Saturday, August 07, 2004

draft #2

is this draft #2 or am i on like, #12 by now... who knows. but it's #2 to be up here, so here we go. much thanks to some ideas from matt and karen... let me know if this is better or worse or neither or still not enough or... still not sure about the first line, and i'm having some tense issues now, not sure if the shift between present and past is ok or weird. spell out ninety percent or put 90%? not sure if i kept the subtle ending, if my double meanings are coming through the line breaks, if i've said enough yet to capture this moment (that i don't really remember much more clearly than this... haha)

could-have-beens don't buy you a beer

cigarette drags in my right hand,
your baseball cap backwards
in my left, you take a drag
of me. i don't taste vodka
tonic on your breath, salt,
lime, tequila shot or
the camel lights your lips dangled,
teased until i shared it.
and i am convinced ninety percent rum
kissed back. the other ten percent my fingers
teasing the faded tear between
brim and cap, forgetting
the cigarette, wishing
i had kissed you longer
and knowing i meant it
when i said i don't smoke
when i'm sober.


Blogger Matt said...

You beautiful poet you. Your revision is great! Wonderful new details, but also a few things I wonder about...

1. Great use of details like:
" vodka tonic on your breath, salt,
lime, tequila shot or
the camel lights your lips dangled"

And especially bringing the strong image of the ballcap back and relating it to the flirtations with:
"teasing the faded tear between
brim and cap"

2. The percentages are a much more fluid part of the poem now, nice job.

3. the last two lines beginning with "when", try changing the:
"and knowing i meant it
when i said i don't smoke
when i'm sober."

and knowing i meant it when
i said i don't smoke
when i'm sober.
----> My idea doesn't seem like as strong a line break normally, but try it, it think it might propell the reading of the poem at the end and strenthen the last line. I might be wrong, try it an lets see.
---->Another thought is to put your own words in quotation marks, doing so will make your words more real, knowing well you told this guy that very thing... i.e. "i don't smoke
when i'm sober."

4. I love this, yet am uncertain:
"you take a drag
of me"
It seems like you are comparing the way he kisses you to the way he takes a drag on a cigarette. Beautful, compassionate, potentially heartbreaking, but it could be a bit clearer. If this is the case, state it plainly, simply. As is, this is a bit ambiguous, but if you state it plainly, the reader will have to feel what you are feeling, without having to even think.

Read this poem at a cafe and thousands of guys will walk off the streets to buy you a beer, offer you cigarettes, sweep you off your feet, and just plain fall madly in love. I am not sure if that is a good thing, or maybe just something to worry about. ;)

9:10 PM | Permalink  
Blogger KTB said...


hm... thousands of guys, eh? free beer, free smokes, free romance... on the one hand, doesn't sound like a bad deal! on the other hand, maybe i should skip the cafe and just read the poem to the guy i wrote it about... ;)

thanks again for the wonderful feedback. i only hope my grad school classes have poets half as good as you in them. my poem is eternally thankful for the help you have given it.

1:28 AM | Permalink  
Blogger *k maria** said...


if you're gonna read this in a cafe, we might as well go back to Cafe Kafka - see if Alexander is still around. :) couldn't hurt right?

but yes, my lovely friend, you should read it to the one you wrote it for (if i have anything to say about it!)

"teasing the faded tear between
brim and cap, forgetting
the cigarette"

i adore this detail, how the whole room centers in on the tear in the hat, everything else fuzzy to the memory. it's always the seemingly insignificant details that stay with you, that you think of before you get out of bed in the morning, as you walk onto the train, in the middle of another conversation...

and here i am, thinking of how Schonnbrun looked so yellow against the sky on the day we got "lost" in Wien...

9:40 PM | Permalink  
Blogger Drew said...

I really like the image of the backward baseball cap that you're using here. Might it be streghtened a bit if it was a specific baseball cap, though? Something like "your Red Sox cap, backwards ..." You could really toy with it and give him a baseball cap that somehow illuminates his character to us. Each baseball team through history has some kind of meaning (except expansion teams, oh how I hate those diamondbacks ...). But you could try something like that to say something about him. Or even just give the cap a color.

I was also thinking that it would be kinda fun to see some smoking description. Everyone that smokes long enough develops little smoking mannerisms - limp cigarette out of the left side of their mouth (every time!), rapid deep drags, or slow lazy smoking while leaning against a wall or something.

I really like what you're doing. I hope the suggestions are helpful.

2:44 PM | Permalink  
Blogger KTB said...

alright drew, how the hell did you know it was a red sox hat?... weird i tell ya, weird. thanks for the comments, very helpful. that goes for matt and k too. you guys all rock my world.

12:32 AM | Permalink  

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