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2.888 Times Longer

I have lived much longer than that nerd in the back
of the yearbook, reserved for in memoriam, who
died from going out drinking and driving with
his cousin the first time he probably ever did
anything remotely askew.
A straight A student, his father a teacher,
member of the band and some school clubs that I
have no idea what they did, they did nerdy things,
he was never seen downtown except for his last day.
I saw him having fun in the jeep.
The first time.
I had lived a continuous party my entire time in school.
I managed a C average because I never once studied or
did homework, it would have messed with my social life.
I drove in the fastest cars, went to the wildest parties, drugs,
rock-n-roll, booze, inhaling fumes for the high.
Smoking cigs and weed, eating peyote buttons, mushrooms,
a hippie tripping out on LSD, driving stoned, drunk, messed
up. I dared the world a thousand times to kill me,
to put me out of my misery, feeling unwanted by all those
who should have wanted me, but didn’t.
I didn't like the dweeb that much,
but I still weep.

28 Jun 07

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I'm trying to decide if this really a poem, or just an angry rant.  On the other hand I can relate to the narrator (you?).  I've also done all those things you listed, with a bunch of other drugs and crimes that I no longer care to brag about.  And part of it is a death-wish.  It is sad that kid died having what for him was probably some relatively innocent fun.
 — skinnyJon

i dont know .
i will come back .
 — unknown

L3 seems more like a big pat on your own back than an example why i should feel bad about the dweeb

whatever that means...
 — chuckles


I was considering making it more poemish, cleaning it up also, but I can't get myself to touch it. It is much more raw than I usually write, maybe I'm too attached to it at the moment.


I can see where you might think that, however, it is the concept of the 'good die young' that I was trying to convey. I was never that interested in living, too much emotional pain in my life, yet I'm still here.
 — unknown

I changed my mind and rewrote the poem, not as raw, but more of a poem - hope I didn't make it worse, but I think it needed to be done.
 — yes

good poem. Your lines work well, to my eyes. I would end on L 16, but strengthen the words. Nail that last line. Compel us to walk away with it.
 — banditfemme

banditfemme - Thank you. I made the changes and rearranged L15 & L16. It seems much better, I see your point, to give others the chance to own it.
 — yes

Interesting title. It puts a quantitative value on a subjective entity-the life of the human being. The opposition here appears to be that of quantity vs. quality; but both words are, to me, empty. Quantity doesn't supply life with meaning and quality is so subjective as to rendered meaningless.

L1 I would eliminate "2.888 times longer." It's already in the title.

Ls 1-2 A little wordy. Does it matter where in the yearbook the person appears? Maybe try: "I've lived l onger than the nerd/in the yearbook."

Ls 2-4 Again, wordy. I'd say give us more about the accident, details, but the poem really doesn't seem to be about the accident. So I would condense this and maybe use more descriptive action verbs.

Back to line 1--"that nerd." The last stanza intimates regret for his death, even envy; but who is (was) this guy? We all transcend the words we use to describe not only ourselves but others; but what, who was this person through the lens of the narrator beyond the generic labels given to him?

The first stanza as a whole plays with the conceptions of "right" and "wrong." That the narrator believes that what the "nerd" did in drinking and driving is wrong implies the belief that the lifestyle of the narrator is wrong also. What the catalogue of misadventures in the second and third stanzas don't point to is why the narrator "dared the world," and why, in spite of feeling the dead guy is the "lucky one," chooses life? These are avenues the poet might explore.

I would eliminate line 14. It doesn't add anything. The emphatic is on line 5.
 — blee73

blee73 - Thank you for your in-depth critique. I will consider each of your comments and make changes over the next few days.

The back pages of the yearbook contained the In Memoriam pictures, maybe that is not true of all yearbooks so that might not be an obvious read there, maybe I should spell it out more clearly.
 — unknown

Me above.
 — yes

blee73 - I rewrote the poem incorporating most of what you have mentioned. Thanks. I hope it is better now, it seems much better to me.
 — yes

Yes - I like this much better, it is clear now that you are not glamourizing self destructive behaviour.  I like the irony of the comparison of the dweeb's life and the narrators.
 — skinnyJon

Yes, I like the rewrite. It's much more complete. I'll come back to this more in depth when I have more time. I'm at work now. Uh oh, here comes my boss.....
 — blee73

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