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Are you okay?

by EsmerayaRose

Are you okay?

I don't know, am I?

I feel fine

well physically.

I mean my dad is married now

I wasn't able to attend because I had covid

Are you okay?

I'm his firstborn

so it hurt me 


I was careless I should've been more careful

If I was more careful I wouldn't have caught covid

Are you okay?

My brother has been dead for 5 years now

Still no justice

I wonder if he is at peace now

it hurts me mentally 

I should just stop thinking about it and just move on already

Are you okay?

I was a fool to think I can escape

life hasn't gotten any easier

it hurts me physically

to know I can never be free

but I really should just stop trying to escape

Are you okay?

I miss my old depression

when I was still able to feel

all I'm doing now is making a list

does it hurt mentally or physically?

"Are you okay?" it's never "do you need to vent?" 

Are you okay?

I want to live so badly.

I want to escape

I want freedom

I'm trapped

I can't escape

Are you okay?

I'm okay

Thank you for your parcaipation in this forum.

Is this a review?



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10 Reviews

Points: 20
Reviews: 10

Sun Apr 02, 2023 8:45 pm
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upinthearcher wrote a review...


This made me cry, you can actually see hoy the narrator is desperate for help and to be able to escape their own reality. And also the repetition of the question can make you feel the pressure of saying "I'm okay". It's like they feel trapped in their own mind because they are haunted by "past mistakes" but they still can't escape. I truly believe this is wonderful.

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195 Reviews

Points: 14082
Reviews: 195

Mon Dec 19, 2022 9:50 am
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loveissourgrapes wrote a review...

Hi there!

The question "Are you okay?" just feels very nice. Especially when a loved one asks you that question. The narrator is having a hard time mentally becuase of missing their dad's wedding and they're longing for their brother who died 5 years ago. Well, some people who had the sickness of Covid-19, tell me that when they get it, they just don't feel sick physically but it can also effect you mentally. Although, whoever is asking the question is just weird. It repeats the same question not definitely helping and comforting the person telling these stories. The lines:

"I want to escape,
I want freedom
I'm trapped
I can't escape"

They just feel desperate for freedom to escape from sadness or even their house to just have freedom to do things they want. Or maybe even comfort from a someone who will actually comfort them. But the line: "Thank you for your participation in this forum" makes me rethink. Like, the person telling stories about their dad and brother is actually talking to a robot or just a site where it asks "Are you okay?" Pretty cool. Over all, it is good. Keep up on writing! Merry Christmas!

EsmerayaRose says...

Thank you and Merry Christmas as well.

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658 Reviews

Points: 82143
Reviews: 658

Sun Sep 18, 2022 6:07 pm
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RandomTalks says...

Hi QueenMadrose!

I really enjoyed reading this poem! It was raw and heart-felt and I liked how expressive it was despite the speaker answering indirectly every time when asked if they were okay. I liked the repetition of the question, especially in the last line as it reflects the uselessness of people's half-hearted enquiries into our well-being. Despite, everything going on in one's life (like the speaker's), the conventional answer is always affirmative as it is what society expects.

Overall, this was a really good poem and it perfectly captures the speaker's mental state.

Thank you for sharing it with us!

EsmerayaRose says...

Thank you for the kind review!

loveissourgrapes says...

You're welcome.%u2661

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22 Reviews

Points: 74
Reviews: 22

Thu Sep 08, 2022 1:53 am
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ImaginaryPoet wrote a review...

Ok so first of all wow. You just did an absolutely amazing job of putting a ton of hard-to-describe feelings into words. I really like the way you kept asking the same question (and the way you wrote it, it was very clear that someone separate was asking).

I only have a few suggestions, and I'm a complete grammar freak so please ignore if you feel like it. First of all, COVID I believe is all caps. Also, there are a few points when I think a comma would be helpful, just in the way you read it. For example:
"If I was more careful I wouldn't have caught covid" I would put a comma between "careful" and "I". The same thing for "well (,) physically." and "I was careless (,) I should've been more careful". One last grammatical note: I feel like there are definitely places you can add punctuation at the end of lines. You have a few lines where you have that and a few lines where you don't, so I would recommend choosing one and sticking with it. Otherwise, as a reader, I'd be "holding my breath" so to speak, waiting for the next punctuation to help with the flow.

I love the way the phrases evolve. As someone who struggle with depression for years before being put on meds, I like how it feels like traveling down that rabbit-hole. First, you're talking about missing your dad's wedding, next thing you know you're talking about feeling trapped and not being able to escape. It just feels very relatable to me.

Also, the line "I miss my old depression / when I was still able to feel" makes me curious, because when most people I hear talk about missing being depressed, they mean they miss not feeling anything. I've heard people talk about (and I use it in this context sometimes as well) depression being almost a relief in some instances because you don't have to worry about the influx or overwhelmingness of emotions. It's just blank, which can definitely be comforting as long as you don't think too much about the mental illness part of it. However, you talk about it as if it's almost mutated into something past normal depression? I'm not giving critiques here, I just think it's a very different and interesting way of looking at it.

Hopefully something in there was able to help! I hope everything works out for you, I'm sure if you keep pushing through it will get better. All I can say is this: please keep writing and posting. This was absolutely amazing and definitely took my breath away at its relatability. I know quite a few people that this poem reminded me of.

EsmerayaRose says...

Thank you for the feedback!!

Also, about the depression thing for me, the old depression, I was still able to feel sadness and pain and I cared about it a little too much at that time. Now I have more of I don't care attitude and I'm starting to realize that maybe it was a good thing for me to feel all those emotions because it was giving me time to think about my choices. Now I just do and don't care. I'm throwing my life away. So now it feels suffocating and I feel like I'm drowning all over again. it's just now I'm letting it happen that's what I meant when I said I miss my old depression. I think that this hurts me mentally more than physically. But I'm so sorry if this is super long<333

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235 Reviews

Points: 6841
Reviews: 235

Wed Sep 07, 2022 7:32 pm
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4revgreen wrote a review...

Hi there!

Gosh, i haven't reviewed anything in ages, so sorry if I come across a little rusty! I just was intrigued by your poem and wanted to offer some thoughts and criticisms!

First of all, I like the choice of title. A question is a great way to pull a reader like myself into a poem because it gets me thinking about whether I'm okay and gets me in the right mind to read such an emotional poem.

I really enjoyed the format of this poem, with each stanza of five lines being broken up by the repeating "Are you okay?" question. It breaks up the poem, making it easy to understand and it also creates a good flow.

The last "Are you okay?" being answered with "I'm okay" is really impactful. We know the narrator/voice in the poem is not okay, as we've just read about the sad death of a brother and not being able to attend the wedding due to having covid. It makes an impactful statement about how we can be experiencing the worst heartbreaks but say "I'm okay" and pretend that we are so we don't feel so hurt all the time, or because we don't want others to know we're hurting.

I only have a few critiques, which are that it doesn't quite feel like a poem to me, but more like a monologue from a play or a story. Some lines in stanzas vary in length to the next and this disrupts the flow. Adding a rhyme to each stanza could help, but that's only my personal advice and not everyone likes rhyming poetry!

There's a lot of repetition of the words "physically" and "mentally" which Seirre picked up on, so I won't go into any more detail as their review was very thorough!

You wrote a very impactful and emotional poem and it's helped me get back into reviewing again so thank you!


EsmerayaRose says...

thank you for the feedback!!

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444 Reviews

Points: 20878
Reviews: 444

Tue Sep 06, 2022 11:54 pm
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Hijinks wrote a review...

Hi there Madrose! I saw this poem of yours in the Green Room and thought I'd drop by with a review!

I'm going to be structuring this review after the The YWS Critique Sandwich, with positives, criticisms, and a conclusion. So let's dive right in~

Top Bun: Compliments
This poem does a great job of showing what it's like to gaslight yourself - feeling like something's wrong, but telling yourself over and over that your problems or feelings are bad enough to count. So instead of acknowledging that there are varying levels of "bad", and all of them are valid, the narrator ends the poem by claiming they're definitely okay.

Your use of repetition throughout definitely works well! I think it makes the ending all the more compelling, because over and over the narrator is being prodded for an answer to the question "Are you okay?" and over and over they just dodge around it, saying anything but specifically "I'm not okay". Which makes it feel like by the end of poem, they're so tired of being asked this question and dodging it that they just give in to what the interviewer wants to hear and say they're okay. I can almost imagine the narrator thinking sarcastically in their head, "you really haven't caught on yet from everything I've said so far?? fine then, I'm GREAT".

There's also some repetition of "it hurt(s) me" and the words "physically/mentally", which makes it feel a bit like the narrator has turned their problems into a list of symptoms. As if their feelings can be condensed down into a bullet point of clinical description - which the narrator actually calls out pretty clearly

all I'm doing now is making a list

so it's interesting to see the narrator also demonstrating a good bit of self-awareness within the poem!

Hamburger and Condiments: Critiques
Repetition is a fabulous literary device, but beyond that, I don't see many devices being used in this poem. The language is all quite literal, almost to the extent that it feels like prose broken up into lines. You do use some rhetorical questions as well, such as "am I?" and "does it hurt mentally or physically?" which definitely make the poem a bit more engaging. However, there are so many other poetic devices to choose from - imagery, (which can be abstract or literal!) alliteration, rhyme, personification, simile, metaphor to just name a few - and I'd encourage you to incorporate a few more into your poem, to make it feel more like poetry. Can you find ways to describe the narrator's physical and emotional pain with metaphors or imagery? Even just pinpointing specific ways in which their body is hurting physically could add a bit more specificity to the poem.

As a rule of thumb, I like to tell myself to engage at least three of the readers senses while reading a poem - for example, give a visual description. Describe the smell of something. Have the narrator feel a certain texture or physical sensation. Maybe try seeing where you could incorporating some of those into your poem!

Also, just a very small spelling critique -
Thank you for your parcaipation in this forum.

I believe you mean participation here!

I miss my old depression
when I was still able to feel

^ This is not exactly a critique, but I find this line interesting because typically depression is associated with feeling numb, hopeless, aimless, etc. - so kind of a lack of actually feeling (which can be just as difficult as feeling too many feelings!). It makes me wonder why the narrator associates their past depression with "still being able to feel".

Bottom Bun: Overall
I thought this poem does a great job of showing the self-denial that can go into struggling with mental/physical health, and also the external pressure a lot of people feel to just "be okay". The plot twist at the end of finding out that the narrator has been talking in a forum is definitely intriguing, and puts the whole poem in a new context! To me, it shows that the narrator is having more chances to overthink their word choice and what they say since they have to type it out (and have chances to backspace whenever) - which is not available in a face to face conversation. Your use of repetition also is very effective at a) creating a sense of pushiness - the narrator has to answer "are you okay" to make the interviewer go away, as so they default to "yeah I'm fineee" and b) keeping the poem very focused and centered on the one topic the entire way through. Really the main thing I'd like to see is incorporating some more literary devices to add a bit of spice to the poem.

I hope this review proves useful for you! Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to elaborate on, or something I didn't mention that you'd like additional feedback on!


EsmerayaRose says...

Thank you so much for the review!! If you don't mind I would like some additional feedback and perhaps some suggestions.

Hijinks says...

Of course! Could you give me something specific to give feedback/suggestions on? :)

EsmerayaRose says...

When you were mentioning about adding poetry devices.

Hijinks says...

Of course! I'm just going to spoiler it so this doesn't get too long~

Spoiler! :
* Imagery
Imagery is described as "visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work." So that can mean adding in descriptions with any of the five senses to give the reader something to imagine in their mind! Right now, your poem mostly consists of a bunch of statements - "If I was more careful I wouldn't have caught covid", "I want to escape", "I'm trapped", that sort of thing. Adding imagery would mean going beyond just making a literal statement by adding some kind of description. For example, "I'm trapped under layers and layers of my own lies / and I can smell my exhaustion like mothballs in all these worn-out words" instead of just "I'm trapped". Obviously that's something I came up with on the fly, so you could do lots better!

* Metaphor / Simile
This is closely connected to imagery! Simile is comparison using "like" or "as" - so my comparison to lies smelling like mothballs above would count as a simile. They can be great for comparing physical or literal things to more poetic things so the reader has a greater appreciation for what's going on. Ie, instead of "I want freedom" -> "I want freedom like a bird needs the sky" or something. Metaphor is similar, but you'd say something is something else instead of cushioning it with "like". Ie "I am a bird who needs the freedom of the sky". Metaphor are often considered more vivid and impactful, and are great for more abstract/non-literal imagery if that's the direction you'd like to take.

* Personification
One thing that jumps to mind here is that you could personify the narrator's mental and/or physical pain. What that means is just applying human traits to a non-human thing/animal/object (in this case, pain). You can do that by describing the pain in terms that technically only a person can behave, for example - "the pain screams insults in my ears" or "I feel pain wringing out my heart as if it were only a rag". Pain obviously can't actually do these things, but the reader totally understands what is meant by it anyway. It can make the pain seems more evil, for example, if that's the route you want to take, so that the reader starts to resent/dislike the "character" of pain in the poem.

* Sound devices (alliteration, rhyme, assonance)
These are pretty straight forward! Finding ways to incorporate alliteration here and there - you do it when you say "I feel fine", for example - can add a nice flow. Similarly, rhyming can be lovely (and doesn't need to be part of a rhyme scheme - you can even have internal rhyme within one line, for example if you had a line like "life hasn't gotten any less rotten" then rotten and gotten rhyme with each other inside of the line). Assonance is like rhyme, but instead of a full rhyme, just the vowel sounds in two words are the same. For example the "o" in cow sounds the same as the "ou" in sound, so if you said "the cow sounds happy", that phrase would have assonance. It can be a subtle but effective way of making the poem sounds really nice aloud!

You don't have to incorporate all of these, and even if you choose one you don't need to incorporate it throughout the entire poem - but looking at one or two and seeing where you can add that device into the poem will take it to the next level, I think!

I hope this helps! :)

EsmerayaRose says...

Thank you!!!

It's all a matter of perspective. Everyone is the hero of their own story, and the villain of another's.
— James