Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Poetry » General


Letter to my Cousin

by Morrigan


Brian, 

tonight closes in about you
in this minute shack filled up with too much
person— your girlfriend's obese mother 
squabbles with scraggly stepdad
over the television in a redneck nightmare,
and the edge-of-hearing rustles 
of a mouse clamp tight around your stomach.

it's like talking to a brick wall, your girlfriend
spits as you compose yourself
in the glorified closet that is her bedroom.
your eyes are glazed or closed, i cannot tell,
but it doesn't matter— either way
tobacco smoke stains the cabinets
like yellow teeth, and the world drips 
and melts around you like burning filmstrips. 

i want to drive you away from this place, 
to buy cheap vodka and walk to a park 
late at night, to suffer our separate depressions
as family, crosses carried by laughter and liquor tears,
but you are too much like me— we both sit silent
when lovers rage, when the world wafts
ephemeral at the edges of our vision, when drowning—

you're drowning. there is no saving you
with cheap vodka; there is only the percussion
of knife on cutting board, your girlfriend making
bitter dinner as bile rises in our throats. 


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
1080 Reviews


Points: 125
Reviews: 1080

Donate
Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:37 am
View Likes
Kaylaa wrote a review...



Nikayla here dropping in for a review!

This is a hard one to review, I admit. I've been straying away from reviewing it because it hit hard, but I'm here now to review it. I like how the poem starts off, addressing the other person in the poem directly, almost like one would write a letter. That's what this poem sort of reminds me of, a letter, but it's much more emotional and much more impactful than that.

tonight closes in about you
in this minute shack filled up with too much
person— your girlfriend's obese mother
squabbles with scraggly stepdad
over the television in a redneck nightmare,
and the edge-of-hearing rustles
of a mouse clamp tight around your stomach.


The opening lines to the piece come off a little awkward, I'm specifically pointing to the first four or so. I don't think they come off on the right foot in a way. The first two lines don't make any sense to me with 'tonight closes in about you' and the fact that I don't know what a 'minute shack' is, but that might be my ignorance. The first stanza doesn't really have a hook to grab the reader in, and I think that's the main problem here. There's no specific detail or line that makes the reader have more intrigue in the piece. Some clarification of what's going on in the stanza would be helpful here.

it's like talking to a brick wall, your girlfriend
spits as you compose yourself
in the glorified closet that is her bedroom.
your eyes are glazed or closed, i cannot tell,
but it doesn't matter— either way
tobacco smoke stains the cabinets
like yellow teeth, and the world drips
and melts around you like burning filmstrips.


I like the second stanza much better than the first. The imagery is a lot more effective in this case, especially with that last line regarding the burning filmstrips, which I absolutely adore. So, the consensus so far is that your first stanza wasn't so hot of a start and I think there's room for you to rework it, and the second stanza does more to actually pull the reader into the poem, and I believe it's much more immersive.

We can also see that the other person in the poem isn't in a romantic relationship with the speaker, which is sort of what I thought was originally going on (I forgot which context the poem was written in even though I believe you told me). I believe that the next two stanzas do the same right that the second stanza does, so there's no big need to ramble on about that much, but we'll jump into the minor issues of stanza three with saying that in the last three lines I don't necessarily think that there needs to be a dash at the end of 'when drowning'.

Other than that, I didn't find any problems there. In the last stanza I don't know how I feel about the usage of 'cheap vodka' as it was already used in the last stanza. The line 'there is only the percussion of knife on cutting board' is a little bit awkward so I suggest you reword that. I love the ending line with 'bitter dinner' and the rhyme there, and the main problems here regard the flow or wording. It's a solid poem with some powerful imagery, Morri. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Best wishes,
Kayla.




Morrigan says...


Thanks, Kayla. Okj was considering changing "minute" because a lot of other people didn't seem to get it either. I'm not using it in the sense of time, but minute as in small. Miniature. I kinda liked using a word that you usually don't see with shack, instead of tiny, but I guess I still have some work to do.
I'll rework it and probably ask you to drop by again and gander at my edits ^_^



User avatar
198 Reviews


Points: 3
Reviews: 198

Donate
Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:56 am
Dreamworx95 says...



Beautiful. There is so much to like here. I love the idea of a "minute shack filled up with too much person"

This poem is publishable and you should try to get it out there. I can help, if you want. I know some places that would love a piece like this.

-Dream




User avatar
48 Reviews


Points: 174
Reviews: 48

Donate
Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:18 pm
CocoaCat wrote a review...



Sup, Morrigan! It's your girl Caitlin; coming at you! And I am here (obviously) to review your poem so let's dive into that.
The first stanza honestly confused me, but I think that I understand the theme or the point you're trying to get at. Now, I'm assuming that your cousin's life isn't going as nice or smooth as it could, his girlfriend probably isn't getting along with him; "It's like talking to a brick wall" and "she spits at you" definitely confirmed my thought. It also sounds like his girlfriend is going through some pretty stressful stuff at home and the cousin you wrote the letter to doesn't seem to live in a nice environment; "tobacco smoke stains the cabinets
like yellow teeth" definitely gives the impression that his parents or maybe even himself smoke and the house is most certainly not clean. And I'm just going to assume that the neighborhood he lives in is filled with the same type of people.
Besides the first stanza, I enjoyed your poem and if I missed the point you're trying to make here, so sorry.
Well, that is a wrap, keep writing, peace out fellow writers !





Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.
— Maya Angelou