Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Terza Rima

I was wanting to get this terza rima poem to a final draft stage before the Na PoWri Mo challenge (i.e. write a draft poem every day for the month of April), but I’m not sure I’ll make it. What I’ve managed is below.

Clearly it wouldn’t suit the Pebble Mill Review, but such rhyming frenzy might be acceptable for less discerning editors.

In case some international readers don’t know, Eurovision refers to the Eurovision Song Contest in which each European nation is represented by an original song (nearly always generic middle-of-the-road), and a vote is taken to find the winner. It’s extremely hard to score zero points, but it does happen now and again.

Euro Pop (draft)

A few hours after his Eurovision dud
flopped on the glitzy stage, the nil points still
rattling the echo chamber in his head,

he tilts a plastic vial of orange pills
and toasts defeat with four imaginary
voices from the white hotel room walls.

Bulgarian whisky – the glass is empty,
the vial joins smashed bottles of Turkish beer
on the rug. The bassline from the party

downstairs uproots him from his easy chair
and draws him to the heart of European
malaise. He staggers down a corridor –

white as the room and indistinct as stone
with edges flattened out – and calls the lift
which drops him to a thumping monotone,

an unidentifiable space stuffed
with personalities he knows he ought
to know. In unison, they make the shift

from face to name-badge. They commiserate
with him artfully, reoccupy
their blank expressions over bittersweet

pickles and Beaujolais. “I’d love to stay,”
a woman tells him through her vol-au-vent
and leaves with the polyglot from Hungary

who finished ninth. In crowds, he stands alone
always, while every conversation builds
a private unit where he can’t belong;

and as the pills and alcohol have brawled
in his brain until he can’t remember whether
he came in first or last, he’ll never recall

how he knocks two unwilling heads together
with over-zealous force, and when restrained,
pleads diplomacy at fault in either,

neither or both. Snatching at scenes regained
from a mind-blinding, lowest-order gin
propped on his breakfast tray, he’ll apprehend

the whites of eyes, the undistinguished din
and wall-to-wall psychobabble, the plain
likeness of each sound to each other one;

his muesli spoon becomes a microphone.


Andrew Philip said...

Hi Rob,

What's this about NaPoWriMo (hideous acronymn, in my opinion)? Who laid down the challenge and where did you hear about it?

As for "Europop", I like the collision of classical form and trashy event. There are some nice rhymes ("easy chair" with "corridor", for example) and some good, flowing lines, but the rhythm stumbles in several places and you really can't get away with that in such a tight form.

Hope that's helpful.


Rob Mackenzie said...

Andy, that's spot on, and I'll be working on some of those lines, probably for some time to come.

I'll post something about NaPoWriMo on my blog. You're welcome to take part if you're feeling masochistic enough.