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E - Everyone

Cleaning up the house.

by Pernicus

The merry hours passed like minutes

and the last guests shuffle out the door.

Waving goodbyes at me and my house

and the drinks and the fun and the mess.

I am


and the buzz is evaporating like a puddle

on hot tarmac. And my stomach sinks,

I can hear the crickets and the whirring air conditioner.

I stand there for a good ten minutes

with my red plastic cup in hand.

I am


and the pit inside me is deeper and wider,

and now it is empty but for the beer.

I pour the rest of my drink down the sink,

and wash my hands twice to be sure.

I am


apart from the ants on the leftover pizza

that found their way under my skin.

I collect crushed cans that they left behind

like how they left me empty here.

I am


but the two pills didn’t dampen the fear

or the silence that screams when I cover my ears.




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1313 Reviews

Points: 23286
Reviews: 1313

Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:03 pm
Hannah wrote a review...

Heya, Pernicus.

First of all, I really like that the simple, descriptive, but intriguing title accurately describes the poem that awaits inside. And after reading through the poem twice, getting distracted by my sleepy cat, and coming back, these are the simple, strong images that stuck with me: the two pills and standing in the middle of the room just after the door closed, how that silence and stillness was closing in.

These are the images that really bring out the emotion and message of the poem for me. What was especially strong for me now that I reread it was the sounds you chose to describe: the air conditioner and the crickets -- that sound fills the empty space of the empty room, and builds that sense of loneliness without having to say "the room was empty and I was lonely".

I also really like the dirtiness of the image with the ants, because it brings a sense of disgust -- like the speaker might be disgusted with him/herself for feeling so intense just because he/she is alone as well as a visceral texture (we can't help but imagine ants running up and down under our skin).

As with any writing, I would suggest you go back through and see which lines you might not need to keep. For example, do you need to describe downing the rest of the beer? What does it add to the narrative or the emotion?

I hope these thoughts were helpful to you!

Feel free to PM me or reply here if you have any questions/comments about the review.

Thanks a lot for sharing, and good luck!



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509 Reviews

Points: 20610
Reviews: 509

Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:33 pm
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Lauren2010 wrote a review...

Hi Pernicus! Lauren here for a review ^^

Woah, man. I am immediately back in my college apartment. I love so many of these details here. They're so specific and have a total truth to them that I relate to so hard. I especially like stanzas 2, 3, and 4 (if you count the "I am alone"s as breaks between stanzas, which I'm doing just for ease of pointing out my favorite bits). Soooo good. So lonely, so macabre.

The two sections that fell a little flat for me are the first and the last "stanzas". The writing itself is fine, and the images are clear, but they're missing some of the specificity of the rest of the poem. The first bit in particular felt this way for me. Is there some way to reframe the end of the party to feel more specific to this narrator?

The final "stanza" or basically these two lines:

but the two pills didn’t dampen the fear

or the silence that screams when I cover my ears.

While fine enough, kind of undercut the feeling of loneliness that should have been drowning me at the end of the poem. I think this is because it feels rather obvious, whereas the sadness in the rest of the poem feels more subtle or implied by what's happening (with the exception of a few lines, such as "and the pit inside me is deeper and wider," and "like how they left me empty here."). Whereas I usually call for more specificity in poetry, I think that here you'll be better off by letting the images stand in for the emotions (which is a common trick in all kinds of writing!). The crushed empty cans and the way the narrator handles them implies for me that the narrator is feeling empty and alone, without needing the line that tells us they're empty and alone. We also have the fantastic repetition of the "I am alone" that moves from a feeling almost of relief to a feeling of deep longing that is made somewhat less effective when the narrator tells us how sad and alone they are in other places.

Anyway, those final two lines before the last "I am alone" feel a bit too on the nose, in much the same way as the other examples I just gave. I wonder what effect the poem would have if you just removed those two lines so that the end of the poem read:
I am





There's something about the change in line breaks that is really moving for me here, but of course this is a personal preference thing! I'd just recommend playing around with those two lines and seeing if there's a way you can make it more of an implied emotion or a felt emotion than a stated emotion. So much of the rest of the poem does such a great job of making the reader feel (rather than telling them how to feel or how the narrator is feeling) that it would be a shame to lose that in those integral last lines. The old "show don't tell" thing often comes around in poetry too. ;)

All in all, I loved this. I think with a bit more tweaking you'll have something truly fantastic.

Keep writing!


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Points: 55
Reviews: 1

Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:14 pm

Your poem is so macabre and very enchanting. I would love to know the meaning behind it. The repetition of "I am alone" really creates an eerie vibe. I love it.

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; but the valiant will never taste of death but once."
— Julius Caesar