Strike On

By September 3, 2016 11 Comments

Millie Ho Writing Writer Poems

Strike on,

Strike on,
lost ground.

Blood rocks can be
stepping stones.

Violet leaves,
our ceiling.

Let’s roll up them sleeves,
and find that single

We could leave today,

Draw the blade
beneath the clavicle
a second longer.

Carve the wisdom from
that meat hanger
and call it a


Millie’s Note: I went out last night, and as I walked around downtown Toronto, I thought about how a city at night could look like the wilderness. There was also this feeling of dark detachment and casual hedonism. I wrote this poem when I got home.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • kvennarad says:

    That last stanza has a kick. I wish I’d written it!

  • sanberdooboy says:

    Images of “Blood rocks” and a blades cutting into a chest or into a piece of meat from a hanger contrast with the persona’s blasé attitude. Definitely disturbing! But from your explanation and the poem it is clear that you carefully control the poem’s tone.

    • Millie Ho says:

      Thanks for your interpretation, Michael! I wonder if being tired at the time of writing added to the poem’s clinical/removed tone. I’m sure everything affects everything else.

  • Paul says:

    I agree with Sanberdooboy there’s a strong undercurrent or maybe current of violence in this poem that rests on a tone of acceptance. The short stanza, “We could leave today,/really.” put me in the mind of a drug addiction or an addiction to the “casual hedonism” of the buy/sell culture that surrounds us. We think we can do without things “leave today” but then we keep buying and consuming. And part of that is the casual trade of flesh: human and animal.


    Thanks for sharing.

    • Millie Ho says:

      Thanks for reading and for your insightful comment, Paul. Very interesting that the stanza reminded you of an addiction. People use all sorts of things to self-medicate, to “leave”, and escapism was a big part this poem. I hope that writing about these topics will lead to a better understanding of what is at the core of such impulses.

      • Paul says:

        Your poem, Strike On does not reveal its meaning easily. Like Dickenson there are levels of truth that one has to ponder. Even the title presents the reader with a fascinating ambiguity. Oh, and I did want to mention as well, I thought the accompanying picture and author’s note was a very good idea. It worked so well as a kind of multi-genre presentation.

        All of this also begs the question: Are you publishing this poetry? You definitely should be or thinking of a volume.
        At any rate, I look forward to more of the same!
        Thank you!

        • Millie Ho says:

          Glad you enjoy the picture/note combo! Hmm, I try not to intrude on the reader’s interpretation too much, so I try to give the right amount of context. What’s your take on explaining your work, inspiration, etc? Thanks for that compliment disguised as a question. I need to practice more before that volume, but it’s kind of you to suggest that! There will definitely be more poems/fiction posted. 🙂

          • Paul says:

            On the inclusion of explanatory text with a poem, I think it’s a very useful thing to do, especially when you want to nudge the reader in a certain direction. As a matter of fact, I read your poem before I saw the note. I zoomed back to the top for a second read, and slower. I got to the end and scrolled the extra notch, and voila there was the note. It threw me back into the poem with greater interest because the note gave me a reference. Without the note, I imagined a literal wilderness, and/or some violence being done in a wood.

            A picture isn’t so necessary, and maybe for some readers too intrusive, but our current culture is so visually oriented, (the graphic novel market increases everyday!) I think a picture is, often as not, accepted as a treat.

            With prose, I don’t think one needs a textual note, but you know, I still enjoy reading nineteenth century novels that include drawings, i.e. Dickens, and Trollope.

          • Millie Ho says:

            Thanks for letting me know! I’m thinking now that a note at the bottom is fine as long as it’s not too heavy on the explanations. Usually I’d just stick one or two lines about where the seed for the poem/story/art came from, and let the reader figure out what went into the watering of that seed. You can have the same theme/idea/source of inspiration as somebody else (i.e.: walking around the city at night, being inspired by the sights and sounds of the night, etc) but how you execute it is unique to you as a creator, and it’s not always easy to explain that. Maybe that’s where we draw the line at explanations.

            You’re right, we are visually oriented but pictures aren’t mandatory. I guess it depends on the writer’s frame of mind when posting. When the mood is right, strike!

            Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

          • kvennarad says:

            I like to include footnotes that are, essentially, arcane and part of the poem.

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