Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hiatus for a Couple of Weeks

Dear 'the spambots' or the unfortunate live reader looking for essay answers,

Unfortunately, I'm having trouble balancing what I need to do at the moment, and I had to make a choice.

I'm choosing to spend time with my collection so when I send it out I can say, "I put my all into this and got this sweet sweet rejection letter."

When I come back, I plan to make this site better in terms of organization and also analysis.

In the meantime, if there's any suggestions anyone wants me to do then leave a comment on a poem, I'll think about it.

Your loving statistic,
The Retail MFA

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Analysis of "Mild is the Parting Year" by Walter Savage Landor

Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "Mild is the Parting Year" by Walter Savage Landor
More Information about the Poet: Walter Savage Landor

Two quatrains with adjusted lines also with an abab rhyme scheme.  When I first look at poem, this goes through my mind before the content because style informs the content here -- and here there's a sense of something out of place, a sort of melancholy.

     Mild is the parting year, and sweet
          The color of the falling spray;
      Life passes on more rudely fleet,
            And balmless is its closing day.

Here's the thing with this stanza -- the semi-colon connects the sentence as a direct correlation of time.  When the parting year happens there's a very image based connection -- sweet, the color of falling spray which is comparable to life passing away.  The key is how to interpret balmless as the lack of smell.  The after smell of sweet.

     I wait its close, I court its gloom,
          But mourn that never must there fall
     Or on my breast or on my tomb
         The tear that would have soothed it all

This lack of scent or rather the descent in the mood bring in the speaker, and by the looks of it, the speaker is mourning the parting year (maybe a little too hard).  The admission of not mourning, in a sense, is admitting that there is a tinge of mourning in the speaker.  

The usage of "or" in the second half of the stanza separates two distinct ideas of "breast" and "tomb" -- flesh and after-flesh.  Why the separation to the extreme?  Note how the "tear that would have soothed it all" flesh and death is ambiguous, but this could most likely be a love that has left along with the year.  Yes, love would appease the gloom in the flesh and the tomb.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Analysis of "Catch & Release" by William D. Waltz

Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "Catch & Release" by William D. Waltz
More Information about the Poet: William D. Waltz

Addressing the subject from a distance.  I think this is what I think of when I read an epistle.  Letters are meant to communicate but there's no sense of urgency.  Yes, there might be a sense of urgency within the context, but the epistle itself awaits for a response, so, at least for a while, everything is one-sided.

     Dear Reluctant Sportsman,
     maybe you'll release one
     into the watery teeth of the wilds
     a tiny capillary
     of our great circulatory system

The address to the "reluctant sportsman" is further defined by how the sportsman is reluctant, "you'll release one."  "One" is an ambiguous term in the poem which can be assumed to be a fish or something else.  In either case, the usage of "one" opens up the poem to a higher metaphor of the "tiny capillary / of our great circulatory system."  There's a sense of the grandiose here with the first stanza -- some personal to something more.

     Dear Familiar Face
     in the Passenger Seat,
     I saw you undressing
     that comely cornfield.
     I agree.  Maybe
     we're more alike than
     our combustible engines
     suggest, and if we are,
     you hope that next truckstop
     has a wedge of rhubarb
     pie to die for, too.

So why am I quoting entire stanzas?  Every stanza seems episodic with no connection; however, it is the voice that continues to grow and observer.  For example in this stanza note how the capitulations occur with the subject "Familar Face" and "Passenger Seat" and further down how surreal the actions that the speaker observes, "undressing / that comely cornfield."  yes, I feel these lines are supposed to be comedic, but also note how this surreal opens up the persona speaker "I agree" and how the speaker expands the poem in order for the thought to come through of being alike and "you hope the next truckstop / has a wedge of rhubarb" innocuous enough, "pie to die for, too."  The shift of the cliche which brings the play of the technique into question but doesn't damper it.

     Dear Cell Phone Radiation,
     we arrive almost invisibly
     on the threshold of distant
     relatives like a secret cold front,
     but our departure demands
     much horn honking and
     happy hands waving
     all he way
     to the end
     of the on-ramp.
     Our relief,
     an algorithm
     of how lonely
     company makes us.

The beginning has a sense of deep metaphor and seriousness with it based on the lines, "We arrive almost invisibly / on the threshold of distant / relatives"  which has a bit of the grandiose and the divine instilled, but this sentiment is compared to the (cynical) humor of, our departure demands / much horn honking and / happy hands waving"  I'm not sure how deeply the cynicism cuts into the seriousness, I feel that is what the poem is struggling with -- wanting to be either or but not committing (the last stanza secures this though).  At the end of this stanza there's a allusion to "an algorithm" -- the set rules that is the overarching style of the poem -- the epistle which is distance to the loneliness.

     Dear Rainbow Trout,
     you're a pretty fish
     and I wish we lived
     near the shivering brook
     and the sunken tree.
     Then maybe
     we'd finally learn
     how to leave
     without regret.

Here the reference to the Rainbow trout does go along with the title of catch and release, but the question is who is being caught and what is release.  What's being caught is the overthought of wanting one thing or the other.  Yes, there's that life in the shivering brook and the sunken tree, something physically calm.  But the disconnect happens with the admission of "how to leave / without regret"

The release has more meaning to it because it's not the speaker who is released or staying -- there's a fear of committing to one or the other based on emotion "regret."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Analysis of "Early in the Morning" by Li-Young Lee

Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "Early in the Morning" by Li-Young Lee
More Information about the Poet: Li-Young Lee

I do have to write that I think Rose is one of the best collections I've read.  there are so many poems that are so memorable: "Rose" and "The Gift" naming just two.  This poem, "Early in the Morning" has all the trademarks of that collection: striking images, hidden (or overt) sensuality, and how a connection is made.

In the first stanza there's a very specific image of, "While the long grain is softening / in the water, gurgling / over a low stove flame,"  Note the passive verb of "is softening" and how this verb sets up the tempo of the poem.  Soften and passive.  But also note the slow flame as though to build up something.  And within the same stanza, this image appears, "my mother glides an ivory comb / through her hair, heavy / and black as calligrapher's ink."  Although it seems like these are opposing images, I feel these images add on top of each other -- how the hard rice turns soft is like how the hair is turned from a heavy image to something soft and curled up.  This may be a stretch, but I feel there's some sort of connection there.

The narrative of the mother continues:

     She sits at the foot of the bed.
     My father watches, listens for
     the music of comb
     against hair.

The interesting part of this stanza is how domestic the lines stay even with the metaphor.  The music of the comb isn't overly whimsical or unbelievable.  The music of combing is a personal sound.  Something that the father has heard for years, and something the mother has played for an equal amount of time.  This is how a connection is formed -- just subtle things like this that turn out to be extraordinary.

The next stanza states how she does her hair:

     My mother combs,
     pulls her hair back
     tight, rolls it
     around two fingers, pins it
     in a bun to the back of her head.

The language here is innocuous and the metaphors and similes used earlier is not here.  This is the literal description is then contrasted with this sort of hyperbolic line, "For a half a hundred years she has done this" The description of time is pretty purply, but with reason -- there's a sense of mystery behind "half a hundred years" since there's the question about the other half -- age, time, etc.  The focus is how time is perceived rather than how time elapses.

"My father likes to see it like this. / He says it is kempt."  This is a very firm and directly ordered line, but like the mystery quality, this line holds a secret.

     But I know
     it is because of the way
     my mother's hair falls
     when he pulls the pins out.
     Easily, like the curtains
     when they untie them in the evening.

There's a sense of sensuality with the last stanza with the mother's hair falling and the father pulling out the pin.  A certain type of intimacy that, yes, has a power notion to it, but also a sense of trust of winding and unwinding.  Then the last image of the curtains untying -- it's something I can imagine.  The curtains hiding the couple.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Analysis of "Body" by James Hoch

Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "Body" by James Hoch
More Information about the Poet: James Hoch

Written in couplets, the poem is a connection between a son and a father.  Now, this doesn't spoil the poem because the techniques in the poem change and mold the ideas within the poem, mainly, what a father wants to leave a son, but the first six lines of the poem is lead up:

     I hang it here, in the entry,
    so it will be known simply

     unmistakably as fact, the way
     when you were born

     you were merely a body
     umbilic, barely breathing.

So why so long until the context of the poem.  The first two lines of the poem are ambiguous and the "it" could only refer to the body.  So the focus is on the speaker's body and it appears that the poem is a metaphor -- hanging up the body for something.  The introduction of "you" in the second stanza indicates the son being born -- the umbilical cord cementing the scene, but the alliteration afterward of "barely breathing" making the situation ambiguous -- is the son dead the umbilical cord a reminder?  or Is it a reminder to the father about the son as a child -- the umbilical cord being a trigger to the memory.  In any case, from the unknown to the actual rubber bands to the opposite direction.

"I could hold you against / my chest and sleep, not hear"  Again this could be an argument of the dead son since there is a lack of sound, but the enjambed line goes further with, "the sky falling metallic / nor dead friends all night" -- note how the images return to death (even stated straight out).  The falling metallic sky could represent something artificial or inevitable; meanwhile, the mention of the dead friends further reinforce the idea that the son is dead, but again the line continues, "pacing quietly in my room / Son, when you cut it down / you'll have to lift it kindly."  When the speaker addresses the son, there is a phantom sense because the actions are so specific -- cutting something down and lifting kindly.

But, for me, the morbid sense is that time will cut down the umbilical cord, and not the son growing up.  The symbol of the umbilical cords drops as though he returns the memory back to the son -- as though waiting for a future.

"so as not to compromise / the evidence.  And if they ask / about the pills or empties,"  So the speaker here talking further to the son as though the father is the one leaving the son behind.  If they ask.  Who are they?  I think they represent the dead friends that the son is with now.  And the pills and empties are a bit concerning if it refers to suicide -- but for now, they are just empty:

     say I tried to make my body
     pure again -- a fireman swaying

     from a cord smartly tied
     back on itself, nothing more.

The metaphor combines the idea of a cord (umbilical and the speaker's) and tries to force the metaphor into something more -- something pure.  However, the last line at the end is a sense of letting go -- suicidal, memory, whatever.

Nothing more.  Because it's already out there.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Analysis of "River of Stars" by Akiko Yosano

Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "River of Stars" by Akiko Yosano
More Information about the Poet: Akiko Yosano

Each stanza plays out like a scene of the speaker's life, but not like a movie.  Different aspects are shown of her life: the setting, characterization, and plot, but this is not a narrative poem.  Rather, this is a bunch of lyrical stanzas that create an incomplete narrative -- note the incomplete:

     Left on the beach
     Full of water
     A worn out boat
     Reflects the white sky --
     Of early autumn

Setting.  Although innocuous enough there's a sense of "reflection" based on the worn out boat.  The sky, the sea, and the land have a metaphorical feel to them which expands outward to the next stanza.

     Swifter than hail
     Lighter than a feather,
     A vague sorrow
     Crossed my mind.

So the "reflection" goes inward and the poem adds texture to the generality of sorrow -- swifter than hail, lighter than a feather -- fast and light, but in contrast to the "weight" the sorrow has on the speaker's mind.

     Feeling you nearby,
     how could I not come
     to walk beneath
     this evening moon rising
     over flowering fields.

Of course the big question with this stanza is "who is the 'you' and how does the 'you' interact with the speaker."  But also note that the speaker feels compelled to walk.  And yes, the setting overtakes the speaker, but from thought to action changes the momentum of this poem.

     I say his poem,
     propped against this frozen wall.
     in the late evening,
     as bitter autumn rain
     continues to fall.
     What I count on
     is a white birch
     that stands.
     where no human language
     is ever heard.

Note the pattern of emotion and image.  Here the resentment comes strong with the adjective of "bitter" to describe the speaker's feelings, but this is the obvious, but note the color of the white birch that stands out in fall -- something that is easily seen in the background.  The speaker seems to be caught in this bitterness due to "his poem" but escapes through reliable "nature" without the human language but exists.

     A bird comes
     delicately as a little girl
     to bathe in the shade of my tree
     in an autumn puddle.

A note how this bird transfers over to the next stanza and takes on an attribute of a "little girl."  This will come up in the stanza, but also note the possessive nature of the speaker with "my tree" -- something to shade.

     He stood by the door,
     calling through the evening
     the name of my
     sister who died last year
     and how I pitied him.

So the "he" stated before doesn't necessarily means this is the same "he."  There's a bit of lament from the "he" but resentment from the "I" speaker.  It's as though the speaker cannot grieve over her sister but finds little bits of this "little girl" around here and reveres here: boats, wind, bird.

And by calling out the name, the "he" is showing his remorse -- something external from the "he" that the speaker doesn't allow for herself.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Analysis of "Song" by Randall Mann

Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "Song" by Randall Mann
More Information about the Poet: Randall Mann

This poem comes off as a song by the usage of iambics and an off rhyme scheme -- not precise, but still there, but there's one word that throws me off of the song tempo, and I don't know if it is purposeful or not.

The first quatrain alludes to a certain kind of violence with, "I found my muster station, ir. / My skin is patent leather."  The "muster" although means nothing at this point of the poem has stronger implications further into the poem.  The skin being patent leather brings an edge to external toughness., "The tourists are recidivists / This calm is earthquake weather"  Yes, the mention of recidivists seems a bit off, but fits the tempo, also earthquake weather brings the language back to this foreboding hint.

"I've used up all the mulligans. / I'd kill to share a vice." Fun, fun, fun, gambling and "vice" and then, "The youngster reads a yellowed Oui / The socialite has lice."  For those that don't know Oui it was a porn magazine in the past (closed now unfortunately).  And there's some tongue of cheek against the bourgeois with the jab at the socialite.

     The Europe trip I finally took
     was rash and Polaroid
     was gilt, confit, and bathhouse foam.
     And I cannot avoid

The funny thing about this stanza is how it turns the speaker into the socialite with the discussion of the speaker's trip through the extravagance -- polaroids, gilts, confits, and bathhouses.  But the line break comes in at the end to shift the tone -- these things the speaker cannot avoid are the luxuries and, "the end:  I will not die in Paris,"  This quick shift to something more morbid turns even further with, "won't rest for a good behind / a painted mausoleum door."

"Mausoleum"  is the word that I feel doesn't fit the tempo -- maybe it's too long or it's the placement, but the word breaks up the tempo at the right time.  Now the turn is to something the speaker can't avoid -- the gothic nature within Paris -- "The purser will not find / me mummified beneath your tulle / and Paris will not burn."  Such epic language about the self staying alive, and by comparison, Paris.

But this sentiment is undercut in the last lines, like a song stating a wink, "Today is Thursday, so I'll die. / Come help me pick my urn."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Analysis of "The Afterlife: Letter to Sam Hamill" by Hayden Carruth

Original Poem Reprinted Online Here: "The Afterlife: Letter to Sam Hamill" by Hayden Carruth
More Information about the Poet: Hayden Carruth

This isn't a tough poem as far as readability as an observer.  Actually, it's a pretty fast read and I think people will get this poem without knowing the context, the people, the emotion, or the personal.  This is a hard poem to reread emotionally as a goodbye.

Written in a epistolary style, the speaker is able to weave in and out of subject matters because, technically, this isn't a poem -- even the speaker admits that further in the poem.  The poem starts out addressing Sam Hamill (a great poet and translator in his own right, and a friend to Hayden Carruth), "You may think it strange, Sam, that I'm writing / a letter in these circumstances. I thought / it strange too -- the first time." Why would it be strange is pretty irrelevant at this point.  What is important is how the connection is formed through unusual circumstances.  What this does is not allow "Sam" to respond -- rather this is what the speaker thinks of Sam ("viz", perhaps).  

There is a quote that the speaker remembers, "After all, / you say, you've been creating yourself all / along imaginatively"  The creation of the self based on the imagination which is kind of funny because the speaker is constructing Sam through his own imagination too.  And this is the core of the poem -- how far can the imagination construct a person: friends and self.

"You imagine yourself / playing golf or hiking in the Olympics or / writing a poem and then it becomes true."  The imagination turning true is, what I feel, the speaker inspires to do.  And no matter how simple or outrageous the imagination goes, it becomes true.  But what is truth?  That's what the self-referential turn to the poem does -- question the truth, "Here I imagine a letter / and it's written," in a little tongue-in-cheek style.

I'm a little ahead of myself with this poem,  Another essential part of the core is that "it" has to be done,  "But you still have to do it [imagine], you have to exert / yourself, will courage, whatever you've got, you're / mired in the unimaginative."  This feels like the speaker is trying to enlighten Sam here, but the end of the statement -- mired in the unimaginative -- makes me think that Sam is in the "truth" something absolute like the speaker's death.  I think this statement hit me hard -- to imagine is to live, right?

But enough philosophizing or taking things too seriously, "Hell, this is heaven, man."  The inversion of colloquialism and humor:

     I can deluge Congress with letters telling
     every one of those mendacious son of  bitches 
     exactly what he or she is, in maybe about 
     half an hour.

This quote plays with the idea with time, politics, and humor -- I think the actual Sam Hamill would appreciate this line, but the next lines would hit his core, "In spite of our Buddhist / proclivities, when you imagine bliss / you still must struggle to get there."  There, another hit to the core of "Sam" hitting the "mired" version of him.

But then the play again of seeing "Buddha" with his place  across town on "Elysian Drive" (another tongue and cheek reference to heaven).  The description of Buddha as, "He's lost weight / and got new dentures, and he looks a hell of a / lot better than he used to."  Again seems tongue in cheek but the last part, "lot better than he used to." is a very physical description that could parallel the speaker's own physical decay.

Furthermore, the speaker lists a bunch of people, "Sidney / and Dizzy, Uncle Ben and Papa Yancey, are / over by Sylvester's Grot," likely dead but personal to the speaker and Sam -- even though this poem is out there, there's hints of the personal that can't and don't need to be fully understood by the reader.  And then this image, "Poems are fluttering / everywhere like seed from cottonwood tree."  Remember the discussion between Poem, truth, and imagination.  I feel it's tied together here -- that the beauty descending and floating all around is what connected the speaker and Sam, and it's still there where he is.

"Sam, the remarkable truth is I can do any / fucking thing I want."  This feign anger is trying to offset the mire that Sam is in.  But again, this poem is one sided, it's the speaker observing and trying to comfort the Sam.  But in the end, the wild gaze comes back, "Speaking of which / there's this dazzling young Naomi who / wiped out on I-80 west of Truckee"  A little bit of a morbid humor -- this would be a line that would be iconic about the personal speaker.

"Don't go way.  I'll be right back."
Maybe it's a typo, but don't go way could be going down that mired path.  The speaker will be back, in some form or another.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Analysis of "Premonition" by George Santayana

Original poem reprinted online here: "Premonition" by George Santayana
More information about the Poet:  George Santayana

The prophet as lover. Vice versa?  This is what I was thinking when I was rereading this poem.  It's not like Marlowe's poem, "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" where the speaker tries to create the world for the love; rather, this poem works more on the general level -- as though the environment should be enough.

     The muffled syllables that Nature speaks
     Fill us with deeper longing for her word;
     She hides a meaning that the spirit seeks,
     She makes a  sweeter music than is her.

The first quatrain has three separate components: the speaker, nature, and the other.  Note how the speaker listens to Nature which "speaks," and creates "music"  but what does this do to the speaker --
"long" as though the sound was missing.  But note the usage of "us" in the second line bringing in the other to feel the same way.

"A hidden light illumines all our seeing, / An unknown love enchants our solitude."  The repetition of "our" forces the perspective of the speaker onto the other -- but the perspective, this "hidden light" and "unknown love" brings a sense of desperation.  The speaker wants the "us" to know the hidden and unknown, "We feel and know that from the depths of being / Exhales an infinite, a perfect good."  These lines confirms  that the speaker wants the other to "feel" from deep and bring up this "perfect good."  These generalities are more based on his positive prophecy for "our" future.

But the turn:

     Though the heart wear the garment of its sorrow
     And be not happy like a naked star,
     Yet from the thought of peace some peace we borrow,
     Some rapture from this rapture felt afar.

The repetition of emotion in the last two lines -- "peace" and "rapture" are so disparate that it makes the speaker seem more desperate like how it was "hinted" earlier with the "sorrow" and "happy" lines.  So many quotes.  Why?  This is where the speaker hints on the separation on what the speaker wants versus what the other wants -- and nature -- the setting is going against him now instead of for him.  The other is against him and so is the world.

"Our heart strings are too coarse for Nature's fingers / Deftly to quicken as she pulses on"  And note how the speaker then turns on Nature.  It's nature's fault, "And the harsh tremor that among them lingers / Will into sweeter silence die anon" note the alliteration of "sweeter silence" to somewhat turn the sentiment of the poem.  From the accusatory voice to the silence that is sweet -- but from after Nature is done (and in some ironic way the speaker's silence would be just as sweet).

"We catch the broken prelude and suggestion / Of things unuttered, needing to be sung"  Note how the singing goes back to how Nature was.  This feels like a swan song that the speaker is asking for the other.  And the usage of "prelude" brings another sense of irony since nothing seemed to begin, only the emphasis on ending, "We know the burden of them, and their question / Lies heavy on the hart, nor finds a tongue."  Another way to state the "sweeter silence" except the speaker acknowledgs that this is something he knows before rather than the other.

     Till haply, lightning through the storm of ages.
     Our sullen secret flash from sky to sky,
     Glowing in some diviner poet's pages
     And swelling into rapture from this sigh

"diviner poet's pages" yes, this seems self=referential for the words; however, the action is a sigh that causes the rapture.  But what is remembered -- something "haply."  The bombastic "storm of ages" hides this "sullen secret flash" -- the burst of something out of nothing.  Is this something that the "us" experiences or something the speaker wants to see, even only for a second.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Analysis of "Little Muchness" by Mary Ann Samyn

Original poem reprinted online here: "Little Muchness" by Mary Ann Samyn
More information about the Poet:  Mary Ann Samyn

Even after rereading this poem, I feel like I want to tie the couplets together and make them all connect, and in some instances there's some connection between stanzas in the beginning of the poem, but when the poem goes to an end there seems to be a disconnect.  I think this might also be a ghazal (image based first line, theoretical second line -- but no name in the last stanza).

"Some shouting and the tree came down branch by branch / my not so fast  a little late"  Past me noted the allusion to the lullaby with the first line.  Or at least that's my thought process when I read "tree came down branch by branch."  The line, though, could just be someone chopping down a tree with little or no allusion implanted with the first line and the weight should go on the brief second line which utilizes the speaker stating "not so fast" a little late. Is it against cutting down the tree?  Or something else.

The connection here continues with the next stanza, "Now the wood burns and as usual I think my house is on fire."  Here the connection leads to the dramatic -- the "wood" with very light metaphorical implication leads to the idea of burning -- this sort of apocalyptic image and ends with the deadpan, "Thus June ends."  I think here the speaker goes to two extremes in order to establish a deadpan speaker who can observe without being emotional, externally and personally.

"What is with the world, I asked, and laid my cheek against the mantle. / I'm certainly not the first."  The ambitiousness of the second line makes the first line pop because there is a sense of insight to the sentiment (or lack of).  When the speaker questions and lays her cheek on the mantel the speaker is, more or less, lost in thought and so when the speaker acknowledges not being the first to think this, the speaker inserts herself in a more historical tenor: who is the last?  where does she stand?  Well, technically, the speaker is currently "laid."

"The sunset shrugs--see ya--and goes over the next-to-last mountain. / This is what not settling looks like."  Note that there's a definite focus on position and apathy from the setting and a sense of irony from the speaker.  The anthropomorphizing of the sunset adds to the sense of apathy (as well as the curt leaving) as well as the specific description of the penultimate mountain indicates a reoccurrence.  "This is what not settling looks like" has a sense of irony because the apathy now has meaning behind it, but not reason.  Yes, being on the move and not settling might not go hand and hand with the tone, but it's the movement outside with the lack of movement inside that comes apparent.  Both the setting and the speaker don't have strong emotional ties which, in the case of this poem, requires a sense of settling (arguably).

"I suppose a brave man might take this opportunity to get braver,"  And with this situation a "brave" man would get "braver" -- this is internal, some kind of bravado that doesn't do anything but means something.

Meanwhile, from the same sense of apathetic nothing, "I'm done, so I'll wait in the kitchen."  Note the usage of action from the speaker.  And, yes, I can say this has gender implications, but I don't think that's the entirety of the point of this poem.  Rather, I feel the sense of apathy lingers in the background and causes the extremes (like the wood then house on fire):  bravado without action or action without bravado.