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the last four years

by Magebird


Trigger Warning: This poem contains detailed mentions of being cut. While the intention was that another person was doing the cutting, the poem's vagueness can lead to it potentially being interpreted as self-harm. If mentions of self-harm are triggering to you, this probably isn't the poem for you.

the last four years

the last four years
have been a series of thin incisions
cut into fragile, soft human skin.

i’ve watched my blood boil
underneath the surface
of cuts that appeared too fast
for me to stitch closed.

i poured hydroxide peroxide down my arms
and watch the infection bubble.
i dabbed triple antibiotic ointment
on anything that looked too red.
i slapped band-aids onto still aching wounds
and momentarily forgot
that i was hurt in the first place.

my nerves shut down
from the constant influx of sensation.
i couldn’t tell you how many times
the blade traced a line
from the back of my head
down my spine
underneath my arm
and right to my heart.

but there aren’t any new cuts today.

my blood hasn’t dripped onto the stained carpet
i run my fingers over all of my white lines
and tried to remember what it
felt like when the wounds were still fresh.

the blade is still here.
someone always brings it back
when i throw it in the trash.

but someday my cuts will be little more
than faded scars
and i’ll only remember the pain
when someone asks
how i got them in the first place.


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Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:31 pm
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Wowzas Mage, this is good!

I of course was drawn to it by the title, with today being today and all. I almost didn't read it because of your T/W (thanks btw for including that) but I went ahead and read it and I'm really glad I did. Your imagery is super powerful and this was a really good allegory.

Now, to hopefully make this somewhat useful, instead of just rambling about how much I loved it ;)

i’ve watched my blood boil
underneath the surface
of cuts that appeared too fast
for me to stitch closed.


The "underneath the surface" doesn't sit quite right for me. I guess my brain is interpreting the imagery quite literally, and is there really a surface of a wound? It seems like the surface would be the skin, but that's been destroyed, so there's not really a surface anymore, no?

Maybe something like "through the cuts" or something? Because I imagine you're talking about seeing your blood boil through the lense of the cuts that appeared too quickly for you to close them up. strong BLM vibes here

i poured hydroxide peroxide down my arms
and watch the infection bubble.
i dabbed triple antibiotic ointment
on anything that looked too red.


I really like the literal imagery you used here. It's clear that there are strong political undertones here, but there is a real, necessary cause to deal with tending literal wounds and I like how it can apply to both. We have to clean out the metaphorical and physical wounds. I think this sums it up very nicely for both. Also,

anything that looked too red.


I'm SCREAMING omg xD

my nerves shut down
from the constant influx of sensation.


These lines are absolutely chilling <33

I'm really sorry that this is something you have experienced, but as someone who has a fair bit of trauma, I know exactly what this feels like and these lines hit really hard. You are doing an excellent job portraying such a horrible subject.

but there aren’t any new cuts today.


This line also hits really hard. It's one of those particularly-applicable-to-both-themes lines and I applaud you for how well it's done. It's like the still after the storm, both of self-harm and of orange man induced political harm.

my blood hasn’t dripped onto the stained carpet
i run my fingers over all of my white lines
and tried to remember what it
felt like when the wounds were still fresh.


It sort of feels like the first line doesn't fit with the others here? Like it seems like you switched thoughts but didn't bring us along with the transition. Maybe this one would fit well with the line about new cuts? That would reduce the impact of it being a single line by itself, but it seems to fit that vibe better because these next lines have a different mood.

but someday my cuts will be little more
than faded scars
and i’ll only remember the pain
when someone asks
how i got them in the first place.


I think you tied this up nicely! The metaphor for self-harm wavers a teeny bit here imo, but also I know everyone has different experiences for it. My scars were very small and faded fairly quickly, but while they were there I saw them almost every day and remembered the pain every single time I saw them.

This might be a cool place to play around with other like conclusions as society as a whole. Like, no more cuts are happening, but you remember what caused it without being asked. Maybe something hopeful about like the memory of the pain moves me to help or something you know? Cause like the scars of the riots are still all over the POC community. The scars of January 6th will be remembered in the hatred of domestic terrorists that haven't suddenly vanished today even though we're hopeful things will get better. You know? I'm not quite sure what it is that I'm suggesting here lol but it might be cool to play around with the faded scars being your motivation to make sure no one else gets cut by the blade that marred you, or something?

Anyway, AWESOME poem! This is really powerful and really clear and is super relatable and particularly hopeful on inauguration day.

Hope this helped!

~Shady




Magebird says...


Ahhh thank you so much for your praise and review, Shady!! <3

Even though you ended up reading the work, I'm glad my trigger warning helped. c: I was thinking about how to rate this and realized that it might be a little triggering, so I went back and slapped that trigger warning at the very top of the poem.

The "underneath the surface" doesn't sit quite right for me. I guess my brain is interpreting the imagery quite literally, and is there really a surface of a wound? It seems like the surface would be the skin, but that's been destroyed, so there's not really a surface anymore, no?

Maybe something like "through the cuts" or something? Because I imagine you're talking about seeing your blood boil through the lense of the cuts that appeared too quickly for you to close them up. strong BLM vibes here


Oooh thanks for picking up on that! That was actually one of the lines I wasn't as sure of, so I really appreciate the suggestion. <3 I couldn't figure out a good alternative so I just went with the first thing that came to mind.

I really like the literal imagery you used here. It's clear that there are strong political undertones here, but there is a real, necessary cause to deal with tending literal wounds and I like how it can apply to both. We have to clean out the metaphorical and physical wounds. I think this sums it up very nicely for both. Also,


Yes.

Thank you so much! I originally considered using stitches as symbolism, but it just didn't feel right - so I went with what I usually do when I get little cuts. :P

I'm SCREAMING omg xD


I can't remember if there was a double meaning to that line but I love how there accidentally was. >>

These lines are absolutely chilling <33

I'm really sorry that this is something you have experienced, but as someone who has a fair bit of trauma, I know exactly what this feels like and these lines hit really hard. You are doing an excellent job portraying such a horrible subject.


Thanks. <3 <3

I think Stella's written some posts about compassion fatigue on her wall, but it's definitely something that I've been feeling for the past few months. I want to be there for everyone I can possibly be there for, but there just isn't enough energy left in me to do that. Which is a whole different issue for another poem. >>

especially when you add in the guilt of wanting to do more but mentally not being able to

This line also hits really hard. It's one of those particularly-applicable-to-both-themes lines and I applaud you for how well it's done. It's like the still after the storm, both of self-harm and of orange man induced political harm.


I'm glad this line hit as hard as it did! I still can't believe I woke up this morning and saw good news about what the president of the United States did while I was offline yesterday and last night.

It sort of feels like the first line doesn't fit with the others here? Like it seems like you switched thoughts but didn't bring us along with the transition. Maybe this one would fit well with the line about new cuts? That would reduce the impact of it being a single line by itself, but it seems to fit that vibe better because these next lines have a different mood.


Oooh that's good to know! I feel like this might be a bit of a filler stanza, now that I'm looking back on it. Do you think it would work if I removed it from the poem?

This might be a cool place to play around with other like conclusions as society as a whole. Like, no more cuts are happening, but you remember what caused it without being asked. Maybe something hopeful about like the memory of the pain moves me to help or something you know? Cause like the scars of the riots are still all over the POC community. The scars of January 6th will be remembered in the hatred of domestic terrorists that haven't suddenly vanished today even though we're hopeful things will get better. You know? I'm not quite sure what it is that I'm suggesting here lol but it might be cool to play around with the faded scars being your motivation to make sure no one else gets cut by the blade that marred you, or something?


Ooooh I like that! I like the idea of expanding the metaphor at the very end to say that I'm not the only one who has the scars. I was originally imagining me telling my grandkid about the scars because it very much feels like a historic time that's going to show up in their school textbooks, but I also love the idea of switching it so I remember the scars when I see them on other people's arms and legs.

Thank you again for your review! It was really helpful. <3 <3



ShadowVyper says...


Oooh that's good to know! I feel like this might be a bit of a filler stanza, now that I'm looking back on it. Do you think it would work if I removed it from the poem?


I think it would! It might be good to replace it with a line that makes it clear that you're doing a timeskip and looking back in the following stanzas?

I was originally imagining me telling my grandkid about the scars because it very much feels like a historic time that's going to show up in their school textbooks


Ooh! That makes sense! I was thinking this was a shorter term timeskip, like 10-15 years instead of decades.

Thank you again for your review! It was really helpful. <3 <3


You're welcome!! I'm so glad <33



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Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:44 pm
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kryptonianmenace wrote a review...



I think it's interesting how this can be interpreted as self-harm because there are many people who would shirk the blame for things they've done and insist any harm they've caused is the fault of the victim. In a way, it's digging the blade in deeper, gaslighting in a way.

I love the imagery here! It calls back to childhood, in a way, for me at least, though I think that's because I haven't used hydroxide peroxide since childhood. Either way, the fact that it reminds me of childhood is cool because it extends it so it's not just the last four years that have felt this way, it's just more prominent because it's more recent - and knowing this is about the past four years in America, I can say that a callback to childhood still works because many of these problems in America weren't new in the past four years, they were just given a bigger platform.




Magebird says...


Thank you so much for your review, Kon!!

I feel like this is proving your gaslighting point, but I didn't even see it as gaslighting originally. I kept the owner of the blade vague because I knew that self-inflicted behavior (like doomscrolling, obsessing over politics in conversations, and posting about bad things all the time) were the reason that I've felt so hurt and scarred. But while some of that is technically my fault, the bigger issue is that the actions were committed in the first place.

And thanks! I actually use hydrogen peroxide still, so it was the first thing that came to mind. I was originally going to do stitches instead, but the good old band-aid, hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic treatment just felt right. :)

So it's really cool that you thought of your childhood! @Haileyg21 also mentioned it being familiar to him in his review down below, so it seems like I stumbled on another hidden theme. :P

Thank you again for your review! It was a great one. :)



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Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:32 pm
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Haileyg21 wrote a review...



HIYO! This is Hailey's review on your Amazing Work! Just here to tell you all the amazing things that you did in this. This piece flows really well. Not only that but I can picture it in my head while reading it, so that's a plus, that's something most people look for when doing this. This happens to be my favorite part.

"i poured hydroxide peroxide down my arms
and watch the infection bubble.
i dabbed triple antibiotic ointment
on anything that looked too red.
i slapped band-aids onto still aching wounds
and momentarily forgot
that i was hurt in the first place."
It reminds me of things that I, even as someone whose had to do this, Makes me think about the old times. Its really well worded and Is over all pretty good. So thank you The amazing writer for writing this Amazing poem.




Magebird says...


Thank you so much for your review! I'm glad that you enjoyed my poem. c:




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