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deep breathing exercises

by Plume

tell me that the shadows cast by the rough skin on my cuticles look beautiful in the dusky light of your bathroom. tell me that my muttering sounds like your favorite song, that each sob is actually concertos and chamber music. tell me that the constant pick-pick-picking of my fingernails on skin is in tune with your heartbeat, that i memorized the vital metronome inside your chest to give my self-destruction rhythm. tell me that my tears don’t stain, that everything i spill will come out in the washing machine. tell me i’m impermanent everywhere but your heart.

you are beautiful, but it is not because of my bathroom light; it is because you are a fighter. i hear your songs, your concertos, and they are false; why do you hate yourself so? my heartbeat does not dictate what you do, but i am glad you know it; it is far more trustworthy than my footsteps. your spillages are art on my sweatshirt, and they turn to halite on the walls of my heart, drip castles fortifying. my darling, you are anything but temporary.

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1111 Reviews

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Sun Jul 03, 2022 11:03 pm
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lliyah wrote a review...

"tell me i'm impermanent everywhere but your heart" really hits!

This poem really conveys the feeling of like an anxious spiraling / anxiety attack so well, and interestingly is also so grounded in the physical just like people often advise for grounding exercises (ie. take stock of 5 things you can feel, try to be conscious of your breathing, etc).

The first time I read it through I interpreted it as two speakers - not necessarily speaking to each other, but experimenting the moment in different ways, and then I read it as the same person divided by these polar feelings of trying to comfort themselves with this more reassuring self-talk. I think the line about "tell me i'm impermanent everywhere but your heart" just struck me as a line to tell like a friend or lover rather than one to say to oneself which had me reading it as two people first.

A small critique - there are a lot of different imagery theme spaces in here bathroom, shadows, chambers, concerts, anatomy, castles, caverns - and one aspect maybe it's overwhelming in a demonstrative way to bring them all together, I wonder if some of the images could be stacked a little more - > ie. make the bathroom image play with the cavern image, make the metronome more directly intersect with the concern imagery etc so they feel like they're all building one grand image instead of different threads. Right now the linking element was definitely the bodily imagery - but I think there were aspects that could have overlapped even a bit more to bring all the images more tightly together. (On the other hand I think there's some merit to maybe the disjointed images maybe portraying anxious thoughts in some way, so if that was what you were going for, that's okay too!)

Overall the dual voices creates a lot of interest, and I love how the second paragraph echoes in reverse the same concepts as the first paragraph. It's a cool effect! Thanks for sharing, this was an enjoyable read about a subject that isn't often covered in poetry.

~ alliyah

Plume says...

aaa alliyah thank you so much for your review!! I appreciate your suggestions a lot, especially about the whole one person vs two people narrative; I wanted it to kind of remain ambiguous, but that line is definitely one that swings towards the two person narrative. I'll be sure to keep it in mind when I revisit this one! Once again, thank you so much for your review!!

lliyah says...

You're very welcome! :)

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17 Reviews

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Wed Jun 08, 2022 4:45 pm
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WishIHadASword wrote a review...

Well dang, that left me breathless. I thought I was coming here so give a normal review, but turns out I was here to have my heart VIOLATED in the most beautiful way possible. I mean, what the heck! Is this much talent even allowed? This is like true, pure love in the form of a narrative. The comparisons are beautiful are maybe slightly bittersweet. I love the reply as much as I love the first paragraph, and I feel like it could be either a loved one talking to them, or even internal dialogue. I love your writing style and you most DEFINITELY have a gift! Thanks for absolutely blowing my mind today! Please keep on writing ;)

Plume says...

Thank you so much for your sweet comments!

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356 Reviews

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Wed Jun 08, 2022 3:31 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...

And you are always beautiful like the cracked and colorless photo of a 1950’s dame.Old,timeless and everlasting.Sorry I just wanted to add to the prose.I can imagine this as either someone’s own contrasting thoughts or a conversation between two people.Maybe even words splayed on the pages of a long forgotten book.The pages are decayed and yellowing.I hope that you have a spectacular day/night.

Plume says...

Thanks for the review! I'm glad that you were able to pick up on the fact that it's an internal conflict as opposed to two people talking. I hope you don't mind if I ask a follow-up question: Was there anything you thought could be improved, or a line you particularly liked, if not? Once again, thanks for the review!

I didn%u2019t think anything could be improved upon.

My favorite line was %u201CMy heartbeat does not dictate what you do.%u201D It feels so wholesome.

Plume says...

Thank you so much!

You wanna be a writer? You don't know how or when? Find a quiet place, use a humble pen.
— Paul Simon