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Elijah smiled.
          he smiled,
Possibly sad;
          but still
I wish I could
tell you how to frown,
but the tongue of
the gun is beyond me.
Elijah was a cop.
He worked the beat--
          oh yes, you know it.
He hated his job
          (but smiled:
          it was a jewish thing,
          they assumed)
Then, one day, it all made sense:
"elijah," he said,
                        "pull the trigger,
"you who are made of
e     l     i     j     a    h."
like a bullet
the words dripped
onto the page
and when he cried, it
was like a dream:
the buoyancy
          of frowns,
of the downward tug of
one hundred fourteen
muscles made
          him real.
the tongue of the gun
whispered the secrets
of eternity in the
shell of his ear...
          and the smoke
          followed his name home.

i haven't decided if the story behind this poem should be put here-- i suppose i'll find out. in either case, it's meant to be read aloud.

30 Mar 05

Rated 9.1 (7.8) by 12 users.
Active (12): 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (15): 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 6, 8, 8, 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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(34 more poems by this author)

(11 users consider this poem a favorite)

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i have no idea how to interpret this.. huh.
 — unknown

A very brilliant read. Will return to this.
 — unknown

me likeeee, I thought it was definitely very emotional, you knew this elijah didnt u?

And please stop me if i'm wrong, but if i may(for th sake of the 1st commenter)
and i think its all about someone hiding suicidal depression behind their smile.
and the one moment before he shot himself (in the side of the head I think.) he wore the first frown the poet ever saw on him.(114 muscles to frown)
and the tongue of the gun is powder smoke i would think... any other unclear stuff bud?

(PS, to the poet, please correct me if i'm wrong...)
 — ravenfalls

the story, itself, revolves around a jewish cop who'd much rather be a writer and he's just there to make them happy. when a situation forces him to actually kill another man--

well. you get the idea.

 — unknown

i reallyreally like the last stanza
good stuff!
 — unknown

it sort of reminds me of a story that a grandmother may tell, for one reason or another. i like it.
 — unknown

i like this TOO much!  Please...do tell of it's origin.
 — themolly

21 the bracket would be better opening 22
42 one hundred and fourteen

a more original than usual take on self - masks and death.
 — kaleidazcope

Let this stand alone without *any* footnotes.  Far too many poems on this site rely on headnotes, footnotes and weird and wonderful explanations.  
 — unknown

i think what i'm afraid of  this being misinterpreted as some cliche desperate suicide thing (as what often happens).
 — unknown

and that last unknown was me.
 — youthculture

It does come off as a suicide thing. If that isn't your intention you should probably rework the poem.
 — unknown

let me rephrase myself, that didn't sound right--

the ending is a suicide--

it's just hard to make it not cliche. that's what i don't want.
 — youthculture

I enjoyed this and liked the way you broke it up into sections.
That added a lot to it.
Good job.
 — aforbing

huh, intresting, but i like it
 — tragicbubble

i just wrote a mind-numbingly intricate crit for this and my computer crashed. if i wasn't close to tears after reading this, i am now.

in a nutshell, if i ever write 2 lines as good as 50-51, i will buy myself flowers, take me out to dinner and a movie and sleep with myself and brag about it the next day to me.

other nutshell, try the lines as



cause i think that's a smoother flow.

beautiful writing. thanks.

 — unknown

This is awful- it seems like you're championing the suicide of a police officer and human being. Please forgive me if I'm not getting it, or perhaps you or someone is angry at one for committing suicide. Feels really wrong.
I like the first ten lines. It's interesting how many sorts of smiles there are and how it's almost easier to smile when one is hurt.
 — C

fantastic--i don't feel it came off cliche or anything like that, i think you used great words, spaces,  line breaks, organization, and did it all for a poem that can either stand on its own or have a specific story behind it...seems almost kinda modernist,  i guess. i really liked this, great job!
 — gem_grrrl

i L-O-V-E this.  the first two stanzas and very very strong.  you kind of lost the pazzaz(sp?)  but i still l-o-v-e it!
 — meghanmidget

loved it. a great read. may have to read it again and again to get the best out of it
 — timbosys

I liked the first stanza. Very smiley.
 — Lia

This poem is at once, a fine-tuned creation and as raw as a bone smashed open for its marrow; the de-humanisation of the idealist. wonderfully well spun thread, a simple story told lineally - immensely powerful.

I very much like the playful narrative form that belies the darkness of the message
 — BlueFog

I had to read it twice to full understand it, but I do get it, and I do love it.

 — fallinforyou

Absolutely powerful and beautiful (and tragic) writing.  "10."  Your voice is refreshingly different.  Keep on.
 — starr

very dark and sad but lines 46-51 are one of the most powerful things I have read.  It would be very very interesting to read the story of this poem but I agree with the person who said not to include it in the footnotes, let it stand on its own.  but if you would share the story is there a forum you can post it in for those who want to follow the trail? (10)
 — Badness

this is incredible.
the story would be wonderful
to put here.
 — LIEalibi

 — Claide

this is amazing. not just the story itself, but the way you captured the need to see someone who is always smiling for no good reason, frown, just to see if they're actually real but at the same time not wanting to see that at all.

I really like this one. definately favoriting. :)
 — nilo

this beautiful
 — bohemian

* this is beautiful!
 — bohemian

to say the least, incredible. i would like to know the story behind it as well.
 — joewaysack

I'm sure it must sound good read aloud in a deep male voice.  It's tough on the page and each stanza is fragmented; however, you brought it home with the last couple of lines.

Not sure who Elijah is in this case, though.  A criminal or cop, hard to tell.
 — Isabelle5

Now wonder Elijah was possibly sad, if you kept insisting in spelling his name with a small e, it is enough to make anyone sad, let alone Elijah.
 — unknown

hardly the top rated poem, I must try to balance!
 — unknown

This poem is rather pathetic.
 — unknown

If the truth hurts just say ouch and get yo lazy ass off the couch
 — unknown

 — SenorSin

"Whispered the secrets
of eternity in the
shell of his ear"

 — Leanan

It defiantely had depth. A fantastic write. Brilliant. No suggestions, no corrections here - at least not from me.

I give it a solid 10.
 — Nerezza

“It defiantely had depth” that must be the masterpiece of all critiques. What a numskull the dark and defiant pretender is.

 — unknown

how else do you say 'it had depth'? 'It was the opposite of shallow'?
What thick heads the smart-asses are, eh?
 — Nerezza

P.S. Get a user name.
 — Nerezza

i really like this. kind of reminds me of cummings
 — infinity

29-36 are my favorites.  Great job.
 — Mai

Very powerful imagery.
46-51 sent chills up my spine.
 — Andiam

sounds like Slam poetry.
 — SenorSin

OK, this is a top rated poem at present. I won't de-rate it, or rate it at all.
I see a heavily formatted, somewhat gimmicky layout of a story that ends with the goompy d'oh of a jewish cop who hated his job but smiled all the time (why is that a "jewish thing"?), and heard a holy voice tell him to blast his own brains, which he did, and he's dead and that's the sum of this game.  

S1 is almost child-speak, but why?

S3 is abstract and gets into about writing, but where does that apply to the suicide subject? Was the cop a poet?

Going back to S2, the leap of this and that presumes the reader might decode illogical presentation/ or rather -abstracted- presentation.  I can't get but an impression of smug-I-know-you-should-figure-it-out-if-you're-smart-too, from this poem, overall.

It is like a slam poem. I can see that by reading aloud it will impress better.
I can see the beatnicks in 1960 tapping their foreheads pretentiously: Kool, man, real kool!  

But in another place, the poem might more fairly be termed as pretentious and ambiguous and even smarmy in its daddy-o slammy posturings.  This is just my opinion.  Others like and approve the poem.  And I guess it's best to write for the group that most readily applauds your preferred style.   ON THE GOOD Side: there is a fine image in "the tongue of the gun is beyond me".  On the bad side:  

the buoyancy
          of frowns,
of the downward tug of
one hundred fourteen
muscles made
          him real.

THAT is not only abstract (bouyancy of frowns=absurd nonsequitur image), but ungrammatical: (of the downward tug of 114 muscles made him real)=nonsense and stuff and stuff of nonsense.  I don't like to carp honest efforts.  I do like to point out seeming misplacements of pubic approbation.
 — netskyIam

I have never understood why everyone thinks this is about suicide. I can see how the mistake is made, but it's clearly about him shooting another as part of his job.

Or maybe I'm the crazy one.

Either way, I love, and have always loved this.

 — musicwords

The story should be in the poem. Not in a footnote or the comments section. As it stands things are not at all clear.
 — unknown