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literature

Sirens

arctoa's avatar
By arctoa   |   Watch
9 29 2K (1 Today)
Published: January 10, 2010
"Hope is a place,"
He said.
"Long-lost in the space
between stars and the skyline

Of cities,
so shadow-scarred and tarred
by trail-stretched wire
wound tight toward the horizon

That you can't even imagine
what love
we have lost
along the highway."


"Headlights
wax and wane a wash
against my windscreen,"

He said.

"They're waves
upon which I can watch
the patterns
of pressure-tides rolling on

as rush-hour reels:
broken wheels wrenched in a
stop-motion revenance
in red."


"We'll choke
cold
in this caldera,"

He said.

"Caught supine
beneath the saturnine
street-light,
and the fireflies

Cast ablaze
amidst the wreckage:
Sirens
will not save me tonight."
© 2010 - 2019 arctoa
Updated: 10/01/2010 @ 09:29
Project2010: 017 of 375 (January 9th)



Something a little different; at least in terms of presentation if not general style and subject matter.

This one was tricky to get to a point where I was reasonably content with it. The line-breaks, for example, have been altered extensively: to the point where I can barely tell the difference any more when I look at the pile of different versions I have cached in Notepad files. One version in particular doesn't even have line-breaks as the original intent was to present this as prose, of sorts.

One possible change that I couldn't quite decide upon is the presentation of the spoken segments: I'm starting to think that swapping the quotation marks for italic font would work better. Thoughts?
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Comments (25)
shep4life's avatar
shep4life|Hobbyist Writer
The first stanza caught me and the rest was divine
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Many thanks for taking the time to comment, it's appreciated.
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shep4life's avatar
shep4life|Hobbyist Writer
Not a problem at all!
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hopeburnsblue's avatar
hopeburnsblue|Professional Writer
This deserved its own comment! My favorite!!!!!!!!! I can identify with this in so many ways, though it's hard to explain; mainly it's how you went about telling the story, though the emotional aspect is appealing as well.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Many thanks; this is one of the few written pieces that I am quite happy with so I am glad that is able to trigger some sort of response in the reader.
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CocoKingsolver's avatar
CocoKingsolver|Professional Photographer
I am reminded of Paul Bowles here with the Sheltering Sky, the cadence of your words, the word choice itself. It's the desolation and uncertainty in this I fear, being lost in a place we once were certain could provide safety, perhaps even save us from ourselves. I read too much in to it maybe. No, I do believe we are lost now.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Thank-you; I've not read the work that you referenced but I'm familiar with it, and I appreciate your comment.
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halcyonshores's avatar
halcyonshores|Hobbyist General Artist
Your writing had an irresistibly abstract aura..

Who saved the Sirens?
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
I'm glad that comes across.

They saved each other. D:
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halcyonshores's avatar
halcyonshores|Hobbyist General Artist
A win win, then.
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Kymira12's avatar
Kymira12|Hobbyist General Artist
:iconthecritiquables: #TheCritiquables

I enjoyed reading this, especially the tounge twisters you included. 'wax & wane a wash / against my windscreen' is my favourite tounge twister in this poem. I'm going to get a little nitpicky now but it is only my opinion and you can totally disregard this comment if you would like. The way you use '&' looks out of place and for me, is a little distracting. If someone does not know what an Ampersand is it may confuse them. I think it may be better to simply write it out as 'and'.

In the third stanza, you place 'highway' at the end. In the previous stanza's you compare where you find hope to the stars and galaxy. When first reading this it seems like it shouldn't be there because of the abruptness it causes to the images in my head. I do understand how it links to the stanza's following it so perhaps if you replaced 'highway' with another word that may fit and then place the word 'highway' in front of 'Headlights'. It'll help the transition of thoughts and images as to not make it as abrupt.

I do think that this poem will benefit by making the dialogue in italics because it'll give empathsis to what is being said and gives it a little bit more separation to the 'He said.'. I enjoyed how you repeated 'He said.' instead of placing different adjectives since this piece needed the simplicity of it. By keeping that little bit simple, it adds more power to the words. I do think the 'He said.' in the first stanza would fit a little better being placed on the first line of the poem because while reading it out loud, it sounds awkward on the tongue. The way it is written now does not read awkwardly when reading it in my mind so it is only a minor thing.

I really enjoyed the last stanza and how it tied the poem together very nicely. In general I actually like reading this poem and all that I have started isn't much of a big deal but I thought I'd share my two cents. Great job writing this :aww:
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Many thanks for taking the time to put together this comment, I appreciate it. I've made a few of the changes you suggested, but I'm rebutting the highway one as much of the preceding language is painting a picture of a city and the roads (wires) that pass through it; the use of 'stars' is only to frame the surroundings rather than an explicit reference to space. That being said, I can see how it would be misconstrued.

Again, thank-you for taking the time to comment: it's not often that literature gets much attention on dA.
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Kymira12's avatar
Kymira12|Hobbyist General Artist
It was my pleasure, I'm glad to be of some help even if it was just a little. I am also glad you didn't take all of my suggestions like some others do and that you actually explained your ideas instead of shoving them at me so thank you for taking my comment kindly :huggle:

You are definitely right about the literature community being slightly ignored compared to categories like the Digital Art community but at least there are still people out there that appreciate literature and are willing to give suggestions to others in the community in order to better their art :aww:
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Indeed; it's just a case of finding the right audience, heh. I need to investigate groups more thoroughly.
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jackgunski's avatar
First of all, I like this piece. It has a good rhythm, made more potent by the alliterations, "Wax and wane a wash against my windscreen" or "choke cold in this caldera." The sixth stanza itself is practically a tounge twister.

The largest problem I have with this piece is not with the poem itself. Judging from your description I would guess you might have put too much thought into your own poem. This statement is 100% opinion. I always enjoy to see a poem with spontaneity. Some revision is good, but editing is reviewing on the micro level, and you risk losing your poem's momentum, or flow.

Don't get me wrong: the poem is great, and my statement bears no relevance to how it turned out. If you work well with intense scrutiny, then ignore EVERYTHING I've said here. It's great, I love it.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Many thanks for the comment, it's appreciated.

As for your statement, I'm a self-deprecating revisionist by nature; it's how I operate. I take your point, though; occasionally I end up reverting to an earlier iteration because an element of sterility has crept in.
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limnides's avatar
I can almost see someone standing on a crate in the middle of the street ranting this at passers-by. Ahah. It reads well as spoken poetry.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Oh, great, so I'm a mad soapbox prophet now?
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limnides's avatar
Hey, if the shoe fits.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
I've generally thought I'd fit better into a lab jacket than Jesus-sandals.
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dawowcow's avatar
I really like the style of this piece. It's the first i've read like this, with the spoken parts and such, and I think it's really nice.
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Thank-you for that, it's appreciated.
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MatchstickART's avatar
Love the opening, it starts off nice and strong.

I think the spoken sections are best as they are. Italics becomes too stylised and annoying to read sometimes, y'know?

Good job!
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arctoa's avatar
arctoa|Student Photographer
Certainly in large blocks I would tend to agree, which is why the change wasn't made before submission.
Anyway, thank-you for the comment; it's appreciated.
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anonymous's avatar
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