Poem 72 Editing

Poem 72 and everyone’s invited.

I talked about this issue a while back, I think it was pretty far in the beginning. There are often times when the second person is a good idea, a shock value kind of sober-up moment when the reader becomes involved personally. It can empower the voice to gather greater momentum, give agancy to the moment in a tangible way. So there’s that.

In this poem, the second person is a throw away. This poem is a little flippy floppy anyway, but to have the moment saved by this gymic is a little telling. There are too many people in this poem. A real life voice in crisis, a person from whom they are borrowing, a perverbial and maybe royal we, a past tense I and a we to follow implying a second party separate from the borrowee, and finally a second person you (maybe we in singular? maybe the reader?) that will be on the other side. It’s a party really.

There are too many items to keep track of. I read once that the reader of any piece has a harder time keeping up with the story if there are more and more people they have to pick up. And that there are ways to have lots and lots of characters and still be readible if the writer makes it clear that they are moving and stopping in relation to each other in a way that puts the reader’s mind off the hook. Maybe that’s true. Probably not, some standardized testing crap they fed us I’m sure (who is they, damn another person to bother about).

Whether that character theory is true or not, it makes sense. If you have 100,000 moving parts the main focus of the poem can easily loose traction. It’s a lot to keep track of. Even in a poem with just a few, there are opportunities for confusion. If confusion is your point, of course, by all means move forward! But if you are going for something else remember to always keep an eye on the room capacity. If your poem only has room for five, keep it that way. If your poem only has space for two, let’s not suprise them with a three-some.


This poem is iffy at best. Even in the revision, it’s still looking for some sea legs (no fish puns intended of course). But if you are worried about bigger issues, and don’t know where to get started, it’s goot to have a bit of a roll call. If there are lots of unaccounted-for subjects, people in vague tenses or first and third and second person references with no rhyme or reason it might be time to clear the room. There’s no reason to have a rager in your peom, leave that for your Friday night. Haha

Poem 72 RevisedPoem 72 Original

Poem 72 Revised

In the adolescence of exam week; no tests for days.
Shopping for horror films in the library with a borrowed card.
And for what? So I can sit here and pretend we all
didn’t just fail that Spanish exam… maybe it was
only me…
                 Muttering puttering stuttering, hiccups on paper
would look like hesitant curls of thrice erased answers, wisps
of changing enlightenment. We forgive hiccups, but ignorance
well, that’s why we learn tongues, to keep open minded, open mouthed.
I can sit here and watch over and over, dramatic irony gore glory
something gritty in a horror film with subtitles, pretending
I can hear their worry, would choose the right door, would run fast enough,
But the hiccups would come again, decisions made sloppy with indecision,
speed compromised with second guessing, drawing attention to
the alien notion of an uncomfortable situation.
Maybe that’s the point: a borrowed language, a borrowed cinema,
A borrowed plot line to see to the end… I suppose I’ll see you there. ­

Poem 72

a little bitter i’m still taking tests to prove my knowledge; bitter still i might not ace them.


In the adolescence of exam week; no tests for days.
Shopping for horror films on a borrowed Netflix
and for what; so I can sit here and pretend we all
didn’t just fail that Spanish exam. maybe it was
only me…

muttering puttering stuttering. hiccups on paper
would look like the innocent curls of a thrice erased answer
wisps of changing enlightenment. We forgive hiccups, but ignorance,
well, that’s why we take languages now isn’t it. I can sit

here and pretend I didn’t pick fights about it all summer
and assure myself it’ll be a beauty mark of a grade. We
can lie through the cavities in our caffeine colored teeth
about how poorly our GPA will look come Friday;

but maybe that’s the point: a borrowed language, a borrowed
account, a borrowed plot line to see till the end; I suppose I’ll see you there.

Poem 72 RevisedPoem 72 Edited