Sorry, Ms. Smarty,
If you were really good at sucking at free verse, you wouldn't have been able to pull off the last couple of lines.
If you go back and look at e.e. cummings, whose verse is all over the page, you'll be able to see that a lot of his verse is actually sonnets and formal stuff; it only looks like free verse. Sometimes it's really free verse. You gonna be able to say which is which?
A guy who's writing now, Dennis Johnson, has been writing mostly novels for a long time, and most of them are pretty decent. He's got some really decent poetry, too. One book is called [i]The Incognito Lounge[i], if you'd every want to check that out, but most any book of poems by him is mind-bending and incredible. Some of his first poems he wrote , he wrote at about your age, and they were sonnets, and they came out in an anthology called, [i]Quickly Aging Here[i] way back before the printing press, when people published books by striking two students together and allowing the sparks to inspire them. It's been so very long I may be hazy on some of the finer details. My memory's gotten bad, ever since I hit 300.
If you want a link to see a few of Denis Johnson's poems on line, you might try googling his name and the word "poems" and see what you can get. I was able to see three or four, and I own his poetry books, so that sent me back to them in a hurry. His reputation as a novelist (he won the national book award a few years back) has overshadowed what he's done as a poet. That's simply wrong.
This poem of yours isn't as good as some of your others, but then it's a draft, and to talk about it as a finished poem means you're 17, not that you suck. By the way. In poetry, I would encourage you to lie, and to lie big-time. Just because the guy was a boring sort of jerk in real life, doesn't mean that you have to keep him that way as you work on the poem. You can make him an interesting sort of jerk. How interesting a jerk you make him is limited only by your imagination; none of us know him. We know nothing of his personal grooming, the way he smells, how frequently he showers, what he does with small animals.
As somebody who has a God given right to lie about these things, why aren't you doing so? The more interesting the lie, the further it will be from being identifiable as the actual person, and you don't want to actually libel an identifiable person, which is legally not such a good thing to do.
In any sort of writing, free verse or not, you'll want to include as many sensory details as possible to bring the thing to life. Visual detail; sounds; the feel of things in terms of texture, weight and stuff like that, rather than the emotion of things, are very useful in bringing a reader into a poem or any piece of writing; and the scent of things as well — scent seems almost hard-wired into emotional memory. Talk about a spaghetti dinner isn't as evocative as talk about the scent of cooking onions and garlic and tomato as the sauce is poured over the linguine, right?
Remember your own darn comment in the title of this thread — rough draft — and get off that very high horse. You are unfortunately as talented here as you are at formal verse, simply less experienced, and disgracefully unused to lying in your creative work. In your life, Bad Idea. In your poetry, good idea. It breaks you out of your standardized ways of thinking of things and it has a good chance of getting you closer to what the real truth may be.
If you want to take a pot shot at me, I've got some stuff in the current alley free verse thread, an older version of a poem and a newer one so people can have a look at how I've been doing some revisions between last year and this.
This is not to suggest you need to work my way. This is only to offer a snapshot between two widely separated drafts. And comment, especially if it is concrete, is welcome. Part of the purpose of the thread is to get folks used to commenting on other people's work, so they can start to develop their own ideas about what they think may be important to look for when they revise their own. All ideas expressed are considered tentative, though you might get some people to think about what they're doing and they might ask you about your thoughts in a bit more detail. They also may not. Look over the earlier part of the thread for what to expect. Nothing you can't deal with fairly easily, I suspect.
Or not, if you'd rather. You're doing great here.
All my best, Bob Kaven
[This message has been edited by Bob K (04-23-2009 04:28 AM).]