll have a few suggestions when I can come back and stay longer (if someone else hasn't beat me to it by then) -- just wanted you to know that I've read and enjoyed. Again, welcome.

Mary


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Guest_Lone Wolf_*
post Jul 25 07, 12:22
Post #4





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Geez, Don he just put the pen away until next time, It wasn't meant to be permanent or anything dramatic like that.

Just for the record, after he put his pen away he went out and hopped in his pickup truck. Ya can't be drivin' around with a pen in yur hand.
rolleyes.gif
Thanks for checkin in Don,
B

QUOTE (Don @ Jul 25 07, 12:12 ) [snapback]100176[/snapback]
Very cute!

But for one detail, heh? Putting the pen away closed all doors.

Don
 
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Guest_Lone Wolf_*
post Jul 25 07, 12:23
Post #5





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I look forward do to what you have to say. I can take it, you know I can.
Love ya Mary,
B

QUOTE (Nada Lott @ Jul 25 07, 12:22 ) [snapback]100178[/snapback]
Fun schtuff, Brent. I'll have a few suggestions when I can come back and stay longer (if someone else hasn't beat me to it by then) -- just wanted you to know that I've read and enjoyed. Again, welcome.

Mary
 
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JustDaniel
post Jul 25 07, 16:22
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Been there, done that, Brent! ...

'cept I ain't got no pickup truck... but we's been lookin' at one ta maybe take the place o' the van that some pole cat swiped last Friday... if'n it don' show up fer 30 days an' the 'surance comes through...

I'll have ta write somethin' 'bout that over dinner maybe.

I don't know ya well enough to offer crit yet on this... 'specially 'cause I suspect that the uneven meter in this is purposed, so's they ain't much else ta crit...

but I know's Mary knows ya, so I'll jest wait.. 'n' mosey on back here later, k?

deeLightin' in yer writin', Dan'l sun.gif


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jgdittier
post Jul 25 07, 18:37
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Dear Brent,
Those short lines well translate to your frantic feeling yet the words suggest you're keeping your cool. The reader senses the conflict!
Nicely done! cheers, Ron


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Judi
post Jul 25 07, 20:33
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Hi There...I'm not going to let you go as easily as the guys did...and I suspect that Mary won't either...This has happened to all of us who write...It happens mostly to me in heavy traffic when there is not the slightest chance of remembering it...I have lost some really great lines like that..

I know you want it to rhyme..and I don't have a slew of things to say, but the meter is ragged, like one of the other gents mentioned..but I get the impression with your reply to Mary that you really want the crit, so here goes...and you know you can toss what I say and go your own way!

As he sat there staring downward
at his newly emptied plate,
his mind returns to breakfast
and the (things) {food} that he just ate.

Hash browns and scrambled eggs,
and jelly on some toast.
Then suddenly he turns (pale) white.(can't get much more pale than white)
He looks just like a ghost.

He grabs his pen and looks around.
No paper can he find.
The urgency to write them down;
these thoughts upon his mind.

He struggles hard to no avail,
(lookin) for somethin’ (to) {he can} use.
A napkin will work nicely
for a place to (record) soothe? his muse.

Frantically, he scribbles away
on napkins from the dispenser. (I think this could be tighter!)
Now he records his muse non stop.
there is no time for censor.

(Now) the coffee’s cold(.) {,}(T)the muse
has stopped(.){,} (H)he puts his pen away;
then stuffs the napkins in his pocket(wink.gif{,}
pays the tab and walks away.

And then a few days later,
his wife finds in the wash,
what remains of 15 napkins
as she washed away his thoughts.

(Yes )he wrote it on a napkin.
(And )it was sure to be a winner.
It’s gone for now and {he}(will have to) {must} wait
until he goes for dinner.
[/quote]

Again, these are only suggestions...use or lose as you see fit...and again, welcome to the board. My Best, Judi


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AMETHYST
post Jul 26 07, 09:42
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Hello Brent,

And again, welcome to Mosaic Musings! I quite enjoyed your offering and the inner workings to enhance the feeling we get when a muse comes at the most unopportune times and we cannot let it pass. I wondering about the title ... if the napkin wasn't such a main focus through the poem, I would say the title serves a strong point, but it feels (to me) like a place holder till something more eye catching and intwining with the poem comes along.

I also felt the short lines gave the feeling of getting thoughts down quickly, before they fade behind the clatter of the diner. Some thoughts to follow, I hope someting I leave helps, otherwise, please use what does and discard anything unfitting!

Best Regards, Liz ...


QUOTE
He Wrote It On A Napkin


I mentioned the title. It would be a perfect title if the brushed the idea of getting it on a napkin, but never really disclosing that detail (or saving it till the end.)

QUOTE
As he sat there staring downward
at his newly emptied plate,
his mind returns to breakfast
and the things that he just ate.



The first stanza is where I like to see a hook of somesort, that catches the readers attention right off. S1 seems weak to be the opening stanza, IMO, I think what causes this for me is the fillerish start ... Let's go line by line...

L1: 'As he sat there staring downward' the word downward seemed syllable driven, and in L2 newly emptied plate was a little weak.

The scene is strong and I felt it could be improved by weeding out some filler words and replacing them with more descriptive words that add detail to the narrators emotional state, as well as the surrounding- the cliick from museless to musing uninterruptive! wink.gif I see you've chosen ABCB rhyme scheme so I will keep this in mind. I am not sure however if you are going for a 8 syl/6syl alternating line scheme or if each quatrain should be written in Trimeter. for now, let me leave an example of weeding out using the alternating lines.

He sits amdist a crowd,
silent and staring at his plate,
rewinding in his mind,
breakfast, and everything he ate.

Of course this example is still not as strong and detailed as the opening stanza should/could be. As mentioned it is just an example of weeding out.


QUOTE
Hash browns and scrambled eggs,
and jelly on some toast.
Then suddenly he turns pale white.
He looks just like a ghost.



In S2, by L3, that turn where something strikes him screams to the reader a need for the connection between the describe food and his 'shock-like' reaction. Please don't let me know he ate bugs or something ... GIGGLE! I would have liked to learn the click moment... like was thre chicken and eggs sitting on the same plate, and did he realize, just Simon and Garfunkel ... A mother and child reunion? ... Was it the last breakfast he had with a long lost love. Perhaps the connection isn't important here, but I do think it would improve the readers please if by the end the musings are offered in small tid-bits...

QUOTE
He grabs his pen and looks around.
No paper can he find.
The urgency to write them down;
these thoughts upon his mind.


This stanza is where it picks up a little for me. The meter begins to gain momentum, a lyrical beat that enhances or mimics that sense of anxious rushing and urgency.

QUOTE
And then a few days later,
his wife finds in the wash,
what remains of 15 napkins
as she washed away his thoughts.


This stanza, IMO needs some work. I like the information it gives, but I felt the meter stumbles and the end rhymes need some reconsideation.


QUOTE
Yes he wrote it on a napkin.
And it was sure to be a winner.
It’s gone for now and will have to wait;
until he goes for dinner.


The ending stanza has a lovely and delightful shift. I think some minor tweaking of meter here, and reshifting of word choices could give this a more poweful punch.

Let me know what rhyme scheme and meter/line length you have in mind with revisions!

Best Regards, Liz ...


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jgdittier
post Jul 26 07, 16:40
Post #10


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Dear Brent,
It has a sprightly delivery and a witty end. I scanned it and reread it for beat. Were it mine, I'd work first on the beat and on the verb tense. I think it has the most impact in the present tense if carried throughout and iambic with anapestic substitutions seems would carry it with a lilt and no bumps.
Stanzas 6&7 require a look at the rhymes.
I believe you can get the most help after folks get a feel for your style. Meanwhile, we'll be following this one with Samaritans along the road.
Cheers, Ron jgd


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Mary Boren
post Jul 27 07, 09:05
Post #11


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I'm back. Here goes ...

As performance poetry, it's fine as is, Brent. When reciting your own work, you know where to speed up and slow down to avoid the bumps. But if you want the poem to outlive you, readers need a clue. Although your meter's all over the map, I'm not going to harp on that (much). I think what you're going for is accentual rhythm, which is a whole other kettle of feet. Even so, it needs to be tidied up so that you have a corresponding number of stressed syllables in each pair of lines.

QUOTE
As he sat there staring downward
at his newly emptied plate,
There's a catchy anapestic dimeter beat that can be picked up in the first two lines:

as he SAT there / star ing DOWN ward
at his NEW ly / emp tied PLATE

da da DUM ta / da da DUM ta
da da DUM ta / da da DUM

That doesn't mean every reader will find it. Some might hear trochaic tetrameter, although it would require the false promotion of some insignificant words:

AS he / SAT there / STAR ing / DOWN ward
AT his / NEW ly / EMP tied / PLATE

DUM da / DUM da / DUM da / DUM da
DUM da / DUM da / DUM da / DUM

or, with a little finagling, iambic trimeter ...

(as) he SAT / there STAR / ing DOWN (ward)
(at) his NEW / ly EMP / tied PLATE

(ta) da DUM / da DUM / da DUM (ta)
(ta) da DUM / da DUM / da DUM

... which requires disregarding the first words of each of the first two crucial lines of the poem. So how's a reader to know? See what I mean?

Either way, that particular pattern is not repeated anywhere else in the poem. Anapests would suit the topic better, but since the poem is predominantly (though loosely) iambic trimeter, let's say that's what it wants to be. Thus:

da DUM / da DUM / da DUM (ta)
da DUM / da DUM / da DUM

Okay then, iambic trimeter with a alternating feminine rhymes (er, trailing syllable). That means each line in the poem should have three stressed syllables. Time to compare that pattern with with some subsequent line pairs. () indicates a caesura, or unspoken syllable. Say these examples out loud without cheating, counting the strong beats you would give if someone else wrote them and you were reading for the first time:

QUOTE
Hash browns and scrambled eggs,
and jelly on some toast.


HASH / BROWNS / and SCRAMB / led EGGS
and JEL / ly on / some TOAST

() DUM / () DUM / da DUM / da DUM
da DUM / da da / da DUM

Compare to the pattern:

da DUM / da DUM / da DUM (ta)
da DUM / da DUM / da DUM


QUOTE
Then suddenly he turns pale white.
He looks just like a ghost.


then SUD / den ly / he TURNS / PALE WHITE
he LOOKS / just like / a GHOST

da DUM / da da / da DUM / da DUM
da DUM / da da / da DUM

Compare to the pattern:

da DUM / da DUM / da DUM (ta)
da DUM / da DUM / da DUM


QUOTE
Frantically, he scribbles away
on napkins from the dispenser.


FRAN tic / 'ly he SCRIB / bles a WAY
on NAP / kins from / the dis PENS er

DUM da / da da DUM / da da DUM
da DUM / da da / da da DUM ta

Compare to the pattern:

da DUM / da DUM / da DUM (ta)
da DUM / da DUM / da DUM


Enough, enough. I stayed with the examples that long only to drive home the point. YOU know how to squeeze the words into the rhythm you want, but a reader coming on it fresh is likely to be put off by the mixed bag of feet.

All that aside, my other nits are minor.

QUOTE
As he sat there staring downward
at his newly emptied plate,
his mind returns to breakfast
and the things that he just ate.
If he's staring at his plate, it goes without saying that its in a downward direction. As Liz noted, "the things that he just ate" is fillerish. What's more, it throws away an opportunity to say something interesting, or even comedic. I'm not going to suggest wording because I want you to come up with something better on your own.

QUOTE
Hash browns and scrambled eggs,
and jelly on some toast.
Then suddenly he turns pale white.
He looks just like a ghost.
The ghost thing seems all too rhyme-driven, Brent. Think of something else for him to eat.

QUOTE
He grabs his pen and looks around.
No paper can he find.
The urgency to write them down;
these thoughts upon his mind.
Tsk, tsk. He can't find any paper, so don't twist it around backwards to rhyme with mind. Find another way of saying it, and make complete sentences.

QUOTE
Frantically, he scribbles away
on napkins from the dispenser.
Now he records his muse non stop.
there is no time for censor.
I let "record his muse" slide in the previous verse, even though it seemed an odd (not to mention rhyme-driven) way of saying it, but the repetition here is too much. Nonstop is one word. It should be censorship or "a/the censor." I often see (and mildly cringe at) poets omitting articles to satisfy metrical requirements, but if you're going for accentual rhythm there's no need to worry about an extra syllable here or there.

See, that wasn't so bad, was it?

Mary


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"There is in all things - a hidden wholeness." -Thomas Merton

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Mistral
post Jul 27 07, 14:41
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Hi Brent,

I see your poem's been thoroughly pulled apart. Wish I had the knowledge to offer proper critiques as well. Maybe in a 100 years......
laugh.gif

I thoroughly enjoyed your poem, though, and was not surprized at the ending when he stuffed the napkins in his pocket, knowing men never clear their pockets before dumping their clothes in the wash! Well.....most men. Hehehe

Hugs,
M


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Guest_Don_*
post Jul 27 07, 19:10
Post #13





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Dear Mary,

In your scansion, what is the meaning of .../() DUM/...?

Don
 
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Mary Boren
post Jul 29 07, 08:13
Post #14


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Brent, I hope I wasn't too picky or didactic. Did I forget to say the poem gave me a good chuckle?

Don, I used () to indicate a caesura. In the hash brown line, I prob'ly would've done it differently another day -- it just seemed to me that both words were drawn out excessively.

Mary


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Guest_Don_*
post Jul 29 07, 11:06
Post #15





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Thanks for explaining the caesura Mary.

Don
 
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Guest_Lone Wolf_*
post Jul 29 07, 23:11
Post #16





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Thanks Everyone,
I have been away for a couple of days and just got back. I couldn't sleep so I check the forum and found all of this great critique. I have gone over it, but only once. I will reply to everyone later. Please don't think that I am ignoring you; I'm just busy.

The next two weeks will be hectic for me, as I have a daughter getting married in Las Vegas and then a Family Reunion that goes back a couple hundred years and I am the president, so I am busy with that. Sorry to bore you with the personal details, just wanted to let you know why I am slow.

I must read crit many times and sometimes print it out and totally consume it. That's just the way I do it. You folks took a lot of trouble with your crit I am going to go to take, at least, as much trouble and time to read and understand what you said.

Just to address Liz's comment about the title: One day I wrote a poem on a napkin after eating breakfast. The next week at a poetry reading, a guy gets up and says, I wrote this on a napkin. So from that point on, I thought there has got to be a poem there. I have really never considered anything better. But I do see your point.

I think that my muse controls me more than other people's muse controls them. It always seems that everyone else has a well behaved muse that sits there and waits for the cue to go to work. Mine just hits me. I will work on it though, I am picturing a well behaved dog as I type this.

Maybe I need to take lessons from the "Muse Whisperer," (for those of you who may have seen The Dog Whisperer."
 
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AMETHYST
post Jul 29 07, 23:37
Post #17


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Hi Brent,

Personal tidbits aren't boring at all. In fact, it creates the bonds of trust and respect for each other when we know what each other's lives are like and I am glad that your busyness is good things and not health issues or hardships, so it was nice to read about such happy events.

As for your process for revision, I think many of us have that same process- I often make quick changes that strike me as excellent and immediate fix its, but print out the critique I receive and take time to really look over what is being said, trying to see what others are seeing that I hadn't... usually that is with difficult poems that need excessive revisions.

QUOTE
I think that my muse controls me more than other people's muse controls them. It always seems that everyone else has a well behaved muse that sits there and waits for the cue to go to work. Mine just hits me. I will work on it though, I am picturing a well behaved dog as I type this.


No, I don't think it controls you more than others ... I think the muse controls us all a lot - The muse is the heart of the poetry we right" and that is why poetry critique and workshops exist! LOL

Congratulations on your daughter's wedding! And enjoy that family reunion...

Blessings to you, Liz


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Guest_Lone Wolf_*
post Aug 25 07, 21:08
Post #18





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Hello to All,
I promised to get back to you and I am here to keep my promise. But I must tell you that life is not slowing down at this point, as I had expected it to.
I apologize for taking so long. Most of you have probably forgotten what you wrote by now.

Judi,
I like the corrections that you suggest for omitting certain words and replacing commas with periods.

Liz,
I think that I addressed the title briefly, before life took over my schedule. I like your idea of leaving it till the end and then revealing it, but I am not quite sure how to accomplish at this time. It gives me food for thought though and sometimes I come back to it year later and a light comes on as I think about what Liz said.

Now to address your critique: I like the way you view the 'big picture" of the poem. I guess when the words hit me I just write them down and I don't consider structure and a logical sequence of thoughts, but I should and I will work on it. When you talk about the "click moment" I can appreciate that, but I don't know how to create that in the poem.
You sensed the desperation and the change in tempo, in the different places; I am glad that came through. When I was writing this down, it all felt and sounded so good, as it probably does with everyone. I can see the questionable rhymes now, and I wonder how or why I even tried that.
I am going to have to think on the rhyme scheme and meter/line length. I am just not sure at this point.

Ron,
Thanks for your critique. I see what you mean verb tense and the rhymes in stanzas 6&7. I will work on that.

Mary,
Yes you are right as usual. Maybe I recite my own poetry too much and that is why it always sounds good to me. Is there a link about accentual rhythm that you can send me to, and some good poems in accentual meter? I would like to learn more about it, since you mentioned it.
I thank you for the extensive effort that you put into your critique and as always I am flattered that you thought me worth the time.
I understand everything you said and it makes sense to me. I just have to get the time to sit down and work on it. You already know that I am clumsy with meter and it is hard work for me.

"He grabs his pen and looks around.
No paper can he find.
The urgency to write them down;
these thoughts upon his mind.

Tsk, tsk. He can't find any paper, so don't twist it around backwards to rhyme with mind. Find another way of saying it, and make complete sentences."

Mary, believe it or not at the very moment that I wrote this line down, I could hear you saying this. I guess I would have been disappointed if you hadn't mentioned it. Now you can be even madder since it is the second time you have warned me about it. Sorry.

I apologize for not having a revision ready. There are too may things to think about revising right now and I like to give every critique due consideration.

I continue to be amazed at the knowledge base here and I will be back, but don't expect me to be too regular.
Thanks again.
 
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Cleo_Serapis
post Aug 26 07, 07:13
Post #19


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Hi Brent,

I nearly missed this one - so thanks for bumping it up! blush.gif

Would you like me to scan through and write down my thoughts, or would you rather I wait until you revise?

Cheers
~Cleo Pharoah.gif


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Collaboration feeds innovation. In the spirit of workshopping, please revisit those threads you've critiqued to see if the author has incorporated your ideas, or requests further feedback from you. In addition, reciprocate with those who've responded to you in kind.

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Nominate a poem for the InterBoard Poetry Competition by taking into careful consideration those poems you feel would best represent Mosaic Musings. For details, click into the IBPC nomination forum. Did that poem just captivate you? Nominate it for the Faery award today! If perfection of form allured your muse, propose the Crown Jewels award. For more information, click here!

"Worry looks around, Sorry looks back, Faith looks up." ~ Early detection can save your life.

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Guest_Lone Wolf_*
post Aug 26 07, 07:24
Post #20





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Thanks Cleo, but I think it would be best to wait for a revision.
Right now I am not sure when I can get to it. I have to think about it on the run, so to speak, but I need some time to sit down and really get into it. Thanks for the offer.
Brent
 
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