as I get older I want to
picnic, not to party.
a basket of baguette,
three kinds of cheese,
strawberries and
a little merlot,
or maybe chablis.

and as we sprawl in the
shade of our light repast,
we'll hold a bottle of beer,
a pale lager to our gentle sips.
we'll let the cool drops glide over
our warm summer's tongues
as the sun steers itself
fat across the sky.

and then I'll fetch two more,
and then two more,
our knees stained green,
our breath and our hands
as coarse and insistent as the
smell of life all around us
as we fuck on the grass.

I feel compelled to respond to you personally: I find this poem reassuring. About you. Except for the "two more and two more" just before the sex. Why?
Oh, and ... :) ... what's the reason for "our knees"?

A) You consider the knees that are part of either of you as belonging to the both of you.

B) You switch positions at least once.

C) Doggy style.

(Okay... the "insistent hands" suggests B).)
Why do you find the poem reassuring about me? You're not confusing the speaker with the author, are you?

Um...the "two more" etc. is cuz the speaker, despite his claims of getting older, being more sophisticated, etc., has actually brought several beers along with the wine, and is getting drunk and fucking his girl in the park.

So it's supposed to be ironic. But he's also supposed to genuinely enjoy the picnic and the natural setting. In truth, he's actually somewhere between being younger and older. He likes the lazy picnic, but he also likes getting drunk and doing it.

Hmmm...I think I probably move too abruptly into the change in the last stanza. But I did want to create the sense of, before you know it, they're rolling around on the grass, getting grass-stained knees and fucking. Cuz he's not completely self-aware.

Any suggestions on getting those ideas across better?
It might help for me to describe one influence on this poem: a rich guy I know who buys expensive wines and seems to know a lot about them -- I guess he has a sophisticated wine palate -- but then he drinks loads of the wine and gets all drunk and silly. It's interesting that alcohol can be used in both a mature, older sense -- a sign of sophistication -- and in an immature, younger sense -- getting blitzed and goofy -- and that these different purposes can co-exist or transition from one to the other.
Am so confusing speaker with the author!

I'm a bit embarassed that I thought that "I" meant you, but not that embarassed. I always think your poems are autobiographical (not your stories though). It has to do with the lyric form you use, surely.

And can you blame me? I thought it was reassuring that Daniel likes to picnic not to party, and he likes romantic fucking on the grass. Even if it's not you, I would hope you identify somewhat with your character.

But I do not hope you identify with the "two more" part. Yes, I have a couple of suggestions. First of all, I think you did get your point across. Just because I overlayed you on top of your character doesn't mean you didn't convey what you intended.

But here's one technical problem for me. Living in a country to which wine is like hockey to Canada is, I am made aware of the fact that a "merlot" is not a traditional label for a wine. New World wines are labelled by their grape, but traditionally expensive French wines are labelled by Chateau. Good French wines (I don't know about Italian, Spanich, etc, but it is likely similar), are mixes of grapes that are chosen for their ability to mutually enhance each others' qualities. Therefore the label "Merlot" means that the wine is New World (Australian, Chile?, ...).

I'm not going to arrogantly push any theory that a good wine can't be labelled Merlot: but since I've heard that good wines are composed of various grapes, this line suggests strongly to me that the speaker is a casual wine drinker rather than a connaisseur. Hence, my slippage on the rest of the lines in the poem. So my first suggestion is to stick in some awesome wine names. I would do so not by searching for expensive wine, but by choosing wines that go well with strawberries, and with cheese (you don't name the cheese, but you name the wine: so you have to pick a wine that goes with the unnamed cheeses you have imagined).

In the second stanza, you introduce the beer. I found this weird, drinking beer after wine, but this was your intention! So: good.

The fucking I also find romantic. I found that the fucking goes with the picnic and the wine. It is a mature man that treats his partner to a romantic sunset fuck on the grass. And who wouldn't want to fuck after such a perfect picnic. So: if you intend that the fucking is supposed to be "goofy", then you should make the fucking goofier. To me "coarse", "insistent", "smell of life": these are all nice things.

But how do you make sex goofy? It's already goofy, but nice. What if you have a guy who goofily squeezes the girl's breast, and it annoys her?
"As you watch the sun set,
Smelling the life around us,
I insistently squeeze your boob..."

Crap suggestion, but do you see what I mean?
Hmmm... I like your suggestions. A couple of things, though:

- A lot of my poems and characters have bits of me and bits of other people I know, maybe even you, so it's okay. :)

- Is it better for such a character to not really know that much about wine? No, I suppose if he's going to be ignorant, it should be a mix of knowledge and ignorance. Armed with a little bit of sophistication, he assumes that he is older and more sophisticated than he is. So maybe he chooses one nice wine that goes really well with the strawberries and cheese, and one that doesn't really. Any suggestions? My knowledge of wine is teeny.

- I like the goofy idea, too. I think the poem needs a few more lines or another stanza to let the events unfold fully, eh?
What I hadn't considered was that--perhaps--the man should be ignorant in wines. You contrast between presumably good wine and bottled beer is already rather precise. I'm liking your idea more and more, in fact.

My problem is the lack of focus on the idea, I think. What I would suggest you try, then, is to shorten the poem. Could you say the same thing as you are saying in, say, nine lines? That could bring more emphasis to the core of your image.

I am only proposing one of many possible solutions of course. Compactness happens to be a theory that I like recently, nothing more.
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