Poem for Poetry Thursday

Oooh! I actually had something ready for this week's Poetry Thursday prompt. I started a true story series a while back, because sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction. This particular poem comes from a wire story from Associated Press (I think) and I've never forgotten it. It's still a work in progress, so feedback is appreciated.

Looking forward to reading your poems this week.

True Story #2: Devotion

To prove his fidelity,
a Filipino man cut off his penis
wrapped it in newspaper
and threw it through
the window of his wife’s parent’s home.

She opened the newspaper
and there it was:
soft, deflated, delicate.
In the center of her hands she could feel
his stillness.

He yelled to the balcony,
“There! So you will not suspect I am courting another girl,”
and then hobbled off into the night.

his shocked wife gave it to the police
who sought the help of an embalmer to preserve
the severed member until her husband could be found:
this marker of past glory,
an elegy for all that once was.


nike said…
i like it . it's beautiful !
Carolee said…
I like that you chose to write a poem about this story. I remember it and would never have thought, "there's a poem in there!" Good eye!

Feedback? the entire thing is very concrete until the last line . . . "an elegy for all that once was." i know that's exactly what you're trying to say, but somehow it seems abstract compared to the rest. perhaps replace it with something specific/actual . . . what's really lost? Just a thought! Great writing as always.
Nic Sebastian said…
Hey January - Yeek! That’s some story! Nice job.

S1L5– “wife’s parent’s home” is difficult sonically. But you need all that info – maybe some reformulation?

S2L3 – three modifiers seem one too many here. My money would be on deflated and delicate – soft seems too obvious. Not getting “in the center” of her hands. Why not “between”? – plain language, but that’s a hallmark here and it works. "Stillness" is fantastic.

S3L1 – “to the balcony” not needed and comes across as a bit twee (obviously Romeo & Juliettish & serenadish). "Hobbled off into the night" is perfect.

S4 L1 – don’t need “later”. L5 & 6 not the best ending, descend rather into telliness – you do need some closing though – some tender, sad thing the wife does, maybe?

V. nice read, as usual. Good luck with the revision. - Nic
Deb R said…
Reading Nic's comments re: S1L5, what about "threw it through the window to his wife" or "to land at his wife's feet" or something like that? Is the fact of his wife being at her parents' house at the time necessary to the poem/story, even if that's how it happened? Somehow it just seems to me like that line breaks up the rhythm a bit.

I really like the next section. The bits that bother Nic don't bother me at all, in fact I think they are very evocative. In fact, I like all the rest of it.

The story it's based on is beyone bizarre though. Wow!
I rather liked "to the balcony" and the Romeo/JUliet thing. You are such a fine poet! Always!
January said…
Hi Carolee and Nic: thanks for the feedback. I like the two last lines, so maybe I can revamp the last stanza to make it work.

Nic, I feel like I need "to the balcony" and "later" to give the reader the sense of where this is happening. That's from the wire story so I want to keep at least of the article's facts. I do like the Romeo and Juliet undertone, which didn't occur to me until you mentioned it.

I think getting rid of "soft" is a good suggestion, but "to the center" is a bit more ethereal and fits in the stanza.

Great feedback, as always. THANKS!
January said…
Deb, good suggestion. I'll give it a try. Thanks.
la vie en rose said…
you're kidding...yep, stranger than fiction...
twitches said…
Great job of making this poetic. It doesn't read like a news account at all. It could be completely made up for the poem's sake - and that's a good thing!
wendy said…
I liked threw it through..very trick. I love good word play.

i just used "Stranger than fiction..." Love that phrase.

Did the police find him...alive?
madd said…
such a sad comentary on devotion and what the price for same is..to some anyway..nice job..m
ecm said…
I loved your poem! The story made a great poem. Really liked the title...it works so well.
Lynn said…
That is one twisted love story.

Great poem. (Yes, it is a little creepy. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a creepy poem this week.)
chiefbiscuit said…
Disturbing ... but you've handled it really well - no softening just telling it like it is which is very effective.
Catherine said…
As the others said, that is bizarre and creepy, but very well handled. I'm sure you have enough suggestions for revisions already.
bb said…
eugghh - utterly horrific.
still you got a great poem out of it ;-)
twilightspider said…
January, I agree with you, I like your last two lines. I understand the reservations expressed, but the whole poem, for me, feels like a cautionary tale; the final two really work for me in that sense.
bostonerin said…
I love how you can take an act that it so crass and turn it into a poem to admire...and retain the flavor of the original story.

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