Friday, October 17, 2008

Blind Review Friday

Blind Review Friday.

The author shall remain anonymous (unless they chose to divulge themselves in the comments.)

Those commenting are also welcome to remain anonymous if they wish.

Incendiary comments will be removed.

If you would like your piece thrown to the wolves send it to with "Workshop the hell out of this poem" as the subject line.

We did not receive a piece this week so I am throwing up one by a friend from out of town I will reveal the author next week:

The Quiet World

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
the government has decided to allot
each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it
to my ear without saying hello.
In the restaurant I point
at chicken noodle soup. I am
adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long
distance lover and proudly say
I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn't respond, I know
she's used up all her words
so I slowly whisper I love you,
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.


Geoffrey A. Landis said...

That's fun, I like it!

Very science-fictional.

Anonymous said...

I like this a lot! Might be my favorite poem by this particular person....

michael salinger said...

the only disappointment I find in this poem is that it is only 137 words long – thirty more words and it might well be perfect.

Theresa Göttl Brightman said...


I absolutely love this! and it's not only makes all of us who tend towards the verbose want to choose our words more precisely :)

Pressin On said...

i love Salinger's take!
i love the poem.
unfortunately,i think the gov't
would prefer we remain detatched
and disconnected,rather than
connected by eye contact...but there's an election coming...tune IN!

Anonymous said...


It reminds me as a writer I should be choosing my words and not let them just fall out of my mouth.

Dianne Borsenik said...

What a poem, and what a gently-stated challenge-- to write and speak more succinctly, more economically. I love this poem, and know that I will find myself thinking about it when I'm writing mine. Thank you for posting this one, Michael. Kudos to the author!

Anonymous said...

i know who it is.

Geoffrey A. Landis said...

Michael's quite right, if the poem itself were 167 words, that would give it a pleasing self-referential symmetry... on the other hand, as it is, the brevity is a strong part of its appeal-- the point is made, and no more words were needed... maybe line four/five could be modified to one hundred and thirty seven?

pottygok said...

I remember seeing this poet perform at SLC my senior year. He said that one of his nightmares was all of his ex-girlfriends getting together and realizing that the poem he wrote for each one of them was the exact same poem.

What struck me about this poem is that it's very simple. It's a nice idea, and the tone is effective, especially in the last stanza with the ache of loneliness and sacrifice, as well as the irony that he's speaking over the telephone. However, outside of the first stanza, there's not much depth to this piece, in terms of idea, social concern, etc. Perhaps that is the social concern--government imposition and the human reaction--but it seems a bit of a stretch.

The question is, of course, is all that necessary. Can one simply write a solid love poem, and leave it at that? Can that be the only connection to humanity in the poem, even a performance/slam poem such as this? Do poets have a greater responsibility? Should they? Do they need to adhere to that responsibility in every poem?

I don't see why not, and with that this is obviously a very successful piece and clearly resonates with the audience, but it's something to consider or think about.


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau