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the luxury of lungs

by Magebird


the luxury of lungs

i can feel the water
rushing in.

i kept my mouth open
because i was always told
that i needed to make myself heard
if i wanted to be more than just a
background character in the
commercialized seashore town of life.

seeing phantoms standing next
to me on the beach shore,
i believed that everyone
gasped for air as
the tides pulled them under
instead of swimming back
against the waves.

the fish tell me
to breath through the gills
i should have gotten
when the sea decided
to claim me – that only
the people lounging
on the white sand above
have the luxury of lungs.

as my vision becomes
a kaleidoscope of
crystalline blues
and the blackness
that follows your body
realizing it's run out of
precious oxygen,
i think that maybe
i should have
closed my mouth –

or at least stood
farther from the shore.


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22 Reviews


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Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:37 pm
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deleted18 wrote a review...



Greetings, fellow author!
(I like saying this a lot.)

I appreciate a good enjambment every now and then. A good ol' soliloquy (although this is more of something else, a little more obscure) can really make a good day of writing. So let's grab a cup of coffee and dive into this hearty review.

First off, we have an unfortunate negative that's been mentioned already, but I'll still say: the enjambment is a little odd at times. A good feeling of how to structure it is hard to grasp, since it's such a subtlety, but there are a couple of key points you can follow. Always separate the focal point and all its elements (but keep them in one place), never end on prepositions or articles (but some exceptions exist) and never break sentences just for the sake of it. To exemplify what I said I'll give you these:

Focal point:

a kaleidoscope of
crystalline blues


would become

a kaleidoscope of crystalline blues


Prepositions are quite self explanatory, just move them one verse down and you're good.

Breaking sentences:

and the blackness
that follows your body
realizing it's run out of
precious oxygen,


would become

and the blackness that follows your body
realizing it's run out
of precious oxygen


Form comments aside, a plus is the imagery, especially in regards to the theme. I loved the entire aura of regret that the poem gave off, especially in the fourth stanza. In some way, I feel like it's the bittersweet taste of progress, as it comes with renouncing a lot of past levels. It goes to show that raising your living condition (in this case from sea to land - or viceversa) comes at the cost of leaving behind parts of yourself.

Lastly, I loved that even in the final moments of their life, the poetic voice finds it in themselves to still mechanically repeat the tics they've been given. It goes to show how hard alienation can take you, and the desire to fit in or stand out. Keeping your mouth open to be heard while drowning is a really powerful image.

Cheers,
Bubbles




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Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:07 am
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Liminality wrote a review...



Hey, Magebird! The imagery is really vivid in this piece. I get the sense of ambiguity and complexity of the speaker's emotions - it's quite suspenseful to go from one stanza to the next. The poetic voice seems conversational and personal, quite like your other poems.

1. Though the whole poem is full of interesting imagery, I particularly like two images. One is "commercialised seashore town of life", which I think is a really apt metaphor for the theme. Commercialisation makes me think of speed and rush, which echoes "needed to make myself heard" and "gasped for air". Another is the "kaleidoscope", because the fractured repeating patterns of colours seems disturbing and conveys the horror of the drowning imagery.

2. I like some of the structural techniques you've used, like the symmetry in having a short stanza to begin and close the poem. I think it's a nice finish. Aside from that, I also like the repetition of "I should have" and using this tense in general throughout the poem, because it's good at conveying regret despite the somewhat disassociated tone the speaker has as they drown, which makes the mood seem all the more complex.

3. Some of the enjambment placement is a little jarring to me. For instance:

". . . standing next
to me . . . "

I thought this felt a bit strange read aloud, if only because "next to me" just seems like part of one unit. Maybe consider line breaks like

"seeing phantoms standing
next to me on the beach shore"?

The rhythm I think is the best in stanza 4 and 5, because there the enjambment suggests a state of panic as the speaker drowns, which is fitting since it's the climax of the poem.

4. Flashing between past and present to explain the sort of existential crisis that the speaker is experiencing is really interesting, as it makes the hopelessness and semi-regret for past actions seem so immediate, if that makes sense.

5. Love the title! It's oxymoronic, in a way, something so necessary being considered "luxury". Makes the situation seem impossible.

Overall, I really like the concept and unique development of this poem. It's just some line breaks here and there and the rhythm that I find trip me up a little. This is a good piece you have on your hands!




Magebird says...


Thank you for your review! Enjambment is something I definitely need to work on in my poetry, so I really appreciate you pointing out how I could change it to make the poem flow better. <3



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Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:29 am
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DeliriumNervosa wrote a review...



Hi Magebird,

Delirium Nervosa here to review your poem.
I absolutely adore this poem and the message it conveys! I love the way you compare the land and the ocean and how the people above are the ones with the lungs.
The way you have used personification for the fish and provided such a wonderful picture of a very dense topic.
It shows how hide sight is a wonderful thing and that maybe, sometimes not everything is worth it and we should take that into account before making any actions or saying anything.

I can't wait to read more of your work.

Sincerely,
Delirium Nervosa




Magebird says...


Thank you for your review! I'm glad you enjoyed my poem. :)



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Thu Jul 30, 2020 11:17 pm
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Morrigan wrote a review...



Hello again, Magebird!

Another cool poem with a strong motif. This one is definitely different than your nature poem; it lives in metaphor town, so you have more freedom with the imagery that you use.

The first thing I noticed is that you start with an image of water entering. Then you go on to not really use much imagery in the next stanza. Starting with the image was a good idea, but the following stanza kind of explains too much, and too little, at the same time.

because i was always told
Forgive me, but this is one of my pet peeves. Who explained it to you? This is the same as saying "they say." It's weak because we don't know who is telling you that. The reader can assume that your parents told you that, or some figure in your life as you were growing up, but it's just not necessary here. You can cut out this line completely, and just have the more direct,
i kept my mouth open
because i needed to make myself heard
so i would be more than a background character

Because the thing is it doesn't matter if you were told to do it or not. The water is rushing in, so obviously the narrator did it.

commercialized seashore town of life

Man, you're hitting all of the pet peeves with this poem. "of life" is tacked on, and the reader already understands that this poem is not reality. If you read it out loud, it sounds kinda corny. It's also a big concept word. Poetry is (or should be) about making small things into big things, not telling the reader what the big idea is.

i believed that everyone
gasped for air as
the tides pulled them under
I noticed the "as" hanging around at the end of your line, which makes a pretty weak line break. There's also opportunity for a really fun break here. If we put "gasped" at the end of the previous line, there's this little hiccup where it's like "oh they're gasping because of surprise." Try this and see how you like it:
i believed that everyone gasped
for air as the tides
pulled them under


to breath through the gills

"breath" is a noun.
"breathe" is a verb.

i should have gotten
when the sea decided
to claim me –
This feels clunky. If I may make a suggestion to make it flow more smoothly:
the sea should have given
when it claimed me –


I've just realized that the last two stanzas are one sentence. That's a whopper of a sentence! I've already suggested quite a few changes, but I had trouble following everything that was going on. If I was wearing your shoes, I'd break it up into more sentences. Try writing that out as prose, as well, and focus on which parts cascade into each other. Also, try not to break lines on conjunctions or prepositions. It's jarring to read.

One more grammar nitpick that I noticed:
realizing it's run out of
"it's" is a contraction for "it is," so it's technically wrong since you meant "it has."

I really enjoy the title for this poem. It drew me in and led me to read it, which is what a title should do. The use of that line in your poem is effective, as well. Again, I'm a fan of your motif, and I appreciate how you used it to get your point across. If you have any questions, please let me know! I hope that this proves useful to you! Happy writing!




Magebird says...


Thank you for your review! I'm glad you liked the motif - I'm not sure if you saw my wall post, but it wasnt the original one I had in mind when I started writing this poem. :)



Morrigan says...


I did just read your wall post. While I enjoyed the motif because it was consistent, I do think it would be very interesting if you chose to rewrite it with the other motif. It's a little fresher than the idea of drowning.



Magebird says...


I definitely want to try writing a poem with the same theme but with the original motif someday! I just couldn't get it out on paper no matter how hard I tried to yesterday, and my main goal was to write a poem that would make me feel better.




The only fool bigger than the person who knows it all is the person who argues with him.
— Stanislaw Jerszy Lec