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The Moon on Highway 99

Stayed two nights at the mission.
Spent two days on a bar-stool
in Bakersfield, California.
Drinking to stay alive,
thinking about the illusion of fellowship
and the healing light of solitude.
Tonight I'll sleep under a tree,
or beside the freeway.
I'll hold a flashlight between my teeth,
read Dostoyevsky
then use him for a pillow
and wait -
for the world to end
or the Liquor Barn to open.

6 Mar 12

Rated 10 (9.5) by 1 users.
Active (1):
Inactive (11): 6, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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Terrible. This might fare better as a song if you have a smoky or sultry voice and effect the right twang with a guitar to carry the heartache, but as a poetic work this reeks of cliche and poor writing.

l1-l2 - parallelism here is more repetitive than beneficial
l3-l4 - drinking/thinking is clumsy
l4-l5 - we know she's dead, but then you say use "dying the way she did" which adds nothing of substance and is purely repetitive.
l6 - under "the" cold water is awkwardly phrased, why would you refer to specific cold water? It's not like it's a particular body of water which you're referring to.
l7-8 - repetitive and frankly really annoying and bland, does nothing for this stanza.

l9-10 - ugh, cliche, trite, and really too much telling and not enough showing. This is the kind of message a greater writer might hope their poem would convey through imagery, symbol or other tools. But to just blandly state it? You need to learn the art of subtlety instead of smashing us over the head with what you're trying to say because it's ineffective and reads more like it belongs on a fortune cookie than anything or in an episode of Touched By An Angel than anything.
l11 - this isn't even a coherent thought. Everything referring to what, enough for what? The vagueness is horribly imprecise. A finesse of writing is precision, which you lack.
l12-13 - so casual about it. Oh maybe I'll just sleep on a dung hill or in a landfill. Why should we care if it's going to be so arbitrary? Make us care as the reader.
l14-16 - boring. Nothing compelling being conveyed here.
l18-19 - repetitive and annoying, made worse by the fact that you're not only being repetitive in l19 of l18, but that this is also repeating l7-8.

Have I been too harsh? I don't think so. This piece is terribly and unfortunately constructed, through and through. There is nothing meaningful here, little or nothing worth salvaging. Your wording is vague in most places, meandering, repetitive, you give readers few images or solid concepts to hold onto, seeming content to piddle about with trite and cliched phrases and largely meaningless statements. Don't smack us over the head with the fact that your sister died and that "we're all waiting to die", find a way to convey that message with your poem instead. Anyone can just say it, a poet makes us feel it in our bones. You need to stop telling and start showing, need to stop relying on cliches and half-baked aphorisms, and start learning how to create something poetic and artistic.
 — Inuki

thanks. listened. revised.
 — 9

i know you.
 — mandolyn

I don't even know me.
 — 9

^ that made me smile
 — mandolyn

 — unknown

I like it.  Made me think of Kerouac et all and the beat generation.
 — sybarite

ugh, et al even...jeesh...it's early, yeah, that's my excuse!  :)
 — sybarite

 — 9

An earth capsule nugget. Way out and visionary
 — justicely

Nice... this reminds me of "under the bridge" by the red hot chilli peppers.
 — aforbing

I like this!  It's very urban and has a current day consciousness about it.  The last two lines are lonely and delicious!  :-)
 — starr

thanks for the read
 — 9

Yessa!  :-)
 — starr

I can't believe this is NOT a Top Rated poem!  It's soooo beautiful and touching!  :-O
 — starr

This is what poetry is about a vision succinct, tight and sharing. Top marks. I like its clinical feel. I wish i could approach my subject matter with this fixed relish
 — gallard

Still loving this and am hoping others will join me in reading and rewarding it.  It's awesome!  :-)
 — starr

Does Inuki have a clue?
 — unknown

thanks for the time and kind thoughts starr
 — 9

You got it, buddy.  I want 2 see more of your stuff.  I connect with it.  I worked at a shelter for 7 years in Massachusetts and did a lot of writing about the people, the love and the best years of my life, 9.  Keep up the good work, bud.  :-)
 — starr

nice one...it has depth...
 — smitaanand

you're catching us up to where you are in the write with enough time for us to wake-up with you for a big-Gulp at the end.
 — AlchemiA

9, will you please email me? i do not know how to get a hold of you.
 — mandolyn

It appears from the comments you have worked this over, and from what I'm reading of the current incarnation I think it's haunting. The only constructive crit I have to offer is maybe consider having some sort of lead in. IMO it begins with the conversation already in full swing.
 — Bastet

This is bleak and cool in equal measures.

Road trip Bukow-style, self-knowingly intelligent, crisp with everything said succinctly.

Lines 5 and 6 are me, thinking those lines you've written :)

Love it. Good read.
 — jenn

i'm glad to see this pop up again.
i know that moon on highway 99. saw it last night and tried to pluck it.
and 7-11 is in plain view of my window, i imagine it's a wood shed.
 — mandolyn

Wtf? I know that dust bowl!
 — unknown

 — unknown

Is this for real? What a gorgeous poem. I loved it. And the first comment reads, "Terrible"? Unless this has been revised top to bottom, it doesn't deserve that harsh rating. This is a kickass fine fine poem.
Oh my God I wish I'd written that last stanza, in particular.
And I don't dare plagiarize, because nobody would believe i wrote it
 — PatriciaSan

I found Inuki's critique sharp and enjoyable.

Although, I believe the poem has been revised.

It's okay for what it is.

Do people hold flashlights in their teeth in America? Are they small?

I don't think I could open my mouth wide enough to get a flashlight in it.

I think they might have a bigger diameter in Australia. Do you mean a pen-light?

Thanks for the read 9,
 — ElsieTime

7-eleven is open all night man!
 — unknown