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The air is yellow

by LuminescentAnt

She puts on her shoes,

bracing for the horrors outside.

Shakily, she grabs the doorknob.

It is gray and cold.

She finds herself wishing it was the same outside.

She pulls open the door,

and before her shining innocent eyes, she sees

that the air is yellow,

and it’s like life is a sepia filter,

that the sky is a void of white,

the white clouds and orange sun have been sucked in,

a large cloud hangs over and watches,

but it’s not fog.

She slings her backpack on and opens the storm door.

A smell of campfire consumes her nose,

burning wood and cruel gray smoke.

The air feels thick and heavy.

The smoke lingers, not resting until

they have felt the pain of the fires.

Was life ever any other color?

What did mornings used to smell like?

She can’t remember.

The thickness of the smoke weighs her down.

What was the real color of the trees?

What was the real smell of morning dew?

The smoke clouds her memory,

just like it clouds her lungs.

The air is yellow.


Note: This poem is about a real experience I have had recently, because some wildfires caused by the summer heat had caused smoke to drift into the place where I live, so the air quality was really bad because the air was filled with smoke particles and it smelled like a campfire basically everywhere, and yeah, the air actually was yellow. I know other places that have wildfires all the time have this much worse, but I hadn't seen this before I had written this poem, so that's why I decided to write it. It is a tad bit depressing, but don't worry, the smoke has mostly cleared now. 

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135 Reviews

Points: 13364
Reviews: 135

Sun Jun 11, 2023 6:14 am
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OrabellaAvenue wrote a review...

Hello! This is a random weirdo here to give you a short review.

I've actually experienced this too, though I doubt is was as bad as you described. Our air was not yellow. But it was awful. For us it's been happening every summer for the past few years. (We also didn't have any air conditioning for a while but we couldn't open the windows or else the smoke would come in)

Anyway, I really love this poem, and it's actually one of my favorites. The way you describe the outside air and how it she can't even remember what it used to be like hits me hard. It reminds me of my own experiences; of smoke and of other similar situations; and that just makes me easily able to relate (and love).

Thanks for sharing this! It truly is wonderfully written.


LuminescentAnt says...

Hi! Thanks for the review.
I'm sorry that you have been experiencing a minor version of this so often, like I said in the note, I have never seen this before. I hope the smoke is not too bad where you live.
Thanks again and good luck in the tortoise race!

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195 Reviews

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Reviews: 195

Thu Jun 08, 2023 2:38 pm
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loveissourgrapes wrote a review...

Hello there! This is Ina aka loveissourgrapes and I am back here to review more of your writings. I know about the wildfires and I do feel bad for you guys who experience this. I hope you stay safe there in our place. Anyways, back to the poem.

I thought this poem would be a cute poem because of the title but then I read it. Then, felt really sad and sorry for the people nowadays that experience this, even those animals that weren't able to survive in the wildfires.

"She puts on her shoes,

bracing for the horrors outside.

Shakily, she grabs the doorknob."

It starts now with a very descriptive introduction. I can see those teenage girls in movie that show your message. It seems like she wanted to go out but it is was too dangerous and horrifying at the same time. Because the air was yellow and it smell like smoke that would feel in her lungs, like what you said, like clouds. It is sad that she couldn't remember what a normal morning is and how they felt and smelled like.

Writing wise. It is good for a poem. I love descriptive poems that show emotion and how the character's atmosphere is like. Overall, keep it up! It's nice. Stay safe and healthy! Have a beautiful day/night.

LuminescentAnt says...

Hi Ina, thanks so much for this review, you seem to be reviewing all my poems, I'm so glad you like them!

loveissourgrapes says...

You're welcome!

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Thu Jun 08, 2023 4:24 am
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alliyah wrote a review...

Hey there! Welcome to YWS - I thought I'd review this poem of yours!

So first of all - I can certainly relate to these feelings expressed in the poem as my region has been quite hazey the last few days too and it is not a good feeling at all! I think a lot of people who live by wild fires can probably relate to this poem's theme. Without the context of the North American wild fires I think the poem gives an eerie, almost post-apocalyptic other-worldly feel to it. I think my first suggestion would actually be to add the author's note you wrote to the end rather than the top to give readers the chance to get immersed in the world of the poem before putting the contemporary context on top of it. But that's just my preference.

The theme or story of the poem seems to be the speaker feels a heaviness indoors "gray and cold" (which may be a metaphor for an internal sadness, or depression maybe) but they also see and experience a heaviness outdoors in the form of the yellow smoke (internal + external conflict). When they see the smoke outdoors they feel weighed down and like the smoke swallows everything thing up and overwhelms everything around her.

A few suggestions -

I couldn't quite catch the rhyme or reason for your capitalization - in a few places you capitalized words that were at the beginning of lines but not at the beginning of sentences, and in a few places you didn't. Usually a poet does one of several methods:

1) Sentence-Case (capitalize at beginning of each sentence only).
2) Line-Case (capitalize at the beginning of each line)
3) Phrase / Stanza-Case (capitalize to mark transitions in phrases or subject)
4) Other - capitalize just important words or important transitions

which ever way you capitalize is fine as long as it's consistent or has intention in my opinion - but I would re-look at if your capitalization is following some sort of pattern... More info in this article.

I felt like I could follow your poem fairly well as to what you were meaning from line to line, the only line that seemed a little off to me was this one:

that the sky is a void of white,

Void of [something] can sometimes mean that the "something" makes everything else blank or swallowed up with it's presence. So in this case it sounds like you are saying everything was so filled with whiteness that no darkness existed, just whiteness. I think you actually mean the opposite - which you would phrase this way, "the sky is void of white" omitting the "a" before void.

I liked the aspects where you sort of used metaphors to describe the smoke - like saying it was heavy and weighed her down, I think it'd be interesting to try to incorporate some personification into the smoke too maybe imagining what the smoke would be like if it were a person. Is it angry? Is it moving slowly, or sleeping, or skipping? That might be interesting to imagine within the poem to give even more personality to your descriptions.

Overall, it was an interesting read! I hope this review gave you some things to consider - thanks for sharing your poem!



LuminescentAnt says...

Hi alliyah, thank you so much for writing this review! I did think about putting the author's note at the bottom after I wrote this poem, but then I decided to just leave it. Thanks for telling me it was better at the bottom, I think you're right. I fixed the capitalization, it was supposed to be sentence-case capitalization, but I think I forgot to fix the capitalization for a few of the lines. I also tried to add a little more personification for the smoke. And lastly, for the part about the void of white, what I was trying to describe was that the sky was completely light gray, and there were no other shapes or colors, the sky was plain gray. So yes, I was trying to say that no darkness existed.
Thanks again for reviewing, and good luck in the tortoise race!

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57 Reviews

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Reviews: 57

Thu Jun 08, 2023 2:56 am
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TheCornDogEnthusiast wrote a review...

This poem is a wonderful example of detailing to let a reader visualize what is happening. The usage of describing sights and smells really makes the reader feel as if they are in the situtation. The repetition of clouds, smoke, and air give the poem a sense of urgency, as what is described in the note above, a real life event. Their colors come before them. "Yellow air", "gray smoke", and "white clouds" are better than just saying air, smoke, clouds. You wrote this poem as if it really happened, and even if the note wasn't there, I would've believed it was a true either way.
This is a beautifully crafted poem, much to my liking of poems based off of real life events, this is one that I consider, an experience.

Approved by the Corn Dog Enthusiasts Association (CDEA)

LuminescentAnt says...

Hi, thank you for reviewing this poem!

Sometimes my life just sounds like surrealistic fiction being sold on clearance at the book store.
— J. G. Hammersmith