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(thoughts swim [together) is a forgotten state]

by Hijinks


i try to write something, because i know
if i can throw enough blank white sheets
into this horizonless sea, then perhaps
i can sop it all up or patch all the leaks or

fix whatever's wrong is the mantra but i'm not sure
what the wrong is. i'm bloated on emotions and
shards of my sea glass heart ride the tide -
if i can use words to drain the ocean, i can

go dredging for your lost pieces, i tell myself like
i am a fractured puzzle disintegrating into pulp
and i can be held together by the net of a notebook.
i use all of my paper mache mush to sculpt

new organs are hard to come by, but jellyfish
pulse through the sea like a heartbeat so
i stuff one into the sea of me - tentacles slither
through my veins and the sting feels sweet.

i swim deep to make new memories but all i make
are collapsed lungs that shrivel under the weight
of remembering old ones. pufferfish glide past:
i jam two between ribs and watch them inflate with

long sharp skewers break through my soft skin
and i wish they were at least filled with ink
so i could tattoo progress into my palms.
but instead i lean back and let myself sink into

the shifty seafloor sand engulfs my empty notebook.


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Tue Apr 18, 2023 8:51 pm
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starlitmind says...



alliyah has brought me back and yes i agree with alliyah
this poem is so very good
i just love the fourth stanza




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Tue Apr 18, 2023 5:31 pm
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alliyah says...



This poem is still so good.




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Thu Mar 02, 2023 4:35 am
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starlitmind says...



i've come back again




starlitmind says...


afdshadsfhjkafdsjhkafdhjldaflhs your poetry



Hijinks says...


omg STAR



Hijinks says...


asdlkfjasdfastheoraidfjasldfkj your comments :')



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Fri Dec 17, 2021 5:05 pm
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starlitmind says...



nooo this poem is so good let me just read it for the 300 millionth time you know




Hijinks says...


omg starrrrrr you are so sweet



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Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:56 am
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alliyah wrote a review...



Aha! And as the clock struck midnight, alliyah completed her review goal to catch up on the much delayed review of whatchamacallit's Seirre's lovely poem! <3

Thanks for being patient, I actually have really been wanting to review this, but it's also one of those poems that's so good that I'm like @_@ what can I say to add to this? But let's go for it!

Meaning
The mood is very chaotic to me, almost like the speaker is having a melt-down where everything is colliding and they are just getting more and more hightened in their emotions. I interpreted the poem to be about a speaker who is trying to fix *something* in their life by writing but they feel like their work doesn't make a difference to what they're trying to face, and so their notebook ends up empty. I'm not entirely sure what the "something" they are trying to fix is, but it seems like it has to do with something they are missing - especially as they try to replace old organs, and memories with sea critters and swimming.

The idea of helplessness comes across a lot to me - and putting in your best efforts but not gaining anything from it - futility. The image of the pufferfish jammed between ribs is so </3 heartbreaky and inventive and really brings that futility theme home to me. It seems like the speaker feels that their actions are so not-helpful that they are starting to become not only futile but destructive.

If I really want to read into the title - love the use of parenthesis to read it as "thoughts swim together" and "together is a forgotten state" and then to be read as all one whole - and even the symbolism of the parenthesis joining !!

I think that it could be interpreted as 1) multiple thoughts are swimming chaotically together. and in that state they must be forgotten. (how ironic for a present-thought to be in a forgotten state! - in fact it's impossible to forget what you are already thinking, so it makes the whole futile theme come back!)
or 2) the idea/ thoughts of "togetherness" is what must be forgotten, or has been forgotten - meaning maybe what they're missing is the person they used to be "together" with but now must find a replacement in their surroundings. metaphorically the sea creatures who can't replace all that the person was to them.

Highlights
I think you're really really good at keeping a poem moving along winding pictures, while still keeping the theme unified. It makes the poem really engaging because as a reader you're not sure where it's going to go next, so you keep following along trying to get to the next part. For instance in the first stanza,

i try to write something, okay not too strange because i know
if i can throw unexpected action paired with writing enough blank white sheets
into this horizonless sea, woah totally unexpected setting!then perhaps
i can sop it all up or patch all the leaks introducing problem, that you have to read on to know more about or


Each line is adding on top of a growing image, and yet they all connect together with each image getting attached to the one before. And you did a marvelous job holding that imagery all together with this common theme and story-line.

Also you do a great job of balancing descriptive imagery and having action too - so there's a sense of doing and seeing in the poem, rather than just one or the other. The sound devices all the way through are fairly subtle, but are a nice surprise when I did a second read through, and also probably add to the poem's good flow - and I enjoyed where you broke the stanzas off mid-phrase too, which made the poem feel more frantic to me.

This had to be my favorite stanza,
new organs are hard to come by, but jellyfish
pulse through the sea like a heartbeat so
i stuff one into the sea of me - tentacles slither
through my veins and the sting feels sweet.


just AH each line winding into the next, and then the sadness of that for the speaker even the sting of the jellyfish feels sweet to them. The imagery also is just totally inspired, like I can't imagine that anyone has ever painted this same image into existence; just perfection!

Suggestions
I feel like even though it's very metaphorical, I can pretty much follow the picture your poem paints all the way through until the 2nd to last stanza, I didn't connect the skewers right away to the pufferfish, and so that kind of took me out of the sea setting, and then it seemed like "progress" wasn't quite the what the rest of the poem was looking for, so that came as a surprise to me. I like the use of ink as it can play in the imagery world of paper or sea-creatures, but I think that stanza stood out to me as maybe not quite matching the rest of the narrative build-up quite as well as some of the other ones.

For me there's also some ambiguity on whether the poem is about trying to fix something missing in their self or a make up for a missing relationship. There's some language that lends itself to either interpretation - and I'm not sure settling into one or the other would improve the poem, but I thought I'd mention that it was a bit ambiguous for me on that front!

Normally when someone uses a stand-out formatting technique (like a bold word, all caps, italics, etc) I advise that it should never happen just once in a piece unless that line happens to be the very most important line in the poem. Because it draws readers attention so starkly, and because you don't give readers a chance to identify patterns but just leave them with one case to judge it by. In this case you use italics to indicate a self-dialogue line, and then don't repeat the technique again in the poem, you might consider throwing in another self-dialogue in there somewhere at the end? But really in this case it didn't bother or distract me, so not sure!

Overall, this poem is so engaging and memorable to read, the images are bright and emotionally resonating, and you should definitely be proud of this! <3

Let me know if you wanted feedback on something I missed, or had a question about something I mentioned! :)

~alliyah




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Sat Sep 04, 2021 10:17 pm
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FireEyes wrote a review...



Hey whatcha! Incoming review!

It's great to review another one of your works! Let me get started.

I'll go stanza by stanza to keep things more organized.

i try to write something, because i know
if i can throw enough blank white sheets
into this horizonless sea, then perhaps
i can sop it all up or patch all the leaks or
So here is where you state you try to write because if you don't, the paper that could have been used can soak up the "horizonless sea." But it seemed as if you wanted that to happen, so why write? It feels like a contradiction or the feeling of the phrasing wasn't right. But I will point out here how I like how each stanza's last line directly goes with the next stanza's first line. It moves the poem forward in a way which pacing doesn't have to play that big of a role.

fix whatever's wrong is the mantra but i'm not sure
what the wrong is. i'm bloated on emotions and
shards of my sea glass heart ride the tide -
if i can use words to drain the ocean, i can
I love all this imagery you pack your poetry with but I think this stanza contains some of my favourites. It often feels like emotions bloat you up from the sheer amount they make you feel. And afterwards it feels raw to be living and you feel slightly delicate, so the sea glass drifting on the ocean is a great tie into it!

go dredging for your lost pieces, i tell myself like
i am a fractured puzzle disintegrating into pulp
and i can be held together by the net of a notebook.
i use all of my paper mache mush to sculpt
To go along with the previous line from the last stanza, you said your shards of your sea glass heart were riding the waves. Here, from the beginning line you are going dredging for lost pieces, perhaps your heart? I also like the imagery of "net of a notebook." I would say, though, that the first "sentence" in this stanza was slightly too long for the reader's eye.

new organs are hard to come by, but jellyfish
pulse through the sea like a heartbeat so
i stuff one into the sea of me - tentacles slither
through my veins and the sting feels sweet.
I don't know if you meant for this but I think there should be a "that" in between "organs" and "are" to pull it together with the previous line. But all this ocean imagery is so refreshing, I can almost smell it. But the line "i stuff one into the sea in me," sounds clunky. What about "i stuff one into my internal sea."

i swim deep to make new memories but all i make
are collapsed lungs that shrivel under the weight
of remembering old ones. pufferfish glide past:
i jam two between ribs and watch them inflate with
My goodness, that first line/sentence, I don't really know what to call it. I can see you swimming into the depths of the ocean trying to claim new memories but the ocean, which I also interoperate as old memories, are crushing you into your demise. It gives me a Billie Eilish kinda vibe. While it's dark, there is still some beauty in the way it was presented. But something about the last word, makes me think it should be "while" so it matches better with the next stanza.

long sharp skewers break through my soft skin
and i wish they were at least filled with ink
so i could tattoo progress into my palms.
but instead i lean back and let myself sink into

the shifty seafloor sand engulfs my empty notebook.
Okay last stanza, and the end of this thrilling and somber poem. I'm gonna go into small science time but bodies will not sink in the ocean, unless the lungs are punctured because, y'know, buoyancy. (if someone goes missing it wasn't me.) So the pufferfish were actually helping you as I found out in the closing lines of the poem. You didn't want to be saved and you went to the lengths where it would be impossible to be saved. The pain was still there as the "skewers" as you called them punctured through your skin, but all you though was you wish they could have been filled with ink so something of you passing was found on your body. It's chilling and I loved it!

But that's all I have for today. I hope you found some of this useful! Keep on writing, whatcha, it's always appreciated on the site! Anyway byeeeeeee<333

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Fri Jun 11, 2021 4:37 pm
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hello whatcha!

Once again, as it tends to be with your poetry, this one is so filled with these intricate threads of imagery. I could immediately recognise the voice as your signature poetic voice. The mood in this one was this sort of chaotic overwhelm, which I can see clearly in the style of the title, with a touch of heartbreak.

Subject, Themes, Narrative

This was a nice introspective poem about a speaker trying to put their feelings into words. When reading this, I thought the subject of writing was being explored to show how words can sometimes be inadequate to depict feelings (ironically, given that this poem for me at least conveyed very strong feelings!) or even for self-expression, as in the second stanza metaphor “a fractured puzzle” implies. The line about the “empty notebook” seems to contrast with how the skin of the speaker’s palms is being tattooed with progress. Finally, the speaker gives in to the futility of this endeavour with a classic one-liner.

I thought the narrative here was simple, but portrayed in great detail, with each stanza exploring a somewhat different aspect. For instance, stanza 2 to me seemed to be about catharsis, trying to “drain the ocean”, whereas stanza 3 is more about identity.

Language and Imagery

The main two motifs I saw was the notebook motif and the marine imagery. They seemed to be in conflict with each other, as in the first stanza where the speaker is trying to use the “blank white sheets” to soak up a “horizonless sea”, and the contrast in size and scope between these two things makes their efforts seem futile. The second stanza expands on that to link it directly to writing with “mantra” and “words” that fail to “drain the ocean”.

I thought I saw more visceral imagery towards the climax (around stanzas 4,5) of the poem, for instance the turn of the images to “new organs” and the speaker trying to “stuff” and “jam” things into their body. With the viscera, though, there comes these images of vitality and life, such as the simile “like a heartbeat” and the sting feeling “sweet” (and I personally always associate sensations with vitality).

The imagery in the last two stanzas seemed more disjointed, jumping around. For instance the “skewers” are in the speaker’s “ribs” but then they want to “tattoo progress into . . . palms”. I didn’t quite get the sense before that the speaker had landed on the seabed, so the “lean back” came as a bit of a surprise.

Structure and Sound

I enjoyed the contrast between the regular 4-line stanzas and the heavy enjambment such as in “or . . .fix”. I thought that seemed to reflect the speaker trying to put their fragmented emotions in order.

The most significant technique you use here I think is the mixing of tenses between stanzas, at the point where the enjambment occurs. It’s like a breaking of standard prose grammatical rules, and not just the kind of rules you find in a school book too, but breaking the rules such that the lines are no longer as intuitive to read. For instance, “watch them inflate with . . .” made me antici[pate a present continuous tense like “breaking through” but instead it continues “long sharp skewers break through”. The overall effect for me was one of jumping, fragmented thoughts.

That technique was super interesting to me, and I thought it worked well since you incorporated it into the regular pattern of the stanzas and also didn’t overuse it, in my opinion.

That's all

Overall, a great and classically whatcha piece with cool experimental grammar shenanigans.
Hopefully you found these comments helpful - and keep writing!

Cheers,
-Lim




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Tue May 25, 2021 12:31 pm
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Shady wrote a review...



whatcha!

It seems that we are doomed (;)) to be enamored by each others' poems because I read this and OMG you are amazing and I loved this so much <33 I'm pretty sure the entirety of the site knows at this point that I vibe big time with ocean-related-things and ouch the visceral reaction this poem gave me was on point.

i can sop it all up or patch all the leeks or


I typically don't comment on grammar/spelling in poems, but since the spelling of this word changes the meaning, I thought I'd point it out to be sure you're aware lol leek = an onion-like plant, leak = hole that lets in water. Pretty sure you're going for leak which is the only reason I'm pointing this one out ^^

but I'm not sure
what the wrong is.


O o f -- I relate to this so hard <3

i'm bloated on emotions and
shards of my sea glass heart ride the tide -
if i can use words to drain the ocean, i can


I think the imagery works really well here! The "bloated" is a nice hint towards the sea creatures you'll bring up later and sea glass is so pretty and I think you used it really well here! The only thing I'm iffy about is the rhyme in "ride the tide" -- I do like the imagery but it's the only rhyme (that stood out to me at least) which kind of made it feel out of place since the rest of the poem isn't rhyming?

new organs are hard to come by, but jellyfish


I don't think a line of a poem has ever made me recoil as much as this one did xD

Image

^ My exact face. brain b like, No there is no 'but jellyfish' pls reconsider

But, since I had such an utterly horrifying visceral reaction to this -- I think you can mark that as a huge success lol. Very strong imagery that is strongly emotive.

i swim deep to make new memories


I really enjoy this imagery <3 I might be definitely am biased since my literal job is studying the deep sea, but this really resonated with me.

pufferfish glide past:


Fully a selfish comment here but pufferfish are a relative of the fish I study so it made me happy that they surfaced here :' )

i jam two between ribs and watch them inflate with


Aaaaand just like that, my entire abdomen is involuntarily contracting as I make the horrified face xD

i wish they were at least filled with ink
so i could tattoo progress into my palms.


Ooh! This is also really strong imagery, puts a unique spin on things!

~ ~ ~

I know I already said this because I read and fell in love with this poem before I started reviewing, but omg this poem is SO GOOD. I think you did a really, really good job of picking really gut-wrenching imagery that gave me big feels as I was reading this and really drove home the theme of the poem.

And... yeah, I think that's all I have for you!

~Shady




Hijinks says...


It seems that we are doomed (;)) to be enamored by each others' poems because I read this and OMG you are amazing and I loved this so much <33
OMG NO U :'''))) <333

I thought I'd point it out to be sure you're aware lol leek = an onion-like plant, leak = hole that lets in water.
ASDLGKASJF LEEKS I'M AN IDIOT xD Yup yup you're right, I was going for leaks.

I do like the imagery but it's the only rhyme (that stood out to me at least) which kind of made it feel out of place since the rest of the poem isn't rhyming?
Aah okay so I actually have (or have attempted to have) all the stanzas rhyming -A-A, but kinda a bit slyly - like "emotions and" and "ocean, i can" is something close to a rhyme, "heartbeat" and "sweet" rhyme, "weight" and "inflate", "ink" and "sink" - but some of them are buffered by little conjunctions and stuff or don't visually look like rhymes so I think it's significantly more noticeable if you read it aloud.
(But to your point, even with that rhyming scheme, "ride the tide" doesn't fit in with the pattern I have going so ~ I can see how that's a bit jarring, I'll take a look at changing it ^^)

I think you did a really, really good job of picking really gut-wrenching imagery that gave me big feels as I was reading this and really drove home the theme of the poem.
eep! <3 I am so glad the imagery gave you physical reactions of "oh NOOOO" because that is exactly what I was going for, this was not meant to be a comfy poem to read in the slightest. *evil villain cackle*

Thank you so much for the wonderful review Shady! <3 I thought the fish-and-water imagery might procure a fishmaster review and I was right hehe c:



Shady says...


Aah okay so I actually have (or have attempted to have) all the stanzas rhyming -


Ahhh, fair enough! When you point them out I can see them now, and the flow was nice so I probably subconsciously picked up on it, but I tend to be oblivious lol but yii, I do think the ride/tide still feels a lil forced.

I thought the fish-and-water imagery might procure a fishmaster review and I was right hehe c:


Ahaha, the feesh call 2 me and i must come

But yeah for sure! I'm glad it was helpful <3




No person can be a great leader unless he takes genuine joy in the successes of those under him.
— W. A. Nance