Sunday, January 30, 2011

Free Write 1, Week 3

My attempt at the catalog.

Base by Ben McClain

Ryan wears fitted hats, pressed bills. Covering his clumps of twisted hair,
like tarp does hay during a winter draft.
He never ties his shoes, Or ritually cleans.
But he doesn’t disappoint during the big times,
like paying the warden His due.

Calvin rarely matches.
His room is cluttered with relics of our affairs with the ‘civilians’ around us,
Little Things like shopping carts and stop sighs and bottles and bottles of
He forgets, the time, the day and sometimes the seasons change,
But he never forgets the important,
Like encouragement and the Courage.

Austin(the girl) has never cleaned a dish.
She bitterly protests the presents of our Gas
And constantly blows out the pilot light making pungent noodles.
But she listens when I complain
And understands my way.

I live with the underground and
It’s a suit that fits my weary bones as I sleep in peace,
on a foundation of pressed loyalty.


  1. I really like the descriptions throughout this piece; imagery such as clumps of twisted hair, or blowing out a pilot light to make pungent noodles are definitely amongst the strongest parts of the draft. I might suggest adding even more imagery, allowing that to represent the traits these people have, in place of lines such as "he forgets, the time, the day and sometimes the seasons change." The more imagery, the better able a reader is to draw their own conclusions about the characters, and thus the draft will be stronger.

  2. Ben, I like this-really like this. I think that you had an awesome 'attempt' at cataloging. Your first stanza is by far the strongest in terms of imagery and "showing", but I find myself wanting to know more-which is a great thing because poems are never finished :) I want to know more about Ryan, the slogans on his fitted hats or are they all the same? That would be cool to play around with, having fitted hats that are all the exact same. Or maybe more about Calvin. I think that you have good ideas flowing in the second stanza, but provide more detail, describe what "bottles and bottles of / Courage" look like. Maybe you could play off the way Calvin is rarely matches and his room is cluttered, how could those correlate and parallel with those bottles, and what is inside of them (what does that 'courage' really look like?, and the same for Austin-which, by the way, is a nice touch in relation to cataloging boy name's & adding she's a girl. It appears that as the poem begins to close, so does the concrete images and the specifics-especially the final stanza. I think you did an awesome job with "It’s a suit that fits my weary bones as I sleep in peace" but don't stop there! I want to know more about this underground that the narrator lives with, and why its like a suit-wearable, why the bones are weary, but the narrator can still sleep in peace... show what peace is, what does it look like? I think this draft has a lot of potential, and I would like to read a revision, if you don't mind! Great job!!