poetry critical

online poetry workshop



a cigarette for breakfast
OKcomputer

good morning lover,
 1
as each of your pictures
 2
drags down from the walls, wrinkled
 3
and yellowed descending slowly and eventually
 4
to the ground.
 5
it must be the first day of autumn,
 6
 
 
imposing itself particularly
 7
on the shores of
 8
the highway, overflowing with breathing people
 9
in cars, living casually and definitely
 10
as their little vessels progress slowly down the line.
 11
i can see you from my window
 12
in a little green bug.
 13
 
 
 
 
i wake up older today, itchy
 14
and brittle. cocooned
 15
in my sheets, i find it hard to stand up
 16
without head pain and aching joints.
 17
 
 
my wrinkled face and
 18
my discarded genitals lie there
 19
on the bathroom floor
 20
pathetically
 21
and
 22
 
 
i throw away your toothbrush
 23
to spite you and show you
 24
that summer is over,
 25
you are no longer beautiful. it is callow
 26
and i know it, sitting there
 27
at the concrete tables
 28
killing myself slowly and knowing
 29
the ashes i abandon
 30
will blow away
 31
eventually.
 32

3 Oct 06

Rated 8.3 (7.9) by 3 users.
Active (3): 9, 10, 10
Inactive (48): 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(88 more poems by this author)

(31 users consider this poem a favorite)



Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha

Comments:

I love it!
Thr last stanza is my favorite
 — FolleRouge

A man's poem yes, but a winner with this girl - you captured something very special in this poem - could see my someone special in this - the grumpy so and so lol
 — Mercedes

Good morning to the author too!
I am glad I remembered to look at this poem this morning, after scanning it briefly yesterday night.  'Tis a lovely piece of work.  A story well-told with just enough suspense and poetic ambiguity to keep the reader satisfied.
Here are a few nits and suggestions:
Interestingly enough, I read the "lover" in l1 as "honey" - I think this had more to do with the rhythm of the poem than with the word choice itself.  I wonder if you would consider? The line breaks in the first stanza took my eyes and breathing a bit to synchoronize, I am not sure if that is because I am exhausted or because you might need to reconsider some of the breaks (especially in the middle of the stanza).
l8 - would you consider making "on the shores of the highway" one line and then "overflowing with breathing people in cars" also one line?  By the way, the second stanza is very strong.  I am only not sure about "down the line" as an expression you want to assiciate with the casual and definitive living images from before.  This is an expression that brings ambiguity and too much casualness (to refer back to your work choice, which is a state I think you would like to offset and oppose here).  What does "down the line" stand for here?

good third stanza, very good.  Slow-paced movement from the world outside to that behind your window.  As a reader, I feel cocooned as well.  :-)  

I am not sure you need the "my" at the beginning of line 19 unless you want to stress the personal pronoun in opposition to the "your" of "the lover".  Also, reconsider the "there" at the end of this stanza, we already know that it is the "bathroom floor" - I think a stanza less wordy might be more effective.  (I apologize if this all sounds too picky and minute by way of criticism.  I do appreciate and can very much relate to the value and content of this poem as a whole).

What is the "in" in line 26 referring to?  The summer?  The toothbrush?  I thought it was the latter untill I came to line 29 which, with the lack of much punctuation in this stanza, thre me off a bit with the "killing myself".  Can you check the pronouns and referents in this stanza?  

Interesting image in the last stanza, I only wonder whether you might want to play with "abandon" a bit more here.  It seems like the lover has left (abandoned) and with your choice of verb here you can institute a reversal, the ashes symbolic of the lover and your turned back, symbolic of moving on into autumn.

I hope this has helped at least some (not that the poem needed much help as is).  Do reconsider the line breaks throughout the poem, read it out loud and see if anything I have said makes sense.  

Thank you for posting this, a very well-done testimony to the absence of the other.
Yours kindly
Maria
 — slancho

oh, OKcomputer, I should have known
Well done.
Maria
 — slancho

well, gaw-lee
L2- starts with "as"- why is that?
L15,16-i dare say it's a difficult proposition for
anyone(not just you) to stand whilst cocooned
in their sheets-i've tried(with sexy results)...
anyhoooooooo, well done
 — chuckles

I love this!  It paints some very vivid pictures.  Why the lower case letters though including the first person?  Just curious.  Otherwise, yes...the last stanza is KILLER!  Here is a very coloful, grey and sullen, very-well expressed portrait of Autumn set to poetry.  "10."
 — starr

hmm really like this. last 3 stanza are kickass. not a big fan of the first two. although i do like the idea of the wilting photographs. is starting at line 14 a crazy suggestion?
 — modern_nomad

Vivid. I can make a short film out of this. :)
 — myish

i wrote this same poem once only with different words. it is absolute.

i heart it.
 — unknown

     Absolutely stunning.  "It must be the first day of autumn," indeed; the slow disintegration you evoke in the two, three stanzas is perfection.  "To spite you and show you that... you are no longer beautiful" are the most simply brilliant lines I have read in some time.
    My only suggestion would be to blue-pencil line 21, "pathetically."  The images of face and genitals on the bathroom floor evoke it better than that word.
    Favorite schtuff.  Thanks gabillions for posting this.
 — mikkirat

what a shitface.

Anyway.

Onward with my intelligent words and thoughts:
I like it.


Thank you for posting it.
 — villicana

Did you mean to make two spaces between the 2nd and 3rd stanza?

Your 4th stanza is the most powerful. You let the reader in on just how cast off you feel.

I feel you could remove "as" in line two also. A proof-reader at Random House told me that the use of the word "as" (other than in a simile) shows immaturity in the writer. I'm not sure I agree, but I still remember that comment a decade later.

You are very good and I enjoyed this thoroughly.
 — NeighborDi

Loved this the first time I read it!  Congratulations on the #1 spot!  Well deserved!
 — starr

"cigarettes and coffee aren't a very healthy lunch, you know."

nice poem.
 — unknown

this is absolutely stunning.

wow.

smile.
midare
 — midare

Wonderful. The genitals on the BR floor was a complete surprise! Love your choice in line breaks. Lines 23-25 really brought it home for me. Two toothbrushes in the bathrooom can be a powerful thing, providing us everyday comfort that we don't usually think about. Strong, strong emotion, incredibly sad, powerful. A pleasure to read.
 — JD

The first part of this was so gripping, with its lovely imagery, but I felt the sparkle faded a bit as the poem went on. Too much personal feelings creep in, but ah, that's what poetry is anyway, right? Who am I to judge.
 — silentscream

Fucking Fabulous piece of art! Tragic, real and never trivial.

-Riverwriter2
 — unknown

i can see you from my window  12
in a little green bug.

Dangling.

It's okay; some good some bad. I would change breathing to breathless; I don't know why. Kill 'little' before vessels.

cocooned  15
in my sheets,

I like that. Should be one line though.

Ending on eventually might seem pseudo-artistic to you, but I think it would be more powerful if it was... will eventually... blow away.
 — unknown

Who in the world would give this a 1??? Someone who obviously doesn't know good poetry when he or she reads it. OKcomputer, I am sorry that you have to tolerate people who obviously aren't here to help, critique or encourage. I gave you a 10. This is stunning work!
 — NeighborDi

It's okay. It got a good amount of attention. ;)

Thank you everybody. I feel content.
 — OKcomputer

...
 — unknown

The closest things to 'good' writing on this site are bombarded with ones.

I'm not complimenting you. This is more of a six.
 — unknown

it makes me sad and i love it
 — lostkid

pretty good poem.  i actually felt some emotion without feeling TOO MUCH emotion--that can be a hard line to walk.

criticism:

"breathing people" was a little vague.  didn't add much to the characterization of which kinds of people these people are--because, obviously all people are breathing people.

"aching joints" is a bit of a loaded phrase.  you could definitely explain the feeling in a much newer and expressive way.

this part could use some stripping down--think about removing some adverbs:

"living casually and definitely  10
as their little vessels progress slowly down the line."

specifically, "progress slowly" (in my opinion) could be better said... perhaps "inch down the line."  it would say the same thing in many-letters-less.

thanks for the read,
steve
 — steveroggenb

This is awesome
 — unknown

I can easily liken the pictures to falling leaves.

No need for the belated adverb pathetically; you should not just end poems, but also stanzas, with your strongest lines.  In this case, its 19.  Try

On the bathroom floor
my wrinkled face,
and my discarded genitals lie[.]

For the same reasoning, consider putting your eventually (line 32) earlier in the sentence, so that you can ends with 31 (my fave) or 30:

Killing myself knowing [sorry, the slowly is rather trite]
Eventually i’ll blow away
the ashes i’ve abandoned.

As an overall comment, you do have some interesting enjambment going on, but I’m not at all sure about some of your line breaks; I’d need to hear you read this.  Line 8 stands out: I don’t see why you’ve ended with a preposition.  Maybe you consider the enjambment of 9 important enough to justify 8.  But please take another look to see if you can have it both ways.
 — wily

Not necessarily a man's poem, I don't think (as was addressed before).  Very andro. Very relatable.  Very gorgeous.
 — WordsAndMe

the last sanza is steller.
 — mister9a

Possibly the best thing I have read all year!
 — kazfernandes

i loathe the word lover.
 — unknown

you want i should use another? they mean the same thing. ;)
 — OKcomputer

Utterly amazing. Such precise flow and feeling. Real wonderful work here.
 — madderhatter

Brilliant.
 — Highwayman

I like every single line. It's succinct, beautifully written, and nicely shaped.
 — DeformedLion

Actually I don't like L13.
 — DeformedLion

I like the shift from line 18 onward its real, raw and unflinching in delivery. Its a very colloquial piece and it seems personal so the delivery still comes across clinical even though the meter is all over the place.

This poem should never work on some levels but you get away with it so well as you've written it so well.

If there are any flaws they didnt matter to me because i gave a shit for the character, the emotion and the eventual outcome of a love gone to hell.

Caducus
 — unknown

i would take 'it is callow' & put in line 24, not 23 -- where it is it confuses the reader -- or at least me -- & interrupts the flow of the poem.

you are no longer beautiful.
it is callow and i know it,
sitting there
at the concrete tables

feels better to me.
 — thefourth

This is not a poem. This doesn't even rhyme. I'm giving you a 1, I will revise the 1 if you somehow make this atrocity rhyme.
 — MrTom

THIS POEM IS ONE YEAR OLD.
 — OKcomputer

I just wanted to let you know that I help sponsor a poetry contest with a $10,000 first place prize every month. I thought your poem would be a good candidate. Keep on writing...

Here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/3bvvwd (shortened for usability)
 — unknown

beautiful
 — thirdeyris

This is nothing short of stellar. Excellent images and well chosen words, just an superb read...
 — dmartin

this is incredible.  very nice rhythm and word selection.  It dances!  10
 — themolly

I really don't like this. :-/ The title is really cliche too.
 — eyesaque

i love this.
 — lostkid

Wonderful. I can relate.
 — unknown

10-faved
finally.
: )
 — fractalcore

0.373s