Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hard Times (redux)


The grocery store's parking lot is only half full, cars and trucks clustered nearest the entrance, some rusty older models on their last legs before a final journey to the scrapyard. They disgorge single mothers with scads of flustered children into the litter and detritus accumulated there, too daunting for an apathetic staff to keep up with. Heat shimmer rises from the pitted asphalt in waves, causing me to blink and feeling slightly dizzy -
I imagine myself as some sort of ominous bird soaring high above this scene, looking down on the checkerboard of white stripes and streetlamps, over the hot tar roofs, empty lots, the gas stations and rubble of defunct factories, land become idle, until the entire image takes on the orderliness of a handsewn quilt thrown across the somnolent form of a great prairie, its amber grasses bent by breaths of wind that could sweep an entire continent clean.

hard times
even the crows worrying




Anonymous said...

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altadenahiker said...

I like this. Try flattening it out and see what you think. Remove all the color (adjectives, etc), then go back and put in, say, the top three. Too much color and it's like going over speed bumps.

bandit said...

Thanks for the credit advice, Msr. Ratched . . .

Same same tinkering here, Swe- I mean Karin, most definitely (you shoulda seen the initial draft - sue me for whiplash!) but as you say, I'm still not satisfied; just impatient to post. I have more time tonight . . .

First day of the semester today - ooh, it's fun to be a curmudgeonly old git in such a setting. Mostly grousing about financial shenanigans pulled in academia, pointing out problems that might help the young people who might otherwise not help themselves - that's important, you know, to help the young people. And I do so enjoy the reactions of a patronizing administration.

first day of school
mass confusion
in the ivory tower

bandit said...

Viola! (and forgot to say thank you)

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Did you take Karin's advise? I'm assuming you did because this is a sweet piece. Your best, and the photo is stunning

bandit said...

Careful, dear, my head might explode . . . but thanks anyway.

Damn right I took Karin's advice. I'd be a fool not to. I still have a feeling she might prefer it more lean, however. That's the essence of the JP form, some say. I just have to apply it to longer pieces. Best sometimes to walk away and review with fresh eyes - though I seldom pay attention to such common sense.

That's the old Hamm's Brewery, btw. They're tearing much of it down. Stroh's made a go of it a few years back, but market analysis gave it the nix. Hundreds of traditional jobs lost, along with 3M, Whirlpool, and many others. We're losing our tax base along with all the foreclosures. I'd say start tightening your belts, if you haven't already.

Tito said...

Fab phrasing, bandit. Right with you, though I've never been there. Single mums with scads of flustered children... excellent stuff. Love the imaginative transport to bird for look-down over the wastes of what was once a heart. Aaaghh!
Only little quibble: haiku, too clipped to be satisfying to me. It left me in doubt. Transitive verb or not? The crows too must struggle to live? Or whatever you care to take it to mean? Messy ending... I greatly admire your work and trust you don't mind swapping opinions frankly.

bandit said...

Damn straight, Tito. Fall back, and fire away. Critique always welcome. Readers might benefit, too . . . therefore, I'll stop talking now, for fear of alienating the lot! Thanks, buddy.

I owe you a posting . . . (sigh)

Shrinky said...

Hey, no tweaking advice from this end, this piece simply blew me away, I love the strong imagery, bleak and uncomprimising as it is.

bandit said...

We "haijin", as a community, help and critique each other all the time since so much of what some of us do is write in a collaborative form that has centuries of practice behind it. It's called haikai-no-renga, or more recently, (400 years, give or take), renku. I guess there's always room for improvement.

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edited June 17, 2017