(Removed by author...)
In many ways this seems like the most straightforward thing I’ve seen from you, and I like it quite a bit. A few things, if I may:
This is such a poignant beginning. I love it.We’re a hundred stories high again.
The edge sleeps under my toes and my body
The uncertainty of "I think" is not needed.I think you’re muttering something about being a poet,
deciding how the fall feels, yet the wind swallows
This is kind of random. It seems out of place with the flow you've created here.We’re only breathing ugly.
This whole section, I think, should be cut. I grant that it probably means something to you, but it's not really connected in any kind of clear way to what comes before or after it. I suppose, if you're really dead set on keeping these lines, you could try putting them in parentheses, because this is essentially a parenthetical aside, and not essential to the piece as a whole. Then you could set aside "maybe it would've helped" with dashes or something.You read me a poem written an hour before.A girl committed suicide because she couldn’t enjoy sex.
She didn’t shoot up as much as you did (maybe it would’ve helped),
and when she leapt from a balcony,
the descent was quiet.
You said she could’ve been a replica of me.
"Still" implies that you've looked at the traffic before, and it hasn't changed, but it's not mentioned anywhere earlier in the poem.The traffic jam below still looks like tiny staves.
Excellent, very powerful.Your marked arms grip me, stroke me.
There’s the wind slamming into our skin
as if we are diving, exploding in my face like a smack
on the asphalt.
This ending is, I have to say, rather weak compared to everything that came before it. Like the "breathing ugly" line, it seems to pop up out of nowhere. I get the feeling you're trying to convey something very important in these last two lines, but I also get the feeling - and this is pure speculation, of course - that you're holding back what you really want to say. Shying away from something, maybe. It's equally likely that that's just my own randomness speaking, but instead of being a revelation, these lines fall flat.We don’t return to the sky
just to be better poets.
Anyway. As much as I enjoy your often surreal imagery, I think I actually like this kind of thing from you more. It's more open, more... well, I hate to say "accessible" because that can be construed as something unfavorable, but when I say "accessible" I mean it in a good way. It's something others can maybe relate to, or see something of themselves in. It may not be as fiercely individual as your other work, but I don't think universal appeal is always bad thing; it's what makes most, if not all, "great" poems great. And you're definitely on to something with this. Thanks for sharing.
When will children learn to let their wildernesses burn?
And love will be new, never cold and vacant.
It's a big part of the poem, but I'm going to look at it again if it seems like it isn't. My husband liked it, but he liked it for the tone more than anything, and I already explained the entire poem to him during the process of writing it because I needed to vent. Haha. Parentheses are interesting, but I don't want to set the stanza aside because it's important.This whole section, I think, should be cut. I grant that it probably means something to you, but it's not really connected in any kind of clear way to what comes before or after it. I suppose, if you're really dead set on keeping these lines, you could try putting them in parentheses, because this is essentially a parenthetical aside, and not essential to the piece as a whole. Then you could set aside "maybe it would've helped" with dashes or something.
I don't know whether I agree with this or not. Then again, I know why I wrote it that way. I'll have to look over it. But again, this is something my husband liked, but probably because he already knows why it's there. But he also just said that he doesn't think any of the parts pointed out are unconnected. Ugh. I hate differing opinions. That's a good way to get confused.This ending is, I have to say, rather weak compared to everything that came before it. Like the "breathing ugly" line, it seems to pop up out of nowhere. I get the feeling you're trying to convey something very important in these last two lines, but I also get the feeling - and this is pure speculation, of course - that you're holding back what you really want to say. Shying away from something, maybe. It's equally likely that that's just my own randomness speaking, but instead of being a revelation, these lines fall flat.
I guess I'll wait to get more opinions. Thanks again.
I read this poem yesterday, I didn't finish it though. I finally read it today, I ain't all that sure how to critique it... It paints the picture of some hopeless H junkies and this guys contemplating suicide, am I right? There are subtexts, like theres a kind of dominance-submission thing going on here, like he's almost her master, and I feel sex between them if not romance. I feel like he's trying to get her around to his way of thinking, and I feel like he's done it in the past, but she, the narrator, has a sort of scathing bitterness in her bite. Lines like 'I think you're muttering something' and 'Spread across the floor last night... while your wrinkles deepen' aren't affectionate lines, they're very condescending, almost hateful. There's a lot bubbling under the surface of this poem, there is a lot of story. I very much like the male character, I am someone who has been around junkies from the beginning of adolescence, be it H, M, C, V, Meth, Petrol - and there is that character, among the little crossroad scenes, who's incredibly self-destructive and does to himself just terrible things, and tries to justify it all on some kind of appeal to literary grandeur. You've got that junk archetype right down, which is really great. I think theres a bit of that in all of us junkies, H or otherwise, we all want to say that what we're doing has some deeper-level meaning, that theres some fantastic point to what we're doing, and for a long time we really believe that. That's what happens when you shock your dopamine reserves so much, maybe... But, no, I applaud you for capturing the junkie so well. It's really well-done, the more you look into it, past the words, the characters are vibrant, and realistic.
There are a lot of people who write about addicts, and they have no idea what they're talking about. It has a serious square trying to come on hip vibe, and they're just doing it because either they heard a... Motley Crue song, or something, or they're really against H and saw a junkie on the TV, and they wanted to write against it, but they never have any idea what it's like, there's no substance. Junk poems so often annoy me for that, I get almost defensive, hahaha. You, however, you've got it down perfectly - suggesting to me that you have spent some time as an addict? You've even got a few drug phrases nailed down, obviously there's 'shoot up', everyone knows that, but the more subtle ones, which is a really nice touch, are; take me here for a good jump, marked arms, give it to me. They're not full on, like, Lexington 1950, but they're those charming little phrases that only junkies can pull off. I had a friend who was an M-head and an acid freak, and he used to talk like that all the time, it was really charming to hear, hahha. 'Take me here for a good jump' sounds like double entendre to me, like, it's reminiscent of 'make it for a good kick', and I've heard 'jump' used in that context before, but it's obviously the picture of that looming delay over the balcony and she's wondering what he's really up to. I like that.
Also, Beethovens 9th? Clockwork Orange reference?
That being said, I don't actually like the poem. LOL! Which is such a bizarre thing to say, after such high praise, I know, but, there's more to a poem than just what it means, than the characters, than the moral, whatever. That's an extremely important part of poetry, obviously, but... The fluctuating density of wax is important to Lava Lamps. You get me? Half of the poem is substance, half of the poem is style. I hate assholes who are all style and no substance, and I can only barely stand poems that are all substance and no style. You've got a lot of substance, but no style. Obviously, the subject matter is ugly, it's ugly, man, and so the poem shouldn't be a gorgeous arabesque, it shouldn't be some languid euphony. But it should still have aesthetic value. Even grotesques, or burlesques, have aesthetic value. You have lyrics that need a song, you get me?
I really don't think you've given style much of a consideration. Which is great for getting it out, and it's great for getting very deep, hidden things, but when you want other people to read it it's important to make it nice. I'm not saying make it a sonnet, I'm not saying make it rhyme; keep it free, keep it loose, it needs that, but give some attention to how the words sound. Give some attention to how lines fit together, how they flow together; enjambment is meant to be enjambment, not Microsoft Word's 'text wrap' feature, you get me? You've got a fantastic story here, and if you want my advice now you should sit and look at it and go 'Now how do I make this story a poem?'. I do this a lot with poetry I write [ ]. When I get to that little break-through delirium all I want to do is write, and I'll write pages and pages of crazy poetry, but it's not nice, it's just crazy. The next day I'm taxed with turning it into a few stanzas of solid poetry - some of my best Free Verse is written that way. I just sit down with the original poem and another notebook, and I take lines, analyse lines, work out what fits where, I try flipping things around, try and work in as much rhythm as possible. After only five minutes of work the madness is already starting to look like a real poem. It's still got all that energy, all that spirit, all that high, but it's not just crazy unrelenting tracts, it's something I'll actually read and go 'Man that's really good.'
So, it's a very good poem, it is a very good poem, but I just feel it to be lacking very much in aesthetic value. It's a pain to read, but moving to have read. If you could make it moving to read and moving to have read, that'd be very beautiful. Make it ugly but make it flow.
Also, a few things;
As Bachelorette pointed out, you use stuff like 'I think' and 'still', unnecessary stuff that so many poets do. It conflates, it's unnecessary. Theres a lot of unnecessary poetry in here. Honestly, I'd prefer something like;
Now your body hard on my back,
I wonder how a plummet feels.
Maybe you’d come with me,
every balcony passing by, movements
while we're little breaths.
The pavement below roars; we smile like children.
Then your voice erupts-
Something else about poets, and I guess you didn’t take me
here for a good jump.
Now your body is a timpani on my back,
hard and penetrating, and I wonder
how a plummet feels. Maybe you’d come with me,
every balcony passing by in movements
while we’re just little breaths.
The pavement below roars. We smile like children.
Then your ashy voice erupts from my thoughts.
Something else about poets, and I guess you didn’t take me
here for a good jump.
I'm not saying do that, obviously, I'm just trying to point out, like... You're trying to make a narrative a lot, I don't need a narrative, I'm reading a poem not a story. Unless you're writing an epic narrative isn't necessary, and theres a certain way to write narrative in poetry that isn't the same as prose, anyway. I'd rather a series of stark, concise paintings that motion out your story to someone filling me up with their tale. I'm also not all that sure about your use of imagery, really. 'The pavement below roars. We smile like children.' is really nice, true Pound-type juxtaposition and it's very nice, but... In THIS poem? I just don't feel it, man. This is a story. You have a very grim set, and you're very economical about it up until you get to your little flashes of abstract, and it takes me away from the mood that you're trying to carve. You're giving me too much - this poem is already haunting, I don't need your injections (get it?) to make it any more poignant, this poem is gonna speak for itself, so I'd let it. That is a really beautiful line, but it's better used somewhere else, in some other more abstract poem, perhaps about the same subject. If you do edit this, everything you loose from this poem could easily go into some other poem.
Also, I agree with Bachelorette that 'We don't return to the sky/just to be better poets' doesn't have the desired effect. It's... It introduces a new element. You can't be profound with a new element. It's too spiritual, it assumes I know what return to the sky means. If this poem was all about the main guy talking about returning to the sky and poetry at once, and you'd built up those themes and then ended on that it'd be orgasmic, but those weren't your themes. Poetry was secondary to balcony and returning to the sky wasn't mentioned until that line. There might be a much better line in there somewhere, or it might be better not to end it with a climax.
And, finally; 'if this skyscraper’s really as desolate as it seems' - maaaan that's beautiful. That's one of the most beautiful lines I've seen in a poem in a long time. I mean really, it's personification, for a start, with that final image - a terrible out-of-use skyscraper falling to piece, harkening to these two terrible out-of-use falling-to-pieces skyscrapers on top of it, and then it's metaphor, because he's asking it, and he's wondering if things are really as bad as they seem, is his skyscraper really that desolate, and theres even irony knowing the character because I know he's aware he's being poetic with that line, that's not just you being poetic, that's him being poetic. And god, that's just beautiful.
So yeah, overall I wanted this to be a good review. It's good and you should feel good about it, it just could be so much better. I have a feeling that as you keep writing poetry you're going to get better and better over the years and someday you'll be a regular great poet, I mean that. I mean, I'm by no means a regular great poet yet, I'm not saying 'You'll be on my level someday, haw haw', I just mean I think you're going places.
Last edited by Bachelorette; 06-26-2012 at 06:50 PM.
Poets are always taking the weather so personally. They're always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions.
Correct.suggesting to me that you have spent some time as an addict?
For this comment to be useful, I think you need to clarify what you mean a little more. Also, that statement is just incorrect, though this poem is, as Bachelorette mentioned, more direct than most of my stuff. Maybe it didn't work, but I wanted it that way, and gave it a lot of consideration. Whether that was the right way to write it, I have no idea, but I thought about it a long time. I do need to make some cuts, though. For sure. I felt when I finished that it was too long.I really don't think you've given style much of a consideration.
@Glass: It's a literal fall. Also, it's sort of trying to find the poetry in falling while also exploring various emotions in the situation. Plummet is an elated, exciting fall. Descent is the "-I-just-want-to-hit-the-ground-and-be-done" fall, and then the final fall is fear.
I'll offer a short explanation. On another the site the challenge was given to write a poem about a lesson your father taught you. From that challenge, I wrote this piece. The main point was that he was trying to show me something about poetry, but in a corrupt way, and at the end of it all, I had no idea what I was supposed to have learned. I mean, there's more to it than that, but that's where it all came from.
Thanks again everyone.
You ask if my eyes are closed,
if this skyscraper’s really as desolate as it seems,
but I’m thinking of you spread across the floor last night,
What you have here is... I mean, in terms of rhythm, it really doesn't flow. 'If this skyscraper's really as desolate' is very beautiful rhythm, it flows fantastically, it plays over the tongue, it dances, but it's subsidiary to the words, it's not strict or rooted, it's lose. That's fantastic, but I'm not sensing intentional. The rest of the stanza is jarring and shy. 'as it seems' clashes with 'but I'm thinking of'. It's a very unfortunate catch in the throat. The rest of that sentence meanders - I had to read the line a few times to actually get what it was saying when I read it, because it starts off with such an unfortunate knock the rest of it is lost while I'm trying to recover.
Now your body is a timpani on my back,
hard and penetrating, and I wonder
how a plummet feels. Maybe you’d come with me,
I'll pick out a few here. 'Now your body' set sup for smooth. It feels like it's gonna be smooth. And then, 'is a timpani on my back'. The phrase 'is a' and 'timpani' are very jagged. These rhythmical ideas clash. (I just noticed another drug expression, 'on my back', nicely done). There could have been a very nice alliteration with 'body' and 'back' on this line but timpani gets in the way and it's very chop-and-change. 'Hard and penetrating, and I wonder' is quite strange. It sort of hovers in no-rhythm. And again, contrasting on 'how a plummet feels.' and 'Maybe you'd come with me.'
Now, I'm not trying to nit-pick, I really don't want you to think that, I'm not trying to dissect this for examples of awkward rhythm and point out everything possibly bad. I randomly copied two three-line sections from the poem and analysed them. What I'm trying to say is, if you had prior sat down and thought about how you would word each sentence before you wrote it, you would notice the rhythm is awkward very frequently. The reason why I'm saying I don't think you gave style much of a consideration is because I don't think rhythm was part of the creative process. I think you came up with good metaphors, good characters, ideas you wanted to express and ways to express them, even aphorisms, and then you arranged them in words, into connecting stanzas, and fit it into a narrative. Or something like that, whatever order it came about in. That's all substance. And don't get me wrong, I think the substance is really great.
Also contributing to why I thought style wasn't considered is presentation. To me it just looks not-nice, it feels like minimal effort went into the presentation. That's not that important and that's going to boil down to aesthetic preferences but, theres little continuity among the stanzas, and theres no use of typical stylisations such as indentation. That's perfectly fine, and you don't have to do that, and no one would ever ask you to do that, and I have a lot of friends who would berate me for even bringing this up and call me a big elitist or a classicist or some romantic boy-fancier, but I'm not saying it's a fault, it just shows me that you haven't thought 'I want this to look nice', and that's part of style. A combination of clumsy rhythm occurring all the way through it - that feels unintentional, because I've seen such starts-and-stops employed well, I just don't get that from this - and the lack of consideration of continuity or presentation just leads me to think that you're all substance and no style.
Believe me, I'd much prefer all substance and no style over all style no substance, and I think your work is very substantial, and I really don't mean to be too harsh or anything. If I was presented this poem by a friend or excited neighbour or something, I wouldn't be so critical, it's just, you know, when scoring for a critique I imagine a person wants me to be more thorough.
Now, you say you gave style a lot of consideration. Maybe you did want those jarring rhythms, and maybe you did want that asymmetrical thing going on, and I might be totally wrong but if that's the case, to me, it gets in the way of the poem - and in that case you've added too much style! Hahaha.
EDIT: Oh how I wish there was an IM feature, I just read one of your other poems and it changed my perspective entirely, and it's too late for me to add my new revelations because I sense you're already replying, ahaha...
Last edited by KarKingJack; 06-27-2012 at 12:56 AM.
Thank you. That is a much clearer explanation. You did offend me, but I'm also three months pregnant, so don't worry about it. My husband did the dishes for me and that offended me. Haha. I did think about pretty much everything you're suggesting, though I hate the word "flow." I do want this piece to be more jarring. It's supposed to be like trying to find beauty in all of the ugliness. That's what "And I can't blame you./ We're only breathing ugly." was about. There was another line after that in my initial draft, but I took it out, but perhaps I should take other lines out and add the previous one back so that part makes more sense with the next stanza. Anyway, I wanted some "prettier" lines amongst direct and clunky (for lack of a better word) phrases. So that there are moments where things are crisp and nice, and those moments would be something to hold on to. But maybe you're right and I completely over-thought it. I'm a musician before I'm a poet, so sound is always on my mind. In any case, it helps to know what you were actually talking about and I will consider it when I do revise, though I don't know when that'll be.
Hahaha, oh lord. I know how easy it is to offend pregnant women, I shall have to watch myself next time, ahaha =]
Anyway, yes! I actually just read your other poem, Frankenstein, and I cracked up laughing royally, because you had in THAT everything I said you didn't have in THIS! You had a very clean, smooth rhythm, an informed use of enjambment, continuity and even indents! You clearly have great understanding of poetic style and this isn't clumsy thoughtlessness but actually experimentation - in which case I apologise for being so hard on you! And by all means continue to try this kind of thing. I don't think you accomplished it with this piece, not quite yet - I think the changes aren't dramatic enough, perhaps, and simply feel like metrical flaws instead of intentional mood. It's certainly a very fitting approach, and maybe you'll find success with it in further revisions. I think it's probably interesting though, for you as a poet to see me, who has no understanding of your other work, reacting to this poem as if you're an amateur, when in fact you seem like something of an expert.
And, coincidentally enough I'm a musician before I'm a poet as well, ahaha, and sound is my greatest concern in a poem... Perhaps that's why I picked up on it so much. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing future revisions of this if you make any!
Haha. No biggie. Thanks. Yeah, I'm offended by everything now. I keep swearing this baby is going to be the death of me...or the death of someone else.
Anyway, you're right. I don't think I accomplished what I was going for in this piece either. I just wanted you to know that I thought about it. Lol. More dramatic changes is an interesting thought and something I might just use in a revision. Thanks very much. I'm sure I'll post a revision at some point. I already have a 20 month old son, so he has me pulling my hair out most of the day. Haha. Thanks again.
Very nice work Angel. BTW, I don't read others' comments until after I've written my own, so if it appears I'm echoing others without giving them proper recognition I apologize -- but very nice work indeed.
Normally, longer poems start to bore me. Probably because long poems tend to be tedious, repetitive, or else the author feels a need to reach too far to be "poetic". This poem does not do that, it keeps me interested all the way through and tells a tight "story", paints a nice scene.
I've never lived in a big city, and rarely have I ever been up in a skyscraper, but you have captured that essence of being on the verge of falling, or leaping, or both.
If I were to really concentrate on this I could probably find some nits to pick, but it is such a refreshing read as it is I wouldn't want to insult you -- its a keeper.
I forgot to mention the title. Lately I have been paying more attention to the titles of poems, as they are a very important and often overlooked element of the poem. This title is solid, on the money with the poem -- really draws the reader in to begin with and by the last line the resolve appears, the question is answered and the thought is complete.
i stop by every 4 or 5 months, just to read some old friends (and really, i just lurk i guess, heh) but i had to step in this time, just to say "wow". this is very impressive, you've come a long way. really enjoyed this bay
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