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from the cave

by Pompadour


i have disappeared from the surface of the earth.

somewhere in some body, my heart shrinks
into a microstate, until it both exists and does not--
amid the cannon boom of self collapsing within self,
as though the only place to resonate
is within within within. i am the folding up of boxes,
a muffled orchestra swathed
in layers of eventide. my self disassembles--
shadows dancing along the walls.

i have spent days
in never-ending kenopsia, thoughts high-tailing
mixed-metaphor streams to some land that is
walled-in streets and concrete jungles.

[i a m c o n t a i n e d
        w i t h i n
              m y s e l f]

i give life to the fire that flares, feeding it
with soulless canon, heart caught in the throats
of matroyshka dolls. the hearth stretches its womb,
tongue-curling, flames spinning like sufi dervishes
in eternal orbit. and i--i am the onseer
to their dance, watching the way planets
dangle from their hems, never colliding with one another
the way i do.

i would like, one day,
to see the sun for what it is.
when that day comes, the sun will cry to me,
        'murder, murderer, murdered!'
and i will wonder who i am.

for if i am a fire, or a shipwreck, or a plank--
i am always in flux, always changing,
always a shadow on the wall
in a childhood fable. i am Carneade's sailor A,
never sailor B.
and i hear Carneades laugh at me.

because sailor A is never a part of the survival ethic;
sailor A is unimportant, an empty vessel,
an object for object's sake.

for i am a fire, a shipwreck, a plank:
my tongue spins
dialectic, as Rumpelstiltskin spins gold.
his object is straw: mine is dust
and its shadows.

the earth has disappeared from me.


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Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:07 am
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Aley wrote a review...



Hello Pompadour,

This poem really reminds me of a kaleidoscope until we hit the part about the earth. To me, it really reads like it's a poem about learning how to deal with how small and insignificant we are, but it starts out as a poem about what we see and how what we see might not be reality. I think both messages are strong, although having both messages in one poem does make it somewhat confusing.

I'm having a hard time actually reviewing this one because of other stuff going on, so I'm just going to keep this review short. Sorry PomPom.

What I remember about the theory of the cave is the question of what if what we perceive is not reality? What if our bodies are like cavemen watching shadows, and we only see the shadows of reality, which is behind us, out of what we can see. Our perception is how we view things in this world, but we might be viewing things poorly. We might be seeing the shadows rather than the actual things which cast them.

For me, this changes in the poem to a poem about perception of self in the universe when you begin to ask to see the sun for what it is, because what a sun really is, especially our sun, is just a burning ember amidst the vast array of gasses and smoke which combusts through pressure. We're just a spec compared to that little spark, and that seems so much more vast than talking about a shadow on a wall and our perception there.




Pompadour says...


thank you for this, aley!<3



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Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:39 pm
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Mathy wrote a review...



Hi, I'm ZeldaIsShiek, and I'm here to post another review on some of the most imaginative and unique poems I have ever read. It is not rare that I find a work like this, but what is rare is the incredible blend of narrative, character, references, metaphors, and splendor that goes into this poem and makes it special. That is why I am reviewing this poem today- to analyze these things and determine what ingredients you have mixed in too much of, and which ingredients are perfect. Let's get into this review!

The first noteworthy piece of this poem I experienced was the repetition of the line "I am a fire, a shipwreck, a plank" and what it represents. To me, this line represents the chronological order of events contained within it. There was a fire aboard a vessel, it wrecked, and now a plank floats through the sea, lonely from having its friends burnt up in the fire before the wreck. It also represents the idea of reincarnation: after the fire dies down, it causes or is reincarnated as a shipwreck, which becomes a single surviving board that came out of it. Another theme in this poem that aligns with the title is one of coming out to the world when you have lived your life in a figurative cave of loneliness and self-imprisonment. It makes total sense and fits with the rest of the poem very nicely. Your poem is amazing and seems to be balanced in every way, shape, and form. That alone deserves a follow! ZeldaIsShiek- Out!




Pompadour says...


haha, this is scarcely perfect, but i appreciate the compliment. your analysis of the shipwreck is lovely<3 i always find it interesting how the same thing can be seen by different people in different ways.

thank you for the review~



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Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:31 pm
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alliyah wrote a review...



Hi @Pompadour! I think this is one of the more interesting poems I've read on YWS for quite a while, it's theme is not cliche or overdone, but the poem feels really heavy with layers that the reader needs to unravel.

My main critique of the poem is that it is really inaccessible, what I mean by that is that having read it through several times I'm finding it really really difficult to get understand what's being said and the different disconnected pieces of imagery end up distracting me when I get to a part that I do understand. I think this inaccessibility comes from 3 aspects in this poem. Now, I realize that maybe there's a chance that you intended this poem to be confusing and sort of circular for the reader; maybe that is demonstrating the themes of being lost and empty that are found in the poem -- if this is the case I still think you could tone down some of the following aspects.

1) The word choice:
You've got some really difficult word choice here. I'm not saying you should dumb down the word choice, but my suggestion is pick a few crazy words to highlight, give a context clue or two so that a reader might understand what it is without looking it up, and settle on that word or image for a while instead of just jumping to another place. The words sound nice, but it's almost like writing a poem entirely in technical jargon -- it might be specific, but man it's confusing to read. Examples: eventide, matroyshka dolls, sufi dervishes, Carneade's sailor, kenopsia. I had to stop and look up ever one of those references, and then I didn't feel like there was a lot of "payback" for looking them up, because they were kind of referenced almost in lists, and then abandoned which brings me to my next point.

2) The disconnected imagery:
As I said in the last section, I felt a bit like I was reading through a list of images rather than a list of images that told a story or connected to paint a bigger picture. I think this might because there were too many themes being covered in a very short space: loss of identity, fire/light/shadows, self within self, a body expanding to cover the soul/identity, shipwrecks, cannons/tongues/noise, and then some sort of violence (murderer, dervishes, coliding), and outerspace (planets, sun, shadows, earth). Not to mention orchestras, concrete landscapes, fables, and a lot of allusions to sight/disapearing.

That is a lot to cover within such a relatively short piece. And for me, those themes never really seemed to connect or comment on each other. I would really recommend cutting down the amount of different themes you work with in this piece and make a few really pop. Or if you're going to work with so many different imagery themes at least make it really clear how they relate under the umbrella of the larger theme.

I see below that Kara commented that themes all came together for her, so maybe some people will be able to piece together all the images. I think that even if some people "get" what you're saying the message would still be stronger if there was just a bit more cohesion in the piece itself.

3) The meandering sentences:
The next area that made it hard to connect to this poem for me is that I had a hard time following the sentences themselves, partly because they were all quite long, partly because many had so many inherent contradictions/paradoxes, and then also because the sentences didn't seem to relate to each other. To help with this area, I'd suggest taking another look at the piece and following each individual sentence -- where is it going? Can you follow what the speaker is actually saying? And then cut down the unnecessary wordiness here and there.

Strong Aspects
Now there were plenty of aspects that I really enjoyed about this poem even though I don't think that I "got it". There are a few areas where you paint these really thought provoking metaphors and images for instance:
"the hearth stretches its womb," <- wow! I love that. So visceral and yet really poetic.

"self collapsing within self,
as though the only place to resonate
is within within within." <-- this is such an excellent example of repetition done well, I can hear the echo as the "self" resonates within the person. Very neat.

I think the flow, structure, and visual effect of the poem (within line breaks, indents, capitalization) also fit the tone really well and seemed to work.

Meaning
Like I said before I don't feel like I really understand this poem, but I'll take a try at interpreting it so you can laugh at how far I am from the intended meaning or see the difficulty in interpreting it.

The whole poem is a commentary on the physical/bodily and spiritual/soul divide a person exists in when living. The speaker is experiencing a real rootedness in the body where they feel like their self is disapearing or getting lost (in the shadows). The self is living in this wierd contrast of feeling rooted in the world and surroundings (jungle) but also living in the mind and occasional dispair the mind produces. The speaker then experiences an out of body experience where they imagine or see the planets colliding a metaphor for all the conflict expressed in the physical world and they don't know where they belong within that conflict. They almost want to be in the conflict, because then at least they'd know who they are (the sun crying murder). But instead they seem themselves as both fire and shadow -- always changing, always sort of uncontainable, in this way way their body is like an empty ship. And then in the end the poem reveals the earth the bodily/conflicting/"real" and tangible world has disapeared from them. Providing a contrast from the beginning of the poem where they seemed rooted within the body and the earth, not they are lost. There seems to be some threads of Buddhist thinking in the poem with the continuing identity and mind/body dualism and the metaphor of the candle. But I'm pretty unsure of my interpretation, this was just my best bet.

I look forward to reading more of your work in the future Pompadour! Hopefully in the future I have an easier time deciphering it! ;)

~alliyah




Pompadour says...


thank you so much for this! and yes, the poem does talk about the physical world/the object/the 'seen', and the spiritual/the unseen. it plays with the allegory of the cave as a foundation, but i did meander a lot yeesh. x.x i need to work on that. what i intended, with the idea of identity, is an identity that is rooted within the soul, that is intrinsic, versus one that is formed on the basis of experience on the perceived, worldly plane. i tried to sort of build up on that using the Rumpelstiltskin image--identity within names, and the transformative aspect of identity itself, in how objects shift structure. (but maybe this would be better suited to a separate piece? i sort of went mixing pot with this one, heh.)

again--thank you for taking the time to dissect this moshpit. i appreciate it very muchly!<3



alliyah says...


You're welcome! Rumpelstiltskin Allegory of the Cave are an awesome poetic combination. I should have figured the cave thing based on the title and stuff about "seen/unseen" but somehow I missed it initially. I'm going to have to read it again now with this new info... :D



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Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:29 pm
zaminami wrote a review...



Hello Pompadour! Kara here for a (hopefully) quick review!

Give me your soul.

With that aside, I'm not the best at poetry but here we go!

Bold = grammar and flow issues.
Italics = suggestions and overall
Strikethrough = remove
Underline = krazy Kara komments.

Spoiler! :
i have disappeared from the surface of the earth.

somewhere in {somebody}, my heart shrinks
into a microstate, until it both exists and does not{ -- }
amid the cannon boom of self collapsing within self,
as though the only place to resonate
is within within within. i am the folding up of boxes, {Why did you put "within" three times?}
a muffled orchestra swathed
in layers of eventide. my self disassembles{ -- }
shadows dancing along the walls.

i have spent days
in never-ending kenopsia, thoughts high-tailing
mixed-metaphor streams to some land that is
walled-in streets and concrete jungles. {Woah, this stanza is powerful}

[i a m c o n t a i n e d
w i t h i n
m y s e l f]

i give life to the fire that flares, feeding it
with soulless canon, heart caught in the throats
of {matryoshka} dolls. the hearth stretches its womb,
tongue-curling, flames spinning like sufi dervishes
in eternal orbit. and i--i am the on{-}seer
to their dance, watching the way planets
dangle from their hems, never colliding with one another
the way i do.

i would like, one day,
to see the sun for what it is.
when that day comes, the sun will cry to me,
'murder, murderer, murdered!'
and i will wonder who i am.

for if i am a fire, or a shipwreck, or a plank--
i am always in flux, always changing,
always a shadow on the wall
in a childhood fable. i am Carneade{s}'s sailor A,
never sailor B.
and i hear Carneades laugh at me.

because sailor A is never a part of the survival ethic;
sailor A is unimportant, an empty vessel,
an object for object's sake.

for i am a fire, a shipwreck, a plank:
my tongue spins
dialectic, as Rumpelstiltskin spins gold.
his object is straw: mine is dust
and its shadows.

{as} the earth has disappeared from me.


wOAH I LOVED THIS. This deserves the like. The metaphors, lowercase, everything ties together into one pretty little present that just wowed me. Amazing job and keep up the great work!

Why haven’t you given me your soul yet? --

Kara

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Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:08 pm
Charm says...



i'm in awe <333333





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