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Featured Guest Susan Rancourt

Gary Returns From Construction Site
Maine - 1963

He was the image of power
and grace
just standing he was
with booted feet
heavy as hammers
before the ice box
cold air humming over
his darkened torso.

The rim of his belt curled slightly
from the repeated strain
of holding against
his iron belly.

The middle knuckle of his right hand
was nicked with red and a fine bit of skin.
He gripped the carton
and with one long satisfied draw,
downed a quart of milk
icy cold and white.

May, 2002

Susan Rancourt's Questions:

o Does it "work" ? Is it complete, finished, polished enough?

o Imagery is very important to me ~ I try to write powerful images that cause the reader to be transported to a specific time, place, event. Is the imagery strong and effective?

o What's your overall reaction to the poem ?

Thank you!


The imagery powerful, riveted..loved the way you used that word, it set the mood... stronge, sexy, salty..Yes!! The flow was excellent. I had no trouble seeing and feeling this poem with my minds eye. The way you ended was fantastic, what I mean... here is this stronge man dripping with all the construction sensuality that can be mustered and he turns into this almost kid like imagine with that carton of milk. I loved it. For me this poem works. I see no need for improvement.
Ariegaw LE Garcia
USA - Fri May 31 10:00:06 2002

I think the images are fine, and very powerful, evocative. I do have a suggestion that would make the opening lines more powerful than the current ones that use that passive verb "was". How about this: "He stood/with booted feet/heavy as hammers/ riveted/ before the ice box" You don't need to tell us that he was power and grace because the choice of words show it! The rest of the poem is very fine, and the contrast of an iron-strong male downing the soft-light milk is really nice. Regards, Larry.
Larry L. Fontenot
USA - Sat Jun 1 17:04:16 2002
The poem has fine imagery and I agree with the suggestion that telling us about his power is not necessary; the description of his belly, his hands work to do that. I especially like the ending, your man has that raw quality and here is a kind of innocent moment with him found swigging the milk. I have seen that moment many times in a man, so the imagery works very well. A nice moment in time and you haven't strapped this poem to a chair and beat the hell out of it to convey what you wanted to! (I love Billy Collins, sorry!) Pam Gebhard
pam gebhard
USA - Mon Jun 3 22:22:40 2002
Editor's Note (5 June 2002): The original post of this poem on May 22 was made without the author's intended formatting, line breaks, and stanza breaks. We now repost the poem showing the author's corrected formatting. The comments up to and including Pam Gebhard's were made before the corrected version was posted.
APW Editors

I particularly enjoyed the description of the curling belt. This was as powerful as the man you describe. I could feel the cold milk, coursing down my throat. I agree with Larry about the use of the word 'was' and would add that I think the use of the word riveted is a bit tortured. I would prefer a shorter, more forceful word, such as 'stuck'. I enjoyed reading this poem.
Varda Epstein
USA - Fri Jun 14 05:47:30 2002

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