5:01 am | March 17, 2002
Well, it's a little bit text-heavy for poetry - it reads a bit like formatted prose :)
Not a bad thing entirely, but it could well be (no offense to anybody) a little over the heads of most of the folks here.
On the other hand, it's really, really crappy to lower your standard of writing to a lesser audience... so if push comes to shove and you have to make the choice, go with what comes to you, not what you think "the people at HBO will be able to understand."
Obviously, that doesn't mean that you should go around being deliberately and unnecessarily cryptic - but if you have a good reason for doing so, it DOES mean that you shouldn't hesitate for our sake, as long as MOST people could understand it.
Oops, drifted off topic. Anyway, in terms of things like foreign languages that aren't generall understood, there's a few ways to do it. You could add an author's note, like you did here (although it's simpler to just put it in the actual story, in the beginning or end, with the header "AUTHOR'S NOTE").
You could add a footnote with translation.
Or you could just make people work for it - make them look something up, or hunt around a little to understand. In this case, I think that's best - because both a cat o' nine tales and the phrase "Eloi, eloi, lama sabach-thani?" are relatively common, not just some ordinary words in an odd language. So if somebody doesn't know them... it becomes their problem to analyze the piece and go, "Okay, what the hell does that mean, anyway? I'll go ask my mom/check Google/ask my teacher/pray for divine enlightenment/etc.
One trick for more "concise" (as opposed to sort of rambling, which you do here... and which isn't necessarily bad, but which is certainly an acquired taste) poetry is this: count the syllables in each line. You don't have to rhyme them, but if you make the syllables (part of the "meter," in poet-talk) match up somehow (the most obvious way would be to make them the same number in each line), then it "clicks" when you read it.
Not bad :)