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The casing of bronze
once stately and polished
had lost all its luster.
It sat, weary and worn,
run through too many fingers
and careless washer cycles
for any hope of a finish.

From dented corner to tired edge,
matte with forests dark and dense
of rich patina flourishing
on air and bronze and warm palm sweat,
I stared and stared at every ridge,
nook and plane for evidence
of the visage in my memory,
but every ray reflected back
was coated now with something black.

With subtle motions of the wrist
like a well-seasoned fly fisherman
she snapped the case to flip the lid,
but in place of its more youthful click
the haggard spring heaved a groan
like rotten redwoods splintering.

She rolled the flint to spark the wick
and lift it to her cigarette,
but the eager neurons in her brain
would not be placated this way.
She stood confused.
There was no flame.

Then the silence without the fire
to sputter fizz white noise over everything
with a tiny, rushing torrent of ether.

With defeated sigh she tossed it down
and left me there without a light.
The Moon was smooth across the lake
but I quickly grew tired of it,
and took the Zippo- icy hard,
impotent, and inert-
like a skipping stone
and cast it forth
fif-
      teen
            hops,
and smiled I could transform
the lifeless mirror that I saw
into a scintillating sea of moonbeams.

------
of all misfortune, the worst kind of fate is to have been happy.
-boethius


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Comments

The following comments are for "Zippo"
by ochimusha

editing eye
Hope you can handle my input which is pretty drastic ... but it was what I 'saw' immediately.

Lose the second verse .. all of it ...

finish with the fifteen hops ... the rest of the finale is redundant.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: May 10, 2011 )

Call Fo Phillip Morrrrrriiiiissss and a zippol.
Fantastic piece of history, and I disagree, the 2nd verse is absolutely essential to the content of the whole. I still have 2 zippos, one red engraved winston the othe you guessed, green engraved salem. Given to me along with 4 mini packs of Winston on board a US Destroyer at pier in Norfolk, VA by who were they, RJ Reynolds I do believe salesmen, who maed periodic trips to Navy ships trying very successfully, to get us hooked on the great American National Habit of smoking, of course.
This poem is a classic among US History and belongs in the National Archives at least. O by the way, forget the word Redundant, it just means .... nothing.... just forget it.

( Posted by: veebdosa [Member] On: May 10, 2011 )

Zippo
There seems to be a lot of extra baggage in this piece, and so reads more story than poetry.

For example, first lines:
"The casing of bronze/once stately and polished/had lost all its luster." Seems kind of lofty to start with, doesn't intice the reader.

if you simplify to:
"The bronze casing, once polished, now dull (or faded)...."

That seems more accessible.

There are other lines that stray from your theme.



"With subtle motions of the wrist/like a well-seasoned fly fisherman..."

Maybe "With subtle flick of her wrist, like a fly fisherman" I don't think "well-seasoned" is good imagery. the fly fisherman doesn't need to be so well defined, he is not the focus.

"...but the eager neurons in her brain
would not be placated this way.

Again, it gets lofty and strays from your main idea. the reader knows what "eager" is, and we've heard of neurons. I don't know what "eager neurons" are, or why they would be eager...

Other lofty areas: "rich patina flourishing" and "the visage in my memory". If a person was to tell this to me as a story I'd forget what its about before the middle.

I think you are on to a good poem with some trimming. I think if you can get it down to 18 0 22 lines it will shine.

Keep working it.

BW


( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: May 12, 2011 )

Viva L'Independence
Lessons of "eager neurons" is just one part of what places this poem, as written" brings out the genius of the poet. The reading of an exciting book, I forget who wrote it, THE GENIUS WITHIN US, would help some to understand this phrase and how it fits into the poem, very neatly and stressing a point that otherwise goes lost to many readers. It would be impossible to remove "eager neurons" from the text and still maintain the integrity of what is happening in the poem.
I could never lose interest in it, and in fact, have saved it so that I do not lose it. It is a poem grossly mis-understood by many poets, I believe, exemplified by the fatc that on sponsor/commenter tells no points needing consideration, and another having some valid conserns, but still missing other points, and a lot of poetry indeed does come across this way to some readers.
My advice, change nothing, absolutely nothing in this poem. To do so would be like changing the intellect of the Gettysburg Address or the Logic of the Declaration of Independence.

( Posted by: veebdosa [Member] On: May 13, 2011 )

Thanks to 3
Thank you all for the helpful comments and praises!

This is one of some writings I came across from a few years ago. I am trying to get back into the spirit of writing again, and so thought it might be helpful to share and get some ideas on where I should continue my journey.

There is indeed a fair amount of baggage in this poem, mostly drawn as a series of images. I think I was trying make a hopeful turn at the end of a long string of otherwise disappointing pictures, but I may have belabored the despair.

I'm always hesitant to change things more than a few months old, as by that point they are more valuable to me as windows into the person I was at the time. I will however keep all comments in mind for future writing.

Cheers,
ochi

( Posted by: ochimusha [Member] On: May 17, 2011 )

Editing is our friend.
Having read several days ago, I didn't wish to get involved in the thread until you answered.

Penelope and Brian have made valid points.

As for editing being our friend, I think Thomas Jefferson would agree. Though his initial draft was brilliant, even the Declaration of Independence contains revisions/changes.

Keep aiming pen at paper.

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: May 17, 2011 )





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