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collected observations of the loveless

by Kafkaescence


note: for Dogs' contest. my words were caryatid, flambeau, and stockinet, taken from Poe's "Hop Frog."

meet Mr and Mrs Gordias.
they tie knots in the elbows of trees
while their children spend first steps from the manger 
making love to sighing caryatids, which swell 
in youthful retrograde
and crumble like the chronology of empires.
 
here's an equivocacy: crippled jesters take flambeaus to the world
at the pinnacle of romance (the killing wound,
and it leaves us evercold in the bowl of space). 
manger children dance the precipice two-step 
in a celebration of heartless masculinity and call it love
and beauty, without realizing 
that it can't be both at once.
 
she invented the knot, and he invented 
the blade to cut it with. this is love:
they knead stockinets into old wounds as if they're dough
and somewhere they must know that bread 
could taste a universe (if it wanted),
but a wound is always a wound.
 
here's a secret: loosen these knots enough 
and she'll see that they aren't knots 
but rings
that fit gently around the finger. 


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Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:20 pm
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dogs wrote a review...



Hello there Kafka! Tucker here with your review. Well firstly, congratulations on submitting your piece to the poetry contest, you certainly had a batch of difficult words and your excellent writing certainly didn't fail to disappoint. Do keep in mind that all my comments are nit picks to the extreme, because every poem I've read so far is just excellent, and I need to at least find something to poke at. Let's dive in now shall we?

"making love to sighing caryatids, which swell"

Excellent use of "caryatids," incredibly smooth and it just sounds like it belongs your poem. Well done there.

"and crumble like the chronology of empires."

I love this line, the imagery here is just spot on and it's just perfect. Certainly the best line in your poem. It's simply worded, but has a brilliant idea behind it and really gets the point across.

"here's an equivocacy: crippled jesters take flambeaus to the world"

Couple quick notes, firstly: this line is a little too long in comparison to the rest of the poem. I would suggest that you just cut it into two different lines, spacing it after "equivocacy:" Also, as Hannah mentioned earlier, flambeaus does seem to be used in replaced of "torches." Naturally, it means the same thing and works sensically, but it just sounds a little off and out of place here. Can't quite put my finger on why.

A quick note, I'm not a huge fan of using parenthesis unless it's a short line that doesn't break the flow of your piece. In this case, I think that if anything is important enough to be stated without the parenthesis, they should be taken out. The parenthesis that is, so try to state your line without those darned parenthesis.

"manger children dance the precipice two-step"

Another excellent line, way to use precipice extraordinarily creatively. I would never have expected to see it used in this fashion, excellent job in that regard.

"in a celebration of heartless masculinity and call it love"

Now, in this regard, I'm not sure what "heartless masculinity" is doing for your poem at all. I don't believe that it's doing anything for your piece or the point you're trying to make. True it makes more sense when you add in the line about The girl inventing the knot and him the blade to cut it with, but if you keep that bit (which is fine) I think you should cut out the "love and beauty, without realizing that i can't be both." It seems a tad bit superfluous and that you're going for a little bit too much. Especially if you're driving at the fact that men heartless attitude isn't actually love, but lust.

I loved the line about her inventing the knot and him the blade, excellent job there.

"they knead stockinets into old wounds as if they're dough"

Great use of "stockinets," you incorporate the words into your writing so incredibly smoothly, which is impressive considering you got such hard words.

"and somewhere they must know that bread/ could taste a universe,"

I'm not sure that I get this at all, it doesn't seem to make any sense at all too me. It comes off as you're trying a little too hard with the imagery and symbolism here with the bread. So much so that I think you could even cut it out and it wouldn't have a negative effect on your poem. Again, it seems a little superfluous and it doesn't add to your poem because its meaning isn't clear.

Ok, as for your ending, it is missing some essential point to really drive your meaning home. Just going off of what Trident said, i think you need to add something else in there to play with the irony a little more and just make a jaw dropping finish to this piece. All and all an excellent piece of writing with just jaw droppingly amazing vocab and smooth writing. Just a few tiny touchups to add in and you'll be on the road to perfection. Don't be afraid to either clarify your point that you're trying to make, or just cut it out. Let me know if you ever need a review. Keep up the good work!

TuckEr EllsworTh :smt032




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Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:17 pm
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Hannah wrote a review...



Yo! What even is all this?! This is like, exactly my style, and even though I can't quite clearly follow the events like I might be able to follow a sequence through prose, I feel like I still go on a journey, which allows me to forgive some of the distance from clarity. I think that has a lot to do with the way you move the setting. We have a space with trees, so we imagine outdoors, and then we're on a precipice (even if it wasn't meant literally, that's what the word evokes), back to the trees, then a kitchen, then the ridges and valleys of the wrinkles on a finger. Very strong sense of place, and even more might help to ground the reader in that sense of forward movement, letting you communicate strongly without a narrative.

So, I think the only one of the three words that really bothers me is "flambeaus" because of the way you've used it. With the other two words, I feel like you used them in their unique context, with their specific meaning, but it feels like flambeau was clearly a substitute for the word you looked it up to mean, the way you've structured the sentence around it. Like it feels like the sentence reads "take torches to the world" but you stuck in a synonym. I think from looking at how it sticks out, I'd recommend searching for sources that use flambeau and see the sentence structures that were acceptable when people would naturally use this word.

Otherwise, my least favorite stanza is the second one, because there are some phrases I'm not buying the authenticity of. Firstly, the repetition and examination of the word "love" in such close quarters is jarring. Secondly, "heartless masculinity" doesn't clearly refer to anything the way the action of cutting a knot or making love to a statue does. It doesn't even bring out a good image, which makes me skim over it entirely on subsequent read throughs. If I can't get meaning OR image of it, I feel like it should be cut. I wonder what you meant by it.

Let me know if you have any questions about my review. It's written after midnight, so I might make typos or not be clear, and I apologize if I've done either of those things. D:

Anyway, good luck and keep writing! (:




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Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:48 am
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Trident wrote a review...



Hello kafka, here are my thoughts:

meet Mr and Mrs Gordias.
they tie knots in the elbows of trees


Love the first two lines. It's modern and mythological, suburban and ancient. Nice juxtaposition. Knots in trees is a lovely image.

while their children spend first steps from the manger
making love to sighing caryatids, which swell
in youthful retrograde
and crumble like the chronology of empires.


I am not all the way there on the manger reference, which brings in religious overtones here and later. I don't know if those references are quite connecting to the overall feel of the poem. The sighing caryatids are really a fantastic image, and it's a great use of the word you were given. You start to lose me with "chronology of empires" which doesn't quite fit with the word "crumble".

here's an equivocacy: crippled jesters take flambeaus to the world
at the pinnacle of love (the killing wound,
and we'll be lying evercold in the bowl of space).


This whole stanza is too much. That first line is the most convoluted and forced image of the poem and it's this absurd otherworld that doesn't belong. It doesn't seem to function here in any sense other than a drug-induced fit, and you've gone from this Greek-inspired world and turn it into a carnival. There is too much whiplash with the imagery.

I do, however, enjoy "lying evercold in the bowl of space" which is just so sensory.

manger children dance the precipice two-step
in a celebration of heartless masculinity and call it love
and beauty, without realizing
that it can't be both at once.


Here are the manger children again, and I am left to wonder. I think you need to make more clear the intention of what they represent because there are mixed mythology/Christianity references, and so all I am getting is that they are humanity in general, which could be fun.

she invented the knot, and he invented
the blade to cut it with.


Just love that.

they knead stockinets into old wounds as if they're dough
and somewhere they must know that bread
could taste a universe,
but a wound is always a wound.


I like this as well. I think this whole stanza is the star, maybe paired with the first. Your images aren't trying too hard and they elicit all sorts of interpretations, but in a way that leads your reader toward what you want them to get out of it. This stanza has much more to say in its simplicity than the second stanza in its convoluted nature.

here's a secret: loosen these knots enough
and she'll see that they aren't knots
but rings
that fit gently around the finger.


I see what you mean to do here, but it's missing something. It's a feel-good ending and I don't mind that, but I think it needs to be more cutting. Like it only being a secret isn't good enough to exhibit the irony of the situation. And the dramatic irony has the potential to really add some power to the ending.

I hope my review can at least give you something to think about. This was a tight and fun piece. Very enjoyable.





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