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18+

America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956.

by Kylan


Warning: This work has been rated 18+.

1
It’s been done before: cupped hands, one foot
in the door of the sushi house wondering how does a knife
get so sharp—
 
Blade that’ll unnerve
me right from my seat on the train.
 
That’ll teach me everything has in it a zenith:
a perfect bone to cleave unto.
 
2
I take off my red scarf and find
that it is basically just a bloody mess
that has been keeping me warm all this time.
 
3
Again someone cuts ahead of me
in line at the costume shop—
I don’t complain; anyway, goodness is paying
for the king kong suit of the woman behind you.
 
4
All the out of work auctioneers look up at me
as I leave the mall, ask me if I need a litany. They say,
Could this go on forever in a good way?
 
5
At some point, you must just have faith
that storm drains will get your trash to the sea.
 
6
I find my way home without being
anyone’s collateral damage. Anyone’s bailout.
Anyone’s catamite. The next day
fucking missionaries come pamphleteering me:
Inquiring, How lately, sweet brother, have you helped:
The poor in heart? The economy? 




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376 Reviews


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Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:26 am
Trident wrote a review...



Hey Kylan, it took me a quick search to find we are referencing Ginsberg here. I've read "Howl", but not "America", so I took the time to read it before commenting. My thoughts:

It’s been done before: cupped hands, one foot
in the door of the sushi house wondering how does a knife
get so sharp—

Blade that’ll unnerve
me right from my seat on the train.

That’ll teach me everything has in it a zenith:
a perfect bone to cleave unto.


That first line, I am wondering if you are referencing simply the fact that the line has been used before, which is a pithy little opening. I know Ginsberg was terrific at turning from the unserious to the serious and playing around with that. So it felt playful, which I enjoyed.

I am enjoying this first section and I like having this extended blade metaphor throughout. "Zenith" is tripping me up, only because I felt that the word has this philosophical, almost religious nature to it. But you're sort of bringing that absolution, that perfection, down to a bloody-bone human level. I am terrified of this blade.

I take off my red scarf and find
that it is basically just a bloody mess
that has been keeping me warm all this time.


And here we are subjected to an image which just goes to show our mortality. The syntax of "and find that it is basically just" is hard on the tongue.

Again someone cuts ahead of me
in line at the costume shop—
I don’t complain; anyway, goodness is paying
for the king kong suit of the woman behind you.


Ha, "cuts". I am struggling with "goodness" paying for the suit. I feel if we're going to bring in some metaphysical, we can at least have a seeming purpose for it? It feels like it is trying to say something, but we aren't subjected to that something.

All the out of work auctioneers look up at me
as I leave the mall, ask me if I need a litany. They say,
Could this go on forever in a good way?


"Auctioneers" is an interesting choice, considering most people imagine them as semi-annoying. Kind of like mimes, though maybe to a lesser degree. So far we have this list (besides section two) of this person jumping around town in the 1950s (though it could easily be the present). I imagine that person wearing a suitcoat and maybe with a fedora in all these odd places.

That last line, for whatever populist reason I have in my head, I imagine bailed-out bankers and traders mocking this person.

At some point, you must just have faith
that storm drains will get your trash to the sea.


Okay, this is where the theme is succinctly stated within the image provided. It's infuriating if you are infuriated by that kind of thing. Sheer frustration.

I find my way home without being
anyone’s collateral damage. Anyone’s bailout.
Anyone’s catamite. The next day
fucking missionaries come pamphleteering me:
Inquiring, How lately, sweet brother, have you helped:
The poor in heart? The economy?


Obviously, when you read the word "bailout" you are pulled fro, any 1950s nostalgia, but it still fits in a way. Like we are forcing the current terminology onto the "Mad Men" business era, and our wrath as well.

And then, bam! "catamite" is just so strong. Stronger than "fucking" which only substitutes for "terribly annoying".

Ginsberg was a political poet I would say, and there are inherent political themes here. Populist themes. I don't want to necessarily dive into the little Ls and little Cs because honestly, the interests here addressed concern the little people.

The second section stands out to me as not totally relating to the rest.

But you do have a well thought out poem which is definitely thought-provoking. Not completely accessible to all, but that's not always what poetry is about.




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24 Reviews


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Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:38 am
TheMarauderBandit wrote a review...



Okay, okay, okay. I'm not much of a history person, but I clicked on this simply because it was a poem, and reviewing poems is my forte. (Also, because this only had one review, and who are we kidding, that's extra points, therefore... instant attraction). My first impression of this was: well, not gonna lie, it was a bit dull, and bit boring (that might be my bored student self speaking out). I'm not gonna beat around the bush: you need to get a more... interesting way of hooking us in.

Second impression: this was a bit confusing. I mean the numbers, the differently formed stanzas, the sizes, everything... it kind of... put me off. Yes, this was before I even read your poem, but frankly this still stands. I'm either a dumb blonde, and not getting it because I'm an idiot (highly likely. Don't laugh, you), or it's just a bit... weird.

Yes, yes, I know differently sized stanzas can be cool, can be unique, can be pulled off, but I don't think that's the case with this one. I suggest either cutting down your stanzas a bit, and making them all the same length, or adding a bit more meat onto them, and making them... the same length.

But I'll polish up your ego a bit here, shall I? I liked it, overall, after reading it. It /was/ unique, and bit interesting, and I really enjoy your wording. Your writing style is superb, and I've never really seen anything quite like it (isn't that true for all writing styles?) You've given this piece personnality, you've given it a say, and not many authors do that with their writing. Usually it's just this dead, lifeless clump of words, but this is just TEEMING with awesome potential and energy.

You've done a fantastic job here, and let me tell you, I won't be forgetting this. You've spoken without words, you've painted a picture, and not the describing kind. I get this. This is good. You're good. And I loved it, after a while. I kind of... grew attached to it, so good on ya.

I've already hit the basis of my complaints with my first impressions, because as cheesy as it sounds: never judge a book by it's cover. And in this case, it's: never judge a poem by it's uninteresting first line. So with that large chunk gone, we're left with this, simply: my farewell.

I bid you goodbye, dear author of mine. You're a great poet, and you've done a marvelous job with this. I am eagerly awaiting more from you in the future, so keep at it! Great job, and goodbye!

~Bandit




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Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:23 am
michaeld wrote a review...



This was simply wonderful! It gave me a sense of nostalgia and homesickness. That was quite impressive of you! Very good. There are only two things that I found slightly incorrect, and here they are:

"that it is basically just a bloody mess"

I feel that the poem works better without the word "basically." It just flows better. But that's just my opinion.

"All the out of work auctioneers look up at me"

It should be "out-of-work."

That's it! Overall, your syntax was wonderful, same as your word choice. I will definitely be looking at more of your work. Cheers! ~ Michael





A good artist should be isolated. If he isn't isolated, something is wrong.
— Orson Welles