poetry critical

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well, he may be an alcoholic, but he never laid a hand on me.

when i first met your father i took careful note  of his hands: too large for his arms; palms like shoe leather with fingers jutting out at odd intervals, deep wrinkles crawling across the joints like cracks in glass (the way they snake out from a central point before connecting and reconnecting.)
i watched him drum on the rusted roof of your car and grip the steering wheel. i acknowledged each of his knuckles, red and coarse, the slight smooth dips separating them, and the thick veins that wormed their way across the back of his hand. i imagined dark, heavy blood, like karo syrup, tumbling slow and sleepy through his body.
those hands scrambled under my eyelids when I tried to sleep, they curled into fists and punched holes in walls and slid under blankets and left marks that you never could wash off, that you never could cover up.
and i was so busy hating his hands that i forgot to watch yours.
i found that old report card in your desk and the teacher’s comments in the lower left hand corner read: ‘seems tired all the time. lies often.’ and i felt sadness pull at the corners of me.
when i asked what you lied about
you: (distracted, while you sidled up next to me, threw your arms around my neck) (said with a half smile) “oh…the bruises.” you sighed it singsong and i wondered why you couldn’t feel the urgency i felt, why you were grinning so sweetly.
those secrets came first; he drinks, he hits you. later came the ones you whispered but that your body spoke of plainly. i had already eyed the soft sheen of the scars on your arms when you told me; i had traced them in the dark, like braille, wondering if i ran my fingers over them enough times maybe i would understand. and you told me you would beat yourself sometimes, that there was so much more poetry in a bruise than in a cut; a cut was release, but a bruise felt more honest, the dark colors of rot, bleeding trapped under your skin, inside. and i still didn’t realize.
i had always admired your hands; they were delicate, and soft; small fingers and long nails. they always smelled faintly of smoke and i loved watching you talk because your hands flew in cobweb movements, together and apart and together again as you tried to explain yourself. but since you told me that i can’t bring myself to look at them. every time i do they seem to swell, grow and expand til they’re all i can see.

complicated story. not sure if it comes through. this definitely needs work, but i havent posted anything in awhile. im not even sure this is a poem, but it was written with the intention of being one.

i feel like it needs a paragraph before the last one, but i dont want to overexplain myself and make it any more prose-y than it is.  i dunno.

its about my old girlfriend who told me her dad beat her. turns out he didnt.

22 Dec 08

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essay, but for what? maybe a college entrance exam. why is this posted here?
 — geckodrome

you could turn it into a poem!!
very easily.
 — 1994

a lighthearted attempt
to spread cheer with a rhyme
is sabotaged by miseries
most of the times
with good posts arriving
just one in the three
by satanists who post
accordingly, see:-
"well, he may be an alcoholic, but he never laid a hand on me".
 — unknown

does it read like an essay? i had poetic aspirations.
my trouble, i guess, is i'm not really sure what makes a poem a Poem. and if the way i arrange my thoughts aren't poems then i'm not quite sure how to classify them.

i feel like in order to make this a poem and not prose i'd need more metaphor and less words? more structure? poems don't have paragraphs, right? i haven't any idea, but i do know i have trouble with it, haha.

and it's posted here in hopes of getting constructive criticism on it, and maybe suggestions on how to write poetry instead of just word vomit.
 — wemsntdspair

i suggest you write the word vomit with a swizzle stick of despair and an olive.
 — unknown

poetry is less wordy and more structured, as you said.
find the points you think are most necessary
and write them simply.
 — 1994

.....was i just refered to as a satanist?
i'm sorry, unk, your comment was cute but i don't understand it.
 — wemsntdspair

thank you  1994. i wasnt sure, and appreciate the comment. i'm in the middle of trying to rework this. you pinpointed my exact problem with your suggestion; i have trouble determining what's most important, or necessary. i'll edit and repost when i figure that out.
thanks again.
 — wemsntdspair

not a problem at all.
 — 1994

to shape your poem, get deeply into your feelings and decide which one is mostly what you feel at the moment, then use that feeling to shape out the words on a page -- even if they seem too horrible or painful or beautiful. then back off and see how to make what you've written work as a 'feeling' for us. if you've really gotten your feeling 'right', and really opened yourself to using words today instead of just face expressions, you'll have most of the poem already written. then it's just a question of continuity, of making sure your verbs work as you want them to and that any intentional cliche's or ironies are embedded well in the poem to be self-explanatory.
 — geckodrome

this is truly talented writing, the imagery is beautiful and the story is captivating.
poem or not, i love this.
 — silllything

I agree with sillything, this is quite beautiful.
Line 8 I think is especially my favoirte
Poetry is exspression and you've exspressed yourself very well Wem
 — Stinetuck

I agree, this is very rough.  I'd say that the scars on your own heart for being told such a horrific lie should be here someplace.  

Keep working at it until the pieces fall where they belong.  No rush, right?  This is a story.  It can be a poem with some formatting and cutting.  I am not a believer that less is always more.  You have to say what you most want the reader to know, fill in the blanks that will be important, then shut up.

We rarely get that part right!  Welcome.
 — Isabelle5

I really love this.
 — Aziel

i really love this. its not traditional poetry but its beautiful work all the same.
 — silentspring

Hey this isn't word vomit it is a poem the way it is...Read more...There is a thing called prose poetry invented by Charles Baudelaire titled Paris Spleen..He started the prose poem.  It makes more use of the stanza then the line break so keep writing the way you like.....
 — brother_sun

read Suzanne Bernard's "Le Proeme En Prose de Baudelaire Jusqu'a Nos Jours" for a good history and analysis of what the prose poem is and isn't, to see why this one is simply an essay which tells a story you like. it's neither a story or a poem, just an account of some preliminary thoughts for a movie. if you want to like this, that's ok. but, really, it's just way too forced to sound like literature. it has no feeling of authenticity; maybe not even sincerity.

'looked me square in the eye' is cliche. look this square in the eye.
 — geckodrome

well i still think it could be called a prose poem...
 — brother_sun

you can call it 'fred' if you want, but the prose poem works only because it invents its own phrases -- doesn't just clip and paste newpaper prose into a tight little box. don't pimp yourself out like this. it's important to know the difference between poetry and prose.
 — geckodrome

okay well if this is prose it fooled me and its really good prose
 — brother_sun

what did it fool you out of? you wanted to read a story, and stories are always in prose.
 — geckodrome

no i wanted to read a poem and to me a poem is a work of art or a painting in the mind and to me this is a painting in the mind without the line breaks but making use of the stanzas to create rooms so we can live here
 — brother_sun

so, what's the difference between 'poetry' and 'prose' do you think?
 — geckodrome

to tell you the truth i never really thought about the lines between prose and poetry but thats the same thing as what is art and what is not art...but if you know the line do tell...
 — brother_sun

a poem is verbal composition designed to convey experiences, ideas and emotions in a vivid imaginative way well thats the dictionary speaking but i think this does that...
 — brother_sun

sounds pretty complex. so, what does prose 'do'?
 — geckodrome

prose is ordinary speech or writing without metrical structure...
 — brother_sun

ok -- the metrical structure in this poem?
 — geckodrome

free verse doesnt conform to any meter...i know you already know that...
 — brother_sun

let me say that again "a regular meter"
 — brother_sun

look at the imagist poetry like H.D. see if you get any metrical structure out of that....
 — brother_sun

and remember "free verse is free and beyond any categorization"....
 — brother_sun

well you could try using some line breaks. even if the text remains the same, the effect it has on someone reading it will at least trick their brain into thinking it's a poem. and probably yourself. sure, one might then argue it's just prose with funny linebreaks, but it would be a much more difficult argument to convince one of.
maybe start by just creating a new line every 3rd word. just for the hell of it, see how it feels. then you might hear a rhythm begin to develop, and break the lines again, making some of them longer, getting a feel for where they should end/begin. this will also aid you in finding words that don't work for you the way you'd originally felt they did.
look for key phrases that stand out to you as important, being said on their own. typing in this comment box and looking up at the poem, i instantly see "together and apart and together again". it has a rhythm all its own, and linebreaking can help you to convey not only these rhythms, but act as a highlighter for some innate wisdom that mightn't be as evident otherwise.
just a couple things i noticed:
maybe try avoiding using "like", and instead just say the words. here's what i mean

dark, heavy blood, like karo syrup, tumbling slow...

could be

dark, heavy blood - karo syrup - tumbling slow...

see what i mean? also, in that line, "tumbling" is a very odd way of putting it, this flow of blood. as well, toward the end, this little thing pops up

but since you told that i can’t

i had to do a double take, stop, go back and read it again -- never a good thing to be doing in the middle of reading, in my opinion, at least for a poem like this. consider altering it to

but since you told me that, i can’t

in line 7, i'm not sure you need to have the brackets around "said with half a smile". generally, i think that whatever appears in brackets should be able to be deleted without impacting what the poem is attempting to deliver, superfluous. i think "said" is absolutely necessary to the line, as far as the usage of proper grammatical form throughout the rest of the poem.
it's nicely written, very clear in its speech, and the images do not get bogged down because they are not crammed all in against each other. if not for the foot-note, i'd probably have simply said
nice wurdz
 — chuckle_s

free verse still has meter. that's the one thing it has in common with verse and poetry. otherwise it would be called 'paragraph with funny line breaks' -- it's not what's said, but how it's said. CD's of music, they're not readings of the company's spreadsheets. they're about music the way poetry is about meter and rhythm.
 — geckodrome

i have a lot to learn.
chuckle_z, your comment was great, because i get a lot of, ' that could be a poem!' but no suggestions on how, and your detailed explanation gave me a great place to start and good things to focus on, cadence, rhythm, ect. i think i need to educate myself a little more on the workings of poems before i try to write any more; you and geckodrome helped me realize that.

gecko: i'm pretty sure you nailed a huge flaw of mine and that's the absence of honest emotion. i tend to write from a removed place, which makes the things i try to write contrived and weak. i think i've been lazy in my attempts, and you're suggestion about feeling deeply and honestly and starting there is something i need to familiarize myself with. i don't generally achieve anything with what i write, it's superficial and flowery; a story. there's a lot more i could do and confronting emotions present in my stories would probably lend more substance.

brother_sun, stinetuck, sillything, and everybody else, thanks a lot for your compliments and feed back, it's much appreciated.
 — wemsntdspair

I can't stop coming back to read this.  Why do I seem to enjoy most everything you write? ):!
 — Aziel

because you're an emonic half-wit?
 — unknown

about halfway through |2, separate (spell err).

beyond that, this is incredible. so much to pick through, so many horrifying images that are so beautiful and vivid at the same time.

this has many layers and many words to bathe in. i enjoyed it from beginning to end.
 — mould_jesus

i used to get into this shit, but really i don't see anymore why it's so necessary to bicker and banter about useless shit.

who gives a flying fuck if it's an essay, screenplay, poem, novel, prose, novella, short story, blah blah fucking blah...

good writing is good writing. and good writing is the reason i continuously come back to this page year after year.

kudos to the author. a .45ACP to the face of geckodrome.
 — unknown

a sweet unknown, peeking out behind her veil and talking with the other milk maids about what the book says and why her life is better. thanks for sharing.

there is this thing which is out of the mind and into words. it's called a 'poem' because it works to go into the imagination and yet stay out in the social. it's a word thing which is a real picture of the author -- a poem is a conversation with the author. this kind of writing is a list of things to say, checked off as they've been said. your unknown kind of writing is just a bitch-slap and run away. that's giving you a break and thinking that you really do post poems here. why bother? why should we?
 — geckodrome

a well painted story giving hands the emphasis in this -- you've imagery and setting -- feeling runs through it if you'd writ it in the singsong way you'd have the pome I'd say -- nevertheless well writ hitting with a fist in it
 — AlchemiA

it's a Caruso aria, A. -- poem would take it out of sing-song and into the dance of life.
 — geckodrome

still one of my all time favorites, no matter how strange the format is.

powerful work.
 — mould_jesus

Compelling, moving, excellent imagery and descriptions. I love "and i was so busy hating his hands that i forgot to watch yours."

 — unknown

thank you, wendz and mould_jesus.
 — wemsntdspair

 — unknown

good to see you still like the same style poetry i do, wendy
 — mould_jesus

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