Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot") - Rev II

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Luce
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Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot") - Rev II

Post by Luce » Mon Aug 15, 2016 2:25 pm

Riot in Harlem – Revision II

“Stay inside and away from the windows,”

mom whispers, before she locks me
in my room with Beau and leaves.

Dad has a baseball bat and I hear
him and mom by our barred front door.
They listen and hope for “them”
to pass us on the third floor.

“Stay inside and away from the windows.”

There’s a crash, a shout. It’s ole Epstein's
window smashed on the ground floor.
I hear dad curse, locks unlocking and our door
banging open, his heavy footsteps racing down
the entry hallway stairs. Mom shouting “No!”
and now I hear her running, her light steps
an echo.

“Stay inside and away from the windows.”

I hold Beau close and crawl
to the darkest corner of my room.
I feel his deep purr, smell his cat breath.
He meows and pats my nose.

I hear footsteps in the hall. A key turns
the bedroom lock. Mom opens my door.

“Are you all right my girl?” she says,
I shake my head yes, grab her hand
and start to sob.

In the darkness we hear the riot storm -
shots are fired, bottles break, gun smoke
and shouts flood the night air.

But mom and I are safe, shielded by dad
and friends who guard our stoop
with pokers and pits.

“This is all too sad”, I overheard
ole Epstein say to dad.

“When the voiceless find their voices
they use them first to scream."

Luce

stoop - A front entry with steps and a small landing leading to a brownstone and/or row house.
pits- Slang for pitbulls.


b]Riot in Harlem - Revision[/b]

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door,”
mom whispers, before she locks me
in my room with Beau and leaves.

Dad has a baseball bat and I hear
him and mom by our barred front door.
They listen and hope for "them"
to pass us on the 4th floor.

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door.”

There’s a crash, a scream. It’s ole Epstein's
window smashed on the 2nd level. I hear dad curse,
locks unlocking and our door banging open,
his heavy footsteps racing down the entry
hallway stairs. My mom shouting “No!”
and now I hear her running, her light steps
an echo in the air.

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door.”

I hold Beau close and crawl
to the darkest corner of my room.
I hear his deep purr, feel his thick coat
He meows and pats my nose.

There're footsteps in the hall.
A key turns the bedroom lock

Mom opens my door.

Riot

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door,”
mom whispers, before she locks me
in my room with Snow and leaves.

Dad has a baseball bat and I hear
him and mom by our barred front door.
They listen and hope for “them”
to pass us on the 4th floor.

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door.”

There’s a crash, a scream. It’s Miss. Garcia’s
window smashed on the 2nd level. I hear dad curse,
then locks unlocking and our door banging open,
his heavy footsteps racing down the entry
hallway stairs. My mom shouting “No!”
and now I hear her running too, her light steps
an echo in the air.

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door.”

I hold Snow close and crawl
to the darkest corner of my room.
I feel her deep purr, smell her cat breath.
She meows and pats my nose.

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door.”

There're footsteps in the hall
My bedroom lock clicks in place.

Mom opens the door.

Luce
Last edited by Luce on Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:56 pm, edited 8 times in total.
"She acts like summer, walks like rain." - Train

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Re: Riot

Post by camus » Mon Aug 15, 2016 3:11 pm

Hey Luce,

I quite enjoyed this, had an apocalyptic feel to it.

One part that threw me wide (in a good way originally) was:

"before she locks me
in my room with Snow and leaves."

I had visions of said apocalyptic room, roof half blown off, full of "snow and leaves"

I then realised snow was your cat and leaves meant she left!

An all important comma or semi-colon missing there?

Cheers
C

NB - (Just realised you put a capital letter for Snow! My mistake, still, I like the snow and leaves version I dreamt up!)
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Re: Riot

Post by Boat » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:49 pm

Hey, Luce.

I liked the flow of this but I too came unstuck with Snow and leaves. I saw you used a capital for Snow so I figured it was the name of something but I did still think that the 'leaves' were leaves from a tree, so that was confusing.

Other wise enjoyed.

Pat.
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Re: Riot

Post by Lou » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:26 pm

Hi Luce,

I had no problems with Snow being your cat, but I'm a bit puzzled by the ending. You lead the reader on to think the rioters have broken in, you lock your door, then somehow mom opens it. I'm obviously missing something. I like the rest though.

Best,
Lou

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Re: Riot

Post by Macavity » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:27 pm

hi Luce

It has some narrative tension that kept me reading. Some of the connecting words could go?

A lot of door?

some options
Luce wrote:Riot

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door,”
mom whispers. She locks me
in my room with Snow, and leaves.

Dad has a baseball bat and I hear
him and mom by our barred front door.
They listen and hope for “them”
to pass us on the 4th floor.

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door.”

There’s a crash, a scream. It’s Miss Garcia’s
window smashed on the 2nd level. I hear dad curse,
[s]then[/s] locks unlocking and our door banging open,
his heavy footsteps racing down the entry
hallway stairs. My mom shouting “No!”
and [s]now[/s] I hear her running[s]too[/s], her light steps
an echo in the air.

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door.”

I hold Snow close and crawl
to the darkest corner[s]of my room[/s].
I feel her deep purr, smell her cat breath.
She meows and pats my nose.

“Stay inside. Don’t open the door.”

There are footsteps in the hall.
My bedroom lock clicks in place.

Mom opens the door.

Luce
best

mac

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Re: Riot

Post by trobbo44 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:18 am

I agree with Lou, there is a certain confusion at the end. Possibly a different ending? However, that said, you portray great tension throughout and a condemnation of made man. Well done Luce Regards

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Re: Riot

Post by Luce » Wed Aug 17, 2016 2:13 am

Thanks camus, Pat, Lou, mac & Terry for reading this one and leaving feedback:

camus & Pat - Will revise stanza 1 a bit to make it a little clearer that I'm talking about a possible pet.

Lou & Terry - Revised the ending a bit to make the action clearer.

mac - Yes, some connectors can go. Thanks for the suggestion. I tried not to repeat the word "door" too much but not only is it part of the refrain but I couldn't find a good synonym for it.

Luce

P.S. Revision up.
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Re: Riot

Post by JJWilliamson » Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:53 am

Hi Luce

I enjoyed this, mainly down to the tension you develop as the poem progresses. There are some
effective sonics throughout and the scene is generally well painted.

I'm not really getting a sense of "Riot", more of an altercation or dispute. There's probably a riot
lurking in there somewhere but I've no way of connecting to a particular commotion.

I'm also puzzled by the close. I assume everything's ok because Mom has now opened the door,
that protective door, to let her child know the coast's clear and that the riot or rioters has/have moved on.

There was no pay off at the end and everything kind of went a bit limp, as if you'd opted for a quick finish.
The title doesn't really convey much and by the time I'd finished I wondered what the central premise was.

As a snippet or trailer it has merit and if that was your intention then it works.

So, overall, I enjoyed this excerpt but wanted a bit more.

Best

JJ
Long time a child and still a child

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Re: Riot on the South Side (formerly entitled "Riot")

Post by Luce » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:13 pm

JJ - Thanks for reading the poem and the feedback. I changed the title to indicate an actual event to make it clear this isn't a local argument. Sorry you didn't like the ending.

Luce

P.S. Made some other word changes while I was at it, in the current revision.
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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot")

Post by Macavity » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:49 pm

“Stay inside. Stay quiet.”
or something like that may be an option?

Like the new title

best

mac

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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot")

Post by Katherine » Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:34 pm

I really liked this - there was a lot of tension. However, I must agree with previous comments; there needs to be more 'beef' - the close is too swift.

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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot")

Post by ton321 » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:32 pm

Hi luce,
I liked this, but like someone said, there seems to be a promise of something more that doesn't materialize later on. It's a big ask, but i think this would be a perfect villanelle, where the action and danger could be contained and leveraged by the sonic repetition of this form, but thats just my two-penneth,
Cheers Ton.
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Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.

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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot")

Post by Luce » Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:47 pm

Thanks mac, Katherine & ton for reading this one and leaving suggestions/comments.

mac - Thanks for the suggestion.
Katherine- Thanks for the feedback. Maybe I'll add another stanza since some folk seem to want more.
ton - A villanelle may be too confining for the action. Still, it is worth a try as a future revision.

Luce
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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot") - Rev II

Post by Luce » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:09 am

Okay folks. Some of you thought I had ended the poem too soon. You wanted more. Presto! Here is more. See revision II posted.

Some thought repeating the word "door" was too much. Puff!!! I changed the repeating line which does not contain the word "door". This cuts down on the repeat of the word "door" except when essential in the poem.



Luce.
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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot") - Rev II

Post by Macavity » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:24 am

“When the voiceless find their voices
they use them first to scream.
That ending works for me - captures the release that goes beyond reasoned behaviour.
“Stay inside and away from the windows.”
I thought that effectively conveyed the inside/outside security.
But mom and I are safe, shield by dad
Do you mean shielded?
I shake my head[s]yes[/s], grab her hand
and start to sob.
Not sure what the yes is doing there.
In the darkness we hear the riot storm
Perhaps a dash for punctuation?


best

mac

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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot") - Rev II

Post by Luce » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:48 pm

Macavity wrote:
“When the voiceless find their voices
they use them first to scream.
That ending works for me - captures the release that goes beyond reasoned behaviour.

Good!! I'm glad it works for you mac.
“Stay inside and away from the windows.”
I thought that effectively conveyed the inside/outside security.

Cool that the new refrain works is effective.

But mom and I are safe, shield by dad
Do you mean shielded?

Oops!! Yes, I meant shielded. Will correct ASAP. Thanks for catching this slip.
I shake my head[s]yes[/s], grab her hand
and start to sob.
Not sure what the yes is doing there.

If I had just said "..shake my head", the reader wouldn't know if the N was saying yes or no when shaking her head.
In the darkness we hear the riot storm
Perhaps a dash for punctuation?

Perhaps yes. :D

best

mac
Thanks mac.

Luce


PS - Revision made just correcting "shields" to "shielded", adding a dash after "storm" but also omitting the word "front" in front of "stoop".
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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot") - Rev II

Post by JJWilliamson » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:54 am

Yes. It works for me, now. There's enough context to find that emotional connection. It feels real.

I'd normally shake my head for "no" and nod my head for, "yes". However, I think you're saying the child is nodding very quickly, in an anxious and frantic way. Perhaps modify 'nod' to give the visual.

The title has two extra words that really pack a punch. As soon as you provide a sense of place the whole scene opens up. Nimble touch, I'd say.

Best

JJ
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Re: Riot in Harlem (formerly entitled "Riot") - Rev II

Post by Luce » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:51 pm

Thanks JJ. I'm glad you like the revision.

A nod seems to be such a slight movement for a child in that situation. This is why I had her shake her head instead for the reasons you picked up on.

Luce
"She acts like summer, walks like rain." - Train

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