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a rattlesnake by the watershed

by Pompadour

there was a rattlesnake
by the watershed
when I drank there last night.
not water, but fizzing cups
of alcohol, searing at my throat
until everything was a galaxy--
the cosmos, unfurling like
these tribal connexions.
forever writhing until
infinity sheared them apart.
forever swirling until
fate comes a-calling.
but the rattlesnake sits still--

the desert drivels,
like drunken Aztec tombs:
all glaze-lettered epitaphs
and a sheer lack of mourning.
corpses huddled up in silent places;
they breathe flecks of decay
against my speckled skin.
i don't mind, though,
not when rattlesnakes are there
amidst heavy downpours of sweat,
to etch hieroglyphs in the sand
through burning Novembers.

every night, the charcoal gives way
to the pastel-dusk, the stars--
a thousand singing sirens
hoisted away by the night.
the wind as flimsy
as the water that drips down
my parched, sand-paper throat.
a constant thrumming against
my ribs, cold stone against
the milky whiteness of bone.
but the rattlesnake sits still
by the watershed
as storms pass.

to comfort me. 

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1007 Reviews

Points: 13831
Reviews: 1007

Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:37 am
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TimmyJake wrote a review...

Timmy here!

Okay. Be prepared for short review, since I have no idea what to nitpick and this is too perfect to critique and I don't know what to say besides saying that this is perfect and shouldn't be changed in the slightest.

Now that its out of my system, I can continue!

Really, this is going to be one long comment on your poem, because quite honestly, I can't find anything to critique. The flow is amazing, even though you wrote this one with much shorter lines than before. (you mentioned to me that it was an experimental form of poetry?) Your usual format is long lines, normally prose in paragraph form, but this one maintained the same perfect flow you always have--but with shorter, more precise lines of poetry. I enjoyed every line, the imagery just flooding over me like water. Its amazing the kind of images that can be instilled into your mind, and how the phenomenal word choice you use can just build the picture even higher, crafting it into something much more beautiful than before. An example, I must show you.

they breathe flecks of decay

I have to say that this is my favorite line in the poem. Not only does it describe with perfection what corpses would breathe, (assuming they breathe at all) but you describe it with such clarity, all the while maintaining that perfect poetic feeling. Not just decay, but flecks of decay, implying that its rot, like dead skin or something? That was the visual I made in my mind when I read it. Gross and visual. What a perfect pair! :D

One thing that I thought was missing in this poem, now that I have read it fourteen times, is a reason for the character to like rattlesnakes. How do they comfort her? (assuming its a she. :P) What makes these rattlesnakes so wonderful and cuddly as opposed to some bunny rabbit or something. When writing something, using an animal that is usually not used to "comfort", you need to present a clear reason--an obvious way for your reader to make the connection and realize that the character needs this rattlesnake to comfort her desperately. The reason has to be concrete. And you know how to interlace that kind of stuff into poetry like only you can do it, making it seem like it doesn't dominate the work, but still implants the idea in the reader's head... :) You always know how.

Now I am just rambling on and on, but you get my point. A reason for the rattlesnake being the comfort is the only thing I think this poem could need. Besides that, this poem is pure perfection. I absolutely love it. <3

~Darth Timmyjake
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158 Reviews

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Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:07 pm
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Corncob says...


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401 Reviews

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Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:23 pm
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ThereseCricket says...

This is utterly amazing Pomps! *gladly gives like*

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200 Reviews

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Reviews: 200

Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:34 pm
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EmeraldEyes wrote a review...

Oooh. Another experimental type of work. YAY.

What Went Well

- the organised feel of it. The shape of the poem is very compact and makes it look like a snake. The end line, because it is separate, looks like a forked tongue. I don't know whether you did this on purpose or whether it just happened because of a formatting issue, but either way it looks cool and reinforces your message.
- the way the punctuation has been used in your writing adds just as much flavour as the actual language itself does, because it enforces the idea of more natural caesuras. Very interesting technique.

Even Better If

- you'd shaped one stanza like a snake and the other one like a watershed? XD It would be hard to do, but if you could make a picture poem it would be very impressive.
DISCLAIMER: it's an impressive poem anyway :P
- make the language allude more closely to the images of your content eg.

the milky whiteness of bone.
about the snakes and the ribs cracking and all this kind of thing.

Keep writing. :D

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827 Reviews

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Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:35 pm
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Morrigan wrote a review...

*screeches in delight*


Okay so this is fabulous. I love all the imagery you use. Fab.

Also, I like the fact that you take something as dangerous as a rattlesnake and make it a comfort to the narrator instead of a danger. It's an interesting inversion that really speaks to me.

That being said, I do have a few suggestions for improvement.

but steaming cups
of alcohol,
I get a weird image here. I've never drank warm alcohol, and steaming doesn't seem like it would be particularly tasty in an alcohol, though I heard that warm mead is pretty good. My suggestion is that you should name a particular alcohol, as when I drink, it's usually sprite and vodka with extra ice. Unless you didn't literally mean steaming? In that case, I'd try to find another word that implies heat but doesn't give the visual image of steaming.

until everything was a galaxy--

these tribal connexions.
I searched "connexions" and only got a brand name. I think you wanted to say "connections," but if you didn't, and I'm just not getting it, feel free to ignore me.

I feel that there's a disconnect between the first and the second stanza. First we're talking about the rattlesnake, and then we're looking at a desert? I didn't really see that the setting was a desert, so maybe allude to that in the first stanza, or at least try to transition more gracefully into the second stanza.

the desert drivels,
It speaks nonsense? How does it do that? This line was a bit unclear to me, and I might find a word that isn't "drivels" as it seems strange to me. Drivels means to talk nonsense, or an archaic definition is "to dribble, as from a nose or lip". Neither of these really made sense to me.

the wind
as flimsy as
the water that drips down
I'm not too hot on these line breaks. Ending on a weak word like "as" isn't usually a good idea, and I'm not sure if it works very well here. I would try breaking it up like this:
"the wind as flimsy
as the water that drips down"

I don't know if "throat" is important enough to get its own line, but I might be missing something, so if I'm wrong, ignore me. Also, I suggest you use a comma at the end of this instead of a full stop, as I was confused what the next part was referring to. If you use a comma, it's connected to the wind, so we can better understand the poem.

but the rattlesnake sits still
Find a better way to say "sits still." Even if the snake isn't moving, I want movement in the language. What is the snake actually doing? Is he waiting for prey? Is he sheltering from the storm near the watershed? Think about why the snake is sitting still, and give that instead of the actual action.

[quote]to comfort me.[quote] I think you should take this out. The idea is still in the poem even if you didn't say this. It feels a little melodramatic and tacked on, so I'd leave it out.

Altogether, I really, really liked this. I had to put on my nitpick hat to find anything! I hope that this review proves useful to you! Happy poeting!

Pompadour says...

"Connexions" is the British way of spelling "connections"; a variant form but it's not really used commonly anymore. I just find it pretty. XD

Thanks for the review! <3

magpie says...


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