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Death is scratching my walls

Mr. Gypsy,
you misread my palm.
The stories my wrinkles told—
fortunes, days picturesque—
they were fizzling away
before I could dream of them.
How I still draw your eyes with pieces of coal.
How I left your tent with smoke rising from my pockets.
Mr. Doctor,
thank you for the diagnosis.
My shakes could have been many things—
so many reasons to shiver in this world—
but you could smell disease from a rain cloud
and now I have a calendar month in which to die.
How I sit on the corner of my bed mulling over the thought.
How I left your office with a sucker in my hand.
Mr. Death,
I know your scent.
It's you lurking through my study—
behind doors I remembered to lock—
it's you rattling my windowpanes at night
and blowing out my lights with sniffles.
How you go about with smoke trapped under your sleeve.
How you scratch the walls with your scythe.
Mr. Deity,
I can smell you, too.
Those trapped in your eternity—
the ones I loved—
they are dusting a throne that no one sits in.
How you are too busy rolling your dice to notice.
How we never pause to feel your wind under our fingernails.

1 Aug 06

Rated 4 (7.9) by 1 users.
Active (1): 4
Inactive (33): 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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(16 more poems by this author)

(21 users consider this poem a favorite)

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 — trafalgore

Mr Man whatever happened to your electro-rock combo?
 — unknown

Well-written, very clean and structured. My favorite lines are 16 & 24. I really like the way the last line of each stanza is repeated in the same style: "How you . . ." My only quibble is with the ending, the last line, due to it's length, breaks the rhythm that you've maintained throughout the piece.
 — redsky

I tightened up the ending to make it fit in one line as opposed to two.
You're right, sky, it was breaking the rhythm.
Thanks for the comments.
 — unknown

I love it!!
 — redsky

Oh, this is brilliant.  Breath taking.  I got lost in it.  A fave.  A 10.
 — CervusWright

Is this about a real person.

It is so sad and wonderful
 — unknown

     Beautiful narrative; the voice is clear and steady, and there is no suggestion of pathos.  I like the distance between the voice and reader, it allows me to be purely observational if I like; the only engagement is listening.
    I've two suggestions, one quick and simple, the other, well... not so simple.  The first is to drop "you" from line 3; the poem is strong and lean overall, which I think is especially important in the very first stanza, where I think "the stories my wrinkles told" would suffice.
    Second, I'm not sure "How..." works where it occurs.  It gives the poem a conversational style, yet I can't help but think that "I still draw your eyes with pieces of coal./I left your tent with smoke rising from my pockets." for lines 7/8 would be stronger.  "How" seems to imply some other active force, or presence in the poem.  I don't know, it is hard to put my thinking into words on this.  Do consider making each of those pairs (incl. 15/16, 23/24 & 30/31) separate two-line stanzas.
    This is really quite lovely work; austere, beautiful.  I look forward to your next.
 — mikkirat

Oh, my gosh, this is powerful.  Just about perfect.
 — Isabelle5

Love the little details in this narrative. This is very well done.
 — TheMoon

Wonderful poem, well read and expressed. I like how you laid this out,sometimes I've actually felt some of the same things (especially with the doctor) Your poems are always well expressed and thought out, from the ones I've read at least.
 — xtormentedx

Nothing bad to point out here. Good job.
 — DeathShards

 — unknown

i love this! the form is amazing. it gave me shivers. cheers. (10)
 — bear

wow, this is really really good!
 — livedeeply

thank you for the comments-
 — theair

The title sucks. The poem -- in need of editing -- is quite brilliant.

line 12 -- no need for "in this world"
line 15 -- "over the thought" overly dramatic
line 19 -- "It's you wandering" Death moves with a purpose, not a meandering stride.
line 26 -- drop "can"
line 28 -- "loved" If they're trapped, you still love them. Kill the past tense.

Line 24 ties to the title, but the title is melodramtic. Line 24 is not.
 — DianaTrees

thank you for the comments. as far as the title goes, this poem is untitled, but if I left it as "untitled" no one would have read it. I agree that what I have for it now is a little over the top- I'll try to think of something between "untitled" and the current title to suffice.

I'm also taking your other suggestions into consideration. thanks again-
 — theair

well, meanwhile, this title will have to do.

thanks again
 — theair

I liked the other title better! It wasn't really that melodramatic - I didn't read the words "black," or "despair" or "bleeding" or "my heart" in it, and seeing as how the personification of death is dealt with in this poem it made sense. Plus, it was just damn catchy.

Other than that quibble over a revision (and the fact that I quite like the idea of Death wandering through your study more, as if he's simply a visitor who's waiting for you to greet him and is biding his time browsing around), this poem is fantastically written and structured.
 — jcameron

This is amazing, one of the greaest poems i've read. Very original though it's subject is as old as time. I'll be thinking about this all day.
 — callingcard

...reverting back to the old title, shortened this time.

and sticking with it.

thanks for all the comments.
 — theair

I agree with mikkirat that the "how"s seem a little out of place, but.... wow. I've read this one ten times and it keeps getting better. powerful.
 — houseofcards

I <3 this, much.
 — MEB

((scratching my balls))
 — unknown

 — underdog

this is nice, I think it could use a little tweaking frankly, just some imagery rethinking.  A lot of mixed metaphors throughout, but over all a satisfying read.
I like it
good luck
 — winsofmornin

I loved it. I like lines 16 and 30. Very nice.
 — MysteryMan

I loved reading this one, it always amazes me how people can write a long poem and keep the reader's attention :p

The title however, almost kept me from reading this, it sounds cliché, as in some lament a suicidal teen would write. Is there any special reason you want to stick with that title?
 — Enimie

Clever and original structure. Pretty amazing, actually! One minor suggestion: L29: 'on' instead of 'in'?
 — JustineCH

nice.. i love the way you laid it out...awsome
 — LaLa16

Smoke rising from pockets is an interesting image, but is very abstract and with no clue(s) for the reader to come to understanding.  

Beginning so many lines with “How” comes across as overly dramatic.  I think those lines, whether or not you agree about the “How”, should be paired as couplets.  The couplets would allow you simplify and still display the relationships, the repetition between them.

Your dashes too closely resemble hyphens, and thus cause the reader to (unnecessarily) pause.  Consider cutting and pasting in the (longer) dashes, or use -- .

Wind under our fingernails?

I like your poem’s structure.  I’d like it better with the aforementioned couplets.
 — unknown

I might read this one day, but I have to tell you that I laugh every time I see the title, which is pretty frequent since this poem has been on the list so long.
From the moment I first saw it, I read "death is scratching my balls".
I'm gigglin' again!
 — jenakajoffer

What a fabulous poem. Mr. Poe would be moderately impressed. 9/10
 — Henry

Loved it hun.
 — Ajambo

a pleasent read, the stanzas are connected wonderfully.
 — SenorSin

wow. wow. that's really all I can say. wow.
 — topop

This poem has a sad but understanding quality to it. Im not sure how I mean that to sound only that what it sounds to me. You have a window to look through into life that most do not. Brava!!!
 — Robin

I like it. It is written wonderfuly. alot of people do feel that way.
 — unknown

superb, yet the last line isn't as fabulous as the rest.  wind under our fingernails.  is this supposed to be a death thing, where we're all bones and that's how the wind gets under the fingernails?
 — mmoneypenny

Taxi for obvious.
 — unknown

i love this poem. i have since i first read it. the only thing that could be improve, in my opinion, is the title. as it is, it doesn't do the poem justice.
 — inutile