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I Bite my nails

by LukeRH

I break my teeth and destroy my hands, my nails bother me like an itch that shouldn't be scratched. I bite my nails and destroy their beauty, making fingers look like splinters like something that needs to be fixed. I bite my nails ‘cause there’s nothing left to do, Because thinking is screaming and I don't want to hear it. I bite my nails, and I leave there destroyed pieces on the floor, like headstones in a burial ground. I bite my nails and hope the sound hides the invisible tears or nonexistent sniffles. I bite my nails and know that it's the only thing I have control over in a life that's not mine.

I bite my nails to adknowledge that i'm fine. 

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Points: 61
Reviews: 4

Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:59 pm
Benji wrote a review...

Wow this is a really good way to start off with your first poem, I'm really impressed in your knowledgable use of imagery, combining it with something a person would normally do when feeling anxious or antsy and dwelling in the thought behind that is a really good mark in this piece, I felt that the pace was good. All in in all this is a wonderful piece! Thanks for the great read :)

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545 Reviews

Points: 29617
Reviews: 545

Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:14 pm
Tuckster wrote a review...

Hey there LukeRH! Tuck here with a quick review.

Wow, for a first poem, this is breahtakingly good. You're only going to get better from here, and I'm excited to see what you're able to come up with after years of practice. There's a lot of potential here to unpack, so I'll do my best to give you some points where you could improve. Let's jump right into it!

The imagery in this poem was really spectacular, for the most part. I liked the use of splinters here and how you tied it to the thought of something that needs to be fixed, or something that's broken. Headstones in a burial ground was a little weaker, in my opinion, but it's still pretty solid and I liked how it gently introduced the idea of death (isn't that an oxymoronic statement? :p)

Structure wise, I liked the way everything was centered. However, the fact that everything was bolded negated the bold. Bold is used to draw attention to things, so when the entire poem is bolded, it loses its effect. For that reason, I think you should consider de-bolding the poem and only bolding parts that you want to call special attention to. The fact that you had it in paragraph form was also an interesting stylistic choice that was unique, and to be honest, I liked it. It was unconventional, but it also drew attention to the final sentence, which made it even more impactful.

Speaking of your last sentence, I honestly thought that your second to last sentence was stronger than the last sentence. To some extent, this is personal opinion/personal preference, but it's more specific than the last sentence. Biting your nails to gain control is an idea that many readers, including myself, can empathize with because of its specificity, whereas biting your nails as a form of insistence is a little more vague and less hard-hitting because of the vagueness. I hope I'm making sense here, and if I'm not definitely let me know and I'll try to clarify myself.

Overall, this was a super strong first poem, and I hope to be able to read more from you soon! A belated welcome to YWS, and if you have any questions about the site or my review, please just let me know and I'd be happy to help! I really enjoyed this poem, so thank you for sharing it!

All my best,

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14 Reviews

Points: 119
Reviews: 14

Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:27 am
CJ6233 wrote a review...

Hi, I'm here to review your poem!

First of all like the idea.

Second of all, I think 'Because thinking' should have a lower 'b'?

Maybe when you say 'I leave there destroyed' you meant 'I leave them there destroyed'?

And fix the spelling of 'acknowledge'.

And 'i'm fine' to 'I'm fine'.

Other than that I think this poem is good! Well done

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16 Reviews

Points: 617
Reviews: 16

Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:18 am
SuperOriginalName wrote a review...

Dear LukeRH,

Wow. This is such a great poem!! Believe it or not, it was actually quite relatable and almost brought me into tears. However, as you know, this is a review and I would love to help you progress in your literary work.
Let's begin!

1) Layout
In writing, (especially in poetry) the way you take your work and put it in a bit of a pattern is very important, and I hope you can agree. I like how the last line, you sort of put it in it's own little section(?). Correct me if I am wrong. Though, I like the effect, the rest of your poem is in this big...blob. I don't know how else to explain it. Instead of this, you could put it into different stanzas (if you don't know what they are, they are like a verse or paragraph in poetry). Another thing I noticed is that it is all in bold text, which I kind of like, haha. I think it sets the mood and I might use this trick in some of my poetry submissions!

2) Spelling
I didn't see much of this at all, actually. The only one I noticed was on the last sentence, you spelled "adknowledge" wrong. I hope this was the word you were planning to use, but it should actually be spelled "acknowledge."

3) Grammar
This is a similar situation as #2 , but on the last sentence, "i'm" should actually be "I'm." Do not fret. I almost cried by the end of reading this, so you must of been a could I say this.. You know, like feeling a little sad. I can definitely relate.

Overall, this is honestly such a relatable yet sad (in a good way) poem, and I can't wait to see more work from you! I hope I wasn't too harsh. I am sorry if I was, and I hope you are having a good day/afternoon/evening.

SuperOriginalName ♡

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317 Reviews

Points: 2255
Reviews: 317

Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:29 pm
Horisun wrote a review...

Hello, LukeRH! This poem was done really well, and I really feel the emotion behind this piece. It had a nice flow, and I didn't see too many technical errors, except for two, which I will point out now.
"I bite my nails to adknowledge that I'm fine." Adknowledge should be spelt Acknowledge, and i'm should be I'm.
Other than that, you did a really good job on this poem, and I can't wait to see more works from you soon! Also, welcome to YWS! What a time to join too! Lol! Have a great day!

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Points: 200
Reviews: 0

Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:45 am
Hirrah says...

I like this. I can hardly tell it's your first poem.
I don't know the emotions (your emotions while writing) behind this but I can relate. I'm kinda going through a similar phase. Good work.

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1019 Reviews

Points: 119057
Reviews: 1019

Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:40 pm
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alliyah wrote a review...

Hi Luke! Welcome to the Young Writers Society - I really hope you're enjoying the site so far! I'm alliyah one of the moderators on the site - if you ever have any trouble finding your way around, please don't hesitate to reach out, I'd be happy to help. I'm always happy to see more poetry writers on the site; anywho let's get to the review!

For a first poem, this is really quite good - there are a few main things that I think poems that are impactful and engaging to read have in common 1) Specificity 2) Some sort of narrative arc - with clear conflict set in reality 3) Poetic Devices like imagery or metaphor to make a staying impression. This poem has all three of those elements, and so you've got all the main pieces there to create a really strong piece.

Let's look into some of the specifics of the piece!

Formatting is never the main thing I look at for a poem, but it is the first thing, because it's that very first impression the poem makes to the reader before they even take in the words. A few comments here: it is not typical to put a poem entirely in bold or italics, and seems about the same as if you had put the whole poem in blue text or an odd font - it doesn't seem to be purposeful in this situation so ended up coming off as a bit random.

You also didn't end up dividing the lines into separate lines - this is called paragraph poetry, which I think tends to work a bit better for experimental and narrative-type poems. For this type of poem, I think not splitting up line breaks ended up hiding some of your sound-devices and repetition, and made the poem look less "poetic" on the page. I'd suggest breaking up the stanzas with line breaks a bit more, and also aligning left, since that's sort of the "typical" modern way to format poetry, unless there is an intentional reason you're trying to go astray. If you're having trouble formatting with the YWS deal - here's a quick article on how to edit poems using HTML that may help you.

Spelling & Word Choice
There were a few spelling issues
"adknowledge" -> should be "acknowledge"
last line "i'm" should be -> "I'm" since you capitalized all the other "I's" in the poem.
"I leave there destroyed pieces" -> should be "I leave their destroyed pieces - and actually I think that's a bit of an awkward way to refer to it; to me it felt extremely cringey - probably because that imagery is a bit gross to imagine and then drawing it out in a long sentence is just... very uncomfortable.

I think writing a poem about finger nail clippings as a whole could be a bit off-putting for many readers if you focus on the imagery of the nails, because a lot of people do not like seeing or discussing finger nail clippings. But it does create sort of a visceral - stomach-stirring reaction which might be the mood you're going for.

in this line "'cause there's nothing left to do, Because thinking" -> "because" has no reason to be capitalized in that context.

You really loaded up this poem with imagery and metaphors which really painted a vivid picture, I also like that your imagery seemed to all be the same mood of the poem itself -> like splinters and headstones. Very nice.

One piece of imagery that I do not think worked was the line about crying "hope the sound hides the invisible tears or nonexistent sniffles" -> I have a few issues with that line. 1) It is not clear what's happening, are they actually crying, or what? Why is the crying non-existent? 2) It is difficult to describe crying in a way that isn't cliche, because it's hard to capture that express feeling except in metaphor, so this ends up feeling a bit silly. 3) the word "sniffles" has a sort of helpless, child-like, immature connotation that sort of cut the narrator down a bit in my head. I would recommend just taking that whole line out, or describe crying from a more metaphorical stand point.

This poem had a very clear mood and message, that really was very tight, everything culminated together to the last line. I interpreted the poem to be about how something we see outwardly may be an outward manifestation of an inner anxiety that is really eating away at a person. And how for this speaker their habit of nail-biting was a really involved coping mechanism to handle the anxiety of their life.

I think the poem could reveal a bit more about what is actually causing the speaker's anxiety, rather than just the reaction to that - although that's more my curiosity than anything wrong with the poem. Overall it's quite a nice piece, that I think is successful in communicating a message and also an overall anxious/helpless mood for a topic and scenario that isn't overly-addressed in poetry.

Well done! This was a very fine first piece, and I do look forward to reading more of your poetry in the future.

- alliyah


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108 Reviews

Points: 13147
Reviews: 108

Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:18 pm
Asith wrote a review...

God, I love when I stumble across poems that I like. It's rare, but when it happens, it's so good!

I adore the way you describe things; it's metaphorical without becoming useless rhetoric. I really feel what you're trying to say, even though most poetry is wasted on me. This might actually be my favourite poem I've read all month!

I wouldn't really change any of what you've actually written, but there are a few spelling/punctuation/grammar errors. I don't like focusing on those, but for the sake of critique, let's run through them:

(...)making fingers look like splinters like something that needs to be fixed.
A punctuation mark is missing right after "splinters", to separate the next line. I recommend a semicolon.

I bite my nails, and I leave there destroyed pieces on the floor(..)
"There" should be spelled "their". If you don't understand why, then I suggest you look it up, because it's a very easy mistake for beginners to make, but really hurts your writing. Don't worry, it's not too difficult to understand :)

Other than that type of spelling stuff, you poem is absolutely wonderful! I'm gushing about it, I know, but I really relate to this; I adore it!

Welcome to YWS, can't wait to read more from you! :D

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23 Reviews

Points: 63
Reviews: 23

Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:59 pm
kaceymackwriter wrote a review...

First off, hi!!! Welcome to YWS, it's a wonderful, supportive community! Thank you for joining!!

Second, I absolutely love this poem! You've created impressive visuals here that I really relate to but even if you weren't didn't relate to this, you'd still understand the emotions within it quite well because you've portrayed them amazingly. It's easy to understand what you're trying to convey but still has an impressive complexity to it.

The only little issues that I have would be the capitalization of the word 'because' in the line "Because thinking is screaming and I don't want to hear it." simply because there isn't a period in the line before so the capitalization is a little odd there. And then there's the word 'acknowledge' the last line which was just a simply spelling thing.

All in all this is a really good poem and I really really enjoyed it! I hope to see more of your works soon!


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— Arthur O'Shaughnessy