poetry critical

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The Journey

I spent the day enfolded
in the car, searching for reasons
not to go home, yearning for something
I couldn't name.  I'd left the inland desert,
traversed the valley and listened to
the songs of my youth.
A young Neil Young sang
to the old man I've become
and I was struck with such
a sudden sadness it shocked
me from my reverie.
I looked around at other drivers,
their faces expressionless, resigned.
No one saw the difference.
The car rode the crest
of the Sepulveda Pass and eased
into its descent like rolling off
a bed mid-dream. Before you know it
you've hit the floor, slightly hurt
and wondering how you'd not
seen it coming.
The Getty loomed like Mount Zion
in the dirty sky, all angles and white.
The trolley sidled up the canyon wall
like a magician bringing sinners to Saint Peter.
The City of the Angels crouched like a cat
and the air suddenly changed.
I exited on Santa Monica Boulevard,
and waited at the light.  The bums are back.
It's like it was in the '80s, and everything
old is new again.  The blush of dusk hung
like a persimmon on the horizon.
Numb with anonymity,I followed the stream
of lights that curled back into the valley.
This is all there is.  No rhyme.  No reason.
Just this.  
I stopped at Circle K for milk,
and when I turned the corner
onto Copperhill, I yielded.
It was a coyote.  In the sweep
of the headlights, he was
beautiful and lithe and seemed
right at home, even here.
I wanted to tell him so.
He trotted easily, crossed the street.
Unafraid, he stopped at the edge
of the brush and turned to watch
me, as if waiting to tell me something.
"Go home."
And I cried because home is so very far away.

21 May 07

Rated 8.7 (8.7) by 3 users.
Active (3): 7, 9, 10
Inactive (0):

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home is indeed so very far away.
 — raskolniikov

Home is so far for many of this but since I live in the shadow of what you're writing about and I've ridden the roads with old music, wondering the same things, I applaud this.  As for coyotes, I intrude onto their land and accept what they take as theirs.

Great writing, thank you.
 — Isabelle5

Thank you both for the comments.  Much appreciated.  I've lived in LA for 27 years and still feel like I'm just out of town, waiting to go back home.  It's a damned lonely place to live.
 — elodious

This is poignant. The narrative is smooth and compelling. The strange thing is that one can be a refugee in one's native country. I peeked at your Blog. It is lovely.
 — banditfemme

Where is home for you, Poet?  I can't read the blogs, myspace or anything fun!  Someday I'll spring for the $100/month for the internet.  
 — Isabelle5

Thank you, banditfemme.  Isabelle, home is the American deep South.  Mississippi.  Just something about the South that becomes a part of you and won't let go.
 — elodious

It took me years to stop believing the world was tilting when I moved to Orange County CA.  If you stay, you'll find it becomes home.  
 — Isabelle5

Ah, I dunno, Isabelle.  It's been almost 30 years and it's still not home.
 — elodious

L8 Should "I'd" be "I've"?

I'd recommend revising out some of the I's of the first 2-3 stanzas and tightening up the language. Some extra words slow the pace a bit too much.

No need for the "and" starting line 14.

The fourth stanza reads like something from a detective novel. I half expected a woman with a red dress to follow.

This is enjoyable to read and I like your style, but this is very loose and narrative. This seems like a better start to a short story than a poem.

If you're intent on it being a poem I would carefully consider your core subject and prune down the details to be more pointed.

 — rocket


A thoughtful, insightful crit.  You're right.  "I'd" should read "I've."  I was also thinking about cutting out the last line.  I do write more prose than poetry and admit knowing very little about what makes the difference, sometimes.  Open to all instruction and assistance.  Thank you.
 — elodious