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Wooden Planks Floating

by Liminality


Once a shipwreck floated upside down into the peach-coloured sunrise. We realised it backwards and assumed the ocean was being set on fire. After all, the mire of all the demands for magnifying glasses to start producing their own light was enough to make a snapdragon throw its long red neck back and laugh. A supporting cast of weeds shivering together in mirth.

We tried only to fish for things that would make a difference. Things that wouldn't make sense. That wouldn’t make dollars, or millions of miles in air pollution, but rather

reshape

the way we visualise ants

next to miniature mountains.

We know it meant so much the time the headlines bled into sapphire waters knowing they were pointless. How we giggled the glitter into space-dust and painted the sky bright blue in our ir-revering. The seaweed shade of rot in the shadows drawn by dusk creeping away in horror as we disposed of our earlier conjectures and let them sink beneath the footprints of the mule. And we heard

storms

ahead rumbling --

an empty glass.

Moment to moment, watching pale sunlight ebb and flow between the window bars, we miscounted misreadings of maps with lost keys; one, the old tired cliches; two, the silver moon in its younger face; three, the floodgates that stopped just shy of their door-stopper. The cat that was yowling by the river in winter with finality began to quiet down late

at night

coming home with the car

exhaust left on.

We have more places to be, out there in the dark, with the sound of the waves groping blindly at the shore. From the beginning of the city -- a red halo breaking -- these things eloping silently with the ghost of a princess, the soul of a siren in the sea. And to think we thought this was a shipwreck. Such naivete. 


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Thu Aug 11, 2022 4:36 am
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lliyah wrote a review...



Hi there Lim! Not me just poking my nose through some of your poem archives and finding another! shipwreck poem!

I love what you did with the blend of really stark line-breaks and longer descriptive portions - it really does create a "floating planks effect"

This part especially:

That wouldn’t make dollars, or millions of miles in air pollution, but rather

reshape

the way we visualise ants

next to miniature mountains.


is so effective! And the paradoxical phrase of "miniature mountain" (which you then continue throughout the piece) was especially interesting to think about. Some of your paradoxical phrases like "exhaust / left on" were also really inventive and kept me reading back previous lines to see if I could catch more of them.

The first stanza started with the paradox in a great imagery moment of ships sinking into sunsets, and "realizing it backwards" / "shivering in mirth" etc.

One phrase I didn't know how to interpret was "We tried only to fish for things that would make a difference. Things that wouldn't make sense. " I couldn't tell if they were fishing for "things that wouldn't make sense" as the "things that would make a difference" or if they were fishing for some particular "something" that they thought wouldn't make sense. Overall I wasn't entirely sure if the fishing was more metaphorical or linguistic or literal but I think that's alright too.

Couldn't figure out "ir-revering" as well.

That middle chunk at "moment to moment" has some nice sound moments with alliteration of "miscounted / misreadings / maps" and "keys / cliches" etc. It was more difficult to place the cat and mule in the same "imagery world" as some of the sun / water / ship / pollution elements.

I think the poem definitely had an eco-poetry tone to it, maybe with the image of the ship sinking confused into the sun being a metaphor for our own self-sinking due to pollution. The ocean's connection to plastic waste / pollution also fit together with that.

I also enjoyed how you ended it too with the "And to think we thought this was a shipwreck. Such naivete." given the paradoxical nature of the rest of the poem, by the end I don't know if I am to trust the narrator's analysis but it does make you feel compelled to read the piece again which I think is an excellent closing strategy to encourage extra engagement with the piece.

Sorry this reciew is a tad scattered overall, but I like this surreal stuff you're doing here and always a fan of when you tackle things with an eco-poetry edge too!

I'd love to know what inspired it too and if you had a theme take-away you were thinking of when you wrote it. :)

~ alliyah




Liminality says...


Thanks for the review alliyah! Not sure if I've said this anywhere, but this poem is actually me combining different motifs I've used on my YWS poetry all throughout 2021, which included some eco-poetry (which is why that theme seems to have carried over despite me not intending it, haha). Did I have a particular inspiration? I guess I was thinking about my own drive to be resourceful and work with what I had that year. That's kind of where this line is headed, though there's certainly not enough context in this version of the poem for that interpretation to shine through:

And to think we thought this was a shipwreck. Such naivete.


I'd rewritten the poem here which to me seems much closer to the intended idea. Still,

One phrase I didn't know how to interpret was "We tried only to fish for things that would make a difference. Things that wouldn't make sense. " I couldn't tell if they were fishing for "things that wouldn't make sense" as the "things that would make a difference" or if they were fishing for some particular "something" that they thought wouldn't make sense. Overall I wasn't entirely sure if the fishing was more metaphorical or linguistic or literal but I think that's alright too.

That's interesting! I'd been going for a pun with homophony there - 'sense' sounds just like 'cents'. "Things that would make a difference. Things that wouldn't make cents." --> hopefully that kind of gets across the meaning there? I might have been trying to say something about money and how it drives society's 'rationality'.

I like your observation on the paradoxical phrases! Those were certainly fun to write. I put them in to give this kind of dream-like absurd feel to the speaker's world and show how they're trying to make sense of it their own way.

Cheers!
-Lim



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Fri Jan 07, 2022 4:30 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...



This poetically describes how we didn’t think much of this pandemic,how we were so naive.At first,people thought that it would only last a week and nothing more.What a surprise when we realized this was much bigger than we imagined.Hopefully,we won’t ever have to go through another pandemic again.Good job on the poem and I hope you have an awesome and cool day and night.




Liminality says...


Thanks for the review! The pandemic isn't really at all what I had in mind here, but hey, 'Death of the Author', right?



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Mon Jan 03, 2022 5:55 am
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Rook wrote a review...



Hello!
Typing on my phone so I'm sure to make lots of typos, so please excuse them!
This was such a fascinating poem! I don't have much experience reading or writing poetry that is this level of surreal so take my advice with a grain of salt!
I feel like there's a really strong emotion you've captured or elicited in me. It is hard to pin a name to but I've felt it in other surreal poems. Not sure if that feeling came because i associate it with surreal poems or if you've just perfectly captured the emotion.
I really loved certain parts:
"We realised it backwards and assumed the ocean was being set on fire."
the fishing bit
"we heard
storms
ahead rumbling --
an empty glass."
"the floodgates that stopped just shy of their door-stopper. The cat that was yowling by the river in winter with finality began to quiet down late"

not sure what exactly drew me to these lines over others but these ones evoked that emotion the strongest in me.

I think there are probably weaker lines that could either be cut or revised to be stronger so they can find their place. I'm not going to list them because I think my opinion on what lines are the weakest on a surrealist poem like this shouldn't have much weight at all. I do wish however that there was a more consistent theme to the imagery. you have a lot of water stuff which is great but you also include like, snapdragons for example which, imo, are not at all ocean plants and so their inclusion in the poem threw me off.

I think it might make this stronger if you highlight your absolute favorite bits and try deleting everything else and stitch it back together. or it might ruin it, but it's something to try!

one other thing I kind of wanted was more literary devices, especially sound devices to create melopoeia. stuff like consonance and assonance, alliteration and rhythm. None of these elements have to be regular like a meter or rhyme scheme, but I think surreal poetry really shines with sound play such as that. I did notice a little bit of it already, but it's love to see more!

Anyway this poem is already extremely cool and well written. It's really up to you whether you want to futz with it or keep it the way it is because you like it. I think it's really nice either way.
Keep up the great work and keep writing!!
-Rook




Liminality says...


Thanks so much for the review, Rook! I think I might try that deletion strategy and see what happens. Yep, there could probably be more sound devices and maybe parallels in here now that you mention it. (I might get rid of the pseudo-haibun structure if that helps me make the sound come across better? who knows)

Thanks again!




"And what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"
— Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland