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The Prince of Juniper and Tenth

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  #1  
Old 07-19-2011, 05:26 PM
JoeMatt (Offline)
 
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Default The Prince of Juniper and Tenth


janky ruled under the bridges
by the oil can fires at twighlight
in corrugated castles, singing
atonal hymns of saints imagined

a saw-toothed grin, a wool-crowned glance
a chance to spew some cross-eyed wisdom
delivering end-time proclamations
from his broken concrete throne

janky graced the gutters, stumbling
mumbling with his begging chalice
clutching brown bagged forty-ouncers
marching sideways through the suits

now shadows fall on janky’s corner
beside the empty piss-stained mattress
a schizophrenic mongrel mimics
his muttered rhymes and cracked-lip smile

beneath his shroud of polyvinyl
fluorescent green on stainless steel
an empty prayer recited swiftly
for the prince of juniper and tenth

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Old 07-19-2011, 09:18 PM
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Sadly I am in awe of your ability to portray this emotion.
There was a time when I fed the homeless. I would set out plates of food, like one would for feral cats.
I made an effort to meet and visit with the men who came to eat. These conversations were some of my best ever. The stories were of triumph and sadness. No matter I was assured most of them were there by choice. The glamour of 9 to 5 was not their place. Some were PhD's others were displaced logger's. We would sit and talk for hours, and in that moment it was the best of times. We laughed about all that was. Never to mention what was to be. The lesson I gleaned was this, no matter be present and smile when the sky's are gray, the rainbow at the end can only be approached with the careful sweet talk of ones heart.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:31 AM
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Poignant and vivid.
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Old 07-22-2011, 05:56 AM
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Holidae, thanks for reading. This is based on someone I knew and saw every day one summer while I was interning. Then one day he was gone. He'd been in the merchant marine and seen the word. He was extremely paranoid and was convinced everything in the way of help was a plot to put him away. I often wonder what happened to him.

Nadja -- thanks for reading!

Thanks all for the reads and "useful post" acknowledgments -- I didn't even notice them. Cheers!

Last edited by JoeMatt; 07-22-2011 at 12:00 PM..
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Old 07-22-2011, 03:21 PM
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Hi Joematt,

I liked this, it has a melancholy tone to it but there is an underlying theme that individual humanity will out no matter what the situation.

It sounds terrible to say but I feel pretty jaded towards the endless streams of chat show guests with 'incredible stories of survival', there are many many people getting on with it who don't get a pat on the back from sycophantic chat show billionaires. It's good to hear someone sing their song.

I noticed the rhythm is the same as Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha, it's not easy to write a trochaic poem and make it work as well as this, you've done an excellent job.

Zen
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Old 07-23-2011, 04:47 AM
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Thanks, Zen.

I didn't notice the that the rhythm was the same as "...Hiawatha" but it was likely subconscious -- given how that first or two line is embedded in most our brains, even if it's through pop-culture.

I was a little afraid the character would come off as "stock" -- but really -- there are traits that are are common by nature with folks like janky, so maybe that's not a problem.

Appreciate the read and comments. Cheers.

Last edited by JoeMatt; 07-23-2011 at 07:02 AM..
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Old 07-28-2011, 03:08 PM
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The poem is interestingly plaintive, it makes you stop for a moment and wonder about the other types of lives that people live. It is always refreshing to read something that can take you somewhere else, albeit momentarily.
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Old 07-28-2011, 03:26 PM
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Strange to think that you're in Atlanta, but i've met your janky a hundred times over here in UK. He's unique to your experience, but we've all known him, or versions of him. Superb description Joe - language as tough and edgey as the life you're describing. This has my nomination for Member's Choice. Truly - great job.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:07 PM
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Grace, thanks so much. Like I said -- I was worried he'd come off as stereotypical or cliché. I'm glad you saw him more as universal.

I had a really tough day today -- seemed like lots of stuff went wrong. This gave me a nice little boost. I appreciate the nomination. Cheers!
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:23 PM
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JoeMatt, I am a fan of well turned phrases. You make it look easy.
Janky would be proud of the tribute.

R.
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