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suburban life lessons

by Grimmwolf


i'm thinking, now, that i could've stayed
back and never learned how to exist.

or, maybe, there's still scope for that. an earnest
bite of flared fishhook, two of those 45 degree mirrors
that let submarines see all the way up to the surface.

whatever you do,
don't imagine a white fenced-in yard
with a swing-set and bruised knees and lemonade.
whatever you do,
don't be shaped by the people
who brought you up.

imagine it with all sincerity in your inner monologue.
imagine: a frail row of toothpicks across the maw
and you are seven years old once more.

who knows? we are
barely subatomic in the scheme of things.


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598 Reviews


Points: 4082
Reviews: 598

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Fri Nov 12, 2021 7:31 am
Rook wrote a review...



Hello Grimmwolf!

I really enjoyed this poem! I really liked the specific images you bring into focus here, such as the submarine and the perfect suburban lawn. I also was really captured by "a frail row of toothpicks across the maw." That was really striking.

I also like the alliteration and just all of the word choice in "an earnest bit of flared fishook"
I think you use enjambment to your advantage, so great job with that. I thought the wordplay with "scope" was genius.

The ending felt like a good way to end, although I would have liked to see maybe some more tie-ins with the idea of being small earlier in the piece.

I guess just overall I'd like to see more logic behind your leaps from sub to yard to maw to subatomic, make the piece more thematically cohesive.

In terms of meaning, I feel like I grasp your meaning for most of the poem and the somewhat bitter tone is carried through the whole poem in a very pleasing way, but when I try to wrap my head around what you are actually trying to say in the first and third stanzas, I find I'm struggling. Those stanzas hold my favorite lines obviously, but I'm really not sure what you're actually trying to say in them. Maybe you're not trying to say anything and you just wanted it to sound good and carry the tone (which it does). that's fine. But if you have an actual point in those that you want to get across, is there a way you could make that point more clear? How does the sub relate to learning how not to exist? Why does the speaker want to not exist? What is it about the suburbs that are so bad? Is the maw with toothpicks desirable, or is that how the narrator sees the suburbs? It was a little vague.

I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions!
Keep writing!
~Rook




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59 Reviews


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Reviews: 59

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Thu Nov 11, 2021 10:35 pm
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SofieR says...



I really liked this one! As someone from the suburbs, it really felt it. The last line really packed a punch. I like your writing style - it almost reads like song lyrics. Good job!




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60 Reviews


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Reviews: 60

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Thu Nov 11, 2021 7:19 pm
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AriesBookworm wrote a review...



i'm thinking, now, that i could've stayed
back and never learned how to exist.

It seems like a person who tried to be outgoing regretted trying to stand out.

or, maybe, there's still scope for that. an earnest
bite of flared fishhook, two of those 45 degree mirrors
that let submarines see all the way up to the surface.

It seems like the only reason the person wanted to be outgoing is because of their community.whatever you do,
don't imagine a white fenced-in yard
with a swing-set and bruised knees and lemonade.
whatever you do,
don't be shaped by the people
who brought you up.

It looks like the person was forced to be someone else because of their parents or society.

imagine it with all sincerity in your inner monologue.
imagine: a frail row of toothpicks across the maw
and you are seven years old once more.

who knows? we are
barely subatomic in the scheme of things.

The person seems to be looking back at their childhood with a bit of happiness and regret.

Overall: I really liked this poem!





Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
— Mark Twain