Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to Look After Yourself

New message.  Is it you?  I wish.  It's spam
from my mother: Rape Prevention Tips.

I check the news: Transgender Woman Murdered.
Twenty-two, and shot outside a party.

I worry.  Wish you'd come back from D.C.
If I were Mom, I'd send you Pointers for
Avoiding Murder: Guaranteed to Work.

1. Don't date men.
                                2. Don't let people know.
3. Get a German shepherd.  Get an uzi.
4. Dress in kevlar.
                              5. Invent a ray gun.
6. Dream big. Become a constellation.


  1. Rachael,
    First, thank you again for giving us a home from home, and taking the trouble to make it run smoothly.
    Second, let me find One Thing To Crit *sigh* Your numbered list seems non-aligned. If it is on purpose, I don't think it adds anything *phew*
    Third, what strikes me as extra funny (and deliberate I am sure) is how N worries at least as much about N's lover (I assume) as N's mom irritatingly worries about N. The end is so romantic ... become a constellation, ha!


  2. Sorella, I appreciate your stopping by to say hello and offer some criticism. (I think this is good practice, actually. You criticize my poem; nobody dies or even gets upset.)

    The non-alignment is deliberate--it was an attempt at breaking iambic pentameter over multiple lines. (Shakespeare did this a lot, when he had a line of IP that was shared between two characters; I'm not sure if it's still in vogue.) This doesn't mean it's necessarily adequately justified; it's something that may disappear if I decide to keep and revise this poem.

    And I'm glad the main emotion of poem came through.

  3. The fear is palpable, the last line beautiful.

    'Get an uzi' should maybe have its own power point, but that would ruin the rhythm.

    'Pointers for Avoiding Murder: Guaranteed to Work' was a bit distracting because I immediately looked for the acronym -- PAM GW -- and...poof. Had to reread and ignore that.

  4. This is an interesting poem. I'm on the fence about the non-alignment. While visually I'm not sure it adds anything, it definitely makes a difference when I read it. I love "spam from my mother" and the last line is very nice. Not sure if you need the Guaranteed to Work, your list items are strong enough to imply that. All in all, it's pretty tight. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Arlene and Denise, thank you for your comments.

    Arlene, I could play around with the scansion--"Dream big" is a bit telly, and "seven" has extra syllables that I could use to compensate. Fair point about the acronym--maybe italics would render that less salient.

    Denise, nice call on "Guaranteed to Work"; that space could be better used for something else.