The Neighbor

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judyt547
Posts: 131
Joined: 17 Jan 2013, 19:46
Location: middle of the woods
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The Neighbor

#1 Post by judyt547 » 16 Oct 2019, 04:46

Survivor


She says he never beats her
never raises a hand in anger
although he does drag her
across the floor by the hair
when he gets really pissed.

Child-like, rubs the top of her head,
"Boy does that HURT when he does it!"
She giggles, then looks serious.
Says he's the best thing that ever happened to her
and from what I've heard before,
I begin to think she's right.

I take her cats
when she turns herself in
to the psych ward,
take her shopping when she's home
and her husband is in jail
because she got scared of him;
people from church bring her blankets
and light bulbs, soap and cat food.

Last week she called from the hospital,
asked me if I'd keep the cats for good.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1494
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: The Neighbor

#2 Post by BobBradshaw » 16 Oct 2019, 06:36

This is good. It works all the way through. For more impact I would like some images in the next to last stanza to put us in her shoes, in the moment. Maybe an adjective or image about the cats, for example. The psych ward offers an opportunity as well but don't overdo it.

Kenneth2816
Posts: 1178
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Re: The Neighbor

#3 Post by Kenneth2816 » 16 Oct 2019, 12:46

Judyt. Pleasure to read your work. This is a stark poem that rings true. It isn't over the top, nor does it ask for sympathy. But it also offers no hope. That's what is good about it, the reader decides.

I hope you stick around. Pick a poem or two and leave your thoughts. It's how we pay the bills.
Best,
Ken

judyt547
Posts: 131
Joined: 17 Jan 2013, 19:46
Location: middle of the woods
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Re: The Neighbor

#4 Post by judyt547 » 16 Oct 2019, 16:03

thank you both. Bob, you're dead right about the psych ward, and for me, that's enough to show that she's off balance
but still functional. She turns herself in. That's pretty basic. =) I'll see what I can do about giving the cats some life. (Thinking about
fleshing her out). You're right, she needs to be more than a cardboard cutout.

Thanks, Ken, I used to be here years ago, and burned out over it. I'm not writing much right now, but revising is always an option.

meenas17
Posts: 694
Joined: 23 Mar 2014, 11:27

Re: The Neighbor

#5 Post by meenas17 » 16 Oct 2019, 16:59

it is a sensitive poem. Good but could be improved with some images.Much is left to the reader's imagination.
meenas17

FranktheFrank
Posts: 1534
Joined: 02 Mar 2016, 18:07
Location: Between the mountains and the sea

Re: The Neighbor

#6 Post by FranktheFrank » 16 Oct 2019, 18:21

Hi Judy
You've been here many years as a member
I remember a post on some negative feedback on a poem of mine
by someone else, you were very supportive. The person who wrote
that negative comment (not that it's bad to give negative feedback)
recently wrote via e-mail congratulating me for staying the pace.
Yes we can burn out, I hope you stay to enjoy.

Your poem:
At first I thought it too explicit, but from experience know I have to
come back to a poem several times to truly get it. At first I didn't like the
first stanza, an oxymoron of a stanza, but a recent experience confirms
the reality of the situation. An old girl friend said of her late father' 'He
was the best father a girl could have.' When in fact he was a tough
selfish Irishman. She got the line from: The Madness of King George.'
So kudos for sticking to it, it is reality.

I don't feel you need to add anything, maybe a 'finally' added before
"she got scared of him."
best wishes

judyt547
Posts: 131
Joined: 17 Jan 2013, 19:46
Location: middle of the woods
Contact:

Re: The Neighbor

#7 Post by judyt547 » 17 Oct 2019, 02:28

Thanks, Frank. Way way back in the late 90s, when there were a number of poetry crit boards, this one and Gazebo were the premiere places to post. I was a worker bee here for about a year, and truly burnt out as to crits. It was a fast moving board in those days, I do recall that.
I don't really like totally negative crits for someone (if it's that bad, negative surely won't help), but there's almost always a place that shows a sign of life. And sometimes the worst poems, with a change of direction, can really shine.

The first time I heard her say he was the best thing that ever happened to him, I thought she was overstating the case. Then I found the rest of the story,
and realized he was a step up for her. They each had their own brand of mental problems, and understood each other as well.
They're still together, incredibly.

This poem seems to be pretty locked in. Some of them are like that. They flow out, down the page, and except for a minor tweak here and there, they sort of seal themselves off from too much revision. Just realized why it's so hard to revise this with add-ins. It's a "now" kind of poem. When it ends on the page, you know there's more, but there's no place for it.

judyt547
Posts: 131
Joined: 17 Jan 2013, 19:46
Location: middle of the woods
Contact:

Re: The Neighbor

#8 Post by judyt547 » 17 Oct 2019, 02:37

This, then:

Survivor

She says he never beats her
never raises a hand in anger
although he does drag her
across the floor by the hair
when he gets really pissed.

Child-like, rubs the top of her head,
"Boy does that HURT when he does it!"
She giggles, then looks serious.
Says he's the best thing that ever happened to her
and from what I've heard before,
I begin to think she's right.

He loves her dreadful Elvis impersonations,
she tolerates his depressions
when he shaves his body hair
and wanders naked in the woods.

I feed her cats
when she turns herself in
to the psych ward,
take her shopping when she's home
and her husband is in jail
because she got mad at him;
people from church bring her blankets
and light bulbs, soap and cat food.

Last week she called from the hospital,
asked me if I'd keep the cats for good.

Kenneth2816
Posts: 1178
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Re: The Neighbor

#9 Post by Kenneth2816 » 17 Oct 2019, 14:06

I like the inclusion of more personal detail.

judyt547
Posts: 131
Joined: 17 Jan 2013, 19:46
Location: middle of the woods
Contact:

Re: The Neighbor

#10 Post by judyt547 » 17 Oct 2019, 17:44

Lol, thanks. They were our next neighbors, so it wasn't unusual to encounter him walking down our driveway, buck naked, shaved to a faretheewell, as morose a being as you could find. It's funny now, but it was a bit creepy at the time. And I felt sorry for him but no, I did not give naked men rides in those days. Ev-er.

I know there was a comment made about adding something at the end, but I think those two lines say it all, about her and her own sense of self. She understood her own deficiencies. That isn't always the case.

BobBradshaw
Posts: 1494
Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: The Neighbor

#11 Post by BobBradshaw » 18 Oct 2019, 01:46

The new lines make the poem livelier and more fun.

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