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Off-Switches

by Plume


Human beings
do not come
with off-switches.

Sometimes
I wish
they did.

        

When my brother
plays his saxophone
too loud and right in my ear,

When my mother
reminds me of everything
I have to do with my life,

When my father
tries to take
the only thing giving me purpose away.

      

Human beings
do not come
with off-switches.    

If they did
I would have flipped mine
long ago.


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27 Reviews

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Reviews: 27

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Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:40 pm
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StudentAH wrote a review...



Oh my -- wow.

I had some initial criticism as I read through the poem but the ending certainly made up for it. The idea behind the poem is absolutely fabulous. I didn't see that coming. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

For starters, I really liked the whole idea of the poem. The title and the first two stanzas made me think the poem was dark. But as you went through the three examples of the family members, I saw the poem taking a humorous direction and was almost convinced it'd stay that way. Until the end... it was an amazing ending that tied all the concepts together that I didn't see coming. I didn't expect the narrator to target him/herself as the final person who should be switched off. More on that later...

While I loved the concept, I felt that the 3 middle stanzas were a little messy in terms of wording. I liked the first stanza about the brother. I had some trouble reading this line in the second stanza:

"When my mother reminds me of everything I have to do with my life."


The object 'everything I have to do with my life' has odd syntax. We don't know what kinds of things in life you are referring to. I assume you are talking about chores, obligations, or duty, but its a little unclear.

"When my father
tries to take
the only thing giving me purpose away"


could have been better said as:

"When my father
tries to take away
the only thing that gives me purpose"


It may be even better to say something like "the only thing that gives me joy" or "the only thing that gives me freedom."

Basically, insert [feeling] that the object gives you. We don't know what kind of purpose the thing had. Rather, by saying it gives you a specific feeling, we can infer that that feeling keeps you alive.

And this is where the poem started taking a darker turn, though I still didn't expect the narrator to target him/herself in the ending lines. THAT was heart-wrenching. People who are depressed or don't want to live often blame themselves for the problem, but rarely do they realize that its their environment that is the problem and not them. Rather than resolving to "switch off everyone else," the narrator prefers to switch off themselves.

I'd like to add that this is the impression I got about the switches: The 'switch off' isn't a metaphor for death when it comes to the other people. When the narrator wants to switch off other people, its more like "I wish these people in my life would stop bothering me, I wish I could shut off their 'processes' that get in the way of my life. When they bully me, when they control me, when they abuse me." Yet... when it came to switching their own switch off, I saw that as a metaphor for not wanting to live, even if it wasn't necessarily suicide.

Overall, that was an incredible poem and well executed. I loved the meaning behind it... it filled me with some sorrow and concern for those in a situation like this.




Plume says...


I really enjoyed reading your review! And thanks for pointing out my syntax; that's something I've always struggled with, especially with word order and such. Thank you for your thoughts!



StudentAH says...


No problem! I'm still learning myself. :P



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Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:22 am
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MoonIris wrote a review...



Hi silverquill12,
I'm here with a review. You have a fun short poem. I love how you gave examples and had the same number of lines in each stanza but you already received a review on that.
I couldn't find any grammar mistakes. :) Throughout the poem I could understand how annoyed is the writer and how he/she only wants a moment of peace. You used simple vocabulary but we understood very well your idea.
One thing that I think you could improve is the melody of the poem. All your stanzas, except the examples, have the same punctuation. Adding a difference will make it more interesting. Although, this is not very important.
I hope my review helped you and didn't offend you in any way,
MoonIris.




Plume says...


Thanks for your review!!



MoonIris says...


:)



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Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:23 pm
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Mageheart wrote a review...



Hi, silverquill12! I'm here to review your work as part of this year's RevMo. :)

The first thing that stuck out to me when I read through this poem was your use of examples. I also noticed the pattern of three lines per each stanza, but it was the examples you provided that really made the poem come to life. I like how you described each member of the speaker's family - and specifically mentioned what made them so irritating.

As someone who lives with her brother and two parents and has been spending the majority of her time with them thanks to the pandemic, this poem really rung true for me.

(The saxophone part especially hit close to home - one of the worst things during the spring semester was trying to have an online class while my brother was trying to play his instruments for his online class.)

I'm also a really big fan of the repeated stanza! It's a great way to drive home the point you're trying to make with this poem; the added stanzas in between the first and repeated one make the repeated stanza have a completely different feeling to it. The reader gains clarity they didn't have when they were first introduced to those three lines.

My one suggestion is to alter the formatting. The three lines per stanza is a really cool idea in theory, but some of the line breaks can be jarring. It's something I've been working on in my own poetry, so I couldn't help but notice it. I've tested my line breaks by reading my poems out loud after I finish writing them. If it doesn't feel weird pausing, then I'm all set! If it does, I just have to move the words around.

Here's an example of how you can change some of the line breaks:

Human beings do not come

with off-switches.


(If any of the lines become too long, you can always change the formatting so the poem is centered instead of aligned to one side!)

You might also want to try grouping the stanzas together based on what is being said in that section. You could break it down into three bigger stanzas: one with the first two stanzas, another with the three stanzas describing your family, and a final one with the last two stanzas.

(If you want to get rid of the spaces between the lines in the same stanza, all you have to do is hit shift & enter at the same time. :))

I hope my review helps! I really like your poem - and would leave to read more of your poetry in the future. :)

Image




Plume says...


Thank you! Your review helps a lot!!



Mageheart says...


You're welcome! I'm glad it was helpful. :)

Let me know if you have any questions about it! <3




True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are.
— Brené Brown