The red cigar seller


Keith Jackson & Friends: PNG Attitude, 07 January 2015

An entry in the Crocodile Prize
Kina Securities Award for Poetry

Boy all in red
And a red in his hands
Coins clatter in one pocket
Notes slumber in the other

“One kina red! One kina red!
He chants as a song
Up and down the sidewalk

His feet stationed on alert
His body cautious
To the coppers
And the rangers
Those that attack you in surprise

This red brings danger
He had escaped many times
His eyes watch the road
As his mouth continues to chant

“One kina red stap!”


Thanks a lot Michael. I have saved your alternatives. Just what I need.

Posted by: Caroline Evari | 09 January 2015 at 11:02 AM

Good one!…Thanks Michael.

Posted by: Philip G Kaupa | 08 January 2015 at 09:29 PM

It’s my pleasure to share stuff I’ve picked up while writing, Philip.

I should add that what Caroline has written is free verse, whereas my alternative was directed towards structured verse.

Caroline’s voice in this poem is good for the free verse form. I don’t suggest that she change this particular poem, only to consider the alternative.

But knowing how to create structured verse will improve writing skills (word choice, definition and connotation, placing, grammar and line structure etc) so that you know when to bend or break the rules properly.

For more and better tips check out this link:

Posted by: Michael Dom | 08 January 2015 at 10:08 AM

Michael my Poet, thanks man! great thoughts I acquire from your eleboration. Indeed a poetry lecture.

Posted by: Philip G Kaupa | 07 January 2015 at 07:34 PM

I thought it was good too Michael. Publishable material.

Posted by: Phil Fitzpatrick | 07 January 2015 at 03:40 PM

Oh, ‘sales’ should be sellers. 🙂

Posted by: Michael Dom | 07 January 2015 at 03:02 PM

I really like the observation of the street seller – everyday human drama.

The kick off stanza is good, nice alliteration for ‘coins, clatter’ and diction for ‘clatter’ and ‘slumber’. Inspiring.

Alternatively to make the verse ‘spit’ I thought:

Red jacket, unshod, street kid (using imagery)
With packet a’ Pall Mall Red
One pocket a’ clattering coins
One pocket a’ slumbering notes
Eyes rocket thru milling crowds

Also I’m liking very much: ‘His feet stationed on alert’, but thought alternatively:

Fleet feet stationed on alert
Brown body cautious – taut –
For blue coppers and
Yellow rangers – streets fraught –
With sudden violent ends
To smoke sales, caught red handed

Which leads to your next line…

‘This Red bRings (Real) dangeR’.

Internal rhyming may not be so important for your voice in this poem, nor the assonance and consonance in my alternative verses (jackET, packET, pockET or R the line above).

Assonance, alliteration and consonance are the building blocks of verse.

This poem may not be intended as verse, but then again it might gain something from it – and not necessarily equal numbered verses either.

I’m glad to read you again Caroline. You have good skill.

Posted by: Michael Dom | 07 January 2015 at 02:56 PM

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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