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laws of physics

by BluesClues

an object in motion stays in motion

that's what I tell myself as I run through task after task data entry research dishes laundry readings I'm just a wheel that got pushed so I'll roll

until I run into something with equal and opposite force:

a funeral, probably, or something equally terrible and finite.

the truth is, I'm not rolling along by chance. not moving because something set me in motion, because something else has yet to stop me.

this year has swelled up around me like a tidal wave  and I'm swimming, moving because I have to, like a mako shark, a great white

because if I stop, I'll drown

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545 Reviews

Points: 29617
Reviews: 545

Wed Oct 14, 2020 6:33 pm
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Tuckster wrote a review...

Hi there Blue! Tuck here with a review for you.

Overall, this was a beautiful poem. I like that you took some creative liberties and stepped away from the more traditional formatting of poetry to follow the format that is best suited for you. It also felt like an appropriate length: I feel that there was plenty of imagery that created a vivid picture, but it wasn't unnecessarily lengthy. Finally, your ending was strong and solid, as you seem to have an impressive ability to do. Let's jump into a more thorough analysis, shall we?

I really liked the way that you inserted the tasks into the second paragraph. To me, it mirrored the way I can be relaxing and then my thought stream is interrupted by the to-do list that I keep running in the back of my mind. It's an overachiever mood for sure, and I think the way you subtly integrated it into the poem is really cool.

the truth is, I'm not rolling along by chance. not moving because something set me in motion, because something else has yet to stop me.

Ironically, I literally just studied Newton's Laws of Motion this morning, so they are very fresh in my mind. This paragraph honestly doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm guessing you mean that you are rolling along by chance? If that's the case, I take issue with that because it means you're applying the laws of physics inconsistently, and it lowkey bugs me xD Honestly, I feel like this paragraph is your weakest and needs some shaping up. Maybe something like "the truth is, I'm rolling along by chance. I'm not moving because something set me in motion; I'm moving because something has yet to stop me". If you could use some stronger verbs and imagery in that stanza, all the better, but I'll leave that to you.

And to end this review on a happy note, I found it interesting that you referred to yourself as a shark when that doesn't really seem consistent with your personality. Personally, I find you to be more of a tropical fish than a shark. So I consulted YWS' resident ichthyologist @ShadowVyper what kind of fish you would be, and she said you were this fishie:
I am delighted to be the one to introduce you to the humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (which translates to "triggerfish with the snout of a pig"), otherwise known as the reef triggerfish. It is the state fish of Hawaii and is found in the Pacific ocean near Hawaii. This fish takes big gulps of sand to find mussels, then eats the mussels and spits the sand back out into the ocean. Shady said that it suits you because, and I quote, "[I] feel like she'd really like the name of that fish and it's pretty xD".

I hope that this review was helpful to you, and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out! On the whole, this was a strong and well-written poem, and I'm glad to see you stepping out of your creative comfort zone! My biggest suggestion is to tighten up that third-to-last paragraph and maybe re-evaluate your spirit fish ;)


BluesClues says...

omg a fish I didn't know about for the price of one review!!! <3 this cheered me up greatly.

so I did actually mean NOT moving by chance, but I think I need to clarify? I feel like your confusion comes from the "because something else has yet to stop me" - there's no "not" in that clause, but I meant for the not at the start of that sentence [fragment] to apply to the whole thing? so this is what's meant:

the truth is, I'm not rolling along by chance. [I'm] not moving because something set me in motion, [and I'm not moving] because something else has yet to stop me.

does that make sense? I'm trying to clarify whether it's more of a "my meaning in that paragraph not being clear enough with how it's worded now" problem or more of an actual substance/"what my meaning IS" problem. I think I understood what you meant in your critique about that stanza but I'm not sure.

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1026 Reviews

Points: 119757
Reviews: 1026

Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:00 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

This is really beautiful and moving Blue, so glad you wrote and posted it, because it puts into words some feelings that are really difficult to describe?

I like the "matter of fact" / removed / cold voice of the narrator because it all comes across even harsher the stark reality of what they're going through, and how they're maybe not processing it because they have to keep moving, so they can even be as dramatic as to say "I'll drown" or speak about death / funeral so mater-of-factly.

Yeah, I absolutely feel like I relate to what the narrator is describing, and I'm guessing a lot of people can. There's a simplicity to the piece, with not a lot of flowery language, but the metaphors/comparison to sharks and the laws of physics really work. I'm taking the meaning to be that the narrator in light of the grief / trauma / burden they are experiencing, does not have the option to slow-down, because if they did either emotionally or physically they wouldn't be able to keep on going - so the metaphor to the Great White shark is perfect with the perpetual motion the only thing keeping them alive, but also kind of what is killing them?

I think more mildly someone could interpret the poem to be about busy-ness-culture rather than like grief / sadness, but from the line about "a funeral, probably" I definitely interpreted it to be more grief / tiredness / sadness - covid related.

Just a few suggestions (again acknowledging that this is very powerful as-is, so these are just additional things you may want to consider)

* Covid vs Timelessness -
I've reviewed a few covid poems over revmo and something I've been thinking about is what is going to make this poem relevant / relateable when we're out of covid? What is going to prevent it from sounding melo-dramatic when we're not in the thick-of-it. The thing is sometimes people even interpret poems by Pablo Neruda as being "melo-dramatic" when he talks about "life and death" (in his cultural context of very literal life and death in the Chilean Revolution because we're so used to life and death being "mere-metaphor". I think to help keep this as "timeless" you could either more explicitly attach it to the historical moment (ie. putting a date as part of the poem, or an author note like "written in covid-quarantine" or just some other little covid note in there).

Another idea is to make it clear that "funeral" isn't a metaphor by adding some sort of link to the virus. Another consideration though, is not all poems need to be timeless! There's certainly validity in things that only make sense "in the moment" too.

* italics / consistency in formatting -
I actually really liked the long lines you used in here, it made it feel more like a "definition poem" and I don't think detracted in any way to the meaning or flow since this poem is short so this made it feel more artsy? unique? to keep the long lines.

I didn't think your second usage of italics worked though as I couldn't figure out it's relation to the first part of italics. The first usage seemed like a definition / quote, whereas the second seemed like a to-do list, but being in italics my brain tried to make it fit into the first usage of italics. I might format it literally in bullet points, or put dashes, or back-slashes in there, or good-ol commas, something a bit more expected so the readers don't have to work so hard to figure out what's going on in the formatting.

I liked what you did with punctuation / capitalization all along the way as it really felt like it fit with the "keep moving" theme, especially with the colons and lines broken mid-phrase. And I really liked that you chose not to close this poem in a period, signaling that the narrator / poem keep going (just like the content of the piece!) the sentence isn't finished. Lovely! The lack of a period actually puts a grammatical nod to hope? or at least continued existence rather than death, and it feels very intentional based on the fact that you used periods at the ends of your other sentences.

I don't know if you've read / watched the play "w;t" or "wit" but it reminded me of the main character's big deal that she makes over the John Donne using a semi-colon to show continuation and I notice, and love that.

roll -
you use the phrase "I'll roll" / "I'm not rolling along by chance" and I feel like "roll" feels really casual to use in a poem this serious. Like when I talk about hanging out with friends and if they're ready to leave, I might say "read to roll?" it's almost slang, and tripped me up to read twice in the same piece. If you were going a bit stronger with that wheel motif, I think it might have fit / worked, but my preference would not to be to have that word there.

the truth is -
I think phrasing-wise most of the poem really made sense, and was really clear/easy to understand. This sentence though is a bit to follow, "the truth is, I'm not rolling along by chance. not moving because something set me in motion, because something else has yet to stop me." I think the trouble is that after reading "i'm not rolling along by chance" I expect to read why/how they are rolling, but then there's like a repetition. Maybe if you put "I'm not rolling because something set me in motion"? I'm not sure, it's just a bit hard to follow what's happening in the second sentence and how it relates to the one that comes before it.

The poem I think is purposely a little emotionally removed from the narrator - as in we really don't hear specifically what's troubling them. On one hand this does allow a person to write in their own concerns / story into it, but on the other hand I think there is a little loss of opportunity for the poem to emotionally connect to the reader as much. That is part of what I'm trying to say in my KB Specificity article - that sometimes an attempt to make a poem feel a bit more open/generic actually makes a poem less-relateable because the problem/conflict feels "blank or empty" rather than something one could relate to.

In this situation though, the emotional removal could be part of that "continuing to move" theme of not really processing what's going on, and actually that was really part of what I really liked about the poem - so I don't really know if it's worth resolving, except maybe going back and forth between cold-removed / emotional-specific.

Hopefully that all makes sense! Thanks for posting this! [200 points well spent!! :) ]

If you have any questions about my review or wanted feedback on something I didn't cover, please let me know.

keep on writing,

~ alliyah

BluesClues says...

ooh I like the idea of slashes instead of italics for the task list bit. interestingly (maybe? maybe boringly, who knows, whatever), although I spit this out last night for reasons more or less related to covid, I've had "have to keep moving like a shark or I'll sink and die" written in my poetry journal since july 2019, so the original idea wasn't inspired by covid and this is something I've felt fairly frequently in my life. tbh I was going to put "life" instead of "this year" but then I felt like saying "life" was too melodramatic actually haha. but I wasn't sure what else to say bc it's so much stuff.

(p sure last july it was v specifically the anniversaries of my grandparents' deaths getting to me as they have every single year. until ironically enough this one, bc there's so much else to be upset about already lol.)

alas personalness is something I literally always struggle with in poetry bc on one hand it's a coping mechanism but on the other hand digging too much into my own head about what's bothering me hurts and I'll barely do it in my journal/diary, let alone anything anyone is ever going to read. I'm p sure this is feedback I've gotten on almost every poem I've ever written, esp the more personal they are >.< ah well. I did think about getting more specific I think after the tidal wave bit and before the shark bit? but then I wasn't sure bc I used to have a tendency to way overwrite poems so since then I've worked on keeping them short and to the point. and then also you and tuck both kinda talked about how the lack of that really makes it feel like someone just fending it all off and moving and purposefully not feeling, so it also sort of works? idk, what do you think? do you think maybe another list like the task list but of the things bothering ~the narrator~ toward the end would add to this or nah?

alliyah says...

Whoops -> I say, "ask me questions about my review" and then totally did not register this. AH! It is hard to hit a balance with confessional poetry to /feel/ honest when it's really dramatic, even when it really is genuine, but I do think the time period is helping that out even if the poem is drawing from different experiences. Because mostly this just feels very real.

<3 you've written some really powerful poems about your grandparents in the past I seem to remember.

And on personalness - maybe try writing a really personal version of the poem intended for only you to read, get a week's distance from it and see if any lines would be comfy making it in a final version? That's what I do sometimes! Because if I write with the intent to publish / post then sometimes it feels really surface-level, rather than if I just write for myself. The poem you wrote isn't impersonal exactly, but I think could be supported even better with more personal details; (not necessarily being more emotional/introspective, but being more tangible/specific, because the "narrator above it all /coldness" voice kinda works for this, I just want more tangible conflict details to attach my emotions to when reading this) And yeah, I think your list idea could help on that for sure!!

Sorry for slow response ~ happy writing! Still love this one!

BluesClues says...

Thank you <3 I did write a slightly revised version, but it's not where I want it yet, so I haven't reposted.

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
— Mark Twain