poetry critical

online poetry workshop



On "Having a Coke With You"
william

I called you
 1
when I was outside
 2
because it was windy and because the sun
 3
was orange despite the cold.
 4
It was still winter but
 5
the first time in months
 6
that there were such sharp shadows
 7
on everything.
 8
 
 
I took pictures of them, the shadows,
 9
but it wasn't enough so
 10
I called you and the wind
 11
beat on the voicepiece of the phone,
 12
so I turned my back to it and stood
 13
in a sharp shadow and the sun flickered,
 14
moved behind clouds like tunnel
 15
lamps flashing between cars
 16
at Penn Station.
 17
 
 
I called you
 18
and the grass was just regrowing
 19
and the ground was soggy from
 20
the rain this morning. But I walked
 21
on it anyway and pressed rainwater
 22
out of the ground like dishwater from
 23
a neon yellow sponge and I called because
 24
I had just read Frank O'Hara
 25
and when I caught you, you were on the
 26
way out the door but
 27
I asked you to wait and you did and
 28
when I finally got down to reading the poem I
 29
was breathless from finding a bench to sit on
 30
and from the excitement of hearing your voice.
 31
  
 32
The sun was low in the sky
 33
and I rushed all the lines
 34
and had to shout over the wind so when I was finally finished
 35
you weren’t sure if I was done
 36
or if I was unfolding the papers (the wind had wrapped
 37
around my fingers) or if I was just pausing to catch
 38
my breath.
 39

The original poem:
http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~jbass/eng219a_texts.html#ohara1

4 Feb 03

Rated 9.7 (7.3) by 3 users.
Active (3): 6, 9, 9, 10, 10
Inactive (86): 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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

(32 users consider this poem a favorite)



Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha

Comments:

damnit. my reading of your piece is now all coloured by the o'hara piece.

*rereads your piece, trying to get o'hara out of my head.*

very good. I don't really know what else to say but 'very good.' you did a damn good job, and I can't come up with anything else.

I have no idea if it was intentional (I'll assume it was), but as I finish this piece, I feel like I'm finishing it with the exact sensation to my wording as you have in the last stanza, of being not sure if finished or just catching my breath.
 — semaj

i loved it. and the same thing happened to me in the last paragraph- i was enjoying the pace, anxious to see what would "happen" and was bothered by having to navigate the parenthesis, wrapped around a carriage return, especially since there was so little "time" left to see what happens. but the parenthesis were fortunately worth it, and just when i acknowledged it, i swallowed the last line. and that was novel- catching my breath while reading the same words. and i could hear the background music of the scene you painted so well, halt suddenly, but with finality.
 — gnormal

What he said. Beautiful imagery in 3rd stanza too.
 — Moose

I'm glad that this is in the top fifteen. Good stuff.
 — semaj

This is so lovely, I love all of your work. Stanza 3 is my favorite.
 — heatherS

claps
with
one
hand

 — unknown

woot. i can't say i care for the line breaks and "neon yellow" in 24 is too wordy and too aware of its own being an image, but regardless i like this piece. a lot.

yeah. this is really good.
 — jade

i love it. i don't know what exactly it is about this poem but it evoked a whole lot of emotion in me.
 — lenster

amazing, you took a couple of moments out of the day that someone wouldn't think of twice and made it seem as though eternity depended on them. i was feeling anxiety...
 — unknown

Breathless from beginning to end. Thanks for the ride.
 — hatsoff

beautiful imagery.
 — asov

like bees to sugar water
 — unknown

exceptional ! thank you !
 — unknown

How this poem fell from the top fifteen is beyond me. Perhaps one of my favorite poems on the site. The only criticism I could think of when reading it (and I believe Jade mentioned the same) was the use of "neon" in line 24. I do not feel that was necessary to the line. Other than that one thing the poem is quite exceptional and strong. Some very compelling lines... "I took pictures of them, the shadows, but it wasn't enough so I called you" many wonderful lines. The poem is of an uninhibited/honest voice and written with a subtle taste of simplicity... nothing overbearing upon the reader. I should have commented long ago on this poem. Pardon the lateness. Enjoyed thoroughly. Hope to see you post some new work soon.
 — OldShoe

i just read it again and enjoyed it as much. i guess thats what youre supposed to do with poems.
i thought about oldshoes comment about neon, and i agree. (not because im intimidated by the perfectly spaced isocolonic lines of his comments.) better without the neon. it smells like night. but i wonder if what you wanted to convey was the sharpness of the yellow that a kitchen sponge is, which would contribute to the feeling of sharpness that day with the crisp wind, paper, sun, and sharp shadows. i mean, the poem is so perfect, there must be an explanation. i thought it would be fun to guess that this was it.
 — gnormal

now my comments are proportionally spaced too. i guess thats automatic.
 — gnormal

Well. Off the top of my head, the only thing I can suggest immediatly is to remove all the line breaks, get the missing commas in, and then break the lines back up the way they are. The lack of all the commas made me rush a bit while I read. Once you hit stanza three, a lack of commas is appropriate so that the reader can feel a bit exasperated with the speaker in the poem, but it's destracting for the first two stanzas.

I agree that 'neon' is awkward, but at the same time, it is what saved the line for me.

Somthing that I'm missing is that unmistakable (perhaps spring) smell and I feel it should be someplace at the start of stanza three when we already have a vision of the soggy ground.

I have a great image of the soggy grass, but I don't feel it under my feet yet. Play with line order and see what comes up that might resolve this.

Good enjambment, seems to me there is hardly a line that isn't enjambed.

Watch out for those '"ing" words. that 'ing' sound tends to be lounder and trails off taking away from the real meat of the word (specifically, "regrowing"). I also feel that the grass deserves a better word than 'just'. All of this also goes back to my lack of feeling of the soggy grass yet.
 — Oranges

awesome simply awesome
 — Brandxxx

perfect 10.
 — rhaps

I don't understand what this poem is about... it started out really good... but I don't know what the rest means
 — unknown

i love this one! i feel like im on the roof of a building watching this fella stand in the wind yelling poetry at his girl.
 — lachadli

I understand that poetry doesn't need rhyme,but shouldn't it at least be more than meandering.Who cares what i say though my highest rating is a 5.
 — GoatGod

Very much enjoyed...lovely imagery.
 — Kardiac8

I have finally acted upon the suggestions regarding my linebreaks (they now reflect more acurrately how I read the poem), but I am hesitant to edit this poem due to all the enthusiasm it has recieved, particuarly semaj and gnormal's first two comments. On a re-read of the poem, do you still enjoy it just as much as you remember? Have I broken it?

Jade/Oldshoe/Gnormal: I have given the "neon yellow sponge" a line in its own right -- does this remedy the problem any?
 — william

By the way, comparisons of breathlessness, the original final stanza read as follows:

The sun was low in the sky
and I rushed all the lines
and had to shout over the wind so when
I was finally finished you weren't sure if
I was done or if I was unfolding
the papers (the wind had wrapped
around my fingers) or if I was just pausing
to catch my breath.
 — william

not able to refer to the first version, this one seems more calm and premeditated. i thought i remembered a more breathless tone in general before, which i liked, and seemed more honest.
i like what you did to the last stanza though.
i still dont like neon. i think you mean florescent. neon lights buzz. i want to keep that buzz out of your poem.
 — gnormal

I agree with gnormal's crit all around-- the last stanza is definitely improved in this version, but the rushed spontanaeity of the original throughout the first few stanzas seems to be lost. Personally, I think that is what made the original so brilliant. Can you post the original as a comment here or on the message board for comparison?

What do you think about replacing neon with 'porous' or some other adjective describing the sponge? Presumably if the ground is wet enough to be squishing water, it would be dirty, so a neon sponge refers to a new and clean one, which undermines the imagery a bit. I guess the question is whether you did that intentionally or not. Anyway, its just a word. Great effort as usual.
 — root

I called you
when I was outside
because it was windy and because the sun
was orange despite the cold.
It was still winter but
the first time in months
that there were such sharp shadows
on everything.

I took pictures of them, the shadows,
but it wasn't enough so
I called you and the wind
beat on the voicepiece of the phone,
so I turned my back to it and stood
in a sharp shadow and the sun flickered,
moved behind the clouds like the tunnel
lamps flashing between the cars
at Penn Station.

I called you
and the grass was just regrowing
and the ground was soggy from
the rain this morning. But I walked
on it anyway and pressed rainwater
out of the ground like dishwater from
a neon yellow sponge and I called because
I had just read Frank O'Hara
and when I caught you, you were on the
way out the door but
I asked you to wait and you did and
when I finally got down to reading the poem I
was breathless from finding a bench to sit on
and from the excitement of hearing your voice.

The sun was low in the sky
and I rushed all the lines
and had to shout over the wind so when
I was finally finished you weren't sure if
I was done or if I was unfolding
the papers (the wind had wrapped
around my fingers) or if I was just pausing
to catch my breath.
 — william

Hm, the major thing this version is doing over the original is moving beginnings of sentences which used to be in the middle to the beginning of the lines (especially with the third stanza, where just about every line is ending with an implied comma, and a good number of the begin with 'and's or 'but's). I'd say the revisioning is done on the basis of reading the poem aloud, because the previous was sort of a long run-on sentence without any of those implied commas, but this one gives the opportunity to breathe.

I prefer the breathlessness, myself; it makes me smile strangely and I can't stop myself from it.
 — semaj

you know, for some reason, porous seems really to fit.
 — unknown

I can't describe how much I've loved this more than saying this is my only ten. My only possible suggestion is to throw in another 'I called' because a little more repetition will go with it but there really is something about this. Might be the mood I'm in. Ach I've gone all dreamy and poetic. This is wonderful but I can't tell you why... (how annoying is that?)
XxXx
 — Minx

I thought this was beautiful. Beautifully put together, beautifully representative of something more worthwhile than people make it. I especially liked the repetition of it all. Perfect.
 — arienette

wow......... nothing to say on this one. perfect flow, perfect theme. perfect word choice. wow.

god damn...

this gets a 10 from me. a shitload better than anything i can write. but hey, i try  
:\
 — AEOS

thank you for letting me be part of that moment
 — Cella

i loved this because it felt like a story, and in that way, it became more personal and relateable to me...you did an AWESOME job...thank u...
 — AgentA

A beautiful work of art.  Normal with a satifying twist of anxiety and hatred for fall days.  If I felt it wrong please comment me because I don't wanna feel like the strong vocabularied idiot.
 — unknown

nice images
 — mandrakeman

brilliant.
 — beatbitch

funny ''having a coak with you''
 — unknown

i can't say anything.  i love the image of squeezing the water from the ground like a sponge.
 — done

awesome
 — watever

really like the line - the sun/was orange despite the cold- was looking for poems for my class - mostly boring stuff and stumbled on this poem by chance. Don't normally comment on on-line poems but this is a rich find. Well done. I will be back for more.  Seadancer
 — unknown

Is it legal to comment on something just to see it on the 'recently commented' section and hope to expose it to more people?  This is the one I always think of when I think of my favorite poems.   I wonder why this isn't on the 'top rated' list anymore...it should be.
 — amy

...and of course I mean the 'visible' top rated list.
 — amy

I like this. My only suggestion is to make it clear in the title that your are referring to Frank O'Hara's poem.  Although it is possible to figure it out from the text, it would be nice to know in the beginning.  This poem stands well on its own.  I too got that breathless feeling of shouting over the wind when I was done reading it.  It also works well with the O'Hara poem.  
 — Madge

congratulations william on the occasion of this poem being numero uno!
it is a great poem, and i really enjoy your work!
sit down for a moment in a nice chair somewhere in an expensive furniture showroom and enjoy a well-deserved break.
 — gnormal

It has potential.  A lot of I's in there.  Sharp shadow (7), shadows (9), sharp shadow (14)... how 'bout expanding out a bit here.  "The ground was soggy," "pressed rainwater out of the ground" hmmmm, what's wrong with this?  Depth.  Agreement with others on "neon."  

Nonetheless, and as mentioned, there's potential.  You pull off the length of your sentences well.  Visions painted from the words you've penned are vivid.  Thoughts conjured concerning the emotional tie between you and your subject are rampant.  Nicely done.  
 — Macko

you knwo this already bt ill say it anyway. great poem.
 — Romanspring

Simple, elegant, powerful, a wonderful discovery,
change nothing.
 — Ayedorite

I love this again everytime I read it.
 — Cella

me too.  
that's the one sure thing that proves how good it is.
 — gnormal

very nice, 8  ~*tara
 — Marksbabe

the last part of the second stanza had an amazing simile.  that was very clearly written.  lines 23 and 24 are also very good.  very original.
 — sassybnyss

i don't see it,
i don't feel it.
im drawing a blank again
the spirals are really getting to me
 — LucyMidnight

poetry tetto scruffs:

read this. this is good poetry.

Resident Poetry God
 — unknown

Though I haven't read the original nor felt a soft spot within me for poems of love, this one ha opened new doors for me.  Very, very well written.  A success through and through
 — EdwardDurden

i like the imagery, the whole atmosphere of the story-line
 — infinity

Sure, free verse is fun,
But Mother says you'll go blind
If you do it much.
 — unknown

hah, im speechless... good job.
 — mike

this is good in a different kind of way.  well done.
 — themolly

this sounds more like a story than a poem. It would be better if it had a flow! LIKE I SAID! WASTING VALUABLE SPACE!
 — unknown

WASTING VALUABLE SPACE .Ha Ha such a shame . William well done .
 — unknown

Utterly superb. Loved the descriptions of shadows the sun and the wind .Stand out poem
 — larrylark

sorry for the delay in 10-faving this.
that's so bad of me.
: )
 — fractalcore

sorry glen but fact is such an arse.
 — unknown

Wow AMAZING.  I personally love lines 3-4
 — psychofemale

loverly!!! yes. crisps. and lollipops.
 — unknown

Stars are always high and let you look it up. But if you can shine you can become star. And the light comes from replica designer handbags because everyone can have it. 2012 Miu Miu brand offer new models which look more maturate and beautiful. Cheap replica designer handbags attracted the attention of many female friends, to meet their pursuit of luxury for them, while also saving a lot of expenses.
http://www.copyluxury.biz< br /> http://www.replicaha ndbags-uk.co.uk
http://www.replicawatches.c o
http://www.tagheuerwatche s.biz
 — hehandbags

0.227s