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Of Adeona, Honos, Viduus, Mors

At midnight I patrol alone,
guard fortress cells, grieve sense of “Home”,
as the smells of the pines and the Appalachian air so fresh
sour, egested from my memory,
replaced with the stink of shit and urine,
overcrowded sweaty flesh.
At sunrise call I smell the burning,
the piled dead each morning,
and salivate contempt.
Sunset, I might sweat dissonance
as fire and steel from post-prayer muzzles of faceless men
rain down upon our heads and tents.
And it’s simple for me
to jealously bruise caged Corvus cousin progeny,
in covetous sadistic therapy,
stoke envy for blued corpus found there
by the butt-ends of rifles
and my fists and my anger and fear.
I am the spiteful legionnaire
I’ve raised that eagled-fascist banner again, here
in nests where Senate raptors laid us;
in crescent fields, too glabrous to menstruate
yet pleading to quiver, in oily, iron-blood gushing red,
under stroke of our empire standards’ thrust
if ever we could get our symbols straight.
Or so I have convinced my lustful head
in intimate latrine hand-dates:
my sermons of self-hate
as orgasm-tranced prelate for the church of pax romana.
Blood and feces.
Mud and fasces.
Twenty myriad bones, at least,
with aurous axe in lictor bundle
wound round with the sinew of dead Iraqis.
Ochlocracy, kleptocracy-
Feigned victors, dirge-swelled peace-
A placental-soaked neo-Cincinnatus
scrying the toilets of the Middle East.
If I could find my soul to ease
My symbols would be these
Instead, I crease my sand-caked eyes,
lament, peruse my body’s lies
in dirty palace mirrors or hemic Tigris deep,
see naught reflected other than
false uniform, gun sling, smoke and skin,
clap Kevlar hands in gravitas,
use clouded dust to weep.

5 Jun 07

Rated 7.5 (7.5) by 2 users.
Active (2): 7, 8
Inactive (0):

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Seeking advice on title, tightening. Thanks in advance all.
 — rrichards5

I would ditch the first two stanzas. Everything they say is said much better later in the poem. I'd begin at line 13, in media res as it's said.

I dig your marriage of the abstract and concrete in 15-16. Lines 17-18 are simply great.

Why the elipses at 29 and 30?

In 31, get your "crescent" reference, but don't know what you mean by "ripened too late."

Line 35 made me chuckle, and as a former student of Latin, get your references to ancient Rome and your comparison to our current regime here in the States, but 35-37 are still unclear to me in meaning. Why self-hate? Because of the fact the narrator is in a moral/ethical dilemma?

Oh, I'd lose 19-22, if you read it without these lines, much tighter and no loss of meaning or impact. Actually, all lines of reflection don't do as much for the poem as the actual description of the place and the action. The feelings come through without you having to literally tell them to us.

Lines 44-46 are great. I like "placental soaked neo-Cincinnatus." It tells me that the narrator is a citizen-soldier from a rural area who is finding himself in an unheroic place. This is where you should focus for your title, in my opinion.

Good poem. I'll return to this when I have more time.
 — blee73

Thank you blee for your input. I'll commence to reworking based on your suggestions.

L28-37 I'm attempting to portray the soldier imagining the country as a virgin waiting to be conquered (an ignorant misassessment given the land's storied past) and flagellating/masturbating to the fantasy, wracked with self-doubt and guilt. Maybe too vague? it was clearer in my head.

Ellipses removed L29-30

I agree w/ place/action trumping reflection but L21-22 mean something very important to me. Lyrically and emotionally. As do L10-12. Any suggestions on retention and reworking? I'd like to preserve those lines at least, in a stronger form.

Also, is it not important to establish the prisoner/guard relationship for frame of reference in stanza 1/2.

It's funny. Most of the suggested deletions are from the draft original written while there. The rest is new edit after reflection, processing. Should've just scrapped the old poem rather than using it's bones. Maybe I'm just a better writer now.

Thanks again.
 — rrichards5

Hey, man, if you like them, then you're the boss. I'm becoming a minimalist in my approach, so I naturally look for what doesn't serve the poem and excise. I don't think these lines serve the whole, but are extraneous, but if you do, you do.
Where you from? I grew up in southern Ohio. I noticed your reference to Appalachia.
 — blee73

Entirely revised large sections of poem in response to reader suggestions (on/off PC). I like this version much more. Any further inputs from the crowd?
 — rrichards5

What a horrible title. I think, as I have feared, the world is coming to an end very shortly. You are possessed by the king of darkness...Satan. The symptoms are bad poetry writing, your last name is richards and you have anal leakage. This is not good. Repent! Repent! 8/10
 — Henry

Thx Henry. Sadly, I have little time for christianity's dark angels as all of my genuflecting is reserved for Bacchus and Mars.
 — rrichards5

_tittering_ Hey, you got an 8/10. That's better than this blowhard usually gives anyone. I'd feel honored if his own poetry was any good, but, as it isn't, I wouldn't pay Henry any mind. He's a sad, bored, old man with nothing better to do.
 — blee73

I think his generosity was courtesy of the Corvus corone corone. Any blackbird reference is bound to perk up a lover of Poe.
 — rrichards5

WOW! I don't know what to say about that... pretty intense.
 — unknown

Thx for the read unk.
 — rrichards5