Saturday, August 13, 2011

Neon Run


Neon Run


Turquoise tourmaline tangerine sky,
neon run through the alley
run for some sanctuary. No matter,
what’s behind will run faster.

Snow blown drifts, tinted air brush of filth
white fade to black, dogs add yellow, green vomits
from drunks. No thing falls unspoiled
and rises clean here. Don’t fall.

Noise shatters glass broken noise endless,
clamor yelling curses machinery screams.
Even the air makes red pulsing howling
wind growls in summer, draws blood in the snow.

Out on the lake's the sweet safety of empty,
tossing vaults of cold cobalt vast as that country
where you’ll never go. Watch whisperwhite foam
washtease a promise that dwindles away.

Shrink the self smaller, mouse small, or a pea.
Hide avoid run and the blows sometimes miss,
but words are barbed arrows handfletched for maiming
that always fly true so fly faster fly through

concrete mud and brick sharp falling down rubble
rot kicked to the curb, trash blown down the street.
The bums beg for change from a child
who has nothing, under the bloodshot
tourmaline tangerine sky.


August 2011

Posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub

Claudia hosts this week's challenge, and her prompt today is Going Urban: to write a poem about a city real or imaginary. Mine is about the city where I was raised, Chicago, Illinois

33 comments:

  1. always running, yes that is a city for sure...fav line, words are barbed arrows handfletched for maiming, yikes, but true...i think i want to be out on that lake just to breathe the silence for a bit after your grit...

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  2. Been there ... Our urban poems -- refracted through separate histories -- walk carefully over and around and out from the same shatter. Your first stanza gripped the terror precisely. Cities can be unbelievably gritty and fallen and dark -- centuries of accumulated grime and human wrong -- no place certainly for the child in this poem. You got her the hell on outta there and got her someplace safe enough. I loved (natch) the lake's impotent promise of escape ... Cities are so much more, but their horrors are especially this. - Brendan

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  3. Thanks brian.

    @B: Mine may be a tale of terror, but I'm pretty much afraid to go to bed tonight after reading yours--you totally kicked ass. I may never write again.(Oh sure) Yes, cities are more, thankfully, but they also hold the whole dark psychotic underworld of the species and this many years into the miasma no lake breeze will ever lift that fug enough for me to feel comfortable there, especially since now I know the other angels so much better.

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  4. I'll preface this with I was born in the slums of Chicago (funny how the rest of my family was born in OKC but I always was the blonde sheep of the family). Rat bites, cockroaches, and wind are all I remember (we moved 28 times by the time I was 18). 'No thing falls unspoiled and rises clean here. Don't fall.' hit me like acid in the face and burned down to the bone. I cried in that terrible uncontrolled way that happens after a physical wound. I think you've more than succeeded in reaching that soul voice we spoke of earlier in the week. This is masterful, potent, and tells the truth without affectation. I’m deeply glad you found sanctuary somewhere away from the soul crushing depths of that hell.

    BTW now I am afraid to read Brendan’s post so I think I’ll take a break first.

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  5. This is the city I tried to LIVE in...lasted less than 60days. It has some semblence to the city I WORKED in as well, night shift, when smoke breaks meant risking proposition, but the cities I VISIT, for very brief periods...seem to hold much more light. They're never as bad when you know you can leave. Another fantastic write...but I don't need to say it again. You ROCK, Joy! (And tell me I didn't love your bio!)

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  6. Hedge, you have captured the hopelessness of poverty and desperation as stunningly as it can be rendered. Your writing, of late, is even more powerful than it has been, which means that you are a BRILLIANT poet, writing at the top of your game, kiddo. Wow. It is just wonderful watching you blaze across our skies like a comet.

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  7. Where is Lou Rawls when you need him?

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  8. I've always lived by the sea with the backdrop of Welsh rural life, something I've been very grateful for considering what's been happening in major English cities over the past week.

    I've visited many cities though, mainly in Europe, have found beauty in each (some more than others) but I've always been acutely aware of the dark beat that lies underneath.

    This is shatteringly jarring, your third stanza left me breathless, literally, when I read it aloud.

    Carys

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  9. You make it seemed like an interesting city still despite the despair.

    Great images here specially these:

    "Noise shatters glass broken noise endless,
    clamor yelling curses machinery screams.
    Even the air makes red pulsing howling
    wind growls in summer, draws blood in the snow."

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  10. Lots of typical showings of a functioning city together with the usual rundown tenement houses with their own peculiar happenings within. Beautiful poetry!

    Hank

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  11. Hedge oh yes,

    Brutal imagery - some of your word choices bludgeon brilliantly then i feel a change of pace - a quickening - then a tighly written lull (a hush) then some more brutality: Fleeing and chasing - Hammered i stagger toward the next scene the finale - settling space and some hard honest reflection.

    Brilliant! - your painting me movies man -SOMEONE CALL THE ACADEMY!

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  12. i loved it more when i learned it was chicago. i can picture your poem and funny how you mentioned don't fall because i fell and sprained my ankle bad in chicago:)

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  13. Thanks so much Natasha, Sherry, Carys. Your words are appreciated.

    @Anna : I'm sorry to cause the emotional upheaval, but know how you feel--there are always tender places around the scar tissue(I went to eleven different elementary schools before 5th grade.) And if I am coming at that voice at all, it's definitely tied up in our discussion, so thanks for that, for helping me speak even a little.

    @Arron: Glad to get the cameras rolling for you, my friend. I didn't give this one my usual editing/neatening/prettifying job, so it's rough and indeed, brutal for me as well. Yours was a feast of all the senses, wicked good, as usual.

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  14. This sounds like pure hell. Really visceral writing, Hedge.

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  15. At first I thought NYC or LA but as soon as I saw the lake, it was an aha moment. I love Chicago and thought about it for my poem, too.

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  16. Ah Chicago. This is why I never wanted to go there... er... I mean, I am just a simple farm boy British transplant who was raised in a cold environment (North Dakota) before becoming planted like a blackened weed in Santa Cruz...

    Great write, I loved the feeling form it all and used it to inspire me to do a piece myself (dark one, of course). Thanks for sharing!

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  17. Your city had a bounce in it step. I enjoyed reading this. And just recently passed through O'hare. A poem w/ big shoulders.

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  18. I love the bloodshot tourmaline tangerine sky. Brilliant color image! Thanks for that. Your poem brings to mind a lot of the reasons I can't live in the cities.

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  19. dang - you painted the ugly sides of city life with a brutal honest pen...loved the bloodshot tourmaline tangerine sky.....Watch whisperwhite foam washtease a promise that dwindles away - sounds deliciously when read aloud...

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  20. I love how you started with the sky and ended with it, hedgewitch...reinforcing that the world keeps turning regardless of what's going on under the big top.

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  21. 19 shot 6 dead and that was just Friday 8/10 in Detroit yeah I love urban life too.

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  22. wow reading this makes me feel grateful i'm a country girl at heart ...a city visit for me never lasts longer than 2 days and that's enough.Just living in a small town to me is noisy and busy ...thanks for sharing !

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  23. Breathtaking... that tumult of colours.. the grime of truth.. its movement... inexorably leading to an outstanding climax:

    The bums beg for change from a child
    who has nothing, under the bloodshot
    tourmaline tangerine sky.

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  24. Joy, fine use of alliteration in the opening line. While I am not familiar with Chicago, you brought some vivid images to my mind.

    Pamela

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  25. oh, how you do what you do so well...
    what a gift you have...
    the sweet safety of empty.

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  26. Scary place for a child. It seems that cities have the capacity to arouse the frightened child in all of us. This is certainly no Chamber of Commerce inducement for tourists or capitalists -- it is gritty and all too real, yet beautiful in a way that sanitized postcards will never be. Such is the immanence and transcendence of true art.

    David

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  27. Being familiar with Chicago, and planning a visit next week (probably), your poem really captured the flavor of the city! I enjoyed the view of it through your eyes.

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  28. Taking a break from the pay job to catch up on yesterday's posts. When you grow up in a playlike town where it's supposed to be a city but jus' a big ole town, it's hard to imagine the city as anything but glamorous. When I visit the big cities, I block the squalor and let my eyes rise to the beauty I sang and dreamed about living in a provincial tree.
    Good to know both sides and know you are happier in the tree if only it were a cooler one this year! Gay

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  29. I feel the same shudder I felt after watching "American History X" with a deep sense of fear and helplessness. The voice here is effective, with its choppy lack of subject. More like going through motions until escape.

    I woke up with a terrible dream, a recurring one, though it doesn't come often, thankfully. Two men were trying to get in, and I had to hold the door against them, no lock, my daughter and me on this side. Same dread here.

    A very fine write about the sharp edges of urban life, Hedge.

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  30. By 'lack of subject' I hope you know I mean as in "he did this and she did that" . . . not lack of subject matter.

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  31. Thanks Ruth. Sometimes the message is too close and too harrowing, so taking the "I" or "she" away gives enough distance to write about it. That is a very scary dream, indeed, and whatever form those dark Others take, holding the door shut with no lock is a terrifying place to be.Having your daughter there as well ups the ante a hundredfold, since your fears for her must far outweigh your fears for yourself--yet the solidarity of her presence, helping you there, seems a good thing as well.
    Thanks for reading, and for sharing.

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  32. The concrete of cold urbanity palpable in this piece. Love your talents with imagery ~ Rose

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg