Zodiac Discussion Forum

Amateur literary an…
 
Notifications
Clear all

Amateur literary analysis

23 Posts
9 Users
0 Likes
7,437 Views
(@cragle)
Posts: 767
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

Recently I was wondering about the letters and wondering how close they would be to Z’s natural way of talking/writing. This chain of thought led to thinking that its a shame that we do not have any writing of Z when he was not actually taking on the Z persona, then it occurred to me that we possibly may have, the Riverside Desktop Poem. So I decided to break the poem down and try to analize it from a literary point of view. It also occurred to me that his last letter before his 3 year hiatus was his apparent admission of the CJB’s murder, then his first letter after this directly references the attack. Could this have possibly been a taunt to the Police in reference to the poem.

Sick of living / unwilling to die
Cut.
Clean.
If red / clean.
Blood spurting,
Dripping,
Spilling;
All over her new dress.
Oh well, It was red anyway.
Life draining into an uncertain death.
She won’t die.
This time someone ll find her.
Just wait until next time.

Cut.
Clean.
If red / clean.
Blood spurting,
Dripping,
Spilling;

The first part of the poem (lines 1-6) are very different from the remainder of the poem. Firstly we have the use of alliteration in the 1st three lines Cut, Clean / Clean. The use of syllables as it shows some knowledge of stressed syllable’s and their use in poetry. This is emphasized by the spacing of these 3 words in relation to the rest of the poem. What is also interesting is that the writer knew when to use a semicolon. Also the structure itself, at most 3 word sentences. The writer uses Onomatopoeia for the last three lines, spurting, dripping, spilling. Which when taken with the use of the above syllables shows an actual literary skill. Also this part of the poem shows a use of Parallel Structure using the “ing” sound of the words. This section is very well written, shows numerous techniques, skill, and a distinct knowledge of how to write.

All over her new dress.
Oh well, It was red anyway.
Life draining into an uncertain death.
She won’t die.

The second part differs significantly from the first. The writers has already “set the scene” so to speak. They now begin to flesh out the details, immediately they make the poem a lot more personal by telling us that the subject is female, to further humanize the subject and possibly shock the reader they specify her clothing to add imagery to the scene. This is also seen in the 3rd line where they inform us of the colour of the dress. Thus allowing to reader to vividly imagine the subject, but ultimately reassuring the reader that the subject survives, but also hinting at the future. This sets up the poem for the powerful ending.
Due to it being written in the third person narrative it also shows a lack of empathy for the subject with the line “Oh well, It was red anyway”. What is also striking is how the writer has almost slipped into the first person perspective, they don’t care if it marks their clothing as the ultimate goal is death so what would it matter. Again we have alliteration with draining, death and die. Full stops after every sentence, but as with the rest of the poem no capitalization of letters with the exception of the title.

This time someone ll find her.
Just wait until next time.

“Sonnets are 14-line poems that adhere to a specific rhyme scheme. The key to a great sonnet is that it must end with a pair of lines that are set apart from the rest. Differentiating those two lines provides emphasis – giving their message much importance than the rest of the poem.”

Even though it is not a text book Stanza it does follow the general rule. This can be seen in the last two lines of the poem. “someone ll find her. Just wait until next time.“ Until this point the poems context is mostly regarding self harm, there is no mention of the person in question dying, in fact it is the opposite. The 11th / 12th line directly references this, “She won’t die. This time”. This in-turn sets up the last two lines, the poem seems to go from a seemingly, albeit it disturbing, story of somebody ”unwilling to die” to something much darker. The 13th lines brings in a second party, possibly the writer themselves, whilst implying that in fact they were “Willing to die” and the only reason this did not happen was due to the second party intervening. The 14th line also lends weight to this “Just wait until next time”, thus implying that the person in questions main intention was in fact to die which goes in direct contrast to the title of the poem .

Sick of living / unwilling to die
The title in itself is very well constructed, two three word groups with the last word of both being opposites, whilst immediately grabbing the readers attention with its shock value.

In my mind the title shows what is at the heart of the poem, self harm and attempted suicide, somebody who is not happy in their life. It also implies that the suicide itself is just a cry for help as the subject is “unwilling to die”, thus meaning that they have no intention of following it through to the bitter end. But is does ask the question does the subject want to die or not to put it bluntly.

The writer starts by showing the steps the subject is taking, cut, clean. If Red, Clean. Why would the subject clean if they were bleeding and it was an attempted suicide, this is a direct contrast with the next part. Maybe they are speculating “if red” on what they are going to do but when they begin to act blood begins to spurt, slows to dripping and then spilling onto the floor ? Possibly at this point they have resigned themselves to death and the fact that their clothing is ruined does not matter at this point. She is beginning to pass away but before she can do so she is found, perhaps by the writer themselves and is saved. The worry is that next time she might not be found and may be able to die.

It does beg the question could this poem be the outpouring of the anxiety of the writer. Is it a relative, Wife, Mother or Daughter. Are they the one that finds the subject and they have the eternal worry of whether it will happen again and that they might be unable to intervene next time ?

 
Posted : February 14, 2020 1:50 pm
Chaucer
(@chaucer)
Posts: 1210
Moderator Admin
 

I have always read this poem as a third person description of a young woman’s repeated attempts at suicide rather than a homicide.

Sick of living / unwilling to die

Obviously, the title refers to someone who is sick of of their life, but still unwilling to take their own life. This is a a person who is seriously contemplating suicide, but fearful to go through with it fully.

Cut.
They cut their wrists.

Clean.
If red / clean.

They hesitate and begin cleaning up the mess that their blood is making.

Blood spurting
Dripping,
Spilling;
All over her new dress.
Oh well, It was red anyway.

The suicidal woman struggles to clean up the copious amounts of blood. It stains her dress, she doesn’t care because it is a red dress anyway.

Life draining into an uncertain death.
Her blood (life) literally and figuratively goes down the drain. Death is uncertain because she doesn’t know what lies beyond it or even if she will die now or later.

She won’t die.

She won’t go through with it and allow herself to die.

This time someone ll find her.
Someone will her discover in this bloody, post-suicide attempt state and save her.

Just wait until next time.
But she will continue attempting suicide, determined to finally go through with it.

Full disclosure:

I don’t believe that CBJ was a Zodiac crime, and I don’t believe the Desktop poem is anything more than a student’s amateurish attempt at poetry scratched into a library desk.

I am also a professor of English, and I see poetry similar to this all the time.

“Murder will out, this my conclusion.”
– Geoffrey Chaucer

 
Posted : February 14, 2020 8:53 pm
Richard Grinell
(@richard-grinell)
Posts: 717
Prominent Member
 

The Zodiac Killer often responded to the newspapers for his inspiration. Whether the Riverside murderer was Zodiac hasn’t been fully resolved, but the author of the Confession letter was certainly feeding off the neswpaper coverage, so why not the Riverside Desktop Poem. Ricardo Gomez created two excellent articles which explored an author referencing a previous attempted murder by Rolland Taft, when he stabbed a young woman on April 13th 1965 at Riverside City College. The newspaper article just after the stabbing headlined with"Clean-cut youth sought in stabbing". The Desktop Poem began with "Cut. Clean". The Desktop Poem was discovered in December 1966, but could have been authored in 1965 or before October 30th 1966.

http://mk-zodiac.com/TheOriginofthePoem … heory.html

http://mk-zodiac.com/041365.html

https://www.zodiacciphers.com/

“I simply cannot accept that there are, on every story, two equal and logical sides to an argument.” Edward R. Murrow.

 
Posted : February 15, 2020 1:04 am
Chaucer
(@chaucer)
Posts: 1210
Moderator Admin
 

That’s an interesting connection, Richard. I still fail to see how this refers to a murder. There is nothing to indicate that the girl in the red dress is killed. In fact, the poem says "She won’t die".

To me, it clearly discusses a girl’s unsuccessful suicide attempt, and it totally unrelated to Zodiac or the Bates murder.

“Murder will out, this my conclusion.”
– Geoffrey Chaucer

 
Posted : February 15, 2020 5:49 am
(@stitchmallone)
Posts: 798
Prominent Member
 

Great work all but going to beat the drum again. Why no mention or the name of the janitor that found it! ?

 
Posted : February 15, 2020 8:34 am
Richard Grinell
(@richard-grinell)
Posts: 717
Prominent Member
 

That’s an interesting connection, Richard. I still fail to see how this refers to a murder. There is nothing to indicate that the girl in the red dress is killed. In fact, the poem says "She won’t die".

To me, it clearly discusses a girl’s unsuccessful suicide attempt, and it totally unrelated to Zodiac or the Bates murder.

Attempted murder. Rolland Taft failed to kill the woman.

https://www.zodiacciphers.com/

“I simply cannot accept that there are, on every story, two equal and logical sides to an argument.” Edward R. Murrow.

 
Posted : February 15, 2020 2:31 pm
(@nick-no-nora)
Posts: 541
Honorable Member
 

The thing that stands out to me about the poem ….. Zodiac appears to have writing talent (if it is him).

When most lay people write poetry, they usually write with rhyming and a meter like iambic pentameter. The common person sees that as the way to write poetry.

The CJB poem is free verse and it works pretty well, considering it’s a first draft.

If Zodiac writes sophisticated codes and decent, sophisticated poetry, it really limits the number of candidates.

 
Posted : February 22, 2020 8:56 am
(@cragle)
Posts: 767
Prominent Member
Topic starter
 

The thing that stands out to me about the poem ….. Zodiac appears to have writing talent (if it is him).

When most lay people write poetry, they usually write with rhyming and a meter like iambic pentameter. The common person sees that as the way to write poetry.

The CJB poem is free verse and it works pretty well, considering it’s a first draft.

If Zodiac writes sophisticated codes and decent, sophisticated poetry, it really limits the number of candidates.

I think so, that is what I was alluding to with the attempted analysis.

 
Posted : February 22, 2020 12:57 pm
(@eggs-n-bacon)
Posts: 103
Estimable Member
 

The thing that stands out to me about the poem ….. Zodiac appears to have writing talent (if it is him).

When most lay people write poetry, they usually write with rhyming and a meter like iambic pentameter. The common person sees that as the way to write poetry.

The CJB poem is free verse and it works pretty well, considering it’s a first draft.

If Zodiac writes sophisticated codes and decent, sophisticated poetry, it really limits the number of candidates.

Frederic Steven manalli ticks all them boxes nick

 
Posted : February 23, 2021 9:52 pm
Chaucer
(@chaucer)
Posts: 1210
Moderator Admin
 

If Zodiac writes sophisticated codes and decent, sophisticated poetry, it really limits the number of candidates.

Neither the Zodiac codes, nor the so-called Desktop poem were particularly sophisticated.

“Murder will out, this my conclusion.”
– Geoffrey Chaucer

 
Posted : February 23, 2021 10:44 pm
(@replaceablehead)
Posts: 418
Reputable Member
 

They’re not unsophisticated. The precise degree of sophistication has a lot to do with the yard stick we use to measure it. Perhaps it should be put to a poll, but I’ve noticed that an awful lot of forum members default reaction to the Zodiacs ciphers and to a lesser degree this poem, is to view them as relatively sophisticated. So this opinion would seem, at least superficially, unpopular. Also consider that most people would be formulating their opinion on an estimation of their own abilities. If the majority are therefore at least a little impressed, it would suggest, at least in the roughest possible sense, that the Zodiac was at least good enough to impress most people.

I’m not saying the writer of this poem is Baudelaire, but to most jaded adults who’s creative minds have been replaced by the daily concerns of life and menial jobs, this poetry does seem a little beyond what most could muster in their dreary little lives. Oh sure, when I was in school; when I was in school my mind was filled with new ideas. I suppose this person was at that time in their life and so we can’t say that they possessed any great intellect. But it’s not just about intellect, it’s also about inclination. Certainly a person of even modest intellect could bang this out for a school assignment, but would they have the inclination to outside of that context?

Consider that many people, perhaps even most people have no interest in poetry, or ciphers, or writing beyond a cheap magazine. I’m not suggesting the Zodiac was a genius, I’m not even saying he had an above average IQ, but he probably wasn’t dull. He had some inclination toward creative endeavors, some inclination towards intellectual pursuits. He had some exposure to these ideas as well. Indeed education, exposure and inclination are often far more determining factors than raw intelligence, can intelligence even truly be measured? We are trying to identify someone, we are trying to understand what reputation their personality would have had. It is only necessary that he be perceived as intelligent, or be perceived to have enjoyed such pursuits are poetry, ciphers, musical theatre. If such and individual was known to enjoy such past times it is likely that those that knew them would comment on it. His cousin is not likely to say, "oh well John had a high IQ", more likely "he had some unusual hobbies. He enjoyed old films. He made gadgets". Certainly these past times are not rare, but if you are looking at a POI who spent their life, by all accounts, doing nothing so much as drinking bear and watching football, well maybe they are not the Zodiac.

 
Posted : February 24, 2021 4:09 am
Chaucer
(@chaucer)
Posts: 1210
Moderator Admin
 

I think we are parsing terminology here. My point is that creating both the codes or the poem did not require a high degree of training or education and only an average IQ. Yet, as someone who is dubious that the Zodiac killed CJB or authored the poem, I’d say we are talking two different people.

It’s noteworthy that the Zodiac seemed far more concrete and mechanically inclined (codes, diagrams, maps, radians) rather than creative in the academic sense. In fact, he wrote none of his own poetry and instead badly copied the rhymes of others.

“Murder will out, this my conclusion.”
– Geoffrey Chaucer

 
Posted : February 24, 2021 5:07 am
(@replaceablehead)
Posts: 418
Reputable Member
 

Yet, as someone who is dubious that the Zodiac killed CJB or authored the poem, I’d say we are talking two different people.

That is a fair point.

I agree that the Zodiac was mechanically minded, capable of methodical and precise thinking, even didactic. I don’t agree that he wasn’t also creative, he called himself "The Zodiac". I mean come on. He made paste up Halloween cards, created cryptic puzzles and clues. Even his ciphers showed a flare for the mystical and occult. Sure he may have simply cribbed the symbols from existing cipher books, but the stylized symbols likely appealed to him. I mean he stopped just short of ripping out the macaroni and glitter on the Halloween card. And as Gilbert and Sullivan fan, I have to say he seemed to understand the satire.

Edit. In the simplest terms, he created the most imaginative, interesting and enduring serial killer personas that has ever existed. And he did so intentionally. Based on that alone, to say the Zodiac was not creative, is objectively untrue, we simply wouldn’t be here discussing him.

 
Posted : February 24, 2021 5:52 am
Chaucer
(@chaucer)
Posts: 1210
Moderator Admin
 

Yet, as someone who is dubious that the Zodiac killed CJB or authored the poem, I’d say we are talking two different people.

That is a fair point.

I agree that the Zodiac was mechanically minded, capable of methodical and precise thinking, even didactic. I don’t agree that he wasn’t also creative, he called himself "The Zodiac". I mean come on. He made paste up Halloween cards, created cryptic puzzles and clues. Even his ciphers showed a flare for the mystical and occult. Sure he may have simply cribbed the symbols from existing cipher books, but the stylized symbols likely appealed to him. I mean he stopped just short of ripping out the macaroni and glitter on the Halloween card. And as Gilbert and Sullivan fan, I have to say he seemed to understand the satire.

Edit. In the simplest terms, he created the most imaginative, interesting and enduring serial killer personas that has ever existed. And he did so intentionally. Based on that alone, to say the Zodiac was not creative, is objectively untrue, we simply wouldn’t be here discussing him.

Again, I think we are parsing things here. Nothing is black and white – especially people’s personalities. He was certainly creative, but not in the artistic sense.

“Murder will out, this my conclusion.”
– Geoffrey Chaucer

 
Posted : February 24, 2021 10:18 am
(@luke68)
Posts: 56
Trusted Member
 

I have always read this poem as a third person description of a young woman’s repeated attempts at suicide rather than a homicide.

Sick of living / unwilling to die

Obviously, the title refers to someone who is sick of of their life, but still unwilling to take their own life. This is a a person who is seriously contemplating suicide, but fearful to go through with it fully.

Cut.
They cut their wrists.

Clean.
If red / clean.

They hesitate and begin cleaning up the mess that their blood is making.

Blood spurting
Dripping,
Spilling;
All over her new dress.
Oh well, It was red anyway.

The suicidal woman struggles to clean up the copious amounts of blood. It stains her dress, she doesn’t care because it is a red dress anyway.

Life draining into an uncertain death.
Her blood (life) literally and figuratively goes down the drain. Death is uncertain because she doesn’t know what lies beyond it or even if she will die now or later.

She won’t die.

She won’t go through with it and allow herself to die.

This time someone ll find her.
Someone will her discover in this bloody, post-suicide attempt state and save her.

Just wait until next time.
But she will continue attempting suicide, determined to finally go through with it.

Full disclosure:

I don’t believe that CBJ was a Zodiac crime, and I don’t believe the Desktop poem is anything more than a student’s amateurish attempt at poetry scratched into a library desk.

I am also a professor of English, and I see poetry similar to this all the time.

100% agree with this. I would just add:
‘Oh well, It was red anyway’ – Yes, it’s red so it doesn’t really matter. Also, it’s not really important in the greater scheme of things (in context of what the person is experiencing).

 
Posted : February 24, 2021 3:01 pm
Page 1 / 2
Share: