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"Happy Halloween, 2010", draft(s)

This is a work in progress, inspired by a recent real-life accident. Hopefully there's enough in this poem that you don't need all the background, but I did provide it anyway.

Well, here's the original draft of this poem, for simplicity:

The train stopped for you
As none of us'd suspected
When the train jerked-stopped
And powered down to quarter-light
And the conductor informed us
Of a "situation", and not to panic.
"Was it terrorists?! Had someone bombed
The metrorail system? or taken hostages??"

No, no; most of the time,
Life's too ordinary for that;
No, no; it was just a man
Too sad to live, standing
On a metro platform,
Looking down.

afternotes: I was actually on the 8 car train to Glenmont that hit the man in the October 29th incident as mentioned at the beginning of this and timelined here. Because life is just weird like that, I proceeded to do the first of our two Halloween weekend Rocky Horror performances the same evening (I was on my way to Metro Center, thankfully...?).

Parker was/is considering making a video out of the footage he took (no, there's nothing graphic; that all was under the train still....) and was trying to think of what to say during the video. I half-jokingly offered to write a poem

here's the secondish draft, differences in blue

The train stopped for you
--But as none of us'd suspected
When the train jerked-stopped
And powered down to quarter-light
And the conductor informed us
Of a "situation", and not to panic.
"Was it terrorists? Had someone bombed
The metrorail system? Were there
hostages somewhere? Was there a gun
To the conductor's head," we laughed. 
What Hollywood thrills was it
We starred in, what horrible excitements
Were we privy to?
This city seems so overdue for--

--But, no, no; most of the time,
Life's too ordinary for all that.
No, no; it was just a man,
Too sad to live, standing
On the Metrostation platform,
Looking down.

afternotes: I don't exactly like all of what I added, but I've yet to decide what to keep and what to scratch, which is why I didn't post it like this up top; I like that original version as a whole, it just kind of seems to lack a bit of something, a bit of something I clearly tried to pinpoint with the additions to the secondish draft. (Nice run-on, eh?) I think I do like the phrase "Hollywood thrills" and--at least to a degree--further emphasizing the absurd enjoyment/excitement we had.

On (another, and final!) sidenote: I've often found what seems to be a line or two or few that must have caught the poet/lyricists heart or mind or ear in such a way that they tried to build an entire poem/song around it to justify being able to use it. Usually, I hope, the poet has enough art to their craft that they can hide this fact well enough; that they can build a poem complementary or strong in its own right that those lines fit and are not so noticeable. (That's how some Death Cab for Cutie songs feel to me, though; pleasant enough mediocrity with a twist thrown in somewhere.) With this poem, I'll admit that as I thought about writing it, it was "No, no; most of the time,/Life's too ordinary for that" that gave me the final incentive to write it. 


  1. I don't have time to read it all now, but I will when I get back later! <3


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