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Black Jackets

Rating: 4.9

In the silence that prolongs the span
Rawly of music when the record ends,
The red-haired boy who drove a van
In weekday overalls but, like his friends,

Wore cycle boots and jacket here
To suit the Sunday hangout he was in,
Heard, as he stretched back from his beer,
Leather creak softly round his neck and chin.

Before him, on a coal-black sleeve
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Kurt Egger 11 June 2019

It is written as follows: … now lost in night … the slogan Born To Lose.

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Frank Avon 03 December 2014

One of the truly fine poems of the twentieth century. Its subject matter, its tone, and its vernacular language definitely reflect the culture of the modern age, yet its form is a masterful variation of the traditional quatrain with a strict rhyming scheme: ABAB. The image of light (flickers reflected from the black leather jeckets) is one of the most memorable of his era - classical, yet with a brand new context and interpretation, then developed with a metaphor comparing this light to lights reflected off the San Francisco Bay. This image is the perfect embodiment (TSE would say 'dobjective correlative') for the thematic statement that follows, its wording elegantly simple: 'The present was the things he stayed among.' Curiously, the last four rhyming words precisely embody the balance achieved in both the form and the content of the poem: rites / knights = classical traditions vs. tattoos / lose = modernistic irony. Two ironies - one direct and forceful, the other more subtle (again tradition vs. the modernistic) - tie the whole poem together. A motorcycle gang of the twentieth century choosing the ritual and the nomenclature of medieval chivalry AND tattoos which are designs meant to be permanent, to last forever, convey the message of impermanence, of the ravages of Time: 'Born to Lose.'

7 1 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 16 June 2016

a very interesting comment.. thank you, Frank

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