I visit the capital this time year after year.
It’s the country’s iron face, reflecting the nation’s fear.
Success and failure are concentrated and heightened,
I’ll show you what I mean soon, don’t be frightened.
I might as well deliver the bad news first,
Shrinking middle-class pockets always seem to thirst.
In a city like this, the gap between rich and poor is worse.
Seems like cities and governments have synthesized our curse.
Urban institutions manufacture, it would seem,
Politicians that always somehow sell us the obscene.
Mankind left and abandoned, without interruption,
Leaving us with thieves, drug houses, and corruption;
Luckily the successes of the town are greater than its flaws,
The city constructs new houses, in accordance with its laws.
They’re investments for the wealthy, don’t worry about the poor,
The rest of us can pay high rent, or live on someone’s floor.
In the centre stands the courthouse and city hall,
Two grand conduits of virtue, reminding us all,
That bribery’s a crime, only for those who can’t afford it.
To fuel the machine’s parts, is democracy and justice.
There was a pulse in every street, a human rhythm you could hear,
There was life in all the steps my feet repeated year after year.
I don’t think it was always like today, and I’m a bit afraid to say,
That maybe the robotic city, might rediscover its heart one day.
This was part of an “emulation” assignment, in which I took on the writing style of an artist. In this case, I went with William Blake (the Romantic poet) and Dave Mustaine (of Megadeth)
I think it would have been funny if I invoked one of them as a muse or something, but Blake didn’t really do that. Maybe put forth an “Argument” as he does in some poems.
Next week exams start up, so I will most likely not have the next chapter of The Solune Prince ready. I will have something else though, since I had to assemble a whole creative writing portfolio.
The Solune Prince will be on hold for maybe one or two chapters. Hoping to get in some writing time over the winter break.
Here’s a brief write up on exactly what I was attempting to do for anyone who is interested in that sort of thing. I scrapped it together for the assignment, so I figure I may as well tack it on here as well.
The subject of the poem is the observation of a city in poor condition, as in Blake’s “London,” and a landscape of abandonment and failure of justice as in Megadeth’s “Youthanasia,” and “Kick the Chair” respectively. Following Mustaine, the city is more modern, and the language used has more colloquialism. Blame is also placed on the government and courts, rather than king and church. The poem uses very loose meter like Mustaine, but like Blake uses end rhyme and four line stanzas. Like Blake and Mustaine, I use some accumulation, revealing the failures of the city, and then adding on “successes” which are turn out to be even more failures.
Both artists I am emulating have used unformed imagery related to suffering, as well as mineral imagery. Here, I do the same, using unformed imagery (e.g.; fear, corruption, curse), to describe the woes of citizens. I use human imagery (e.g.; politician, rich, poor, thieves) to reveal the state of people subject to the city. I also use mineral imagery, especially mechanical imagery (e.g.; iron, conduits, manufacture, construct), to describe the city and its elite, and often avoid mentioning people, having the city or its departments act instead.
By comparing the city and its representatives (government, politicians, the courthouse) to artificial constructs and machines, I hope to imply that, although these things move, and are made up of human workers, they have become deadened, and are just following a machine-like cycle. The city is therefore portrayed (rather than personified) as inhuman, and inhumane.
The last stanza shows a bit of hope, but also furthers the irony. The narrator reveals that once the city did have human elements (a human heart), implying that now all of that has been replaced by dead machine.
I think I did well portraying the sense of a menacing abstract enemy. I attempted to maintain some sense of musicality with the end rhyme, although there is virtually no distinct meter. I took imagery and the idea of an observant narrator in a dire landscape from both. Looking back, if I were to improve it, I would create a more proper sense of free verse, and make the examples of injustice more individual and therefore personal.