poetry critical

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went on vacation this year
the only one i'm going to get.
wife wanted to drive to pigeon forge
a real hotspot
down in tennessee.
some lady at the gas station market
across the street from our apartment complex
said it had great outlet stores
and an amusement park for the kids.
between all the great shopping
and the hotel food
spent the better part of a day
at dollywood.
forty nine bucks a pop.
had the pleasure of sweating like a pig
for a three minute ride
and the hope of a glimpse
of some teenage ass
on line.
i consider myself lucky.
all my wife and kid had
was the sweat part.
we took a break
for lunch
in a rustic pressboard lean-to
sucked down four dollar corndogs
served up by local ladies.
they were dressed in generic
old timey southern garb
size twenty-five at least
id say.
there was a truckers group from cat
on an outing;
they all had the same shirt
neon green.
that's how i knew.
of course
there was also the requisite pack of retards
shambling from place to place
like a little circus act.
i wished i was with them.
they seemed like
the only bunch having any fun
that day.

5 Jun 07

Rated 8 (8) by 5 users.
Active (5): 5, 6, 8, 10
Inactive (0): 10

(define the words in this poem)
(7 more poems by this author)

(1 user considers this poem a favorite)

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This poem has an interesting message, but I think it would be better if you changed the word "retard" to something else.  It just makes you sound like a complete arse.
 — 1994

At least your bigotry is out in the open, as well as your crass thoughts.  What is cat, in line 32?

I don't even know how to think about this yet.  The writing seems to be trying to be not very good, as though you're thinking in a rather hill-billy style but since I don't know if those in Tennessee know how to use caps and such, it's hard to be sure.

It just sounds harsh and mean to me.  Retards is a very inelegant way to name an entire group of unfortunates, don't you think?
 — Isabelle5

reatrds is a harsh word, but after reading the poem the edge in the words helps to heighten the sense of bleak, boring, dismal reality, and how things are never fucking beautiful. not the best word but effective
 — crismonblue

Before anyone misunderstands, I am referring to the person in the poem's bigotry and crassness, NOT the poet.  Crimsonblue, I see your point.  Thanks for mentioning that.
 — Isabelle5

The title IS crass and an unnecessary introduction to a poem that would be better suited for a page in your journal than it would on a poetry site.  Some of the images (people, places and things) open the reader up to a new place/culture/experience, but the title itself shows very little respect in my opinion.
 — starr

p.s. I still gave it an "8" though on the strength of those images and what they expose the reader to.  :-)
 — starr

Hmmm...now I'm reading the other comments and after a re-read, I'm seeing it in another light.  Sometimes, it takes a few reads to really embrace a poem for not only the content, but for what that content conveys.  I somehow am disappointed with the ending three lines though.  This kind of writing beckons even more.  Hopefully no offense was taken in my first critique.  :-)
 — starr

1994 - cant change the word. poetry isnt about political correctness. and perhaps i am a complete arse. you be the judge.

isabelle5 - the writing is plain. it fits the persona of the character, and the situation. i am glad to have aroused such a strong feeling in you. perhaps you might find it elucidating to engage your mind in addition to your gut when reading a poem; you might find the entire experience fuller, as it were. it stays retards.

for someone who considers herself quite the expert in things both literary and worldly, i am surprised to find your reading to be as shallow as it is.

crimsonblue - i appreciate you reading. i thought it was effective, too.

starr - thanks for reading more than once.
 — jumpoline

It is with poems like this that I wish rafter had standardized notes so I could type something like outline> and it would type the following, “More prose than a poem, will make a good outline for a poem.” The last two stanzas save the poem from being a total disaster and I give it a 4.579 on the rafter scale. If it’s too easy, it probably isn’t poetry.
 — unknown

I think the use of the word retard enticed me to read, I couldn't believe it would be an expression of bigotry.  

And of course it isn't.  For me the whole situation paints the lowest common denominator of culture and I agree with you absolutely that those with disability retain some joy and human dignity over the average consumer.  I don't imagine you the writer could produce this if you were indeed the jerk-narrator.

Imagination irony and many poetic devices do go enitrely unnoticed on this site,
whatever the strengths that bring me back to it.  
 — unknown

Great poem caustic observation of people wondering why the hell they are not having any fun.

Larry miserable git lark
 — larrylark

excuse me?  i made ONE comment.  
hello, I LIKED THE POEM.  i liked it a lot because i've been there before and i totally understand what you mean.  i'm not one for political "correctness" anyway.

but i don't find it very mature of you to go to EVERY poem i have on this site and be a total sarcastic bastard on ALL of them except for Snow, most likely, simply because i suggested you change ONE WORD in your poem.
 — 1994

jumpoline is a defensive dick. ignore him 1994.
 — unknown

yeah, i'm going to ignore him as soon as he answers my question.
 — 1994

you've already proved you can't ignore him. the screw's loose, you and he, both.
 — unknown

You know, with a response like that from a poet I took time to comment and read for, I'm very disappointed.  It's a privilege to have been read, it took time to comment and you have just disrespected me.  As for me saying I know a lot, where do people get that idea?  I say over and over AND OVER that I'm also learning here.

It's a poem, jumpoline, keep it in perspective and don't disrespect readers who spend their precious time trying to find good things to say about your wording.
 — Isabelle5


see above

 — unknown

 — unknown

i know the feeling. the word is a little harsh but so are people anyway.
 — unknown

The title put me off at first, but you can't change it because it works.  This is great.  I will have to read the rest of your work.
 — unknown

Anyone who uses "retards" to refer to individuals who have the misfortune of being born mentally handicapped is a complete villian.  Good work on making the reader truly despise the speaker of the poem.  
I like the way the "idiot redneck" is not from the area but a northerner who looks down his nose at all he sees and comes up in the end being no more of a "thinker" than the local color.
It's not the use of "retard" in the context that bothers me, but the use of it in the title.  You see, we want to hate the speaker but not the poet.  It's the poet's voice who names the poem and we don't want the poet to refer to the stupidity and vulgarity of the speaker as a "retarded" which is what I guess you are doing.  
Other than the title, the only other suggestion is consider a prose poem format.  The line breaks don't really do anything for the flow of this one.
 — unknown

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