Editing Experiment: Street Sounds (your turn)

February 8, 2010 § 7 Comments

Next up, I thought I’d ask your editing help.

Think if this as a meme for the poetically inclined. It will score you big karma points and maybe a “thank you for all the support” in my first published chapbook.  Here’s the meme: After reading Street Sounds v3, answer the follow-up questions.

It’s an editing collaboration!


She strides in torn hose and high heels, and teeters slightly down the chilly urban street.
Morning traffic slows for lights; walkers swerve to avoid her wildly waving arms.
I watch her ashy fingers forming shapes as I pass by – American Sign or gibberish,
I cannot tell. What does she hear as she speaks in her own silence?
Is she threatening herself or me? Answering her bitter internal voices?
I believe hopeless hearts survive by sharing.
I believe the lost are rescued by communion and wither with seclusion.

I imagine her first home:
Two parents, one deaf, one not. Maybe both could hear.
Soon they learn her world – her finger-speak – and they take care to curb
their sounds so she doesn’t feel alone. And then one day her signs turn sour.
She speaks, but not to them — she signs to someone they cannot see.
They try to force her eyes so she can read their love, but she squeezes them shut,
so they cannot make her hear. Now she spends her days in a double-bubble wrap
of deafness and psychosis. Her soundless world protects her reality –
when she closes her eyes, no one can join her.
Her street sounds are only heard by me. 

1) What is the poem about? If you were to describe it in one sentence, what would you say?

2) Is the message spelled out too explicitly?

3) Am I being poetic — otherwise known as vague?

4) What mood does the poem convey?


Tagged: , , , , , ,

§ 7 Responses to Editing Experiment: Street Sounds (your turn)

  • […] Street Sounds 2010 March 7 tags: A Poem a Day, Creative Writing, Deaf, Homeless, National Poetry Month, Poetry, Writing by Pamela Villars To continue my editing experiment, I’ve worked up what I think is the very-close-to-final version of Street Sounds.  For newcomers, you can follow the process and poetic changes here, here, here, and here. […]

  • Okay:

    1. Isolation and mental illness.
    2. Not really.
    3. No, I don’t think so.
    4. Loss and sadness.

    My take anyway and I love this poem btw.

  • rallentanda says:

    I’m going to buy your chap book and I hope it has my three favourite poems in it ( from November Poetic Asides)I am not going to do you the disservice of answering these questions. As we all know sales are determined by popular appeal.My verse and taste appeal only to a few.

    I had a friend who used to sell jewellery at the markets.When she had a doubt about which line would be a seller she would would bring them to me and the one I didn’t like much would always be a hit.

    Of course we could apply the same pschology to poetry.I don’t think the above is one of your better poems( of which there are many)so I predict a hit!

    • Well, I’m glad to hear it will be a hit! And I appreciate your honest response.

      It’s not my favorite either, but I’m enjoying the experiment. It will change more, but likely won’t be as “poetic” as some other work.

  • Linda says:

    Taking a chance here.

    1. A homeless, schizophrenic, deaf person.
    2. No
    3. No
    4. The sadness of lost communication.

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