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blurry cracks

by Hijinks

saucers and teacups piled on the table

yours, V. =) 

the stained tablecloth catches on my jeans and
rips from the table -
I'm not a magician, who can give one majestic tug
and nothing breaks;
the china  s hat t e rs  into
jabbing shards and painful dust.

hands shaking, I clumsily collect
them into a dustpan, broken bits tinkling
like an echo of our uncontainable
I want to piece
them back tog-
er, but I know
there's no point;

we can talk about this tomorrow, or if you prefer,

pretend you never read this -

memories re-pieced aren't accurate, and
I never bothered memorizing this one, because I
was afraid touching your scrawled note would
me - the writing on the scrapped page
dampening the paper,
like gasoline;
my emotions flaming like
a match. 

even recalling the words now, the ink is
with blurriness of time,
proactive water to put out

I think I like you -

so I dump the broken bits into the
trash, carry it out to
and wave it
when the garbage truck comes.

a few days blurrier, and I regret it,
even though I know the saucers are
past reclaiming.

but here I am, crawling on hands and knees
through piles
and moun-
leys of
trash and

my hands imprinted with blunt
shapes; my feet raw.
I knock music rehearsals loose with my
rough grip, 
and they clatter to the ground, 
dissonant with flat notes and 
sharp jokes. 

I don't know if you even like girls but -

dirt working its way under my nails;
I hit something hard.
the trash re-
veals a grimy pane of glass,
weakly supporting my weight.

I see you below,
and wonder if you kept my reply.
I feel like an awful friend -

I'm sorry V., I don't think I feel like that for you but

can we still be friends?

- I couldn't keep your sincere emotions, that you
scribbled on the back of a semester-old,
half-decomposed math note,

I hope this doesn't change anything, 

I really like sitting with you in math -

safe -
it's buried in some landfill now
and paper isn't plastic, so 
time will blurry the words into nothing. 

Is this a review?



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1231 Reviews

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Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:07 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

Aha! a little birdy told me to come comment on this poem, so I have arrived! :)

There's a lot of enjoyable aspects of the piece -
You've played with formatting and spacing in a fairly effective way that communicates extra meaning with the form mimicking the content.

You've successfully merged like three narratives into one (the note conversation, the physical search / picking up broken pieces, and then the internal dialogue and extended metaphor about the garbage) - and somehow it all still makes sense! Which is really impressive in a poem this length that it doesn't get confusing but all the narratives work together and build off each other. <I personally am a big fan of a "poem within a poem" so I'm loving how you did that!> I couldn't tell if the losing the note was more metaphorical or actual, but I don't necessarally think it matters as far as overall interpretation and impact.

And you've really nailed some of this imagery, in a way that feels heart-achey and impactful.

The note part is the most straightforward -> I love how you drag the conversation out in the poem to really build up the drama.

I overall interpreted the poem to be about a speaker who has received a note from a friend who is confessing their love, and they don't feel the same way, but this is potentially going to create a rift in their friendship (and they maybe even doubt their feelings on it?) so there's a lot of mixed emotions and lostness in it.

Form & Line Breaks and
Overall I'd love you to be even more playful with the formatting, I think doing experimental formatting really has to be committed to in order to turn out well, or else it can come across as half-attempted and a bit unsure. You've done a few playful switches to how people would expect to see a poem like this formatted, but I'd love even more! The words could be tilty/falling in that beginning stanza and then float away or get buried at the end etc.

I tend to edit all my formatted poems in microsoft powerpoint because I think that's the most straightforward easy to use thing to use and allows you to put a gazillion layers of text on top of each other and then save as a picture at the end.

I thought generally your stanza breaks and italics were really helpful in making the poem's different views stay clear, and I didn't have trouble following the narratives. Punctuation and capitalization choices seemed consistent and effective as well.

breaking at conjunctions -

I have to disagree w/ Morrigan I actually love breaking at conjunctions -> I think it makes the flow feel more stilted but also forces you to read-on. There's also this really cool thing in ancient Hebrew poetry that the presence of a excessive usage of "and" in any series of phrases was an indicator that the writer may be portraying a poem / song / or something to be taken more lyrically than narratively. Yeah, I like it! And I think it works for a poem that is so much about hesitation and getting lost and dealing with difficult things, because I think the added conjunctions and almost awkward breaks portray all that more.

Awkardness in poetry should be avoided at all times... unless the tone is intended to be awkward, and I think in this poem that is somewhat of the tone you're actually going for. :)

I don't know if the poem is written from personal experience - but it reminds me of an awk-experience I had a bazillion years ago that I wrote about in this poem here (wow the deep poetry archives?) and your poem definitely captures that heart-stop moment much better than my poem did of the "oh gosh there is been a serious miscommunication of feelings here, what am I going to do?" ~ I think a lot of people can unfortunately relate to having those types of miscommunications / situations of one-sided or confusing love and this poem is a really interesting exploration of that.

Overall it's a great piece that pulls at the heart-strings! Keep it up whatcha! :)

- alliyah

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Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:41 am
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Atticus wrote a review...

Hey there whatcha! Tuck back with another review for you. I'm feeling kinda rampage-y, and I figured I'd bless you with some disjointed thoughts about your poems ;) I hope you find some use from this!

I really loved the way you danced around this subject with some brilliant image foreshadowing without exposing it til the very end. You still had that grand reveal that left the audience (or me, at least) reeling, and yet all of the pieces clicked into place. It was really truly brilliant. I also liked the way you took creative liberties to play around with some of the formatting of words, and I'd like to jump into some specific thoughts on that!

Now, this may be my Type A, highly organized personality speaking, but I didn't feel that the formatting changes were quite drastic enough to be effective. I found myself skimming over it to find the conclusion so I could absorb the meaning of the words. It seemed to walk on that balance between no change and extreme change, and in most of these cases I felt that it didn't have the contrast needed to create a strong jar rather than just my mild annoyance at not being able to read a cohesive phrase. I apologize if that seems harsh; I think there's potential with this idea to manipulate it further to make it successful, but it's just not there yet.

An idea I have in this vein revolves around these lines:

I want to piece
them back tog-
er, but I know

What if you had together stuttered a bit? For example:
I want to piece
them back toget-
er, but I know

This kinda emphasizes the idea that these pieces don't fit together neatly, and is more jarring than just separating the word into syllables. If this doesn't fit what you're going for, feel free to disregard, just thought I'd throw it out there.

I also felt that this stanza was a bit out of place, chronologically speaking:
we can talk about this tomorrow, or if you prefer,

pretend you never read this -

This is before there's any confession of feeling, so on my first few read-throughs I wasn't sure what this was referring to. It made me lose my footing as I was reading through this exchange. Perhaps this would be more effective if this was moved after the first confession -- a scramble to save the friendship after the panic that ensues after a confession of feelings. If you had different intentions, that's fine too -- I don't pretend to understand this poem as well as you do -- but it is something to consider.

I think that's all I have for you today! Key takeaways are fantastic job toying with imagery throughout, consider re-doing the way you play with words for effect, and give some thought to the sequence of the conversation that takes place in this poem. If you have any questions for me please feel free to reach out!


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Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:40 am
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Morrigan wrote a review...

Heyo whatcha, Morri here to review your poem.

I am so jealous of how you can dance around a subject with imagery and metaphor and get to the conclusion at the end without giving yourself away. I feel like a half-orc barbarian running in with a battle axe compared to your dainty elven rogue. Well, you rolled a Nat 20 (that's Dungeons and Dragons speak for an automatic success (not sure if you play that or not)).

First of all, I agree with everything that Shady said. So I'm going to bypass talking about that stuff so we can get to some other points in your poem.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me negatively was some of your line breaks. You continually break lines after conjunctions, and while there are no rules in poetry, I found it jarring for the most part. This stanza is the worst offender by far:

the stained tablecloth catches on my jeans and
rips from the table -
I'm not a magician, who can give one majestic tug and
nothing breaks;
the china shat-
ters into jabbing shards and
painful dust.

You end three lines with "and," which honestly put me into an exasperated mood because your poem is so much better than this minor detail. But it took me out of the world of the poem nonetheless!

There is one line that works well with you breaking the line after a conjunction.
I'm sorry V., I don't think I feel like that for you but
I think that the break here is wonderfully effective for the emotion in this part of the poem.

the china shat-
I know that Shady already talked about this, but I want to point out that when taking this line out of context, it might make a reader or two giggle (me).

them back tog-

I think it would be interesting if instead of breaking the line, you typed it as
"tog eth er," or something like that. I really like the creativity throughout the whole poem with the words and the formatting, but if I were you I would meditate on it a little more. There are opportunities for some really cool stuff that you didn't do! Here's another area:
I dig
You could do something fun like:

I really like your imagery, but I wanted some audio imagery in there as well, especially when the china falls to the floor. Shatters is almost there because it carries the connotation of a sound, but give me a crash or a delicate tinkling or even an echo.

- I didn't keep the sincere emotions you
scribbled on the back of math notes,
I'm hoping that you'll incorporate a bit of the broken/landfill imagery into these two lines when you edit. I feel like there isn't enough connecting it to the other non-italicized text.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this poem. I hope that this proves useful to you! Happy poeting!

Morrigan says...

The "dig down" part was supposed to format differently. More of a diagonal than a straight down.

Hijinks says...

Aah thank you for this wonderful review!! I see what you mean about the conjunctions, I'll restructure those lines a little. (and I didn't even think about that for the china shat- line, but now that you point it out I can't believe I didn't notice it xD) Again, thank you for the review, it's definitely very helpful!

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Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:07 pm
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Shady wrote a review...

Heya whatcha,

Shady here with a review for you this fine afternoon! Mandatory disclaimer, I am most comfy with prose, so if anything I say strikes you as wrong feel free to disregard, and just take whatever advice might be helpful c:

My initial response to this was "hecking WOW that's good!"

The first stanza is... I hesitate to say cutesy, but I really like the way you put it together. I *really* like how you broke up the word by syllables here:


Later on, in other places, this technique felt a teensy bit overused. For example,

I'm not a magician, who can give one majestic tug and
nothing breaks;
the china shat-
ters into jabbing shards and pain-
ful dust.

I don't know that I can necessarily put my finger on exactly why this didn't sit quite right for me, but it had a different response. The only thing I can think of is that like, teetering already feels like a precarious word. So when you break it up teet-er-ing I kind of get that precarious feel, like the word itself it wobbling back and forth on the edge of a tabletop, on the brink of a disaster itself. Whereas, that doesn't super make sense for words like 'painful' you know?

At the same time, idk I didn't love it for "shat-ters" either, though by the logic I just gave it should also work xD

This is 10000% a stylistic comment and you should feel free to disregard it entirely, but have you thought about maybe trying out different types of formatting to alternate with throughout this poem so that the dashes don't seem quite as overused. For example, what about something like:

I'm not a magician, who can give one majestic tug and
nothing breaks;
the china
s h a t t e r s
into jabbing shards and painful dust.

Or something? You see what I'm getting at? I'm not suggesting that this is the end-all for your poem, just another way to consider, sort of like onomatopoeia? Like tee-ter-ing being all wobbly and s h a t t e r i n g being kind of broken.

even recalling the words now, the ink is
ged with blurriness of time;

Same thing here. Like, I think it's alliyah? who often posts poems that are like images that she was able to format so that the formatting itself is part of the art. You could always like make this an image and use a tool to make the word "smudge" look like smudged ink and the word "blurriness" to show up as blurry.

But again all of that ^^ is fully just a stylistic comment and I'm sorry if it comes across as arrogant or dismissive. I do really like your poem as is!! I just got really excited about some other ideas that might work here, and so I wanted to share them in case you like them too, but as is this is a great poem that I really liked!

The themes you deal with here are SUPER impactful. The first line of the italicized text I was confused about was going on, second line I was like "oh it's a text message", the third line I was like "oh no" and the fourth line I was like "OH NO" haha

You did that part SO well, I can't even express how well you did.

That is SUCH a tender topic and you handled it extremely well, making the tension build. I was SO nervous for -V once I read that part and then tension was growing with every line for the remainder of the poem and I was just, gah, this poem gave me EMOTIONS and ANGST and all of the good things that poetry is supposed to make you feel.

Keep writing!


Hijinks says...

Thank you for the awesome review Shady!! It didn't come across as arrogant or dismissive in the least, I see what you mean - the dashes are definitely a bit overused. (I am a bit hesitant to blur words or format them differently, because I'm not always sure how to make it feel cohesive to the rest of the poem, but that's something I might experiment with a little.) Again, thanks for the review!! :)

Shady says...

Aha okay cool! My Grammarly was like "Your text sounds ANGRY" and I was like oh nuuuu I don't WANT my review to sound angry xD

And that makes sense! I've never actually blurred words and such in my own poetry, either, so I get the hesitation. I just don't like to complain about things without offering alternatives lol But glad I could help!! c: I DO love this poem a lot <3

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Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:03 pm
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Rascalover says...

Hello Rascalover here for a review,

Well, I wish it was a review, but I don't have anything to add or take away from this poem to enhance it. I absolutely love the format of your poetry. I am so impressed you wrote this in a sleepy state!! Im sorry this isn't more helpful!

With love

Hijinks says...

I'm glad you liked the poem Rascalover! Thank you for the encouraging words :)

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Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:42 pm
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starlitmind says...

This is so cool! Even your late night, near-sleep poetry is so beautiful xD

Hijinks says...

aw thanks Starlit!

“And how shall I think of you?' He considered a moment and then laughed. 'Think of me with my nose in a book!”
— Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell