At Cross Purposes

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At Cross Purposes

My points, to you, seem hollow,
faux arguments, foe arguments,
spent shells of zero caliber–
fibber blanks that might nonetheless
mess up all that you hold dear
(fear mainly, rage–of course, stuff–
toughness). It’s rough how this world,
swirled in a rifling that won’t be aimed,
lames us, though both want it to behave,
be saved. You imagine your self
pure self – there at the ready,
steady-handed–while I’m not sure
your bullet will hit its mark,
parking its lead instead in my
bystander’s heart, or another–
mother, brother, neighbor, son–
one of our own, ’cause you and me–
we–for all our lingo–stock, cocked,
locked–ram into a single barrel,
peril, sorrow, recoil–

**********************************
Here’s a double-barreled sort of poem (draft) responding both to the dVerse Poets Pub Prompt hosted by the far-ranging Fred Rutherford relating to writing in foreign languages, and to the Real Toads prompt hosted by the wonderful Hedgewitch (Joy Anne Jones) on chained rhyme. Both have written super interesting articles with great original poems. Check them out.

(The foreign language here, for me, is gun talk. Chained rhyme is a form where the last word of each line rhymes with the first word of the next. Sort of, in my case.)

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55 Comments on “At Cross Purposes”

  1. brian miller Says:

    It’s rough how this world,
    swirled in a rifling that won’t be aimed,
    lames us….great line….and really a vicious close on this as well…those last 3-4 lines just rip….


  2. What a neat form and look at you, slipping into gun talk with such ease. Do you suppose, in a previous life…?

  3. HisFireFly Says:

    I don`t speak “gun”, sighing happy

  4. zongrik Says:

    i’m not sure your bullet will hit it’s mark, that’s what people are scared of with people who have guns

    Bichon Frise


  5. lots of interesting lines here. really like the chained aspect, may have to head on over to toads if I get some time later on. You said it would be different and as usual, you don’t disappoint. Love that about your writing. Thanks for sharing tonight Karin.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Fred! It’s not so different = but you know not in a true foreign language. It was a very good prompt – and I thought of other alternatives, but I had to go with my particular mood of the day. Thanks. k.

  6. Kay Davies Says:

    Wow, I’d have believed gun talk to be your first language, if you hadn’t said…
    Well done. You aced this challenge!
    K


  7. Fred always does great prompts, I’ll have to go check his out. As far as the chain rhyme aspect, you’ve done everything with it I hoped people would try–first to use it in free verse, which you did masterfully, and then to play around with more/different/other ways to resonate the repeating syllables, which you also did so well it comes off as pure sound, no form visible, which is always the test of a great form poem, to me. And I can see that ‘gun’ is a foreign language–despite that you pulled in a lot of vocabulary that made it all too authentic–brian has quoted some of the power lines, but I also liked the caliber/fibber sequence that precedes it–really a strong section of the poem. Then, with ‘my bystander’s heart’ you make the close a knockout–or I suppose I should say, a bull’s eye. Really good one, k–provocative and insightful both. Thanks for such a distinctive, intelligent response.

  8. hiroshimem Says:

    Seriously, I love your wordplay with faux and foe! A very clever one.


  9. I like the chained rhyme form K, specially these lines

    there at the ready,
    steady-handed–while I’m not sure
    your bullet will hit its mark ~

    Good work on both prompts ~


  10. I love the inner rhyme of lead/instead and I agree with your other comment-er your close really rocks! Excellent!


  11. Very strong gun talk, I love how you weave it together, I have never heard of chain rhyme, I might have to check it out. Still a unique way of looking at language. 🙂


  12. Yes, I agree with what’s been said by most already, this is a strong poem ~ so powerful ~ ‘… world, / swirled in a rifling that won’t be aimed,/ lames …’ especially provocative ~ gun talk … hadn’t thought about it in that way …

  13. Kelvin S.M. Says:

    …so this is how a chained poem is done? I can see quite well the after-effect of everything…how one thought goes & becomes…distinctively superb Karin…as always…smiles…

  14. claudia Says:

    ’cause you and me–
    we–for all our lingo–stock, cocked,
    locked–ram into a single barrel,
    peril, sorrow, recoil–… just excellent k. and good when gun talk is a foreign language..i wish it was a foreign language to everyone

  15. lucychili Says:

    great form and rhythm


  16. Wow! This left me breathless, k. The chained rhyme flows from your mind and pen as effortlessly as water down a mountainside – so natural, and you never lose sight of your argument.
    I thought this little section a brilliant example of your art:
    … I’m not sure
    your bullet will hit its mark,
    parking its lead instead in my
    bystander’s heart…

  17. David King Says:

    This one just held me mesmerised, Passages like:-

    swirled in a rifling that won’t be aimed,
    lames us, though both want it to behave,
    be saved

    I wanted this poam to go on for ever – well, along time!

  18. Mary Says:

    This is terrific, Karin. I am very impressed with the way you used the words in this poem. The beginning and end rhyme, internal rhyme, just word choices…period. And Kerry said it left her breathless. Me too. I kept reading faster and faster. I am going to try to find time today to try this form!


  19. Wonderfully done! You explored a serious subject with great poetic flow and sensitivity.

  20. Marian Says:

    yikes, your words get to barrelling by the end. whoosh!

  21. cloudfactor5 Says:

    So many emotions in the crosshairs here, fabulous example of chained rhyme, and I agree with Joy, provocative and insightful !!!

  22. Kim Nelson Says:

    Well done, Karin! Gun talk would be foreign for me, too, even though my father often took us shooting when I was a child, and cleaned guns in a drunken frenzy at the coffee table on Saturday night. Oh, wait a minute… I guess that is why i chose to make gun talk a foreign language! You did both prompts justice, here.

  23. Tony Says:

    I don’t understand the fascination with guns that some people have ….

    This is a really strong piece of writing – I really enjoyed the faux/foe play on words.


  24. Masterful response to both prompts – this is definitely a foreign language, but after Newtown one we’re all learning. My heart hurts at the division in this country. In only ten years I feel as though I’m in a sort of civil war with my neighbors and even my family. This gun issue has this state truly “up in arms”.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      I can imagine! I am lucky as I live in a place (New York) where people’s thinking is more in line with my own. Of course, there are more gun enthusiasts upstate, where I also spend time, but even there, the people I am close to, think more like me. Thanks. k.

  25. vivinfrance Says:

    I love the wordplay of this.

  26. janehewey Says:

    you flow with grace in this poem-your rhyme works effortlessly and smoothly. Your clever intellect is an undercurrent. “swiveled in a rifling that won’t be aimed.” this line, for me, is the crux of the piece-while your last line really brings home the continuing cycle of unrest within the whole gun issue. great double barreled/billed work, karin.

  27. Other Mary Says:

    Wow – great, strong lines. I’d love to hear this one read aloud.

  28. Judy Roney Says:

    Wow! This one took me for a ride. Skillfully done. I love to read this and have the words flow from me.

  29. Mama Zen Says:

    “while I’m not sure
    your bullet will hit its mark,
    parking its lead instead in my
    bystander’s heart”

    That is just fantastic writing.

  30. vidyatiru Says:

    so well done.. the message, and the chained rhymes… (pure self and yourself!!)..and since others have already picked up so many favorite lines.. i have to say love all that they love.


  31. I am always stunned how people do more than one prompt in a poem! I mean writing a poem in itself is a prompt, isn’t it!? 🙂 That’s a really complex poem..great job! I guess I just went with the flow of having fun with the chained rhyme now that I see your amazing work!

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. I don’t usually do two prompts either but since one was about form and the other subject, they covered two different aspects of a poem, and actually helped me come up with something to say! Thanks. k.


  32. I really liked that. And I especially liked “faux arguments, foe arguments,”


  33. I really found this interesting and my favourite “faux arguments, foe arguments,”….very clever 🙂

  34. kkkkaty Says:

    I had read this earlier..don’t know why i didn’t leave a comment then..in a hurry I guess…love ‘hollow’ and ;faux’ and the angst is felt more for the form I think…good one…

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks – the hollow is supposed to link up with the points for hollow-point bullets. I’m not sure that was very clear – especially if like me you don’t really speak “gun”. Thanks. k.

  35. Helen Dehner Says:

    I don’t speak gun either … however I understood every word you wrote! Brava.

  36. Luke Prater Says:

    Excellent discussion of the topic at hand, and the chained rhyme is subtle. Many highlights here. I like your take, I agree with you. I wish more did. Outraged.

  37. Jamie Dedes Says:

    Incorporation of gun-talk. Every effective. Most impressed.

  38. Beth Winter Says:

    Oh, I like how you blended the two prompts. I was once able to write one research paper for two different courses. Success! I don’t know gun talk but I know good poetry. Well done.


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