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ingress // erosion

by Jagged

truth is i was always afraid. you took me
to the sea and never let me wander
from the shore, you brought me to this country
and said it's safe here, i promise. stay. 

i tried to grow roots. truly. and stems
and petals and pollen, stigma, style —
a yellow heart blooming at the back
of my throat, an open mouth, your tongue

pebbles, gravel, stone : holding neither
water nor light or home. often i would
stumble and, falling, swallow it
whole: river, riverbed, the estuary 

of wanting to belong.

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7 Reviews

Points: 87
Reviews: 7

Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:11 pm
Daenyss wrote a review...

Gosh. This is beautiful. I love how the pain and how the attempt at resolving that pain is translated in the metaphor of a flower.

However, the last stanza starting "pebbles, gravel, stone..." does nothing, really for me, and seems disjointed from the rest of the poem. The overall emotion that it creates flows with the rest of the poem, but seeing as the last stanza ended with a line that had no punctuation and the words "your tongue," going straight to something that is seemingly unrelated is a bit jarring to the reader, and frankly it lost me a little bit. Also, the mention of rivers and estuaries also seems unrelated, but maybe i'm just missing something? I don't really know, it just seems off to me.

Overall, great job conveying the emotion and writing something that truly makes me feel - a rarity these days. I can't wait to read more of your work!

Jagged says...

Thank you for the review <3

Counterpoint, if I may: the stone imagery is there to directly oppose the earlier flowers, and underlines the conflict: gravel and pebbles are not, generally speaking, conducive to the growing of roots. Likewise, the tongue is absolutely an intrusion, but this is on purpose.

The river/estuary throws back to the sea in the first stanza, but I can see the confusion. I believe it also would be stronger in the wider context of my other writing, but that's definitely worth addressing, thank you :)

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9 Reviews

Points: 153
Reviews: 9

Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:13 pm
AnimalQueen wrote a review...

This is a beautiful poem. It sounds like it's written from the point of view of an immigrant. Is it? Your poem convoys a simple message. Wanting to belong. I think that secretly, we are all terrified of not fitting in. Now, here's a fun fact about me: I really love the song "Welcome to New York" by Taylor Swift, but when ever I listen to it, I find myself wondering: Is this what the immigrants felt like? When they came to America, they must have been thrilled. But then things got tough. No one trusted them, and good jobs were hard to find. They were hated and taken advantage of. And yet, they survived.

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501 Reviews

Points: 4824
Reviews: 501

Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:03 pm
Radrook wrote a review...

Thanks for sharing this lovely poem which seems to describe the experience that many immigrants who are seeking a better life have while trying to set down roots and to flourish via adjusting to new surroundings. Very often the promises that they were fed turn out to be bittersweet when they encounter discrimination. So the feelings of wanting to belong might linger a lifetime due to many factors beyond the immigrant's control.

The poem effectively conveys this pain by using symbols which represent an effort to flourish. It describes the disappointment of striving to swallow a whole new culture. The yellowness conveys uncertainty, hesitancy in the new surroundings. The stumbling and falling conveys the clumsy efforts to belong which always seem to fail. Despite all efforts the feeling of being home proves elusive and for some might be permanent. Wanting to swallow the foreign culture to accept it as their own.

There is also a personal element mentioned. One involving a someone who is responsible for for the situation that the speaker finds himself or herself in. I tend to see the speaker as a she since women are the ones who usually identify themselves with flowers. They are also the ones who have tongues probing into their mouths during a kiss.

All in all a very memorable poem and one which was very pleasant to read and review. Looking forward to more of your work.

If I misunderstood any of the meanings my apology.

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688 Reviews

Points: 5488
Reviews: 688

Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:12 pm
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Audy wrote a review...

Reading your poems feels for all the world, like being present with my tongue out for the season's first snowflake -- or like finding a meteor dashing right as I look up at the sky. It is just. Oh!] The rarity of the moment, and the promise of beauty and then fulfilling that, you're left awed. Just inspired in good memory.

I dearly hope this is like, the first of many? Like, an early start for NaPo 2018? :3

I keep fawning over the use of country in the first stanza. My first reading, I am evoking modern country, like immigration America themes. My second reading then becomes all the sweeter when it ties together with the rest of the imagery of a wild country like the prairie is country and I enjoyed that. I enjoyed this kind of conflict between narrator and (I want to say parent? The "you" in this poem) the struggle between being promised a home and shelter, that kind of double-meanings in the word, safety, and struggling with everything -am I reading more than is written when I interpret those italic lines to mean the reality is anything BUT?

The middle stanza feels so vulnerable and raw. I think it's the "your tongue" line that felt especially violating, like it didn't belong in the fragility of the rest of the imagery. But also I appreciated that apart from simple fragility, there is also a kind of sassiness with the "pollen, stigma, style" lines - of all the words in the poem, apart from the title, these lines feel the more technical and precise, where the rest of the words feel more organic and grounded. It had the effect of pausing for contemplation here, slowing me down. I also definitely feel the "ingress" aspect of the poem here and in the first stanza?

I feel it very strongly as a central core of these lines that I actually felt disappointed that "erosion" didn't feel anywhere near as strong or developed. I understand the flower blooming from the throat, a kind of unearthing - and the pebbles, gravel stone and riverbed while obvious imagery of the moving of the water - I didn't feel like we got the line or two that tied it back to the narrator, like we don't know what it is that is being taken away and I think that is central to understanding the emotions of the poem because as it stands it could be anything, and that "anything" feels wishy-washy. What I want to know is what is IMPORTANT to THIS narrator, what THIS narrator feels that is being taken. I kind of hang onto the violation/tongue interpretation, but I'm not confident that is what this is going for.

As a reader, I'm not sure what I'm left with after the "erosion" so to speak. I see a transformation happening, but we're cut before we're left to see what's left.

It could be argued that I'm left with feeling, with just the raw "wanting to belong" lines. Like after everything, after being worn down by Life and the World, all I am are feelings - and that would be so PERFECT but I'm not sure I feel a strong connection between a longing to belong and that second stanza.

I think that there's this scrappiness in the imagery of a narrator growing in the pebbles and gravel, growing despite the lack of light or water or home. I definitely feel the bite of --well I guess it wasn't "safe" - but I don't see how the themes of erosion and surviving is connected to "belonging", unless the narrator is trying to say that in "not belonging" is WHY they're surviving/eroded?

That connection needs to be made clearer. But other than that. ;-; like, pure beauty, omg. Write moreeeeee pretty please?

~ Auds

Jagged says...

You make a lot of very good points but. Hrm. Regarding the vagueness %u2014
would it help frame things to know that most if not all of my poems these days usually come from a perspective of diaspora? Displacement / loss of the homeland / e/immigration / adaptation. Thus: what is coming in, trying (but not always succeeding) to erase what once was; or the past trying to preserve itself, undermining the new. (See also: ).

Love that you got the good stuff out of stanza 2. Stigma/style were interesting to me on the technical level but also because those words have several meanings and at least two are applicable. And the tongue as an intrusion %u2014 yes, certainly in a way. You could say, also, assimilation.

To me it's a poem about trying to fit into an identity that ultimately isn't right, I guess. Ish? Something like that. Poetry man, it's always vague y'know?

<3 your reviews are always a treat and I'm glad to have been blessed once again.

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261 Reviews

Points: 829
Reviews: 261

Sat Mar 10, 2018 8:00 pm
marms says...

this is so beautiful omg

"The day, which was one of the first of spring, cheered even me by the loveliness of its sunshine and the balminess of the air. I felt emotions of gentleness and pleasure, that had long appeared dead, revive within me. Half surprised by the novelty of these sensations, I allowed myself to be borne away by them, and forgetting my solitude and deformity, dared to be happy."
— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein