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(2-Part Poem: I. In All Likeliness II. In A Movie)

by TaylorAllen


I. In All Likeliness

The overweight mid-forties man,
In the blue button up and beige cardigan,
Pacing between the arrivals board and baggage claim,
With a deluxe school backpack swinging from his hand,
Is waiting for his daughter
To arrive back home from college,
Or somewhere abroad.
Perhaps his backpack is full of all the things she forgot
And has been sent by an annoyed mother
To hand them off to her before she boards another plane
To another place.

The fifty-something couple—
The woman in Chanel with two purses,
And the man wheeling a single large suitcase—
Are going to visit their grandchildren.
The woman looks like the type of grandparent
To criticize the mother on her cooking
And chide her husband for slipping the kids money.
They leave through the glass quadruple-doors
And stand outside, heads bobbing back and forth for the shuttle.

The twenty-year-old sprawled on the sofa by baggage claim,
With his sneakers on the floor by his head,
And his head leaned back on the armrest to gaze up at his phone,
An open duffel bag on the floor by his feet,
And his suitcase behind his head,
Is on layover,
With nowhere to go and nothing to do.
He curls up after a moment,
Checks his phone,
And closes his eyes.

The thin early-twenties Asian man
With earbuds and hipster glasses,
A mismatched tall suitcase in each hand,
And a Jansport on his back,
Is visiting back home
Or maybe moving there for a job,
Or drifting through for a meeting.
He stands still in the crowd around the carousel,
Not quite looking for anyone,
Just watching.

II. In A Movie

The overweight dad
Would be anxiously pacing,
Holding grave news along with the backpack.
Maybe he waits for his daughter,
Who rushed home when she heard
That her mother was sick,
Or perhaps divorcing her father.
Maybe both.
He paces,
He waits.

The elderly couple
Had just returned from visiting their grandchildren,
And while waiting for the shuttle,
The husband thinks about
How he’s found his true soulmate.
Meanwhile,
The wife curses
“Till death do us part,”
And wishes it along, already.

The twenty-year-old guy
Is on a cross-country flight to see his girlfriend,
And his connecting flight was delayed.
He’s exhausted by jetlag,
And with this long of a layover,
He can’t stay awake texting her forever.
She doesn’t even know he’s coming—
It’s supposed to be a surprise for their anniversary.
He sends her “brb” and sets his alarm for twenty minutes.

The early-twenties man
Didn’t take a flight.
It’s easy to come in the main doors and go straight to baggage claim.
In his bags aren’t clothes,
Or books,
But instead
A lethal combination
Of gunpowder and time.
He waits, unsuspiciously,
Just a guy home for the holidays.
He waits for the flight to empty into the room,
Pushes down the handles on the suitcases,
And walks away.
The shuttle was here.


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590 Reviews


Points: 76
Reviews: 590

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Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:12 am
fortis wrote a review...



Hello! Great poems!

Okay. In All Likeness:

So it strikes me as odd that the narrator knows some specific things about the people (like that the man is waiting for his daughter) but not others (like we don't know if she's coming home from school or from travelling). That made it strange to read, and I think if you were consistent, it might make this a better poem. It would be pretty easy to just make this an all-visual poem, always guessing at what they're doing, but never knowing.
I really like the tone you have through this poem. I created quite a solid mood. The images were concrete and I could picture everything. Really solid poem.
Also, you probably know this and it was a stylistic choice, but you don't have to capitalize the beginning of every line~

I really don't have much else to add. This poem flowed nicely and everything seemed needed. I didn't get bored, because you painted these people very vividly. You brought special-ness to things that aren't special. You made the reader wonder who these people are, think about what they might be feeling. That's a good thing to inspire in the reader! Great work. One thing, I just don't feel that the title fits the poem all that well, but maybe you have your reasons.



~In a Movie~

And KABAM! you just blew us out of the water (metaphorically of course)! So this would be okay if you know what they're thinking on the inside. The first one's like an outward poem, and this is like the inward poem.
I do think it might be a tad dramatic and cliche, but when you're writing specifically about this subject, this is probably the least dramatic and cliche one I've seen in a while. I think it's mostly the subject itself that lends itself to be cliche, much like love etc. But you did really well.
Again, this was really solidly written. One thing I was confused about was if the elderly couple's man had found a soul mate in his wife, or somewhere else?

I really liked this look that you gave into people's minds. Great writing!

edit: okay so as my friend just pointed out, the punctuation in these poems needs some work. I always suggest punctuating poems like prose because that allows the reader to get the most clarity out of a poem. Right now, you have commas where there shouldn't be and none where there should be some and a lot of other confusing things. I'm sure if you go through this carefully you can find what needs work, but if you need help, feel free to ask me.

I hope I helped somewhat. You're really talented! Keep writing!
~fortis




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Points: 506
Reviews: 9

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Thu Dec 17, 2015 6:43 pm
lebanesecat says...



COOL POEM




TaylorAllen says...


THANK IT WENT TO GOV SCHOOL SO I HOPE SO



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Points: 3655
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Sun Dec 06, 2015 4:10 am
cleverclogs wrote a review...



Hello, TaylorAllen! cleverclogs here to review as requested!

These are nice poems here. I especially like the first, since I can relate to wondering about random people and their lives (which I promise isn't as creepy as I just made it sound). I also like how you offered a criticism of fiction in the second poem- it reminds me of LOST. Everyone in that plane crash had a tragic, convoluted backstory. Anyway, shall I crack on with the review?

I. In All Likeliness

Spoiler! :
I think that the main problem I noticed while reading this was inconsistencies in the narration. I can't quite tell if the perspective is supposed to be limited or omniscient. For instance, in this part:

The overweight mid-forties man,
In the blue button up and beige cardigan,
Pacing between the arrivals board and baggage claim,
With a deluxe school backpack swinging from his hand,
Is waiting for his daughter


It makes it sound as if the narrator is certain of what this man is doing in the airport. However, just a few lines later:

Perhaps his backpack is full of all the things she forgot


It sounds as if the narrator is looking at these people wondering what's going on. Since the rest of this poem is mostly omniscient, I would recommend sticking to that perspective. Especially since this is the poem that tells us facts, while the next poem tells us what it would be like in fiction. It needs to be resolute. His backpack IS full of all the things she forgot! :P

The woman looks like the type of grandparent
To criticize the mother on her cooking


Here, I was wondering, "what does that type of grandparent look like?" I think that you could tell us more by describing the woman a bit more. Make it understood that the woman is the type of grandparent to criticize the mother's cooking, instead of just telling us. Also, this is another example of where the perspective seems more limited, which is weird after telling us for certain that she was going to visit her grandchildren. >.>

And stand outside, heads bobbing back and forth for the shuttle.


Maybe it has to do with my lack of airport experience, but I really don't understand this line. Why are their heads bobbing back and forth, and why is it "for" the shuttle?

The twenty-year-old sprawled on the sofa by baggage claim,


For all the other stanzas, the characters had an age range, like "fifty-something" or "mid-forties", so it seemed a bit odd how you gave this character a specific age. Also, I think it ends up being a bit too close to the next character in age; it's like having two of the exact same Christmas ornaments right next to each other. Maybe make this man a few years younger, or say something else that describes his age (if he's younger, you could say something about having just graduated from high school).

With his sneakers on the floor by his head,


When I read this line, I immediately imagined this dude contorted into some weird position that put his head right by his feet and on the floor. Maybe reword it so it doesn't confuse stupid people like me? :P

Actually, a lot of the description of the man in that stanza was a little confusing. I was never quite sure where his limbs were at any given time. I'd also consider toying around with that.

The thin early-twenties Asian man
With earbuds and hipster glasses,
A mismatched tall suitcase in each hand,


1. In the next poem, it becomes clear that in a movie, this man would end up being a terrorist. The racial stereotype for terrorists in oh-so-many movies tends to be people of Middle Eastern descent. That may have been what you were looking for.

2. I'm not a fan of the use of "hipster" glasses, since it sounds so colloquial. Maybe "thick-rimmed" or something would work better.

3. How are the suitcases mismatched? This confuzzled me.

Or maybe moving there for a job,
Or drifting through for a meeting.


*sirens* another example of perspective switch.

So, overall, I enjoyed this poem a lot. People-watching is one of my favorite pastimes, and it almost felt like I was engaging in it while I was reading this poem. I did point out a lot of stuff, but it's pretty minor. I was being very nitpicky. :D


II. In A Movie

Spoiler! :
I feel like this poem was more rushed. The other one was leisurely in its descriptions, telling us all about the overweight man's clothes and backpack before telling us about his daughter. This one jumped straight into "overweight dad". It was a bit of a pace change. Is it meant to be like that? Because in concertos, for instance, the first movement is often fast while the second is a lot slower and more lyrical. To help bring out this change, I'd recommend changing the language to make it more dramatic, more cinematic. I'm not entirely sure how you'd go about that, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask. :)

This poem also changes narration a lot. For instance, in the first stanza:

Maybe he waits for his daughter,
Who rushed home when she heard
That her mother was sick,
Or perhaps divorcing her father.


The speculation is what throws it off. Tell us definitively what the father is doing. Otherwise it comes off as a bit weird, a bit wishy-washy.

The husband thinks about
How he’s found his true soulmate.


Was this referring to the wife, or some other woman? I was confused here. Maybe you could specify? Also, I loved the wife cursing her husband.

The stanza about the 20-year old guy was really good. I won't bother repeating my speech about the age, but I'll recommend not saying "guy" because it's a bit too casual. It did a great job of showing the reader what was happening, and I love how it related to the other stanza in the other poem. For instance, the other stanza told us that the guy fell asleep, this one tells us that he's setting his alarm. I just love that. Great job!

The last stanza struck me as kind of odd. The rest of the other two poems were kind of an observation about people as they are in real life and people as they are in the movies, and so it was weird how it suddenly turned into a criticism about how terrorists are portrayed in movies. It felt like there was more to talk about, but then the poem just kind of threw it out there and left it there. I'm not really sure how you would change that, though. Like I said, if you have questions, ask away. Sometimes I have trouble putting my thoughts into words.

One thing about the wording in this stanza:

The shuttle was here.


I'd recommend rewording it to, "The shuttle had arrived" (or "has arrived", I'll get to tenses in a minute). Using "here" sounds weird, because it implies to the reader that the shuttle is here with them. Or at least to this reader.

Overall, this was a good poem, but I'd say that you should spend a bit more time on it. This is the one that has to take the theme and turn it around, so it needs to be extra-good. Still, really good job!


Both Poems

Spoiler! :
Punctuation: All really good. Finally, someone who can properly punctuate a poem. :P

Capitalization: I notice you've decided to capitalize every line. That's a perfectly valid poetic technique, but I personally prefer capitalizing poetry as if it were prose. Only capitalize the beginnings of sentences. What you have is fine, and in the end it's really a matter of personal preference, so feel free to toss that out the window if you hate it.

Line breaks: By "line breaks" I mean like how you make new lines and stuff. I felt like it was done more carefully in the first poem. Sometimes, in the second, it seemed a bit random. An example would be in the last stanza:

In his bags aren’t clothes,
Or books,
But instead
A lethal combination
Of gunpowder and time.


The way it was split up here is kind of uneven and not very appealing to the eye. Something like,

In his bags aren't clothes or books,
But instead, a lethal combination
Of gunpowder and time.


I think that flows a bit more naturally.

Basically, the main idea is this: Take some time to give the second poem some more love. People tend to get tired as they move on with things, as you can probably tell from how the second half of my review is a bit shorter. So come back to the second half and make it as good as the first. Then edit them both and it'll be spectacular. Thanks for sharing these poems with us, as they were truly a pleasure to read! I wish you the best of luck in your application, too! :D Keep up the great work!




cleverclogs says...


*gasp* I just realized I forgot to do tenses. It's a little late now, but I promise I'll get to it tomorrow :D




If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.
— Noam Chomsky