Classical Jazz '05



gift shop on main street

the saturday night stars are winking at him (or maybe just glaring) as the devil takes his hand and guides him through the gates to paradise he"s trading wealth for passion or so it seems for all the while His loving arms and her loving pleas are lost as he pays to pass the Route 666 toll booth and cross the river the noose is pulled from his throat as her hair tangles in his eyes and he closes them as he steals yet another souvenir from that gift shop on main street (halt for the ringing applause from all seven levels) he untangles himself, sticky with cologne, sweat, and her perfume his sins are discarded on the floor and escape down the drain to Hell, as he wraps himself in purity and hangs the silver crucifix around his throttled neck


Bookmark and Share

Artist: Raeann MacNeil
School: North Allegheny

This poem was written for the 'risk-taking' assignment.  Here is the assessment read to the class (hopefully the poem will make more sense after this...)

This poem is about a man who is cheating on his wife, but feels no regret for it.  He has turned away from God's path to follow the devil, but he puts on a mask and plays the part of a loving Christian husband.  This is a very personal poem for me, because three people I am very close to had their husbands cheat on them.  Although the incidents happened in the past, the pain is still there for all of them.  For one of them in particular, her huband doesn't seem to understand what he did was wrong, and, like the man in the poem, has no regrets.

I used a ton of references to the devil and Hell in this poem to try and make it clear how evil the man's acts are.  I also used 'gift shop on main street' as a metaphor for the place this man finds women to have sex with, be it a strip club or simply a place prostitutes hang out.  I didn't want to get into the details of what exactly was going on, so I used vague details.

This poem took me forever to write, but one thing that gave me a lot of trouble was the line "(halt for the applause from all seven levels)."  Almost everyone who read the poem told me to get rid of it.  It obviously hurts the flow of the poem and is easily the least descriptive line, but it serves a purpose.  The line isn't supposed to flow with the rest of the poem; it's supposed to make the reader stop for a moment and think about what's going on.  The 'seven levels' part alludes to people who committed one of the seven deadly sins and have been condemned to Hell, as they cheer the man on as he unwittingly becomes one of them.

As for poetic devices, there was imagery, metaphors, and the usual end-stop and enjambment. :)

PS. The poem is currently formatted incorrectly.  I promise I'll fix it!


Lindsay Bock from: North Allegheny - posted: October 30, 2007

This poem is phenomenal.

In class, when you read it for the first time, I took it in from the surface.

But, when everyone started to take pieces and put them together, the final background of this poem shocked me!

Your use of metaphor, discriptive language, and enjambment in the original format made this poem extraordinary.

Well done!

Maura Crock from: North Allegheny - posted: November 1, 2007
When you first read it in class, I had no idea what it was about. When you read your assessment I was so surprised. I know you said everyone wanted you to take out the part where you said (halt for the ringing applause from all seven levels), but that is actually one of my favorite parts of the poem, I'm just not quite sure why. It made me stop while I was reading the poem, and think about what I read and try to process it, before I read the rest of the poem. I love it.

Claire Pilarski from: North Allegheny - posted: November 1, 2007


There are so many things in this poem that make it soo good, I just don't know where to start? First off, the title is so fitting. It's perfect! I also loved how you included the paraenthesis' in two places. It really added a nice touch. You did such a good job cleverly referring to the devil and god briefly throughout the poem. It was such a brillant idea. Overall, Job well done!

-Claire Pilarski 

Ticket info - call 800-555-1212