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just another Where I'm From

by Liminality


I am from white male writers:

from Gaiman, Orwell, King.

I am from clockwork oranges and Nineteen Eighty-Four.

I’m from “Don’t be like that”,

from pro patria mori.

I am from a way with words

that I questioned,

The Old Lie.

-

I am from waiting for the jingling of keys,

from Tupperwares of empty coffee packets,

then from tired games of chess and Monkey on the mattress.

I am from timetables for times tables,

from structured workaholism.

I am from pdfs and Excel spreadsheets

highlighted for my

attention.

-

I am from no New Year visitors,

from late hours shared by three

I am from bruise-ringed eyes and the desktop glare at night.

I am from pretending to be lost,

from empty seats on awards day.

I am from “Just be happy” and “No expectations”,

as if two voices

could usurp the world.

-

I am from outside the gate of every church and temple,

from choking on sandalwood,

I am from slammed doors on missionaries and crumpled invitations.

I am from a trash-strewn beach,

from failed searching for a god.

I am from noisy funerals and headlines

that I red-inked

with teardrops.


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Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:39 pm
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Mea wrote a review...



All right, it took longer than I wanted, but I am finally here for this review!

This is an interesting poem. I'm not always quite sure what to make of it, and I wouldn't call myself an expert on reviewing poetry, so I think I'll just tell you my thoughts and interpretation of the piece and see where we go from there.

I think the idea behind this poem is really good and important, and I like what you're doing with the framing of "where I'm from." I think it really gets across the complex nature of the narrator's history, what in the past has led to the narrator's current state of mind and current challenges. I think where I start having a hard time with this poem is that all your different iterations of "I am from" aren't quite coalescing in my head. They don't feel very connected to me - I can definitely get a central theme out of each stanza, but the stanzas don't quite click together for me.

I think my favorite stanza is the final stanza. It has the most emotion and some really powerful imagery - I love the way you convey the narrator's desperate wandering and searching for meaning with the church and God imagery. Your last two lines are especially powerful - it's a great ending to the poem.

I think this last stanza kind of connects back to the first, because the narrator is rejecting the old ways because she can't find meaning in them, but the middle two stanzas are more of a mystery to me. I get a sense of isolation and being stretched too thin from those two stanzas, but although these are all good stanzas describing particular states of being, they just don't come together for me.

I'm ambivalent about the actual amount of repetition of "I am from." While you create some really powerful images using that format, by the end of the poem I had started to feel like this was one long list, rather than the poem taking me on a journey. By the end of the poem, the phrase "I am from" had lost a lot of its power to me - rather than being more imbued with meaning through the experiences and perspective described in the poem, it became a bit of mindless repetition. I wonder if you could restructure several of your lines to make it so you only repeat "I am from" 4-5 times in the poem, rather than using it more than 15 times.

Overall, I think you've got some really fascinating ideas and images in here, and I'm just looking for something to tie them all together. By and large, you're really good at getting a powerful image across in a succinct way, and so I don't have a lot to comment on at the sentence level.

And I think that's about all I've got for you! I hope what I've said here makes a little bit of sense, and if you have any questions or want me to explain something I said more, just ask! Hopefully this review was helpful to you. :) Good luck, and keep writing!




Liminality says...


Thank you for your review! Yes, I do agree that there's a bit of disconnect between stanzas 1,4 and 2,3. In my head, the events described in the stanzas are arranged chronologically, but I realise that's not so obvious in the text. The reason why 'I am from' was repeated so much was because I was rather stiffly following this style of poetry: http://www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html. It kind of has a set format. When I was writing this, I only changed a couple of things from the original style, but the repetition, unfortunately, was not one of them, haha.

Again, thanks!



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Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:43 am
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Mea says...



Hey! Just wanted to let you know that I definitely haven't forgotten that you wanted me to review this as your reward for winning the contest! I've been able to read this through now but I don't have the time to review it thoroughly tonight, so I will tomorrow for sure. :)




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Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:41 am
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ThatOneGuy2002 says...



Wow, thats a deep message, so relatable. Keep up the good work, and keep writing, i look foward to hearing more.




Liminality says...


Thanks for the kind words!



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Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:43 pm
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Bellarke wrote a review...



Hi, I am B, and I am gonna review this, because I see that it has none!!

I liked how you made the different places different paragraphs, It was very unique!!!

What I liked:

"I am from “Just be happy” and “No expectations”,

as if two voices

could usurp the world."

This shows that you are stuck between two things, and you are getting confused...And that there are two different things going on inside your head....


Some things that I notices:

Most of the lines have punctuation at the end, but I see a few that dont have them, Like...

"from late hours shared by three"

"I am from pdfs and Excel spreadsheets"

"highlighted for my"

Overall:

I loved this poem, it was wonderful!! You were so unique!!!

Keep writing,
~B.




Liminality says...


Thanks for the review!




Act in the valley so that you need not fear those who stand on the hill.
— Danish proverb