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Grounding

by SpencerReidIsMyLife


Life has become a state of constant sensory overload.

My nails scratch at the wooden tabletop—trying to ground myself

As I’m seated tightly, closed in, arms wrapped around me,

Chair’s legs touching the table’s.

A loud buzz surrounds me as the baristas take turns

Attempting to quell the thirst of the patrons during the high

Tide that is 9 am.

Yelling—screaming from my right

As Karen complains yet again, ducks in toe;

To my left, a window: buzzing

With people, it’s tourist season.

The sunlight creeps in, glaring at me

(Fuck vitamin D)

I wish there were blinds.

A text pops in and I look down at my screens—all three

Blaring with notifs

Youtube, email—gotta contact her today;

Instagram, Text message—“We should meet up soon”.

I shut my laptop and push

All my screens in my bag

My head buzzes with a soft hum,

Everything else muffled.

But all I can hear is the yelling, screaming—Karen please.

And the scratching of my nail—to ground me.

I crave the womb—quietly floating in a realm of encased calm and isolation.

But nothing will shut or stop or pause

For a moment so I hang my head and count to ten

Put me back together again.

Life is like becoming a newborn—a sudden sense of overwhelming noise,

colours, smells, gravity—it’s no wonder babies cry when they’re born.

I would too—(I do too)

Cause all I have are the colours to my left,

The coffee noises surrounding me,

The screaming to my right,

The yelling that’s inside of me,

And the scratching of my nails—to ground me.


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Wed Jun 16, 2021 11:01 pm
VictoriaBarton wrote a review...



Everything about this poem is true. There are so many noises and distractions in our society today. There are so many screens and reasons not to take time out of our day and go outside. I do agree with silented1 though. The scratching of nails doesn't reall make much sense. You don't generally scratch a table to ground yourself. The more likely thing to do would be to grip the table, or coffee (if it was in your hand). Clawing at the table? Probably not. But overall, very good! Keep it up <3






Thank you for the review! This grounding mechanism was based on something I personally do. I tend to scratch my finger on things to ground myself, or just as a nervous tick. Either way, I appreciate the comment!



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Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:43 pm
silented1 wrote a review...



This is a thrilling poem! I loved it. You have some rawness to it! But:

You have a continuity problem! You look around the room, push your stuff into your bag, then go back to clawing the table- it doesn't make sense honestly. You'd capture the moment better without that refrain.

I noticed you have a couple different voices in this too- about 3. The rhymes, the direct saying of things like to my left or right, and then the parts where you're like the yelling that's inside me. Try to use two of them! It'll be like narrator and tv show.

You also use a lot of blank description, for telling ideas, not showing us. You also show a lot too, I crave the womb, good line, it shows and you even develop it further. Which is good.






Thanks for the review! Do you think you could elaborate on the three voices though? I don't think I'm getting what you mean. They are all meant to come from the narrator, so I was hoping you could elaborate.



silented1 says...


Basically they're different speech sounds. The rhyme isn't really a 3rd one but it isn't consistent so it's like a 3rd one. What I mean is that in poetry there is something called voice, and it is how the poem sounds and is worded. The whole thing seems like it has 3 sides to it.





Interesting. I didn't really see how there's multiple voices in this one, but I'll take your word for it! Honestly I think that sometimes others can really catch things (especially with voice) that the original author cannot (at least not without time away from the work). I think it was the rhyming point throwing me off in your explanation. I used the rhyming as a sort of refrain so that it came together at bits--never thought of it appearing as a separate voice tbh.



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Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:20 pm
WinnyWriter wrote a review...



Hey there! So I really appreciate you tackling this subject. This poem is a canvas of sorts on which you depict in beautiful yet very realistic imagery what many people need to understand. Also, one thing I really appreciate is the different perspective on the imagery that this poem takes. Usually it seems that poems aim to describe sensory stimuli as something beautiful, but this work looks at it from the other side.

I like your layout and the free form you've used. It flows pretty smoothly and draws the reader's eye to follow the lines. I also like how you keep coming back to that idea of grounding. The repetition of it throughout the poem really gets the purpose across.

I'm so a fan of how you mentioned Karen. :) There are, however, a couple small tweaks I'd make to the sentence where you said, "As Karen complains once again, ducks in toe." First of all, the proper spelling you for what you're trying to convey would be "ducks in tow." Also, the whole likening the small children to ducks seems kinda out of place. Maybe you could just change it to "kids." Just my personal opinion, though.

Another feature I like is the way you've italicized the narrator's internal thoughts or commentary on what's happening. Like I said, the italics really set it off.

At first when I read the phrase "I crave the womb" and its corresponding comparison, I thought it felt out of place and off the subject, but the way you return to that idea ties it together in an awesome way. I really love how you used the idea of coming into the world for the first time as a baby to get the concept of sensory overload across. Really great comparison!

Thanks for sharing this work!






Thank you for the review! I can see what you mean about ducks in tow (thanks for the spelling correction!), but I guess I kinda just used it as a saying? It's something I use in my daily life, so I never thought it would sound out of place. Using kids almost sounds out of place to me, to be honest--but that could just be me. I'm really glad you like the italics--I tend to use that a lot in my poems. I also love that you noticed I brought it full circle at the end with the womb stuff! Anyways, thanks for the comments and critiques!



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Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:24 am
LittleLee wrote a review...



Wow, Spencer, this is a fantastic poem!

I don't know what to say! Every line was very well thought out, the diction was apt, and the setting was really perfect for what you wanted to express (although I have never experienced sitting in a coffee shop with Karen screeching close by). I could relate to the urge to feel grounded, and how everything starts overwhelming you until all you want is peace and quiet. Sometimes everything goes by really fast and you need something sane to hold on to.

One criticism I do have is with regards to capitalization. You've capitalized the first letter of every line, which in my opinion is a bad idea, since you've employed enjambments in this poem. I don't think you should mix the two; capitalize the beginning of each sentence, not line, or it disrupts the flow of the poem. It also gives it a haphazard look. Given the theme of the poem and what you're trying to express, I feel like relying on enjambments to create a flow would work much better than capitalizing letters.

As Karen complains yet again, ducks in toe;

What did you mean, "ducks in toe"?

A text pops in and I look down at my screens—all three

Blaring with notifs

I feel like there's a meaning here I didn't quite get; three screens? What do the two other than your laptop's signify?

My head buzzes with a soft hum,

Everything else muffled.

But all I can hear is the yelling, screaming

Isn't this a little self-contradictory? Everything but the buzzing in your head is muffled, but all you can hear is Karen screaming. Yeah, that's contradicting yourself.

Life is like becoming a newborn—a sudden sense of overwhelming noise,

colours, smells, gravity—it’s no wonder babies cry when they’re born.

I would too—(I do too)

Amazingly well written lines, these were my favourites.

The yelling that’s inside of me,

And the scratching of my nails—to ground me.

This was the best way to end your poem, in my opinion. You link back to both the title and recurring motifs. Good job.

All in all, I immensely liked your poem. I could go on and on about how great it was, but I think you get the idea. Great job! I haven't been this happy with a poem in quite a while. :)

Keep writing!

~ Lee






Hi! thanks for the review. As for your questions:

1. Ducks in tow= kids following her as she went.
2. three screens just references how we have multiple electronics. In this case, I was imagining a laptop, iPad, and phone.
3. I actually don't think its contradictory. When you have sensory overload (at least in my experience) your brain goes sort of muffled and everything becomes muddy but also sharp. So even though I'm spacing out I am also hearing everything around me, just twice as loud. It makes it so every noise seems unbearable----if that makes sense.

Also, thank you for the compliments on those last two sets of lines. I also really like how I ended it, as its different than how I normally end poems.



LittleLee says...


Ducks in tow= kids following her as she went.

Ahh, I misunderstood because there was a typo.

It was a great poem, dude! I'm glad I read it.



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Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:37 pm
FireEyes wrote a review...



Hello there! Incoming review!

When looking through some works this caught my eye. With your description mentioning sensory overload, I had to see your perspective on how it affects you. Not all sensory overload is the same. I'm autistic, so sensory overload is something I deal with frequently. Now let me point out some exceptional things I liked abut your work.

Your use of imagery brings everything to life. I see you mostly mention sounds, but you show real contempt towards the sunlight with your use of explicates. I also appreciate how you put in this

Blaring with notifs

Youtube, email—gotta contact her today;

Instagram, Text message—“We should meet up soon”.
It also shows how something that might not be connected with actual senses, can be just as irritating. I get to see your use of grounding and its interesting. It seems as though your grounding also adds to the problem a smidge. But if it helps it helps, and no one should stop you but yourself in your grounding mechanism. I think my favourite line would be
I crave the womb—quietly floating in a realm of encased calm and isolation.
It's just so beautiful. Your longing for something peaceful, like a mother's womb, just shows how vulnerable some might be in a state of sensory overload.

If I had any critiques, it would be with some of your punctuation. I personally think that this poem tells a story that is more chaotic and punctuation that does that heightens that factor up a notch. I just think maybe you use the dash a little bit too much. I think you're using it the right way-using to make sub-thoughts and all- but it floats around and makes things look a lot slower than they actually are. Some dashes might not be necessary such as in this line,
Yelling—screaming from my right
I think you could just say, "Yelling and screaming from my right." One other thing I caught was in this line right here,
colours, smells, gravity—it’s no wonder babies cry when they’re born.
I see your line wasn't capitalized while all other lines were. There is just one other line I'm just confused about.
Tide that is 9 am.
Did you mean the patrons are a tide? Or like, are you near a beach and you can hear the tides along with the other noises? maybe you could expand upon that or make it more clear.

But that's all I have for today. I hope you found some of this useful. But you just hit home with the imagery, I've never seen anything like it. Keep on writing! Anyway byeeeeeeeeee






Thanks for the review! I appreciate your compliments! As for your questions and critiques:

1. I understand that I use the dash a lot (one of my champagne problems lol), but I thought it worked in this poem, because it showed the way thoughts happen to the narrator in this sort of situation. But to each it's own lol
2. I forgot to capatilize that line. Oops!
3. I meant that the swarming of customers represented a "high tide". I was relating the high tide to 9am rush hour at a coffee shop.

Thank you for such sweet comments!



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Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:58 am



I love the imagery you used in this poem! It shows the confusion of the reader, and almost makes the reader feel like their head is spinning with the narrator, it makes them feel confused and frustrated with their own senses.






Thank you so much! I appreciate the compliments!



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Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:58 am



I love the imagery you used in this poem! It shows the confusion of the reader, and almost makes the reader feel like their head is spinning with the narrator, it makes them feel confused and frustrated with their own senses.





Life is about losing everything.
— Isabel Allende