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There Was a Time



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Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:56 am
BigBadBear says...



There Was a Time



There was a time
when lollipops and empty juice boxes
filled the lazy summer afternoons,
and when silly, mindless cartoons incremented my life.

There was a time
when I chose bubblegum ice cream over chocolate,
where private wishes were blown into dandelions,
and where peanut butter sandwiches were always my day's entree.

There was a time
when the world was my playground
and recess was always in session,
where lunch boxes lined the sandbox of my imagination.

There was a time
when, at day's end, my fingers ached
of a hard day of work.
Colorful lines of misguided markers stained my hands.

There was a time
when I became Roald Dahl's BFG,
and I hid behind my desk,
frightened to expose more than necessary.

There was a time
when my teeth longed for ice cream
and the metal tore at my gums
and I was only eleven.

There was a time
when the mirror twisted my body
and the reflection snarled
and---

There was a time
when the plastic rawed my wrist
(back and forth and back and forth and)
shredding and shredding and bleeding.

There was a time
when I cared too much to not notice
or pretend like I didn't care.
Because I did.

There was a time
when I longed for those lazy afternoons
and those stupid cartoons, but instead
I'm stuck with this.

There was a time
when I exiled myself
from whoever and whatever I was,
if I was anything to begin with.

There was a time
when I was nothing more than the
white margins on the edge of a book,
too easily looked past.

There was a time
when I longed to be the words
of some ambiguous poet,
singing of dreams and stars.

There was a time
when I wrote to get away
and then and only then
could I be found.

There was a time
when words like 'dream'
were larger than 'exile',
and 'forgotten' and 'scared'.

There was a time
when my vocabulary grew
along with my strength and my
words could vanquish any bad.

There was a time
when I was proud
and unafraid to be different,
when 'big' was just as equal to 'okay' as was 'skinny'.

There will be a day
when I can voice my me
and say "I'm proud of who I am"
and not give a damn.

There is a time,
although at times I'm scared
and at times I'm brave,
when I can be me.
Last edited by BigBadBear on Fri Jul 29, 2011 6:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Just write -- the rest of life will follow.

Would love help on this.
  





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Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:30 am
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confetti says...



This is wonderful, so touching and so accurate. It's a very relatable poem, for the most part anyways, which is probably what makes it so captivating. It had a good, solid rhythm, which made it easy to read.
Just a few things:

There was a time
where lollipops and empty juice boxes
filled the lazy summer afternoons,
and where silly, mindless cartoons incremented my life.

I noticed that you put the words 'where' in this paragraph, instead of when. When fits better with the aspect of time, and it would start the rhythm of the poem better (if that makes sense). But you might have done this on purpose for all I know. I don't pretend to know what poets are thinking when they write.
There was a time
when I longed for those lazy afternoons
and those stupid cartoons, but instead
I'm stuck with this

This line stands out from the rest of the poem, but not exactly in a good way. I find it a bit awkward.


But YEAH. You don't have to take those changes to heart, it's your poetry of course. I really did love this.
"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads."
— Dr. Seuss
  





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Fri Jul 29, 2011 12:24 pm
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unsocialbutterfly says...



This is really amazing! I liked how you explained from childhood to growing up and just like all the ways you showed that. It's a really good poem. One day someone will judge you by your poetry and nothing else. Kind of like everyone on YWS is doing now. :)
♥unsocialbutterfly♥
  





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Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:26 am
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mikepyro says...



This piece started great, then got incredibly cliche, then got great again. At least you ended on the great note. Overall this was very solid, the first act of innocence was so beautifully and uniquely told that it really drew me in. I don't know, its so hard to find a powerful emotional poetry here and while you do it quite well I found the middle what with the cutting and bleeding and crying everyday.

The flow does stutter a bit in the tone shift, you use an elaborate and widespread imagery to describe the younger days then shift to short, punchy lines for the downfall, but the shift to a hopeful end (which I actually quite enjoyed) doesn't change form, so the break is noticeable.

Overall aside my issues with the second third, I found this a powerful, emotional. and well written piece.
Very well done, you really capture raw emotion and the conflict of writing so very well.
  





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Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:22 am
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Adnamarine says...



Long time no see Jared =)

Normally I don't like to do this, but I feel like a line by line (ish) might be the most efficient for this... or maybe it will be a verse-by-verse thing.

There was a time
when lollipops and empty juice boxes
filled the lazy summer afternoons,
and when silly, mindless cartoons incremented my life. I don't think "incremented" is the right word choice here. Otherwise, this beginning is perfect, because it sets the tone for the whole poem, and it's something anyone can relate to.

There was a time
when I chose bubblegum ice cream over chocolate,
where private wishes were blown into dandelions, I love how you phrased this, like the wishes are something physical that you're blowing from your mouth into the dandelions and they carry it away with them. I don't know if that was intentional, but I love it.
and where peanut butter sandwiches were always my day's entree. I don't really like words like "always," especially since without it people will read it pretty much the same way. If you say "peanut butter sandwiches were my day's entree" it will still come across as something you ate "all the time" and the less clutter the better.

There was a time
when the world was my playground
and recess was always in session,
where lunch boxes lined the sandbox of my imagination. I really don't understand this line. Imagining things was something associated with lunchboxes? Or you imagined things about lunchboxes? Or...

There was a time
when, at day's end, my fingers ached
of a hard day of work. The phrasing is a little awkward, between this line and the last. I think "from a hard day's work" might be better?
Colorful lines of misguided markers stained my hands. I think I'd again replace "of" with "from". I like this line a lot.

There was a time
when I became Roald Dahl's BFG,
and I hid behind my desk,
frightened to expose more than necessary. This is one of my favourite stanzas of the entire poem. I loved Roald Dahl when I was younger, and still do.

There was a time
when my teeth longed for ice cream
and the metal tore at my gums
and I was only eleven. I realize the connection between teeth and metal, but it still doesn't sound right for teeth to be longing for ice cream... more like your mouth, or your tongue, since it's not the teeth that are tasting it.

There was a time
when the mirror twisted my body
and the reflection snarled
and--- Another fantastic stanza. The transition is clearly important, and like the first, this stanza embodies the emotion that the following stanzas are going to have.
After reading a few more stanzas after this transition, I wonder if it might help to change it to "there was another time," to help keep that distinction in place. Just a thought.


There was a time
when the plastic rawed my wrist
(back and forth and back and forth and)
shredding and shredding and bleeding. Maybe I'm not catching on to something obvious, but I don't understand this stanza. But the description is very vivid.

There was a time
when I cared too much to not notice
or pretend like I didn't care.
Because I did. Too ambiguous. Until now, your stanzas have been very invested in physical things to carry the nostalgia. I don't think you should leave that trend behind, because here you just lost me completely. Not lost as I didn't understand it, but lost as in, lost my interest. It's vague and cliche at the same time.

There was a time
when I longed for those lazy afternoons
and those stupid cartoons, but instead
I'm stuck with this. This sounds too much like a whiny teenager. Maybe if we knew what "this" was it would be something we could take more seriously. There's nothing new in this stanza, and there's no meat to it. It comes across as very shallow.

There was a time
when I exiled myself
from whoever and whatever I was,
if I was anything to begin with. Again, vague. To be honest, when I first read the poem, after I read the transitional stanza, I wanted to just skim over the next few stanzas. You lost the vivid images, the way you utilized our memories, and engaged our senses. You need to find a way to bring that into these stanzas or I think you lose us. At least you lost me. These are clearly important for us to get the entire meaning of the poem, not just half of it, so you need to find a way to keep us engaged.

There was a time
when I was nothing more than the
white margins on the edge of a book,
too easily looked past. Yes! New imagery! This is what you were missing in the last few! Good stanza.

There was a time
when I longed to be the words
of some ambiguous poet,
singing of dreams and stars. Again, good imagery! At the same time, I think the last few stanzas needed to transition us to this one to fully understand it? Is this stanza a wish to be something consequential? Something worth having poets write about you? Or am I missing the point?

There was a time
when I wrote to get away
and then and only then
could I be found. I think at this point you're going on with this train of thought longer than necessary and starting to lose interest a little again. This is a stanza any writer can relate to of course, but you've been on a similar tone, a similar line of thought for the past six stanzas, using a lot of words of emotion rather than description.

There was a time
when words like 'dream'
were larger than 'exile',
and 'forgotten' and 'scared'. I like it. Honestly, those three stanzas in between that I didn't like so much? If you got rid of those completely, it would leave you free to spend more time, like I said, on this line of thought, without losing us

There was a time
when my vocabulary grew
along with my strength and my
words could vanquish any bad. "Bad" struck me as a little juvenile in some way... like, it reminded me of calling cuts and bruises "owies". Not sure why. Overall this stanza is okay, but it seemed superfluous. You already discussed your writing, and this just seems like an unnecessary add-on to that.

There was a time
when I was proud
and unafraid to be different,
when 'big' was just as equal to 'okay' as was 'skinny'. I think this is important to the focus of this poem, to the purpose of the poem. I think that's what you intended. But, that being the case, I don't think the way it's written does it justice. Like, I can tell that it's important because of *what* it says, not how you said it. Does that make sense? There's no climax to it, nothing that makes it stand out.

There will be a day
when I can voice my me
and say "I'm proud of who I am"
and not give a damn. Again, important content-wise. The entire poem has been leading up to this, but you're missing the imagery again. This is important, and it's a great philosophy to have, but it's not written in an engaging or original way. I hesitate to say it's cliche, but from what I saw on the beginning of the poem, I know you have it in you to make us *feel* something with this. The way it's written, I'd just say "well good for you" and move on.

There is a time,
although at times I'm scared
and at times I'm brave,
when I can be me. I had to read this a couple times to get through the phrasing. Maybe you could clarify that a bit? Content-wise, it's the conclusion you clearly need. It's what you've, again, been leading up to. Imagery makes it so much more powerful though. It's not cliche, but it is something you hear often: "Just be you" "I just need to be me" and so on. I know I'm repeating myself, but you engaged emotions, memories, the senses, at the beginning, just with simple objects. And you had some good imagery later on too. The ending is the fruition of everything. You can make it much more impacting.

Overall, I really did love the beginning. I won't bore you with an unnecessary summary of everything I already said. =) I just hope this was helpful, since I'm a little rusty in my reviewing.
"Half the time the poem writes me." ~Meshugenah
  





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Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:18 am
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PenguinAttack says...



Ohey, Baer!

It’s been some kind of forever since the last time that I saw and read one of your poems, have you not been posting?! Anyway, to the poem itself. To make a very general, but the most important point for this, the poem is far too long. The repetitive “There was a time” isn’t working as well as it could, because there are far too many strophes, and each one is too short to carry forward. It’s a good poem in sentiment, and you can feel the emotion in the words. That’s a very important element that, thankfully, you’re not missing out on. Instead, it’s the format of your poem which is throwing your poem away. The best strophes that I found are the three following:
There was a time
when my teeth longed for ice cream
and the metal tore at my gums
and I was only eleven.

There was a time
when the mirror twisted my body
and the reflection snarled
and---

There was a time
when the plastic rawed my wrist
(back and forth and back and forth and)
shredding and shredding and bleeding.

These show excellent promise. I would play more with word usage, throwing out some “and”s and the like, but they have the right kind of gritty honesty that this poem needs. There is a raw feeling to the poem, but few raw moments. The other sections kind of skate along, without telling us anything particularly important, until we get here. Not to capitalise on personal hurts, but you need to capitalise on personal hurts. I see what the poem is doing but I think you could do better. Condense the theories of each strophe and collect them, like you have here. These three are hard hitting and don’t pull their punches, it makes the poem strong and almost controversial. Makes it worth reading, and retaining in memory.

I suppose what I’m getting at is that this needs to be slightly less of a monologue and more of a poem, with the techniques that make poems memorable. Imagery and description need to be more present in your lines, and they need to say more, throw more our way in the notion of situation.

It’s clearly an important poem to you, it has all of the hearty markers of a personal poem. I’m sure you can edit this back into something entirely accessible and wonderful to read.

Tell me if you edit, please!
Love.
I like you as an enemy, but I love you as a friend.
  





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Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:58 am
LiesOnLies says...



Too much "there was a time" in it. That really is annoying seeing that over and over and over and over again. I hope you get the picture. So far it seem that no body has said anything about that. Then again, I didn't read the other comments.
  





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Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:43 pm
Demoness says...



Heey, here's my review!

Okay so.. I feel that you're telling a great story here... it's just that I don't really feel the message come through to me because I have to put so much effort in to getting the words to flow. You're lines diverse in length and the rythm get's choppy and well.. If you could fix that I think it'd improve it alot. There was other nitpicks but I see those above have already pointed those out so. I like your idea and you have great imagery and all but fix the stanzas and it'll be much better :)

Good Luck & Keep Writing

// Demoness
"Some say the world will end in fire;
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice." - Robert Frost
  





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Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:38 pm
TheDayBeforeTomorrow says...



I really loved reading this! The beginning's wonderful, except 'when' would be more appropriate instead of 'where'. It gets a bit cliche in the middle ( cutting and depression) but that's natural, a lot of people go through times like those. Personally, I don't think you need people to help you out on your poems any more than reading and then telling you what seems out of place. Poems don't require proofreading (or much of it, anyway) because some errors make it poetic. And you can write 'were' instead of 'incremented' in the first verse. It'll seem more natural. A very well written piece on the whole, I almost teared up while reading this. Don't worry about rhythm or making it rhyme, many good poems are freeverse. Looking forward to more poetry from you!
-TheDayBeforeTomorrow
Veni. Vidi. Vici.

People are made of places. They carry with them
hints of jungles or mountains, a tropic grace
or the cool eyes of sea-gazers. -EB

Love thy mangoes or die.
  








I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.
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