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gotham's forbidden garden

by Mageheart


when god made the garden of eden
and told eve to never eat
from the apple tree’s red, red fruit,
what he should have said to adam
was to never touch the vines
that curl around the bark.

never mind the snake.
and never mind adam, eve,
because lilith is right there
and craves your touch.

with her by your side, eve,
you can stay in the garden forever
and eat all of the apples you want.

forget about adam.
he only turned to you
because god made eve for adam.
he’s the true serpent of the garden, anyways.

and while eve doesn’t need
to be adam and eve
or even eve and lilith
it’s also rather nice
being by lilith’s side.

Author's Note: This poem was originally part of my Batman-based NaPo collection from this past April. If you want the context for this character poem, you can check out the explanation at the end of the poem here!


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462 Reviews


Points: 121
Reviews: 462

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Fri Sep 30, 2022 12:17 pm
vampricone6783 wrote a review...



Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy? A beautifully unholy match made in Hell. I love how you made it seem like even if things don’t work out, Ivy will still be there. I identified Harley as Eve, Ivy as Lilith, and
The Joker as Adam.


But who is the snake in this story? Who is God? Are they supposed to be anyone? Are they also The Joker, in a way? I’m not sure.

I enjoyed reading this. I wish you a wonderful day/night.




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Tue Sep 06, 2022 12:37 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hi there Mage! Lim here with a review.

First Impressions
I like the speaker’s voice in this. It feels sincere and conversational even though the main image in the poem is around a Biblical reference, which usually gets pretty high-brow. I also generally enjoy twists on the ‘Garden of Eden’ story! I notice most of the imagery and the word choices are in ‘plain language’. I like this because it conveys a sense of simplicity that reflects well with the sentiment “it’s also rather nice / being by lilith’s side”.

Subject & Interpretation
Without reading the explanation but having some tv tropes-derived knowledge about Batman, I’d say the poem’s speaker is meant to represent Harley Quinn comparing her relationship to the Joker (the snake/ Adam) to her relationship with Poison Ivy (Lilith). I interpreted this as her talking to herself in a way, since there’s direct address being used (“you” and “your”) but the ‘narration’ in the poem sounds like stuff Harley Quinn might say, as I’ll get into later.

you can stay in the garden forever
and eat all of the apples you want.

Ivy’s garden seems to be compared with the garden of Eden. Whereas the garden of Eden is restrictive, full of rules and warnings (“told eve never to eat”, “should have said to adam”), Ivy’s garden is less authoritative, so to speak, described using phrases like “right there” and “by your side”, positioning a more companionable relationship to “eve”.
Another interpretation I can see is this could also be Poison Ivy as the speaker, though I feel like the last two lines lean more towards Harley Quinn being the speaker, because it sounds like she’s voicing her own thoughts there.

Voice
Something I like is how the word choice consistently portrays a voice for the speaker. For example, “never mind” and “forget about” are very conversational and so makes the speaker seem like someone more down-to-earth, which is reflected in the images of apples and vines. My favourite stanza in terms of the voice aspect was:
and while eve doesn’t need
to be adam and eve
or even eve and lilith
it’s also rather nice
being by lilith’s side.

Contractions like “doesn’t” and “it’s” also convey more informality, and the word “rather nice” kind of ‘softens’ the feeling, if that makes sense. It makes the speaker sound like they’re making this admission in a bashful way, which lends a unique voice to them.

Rhythm and Structure
Here are a few places where I thought the rhythm was a little less flowy.
while eve doesn’t need
to be adam and eve
or even eve and lilith

It was a bit hard to wrap around the line “eve . . . be adam and eve”, because the first thing that struck my mind was ‘wait, how can one person be two people?’. I think if there had been more lines where the usual grammatical conventions were warped, this wouldn’t have stuck out so much, but since most of the poem is written in plain conversational language, this part felt just a tad awkward to me.
he’s the true serpent of the garden, anyways.

I thought this line broke up the flow a bit. It’s much longer than other lines in the same stanza, whereas the other stanzas all have lines of about equal length. The use of the comma here is also different from other places in the poem that have a comma. Here, it’s being used to tack on this colloquial interjection, “anyways”, but elsewhere it was always a ‘pause’ in the reading for emphasis, like in stanza 1 (“red, red fruit”) and stanza 2 (“with her by your side, eve”). (I also felt like including ‘the snake’ in the poem wasn’t completely necessary to tell its story? It was a bit confusing to have two figures that “eve” is turning away from with the background knowledge about this poem.)
My favourite stanza in terms of rhythm was:
never mind the snake.
and never mind adam, eve,
because lilith is right there
and craves your touch.

I like the first time that this period at the end of a line shows up. It acts like a bit of a shock from the previous stanza and shows the speaker is putting their foot down on something.

Overall
I like the concept and structure of this poem, and how it conveys a complete story. The last two lines are particularly neat and give a more lighthearted and hopeful end.

Hope some of this helps and feel free to ask for more feedback!
-Lim




Mageheart says...


Thank you for your review! It's nice getting feedback from someone who doesn't know a lot about DC Comics, since it helps me see how clearly I explained things in the poem. This poem was originally written with the intention of it being about Poison Ivy, but Harley ended up being the subject by accident. :P

I can also see what you mean about the inclusion of the serpent. Rereading my poem, it's confusing having both Adam and the serpent mentioned. I might take out that first mention of the snake, and just play around with the rhythm of the "he's the true serpent of the garden" line.

Thank you again for your review! It was very helpful. :)




To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.
— Allen Ginsberg