do i dare disturb the universe? (cheshirequeen) wrote in lostgeneration,
do i dare disturb the universe?

All right, all ye Lost Gen-ers, let's dust off our poetry critiquing skills and put them to use again. I've been playing around with this poem for a few days now and I finally finished a draft tonight, but I feel very dissatisfied with it. I think I'm mixing my metaphors or taking on too much in a 32-line poem, or simply not getting my metaphors across at all. (Too murky?) Basically, HELP!


To-Do List

On the bus ride home
the elderly man in the seat beside me
is making lists. As we roar through downtown
past squat buildings and dying businesses,

his attention is concentrated
on moving a ballpoint pen
across the creased landscape
of his notebook, on leaving an ink trail

to follow later. Carrots. Chicken breast. Cream
of Vegetable.
It is a battle
between his mind
and his mind, and speed is of the essence:

I can see it in the way the lines
across his forehead deepen, the stiffness
of his grip on the cheap plastic barrel,
the way he presses into the paper

as though afraid the words might fade
the way he forgets. Need to call
Dr. Moore. Need to follow low sodium
diet. Need to run to the drugstore for

He stops. To regroup,
or concede defeat? Memory, like war,
destroys and clumsily reconstructs. Whole towns
are bombed and forgotten, faces are buried

below the stony battleground
only to resurface years later
by a farmer’s spade overturning over the earth,
their features crumbled, eye-sockets gray.

Downtown rattles past the bus windows. Dust
chokes the city air as brick buildings are razed
to be rebuilt. The old man tears off the page
and starts again.
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