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16+ Language

Mid Term Exams

by Tenyo

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

A is for Appreciation;
we did good, you and I.
We painted our pictures and signed our names and ages- 
Leo eight, Jackie seven.

B is for Beauty,
for city smog and broken glass in the corners of playgrounds.
You won an award for a patchy, greyish nightscape
blasted with acrylic stars.
My mum got a new boyfriend
and started wearing sunglasses even in winter.

C is for Condolences
on the death of your future,
where the rain clouds drift across your brow, and late nights
tally in the lines on your forehead.
I lied when I said I'd grow old with you
because sometimes I don't know if I'll ever grow old. 

D is for Delinquent.
We're fucked up, you and I.
We got high and sung campfire songs
as we sprayed our names on the city walls
and declared our blame in dripping purple.

E is for Everything Else,
the cigarette burns and late night itches.
In coffins made of blankets we waited
for the world to finally bury us.

F is for Fissure
and failure that tastes like salt on your lips,
for no education, and minimum wage, 
and a baby to raise when we've got no clue how.
I'll teach her ABCs are bullshit, and when push comes to shove,
she'll know that F is for family, and L is for Love.

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44 Reviews

Points: 1454
Reviews: 44

Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:12 pm
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CharlotteS wrote a review...

Well this was nice.

I like how there is a rhythm to it, I don't find that in a poem that doesn't rhythm these days.
The language is a bit off putting, instead of the f word you could have said messed up. Just a personal preference though.

The message behind this in the end is great. Even after all the failures, the wishes, and the mess ups there is something they will teach their child. It truly was beautiful. You have set it out in such a way that it's easy and enjoyable to read.

I think you have a talent and I cannot wait to find more from you.

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1080 Reviews

Points: 125
Reviews: 1080

Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:20 pm
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Kaylaa wrote a review...

This is Nikayla here for a review!

Okay, I'm going to tackle this because I absolutely loved this poem. I've never read your poetry before but this was a pleasant surprise because at first I didn't even expect this to be a poem. All of that aside, let's jump right into it. It tackles the popular idea of the stress of exams in a way that I haven't seen before and I think one of the ways that it succeeds so well is the neat structure with every grade described from A to F, including E, which is something that I thought was creative.

It seems to take place in chronological order with this being the speaker and their significant other progressing through the school system over time. The first stanza is something that starts off quite soft and definitely isn't the strength of the poem, I would have liked to see more childhood related things drawn out into it as the speaker is talking about when the two of them were seven and eight. The set-up isn't the strongest with the first stanza as I don't know what the speaker is really appreciating other than that they didn't fail, but perhaps it's a phrase that I haven't heard of before.

The second stanza starts to get more emotionally intense but only subtly at this point with the mother wearing sunglasses in winter and the person that the speaker is writing to in this poem getting an award for what I assume to be art. It seems that they are around 12 and 13 at this time of their lives, and I do think that it's possible if you do try and find a way to assign the ages of the speaker in each paragraph but I didn't really find it all that necessary. The stanza is a bit awkward in terms of flow, more specifically the last two lines or the last line which I think could be fixed with rewording.

The third stanza kicks off with it starting to delve into the more intense parts of the poem, and the progression of the speaker is something that works well with the poem. The third stanza tackles being worried about growing old and we see that the speaker is worried presumably about their health with the mention of the tally marks on their head. Overall it doesn't really have a lot to be critiqued though the flow between the first few lines is something that was a bit clunky, especially with lines one and two. The image of "rain clouds on your brow" is something that didn't really bode well with me, but it works with the mention of the forehead tallies.

The fourth stanza is something that I enjoyed but the ending is something that didn't work well with me. I didn't really get what or who they were blaming all that much, though I'm assuming the speaker is blaming their grades on something else or perhaps the school system? That's where I would have liked to see more clarity, but it doesn't need to be completely spelled out for the reader. All in all, it's quite a powerful stanza that imbues the feeling of being broken.

The fifth stanza is one of the most interesting as we can almost see where the rest of the poem is going with each stanza though you'll find I say the same thing about the last stanza as it took a different turn than I expected. The fifth stanza is quite short compared to the others and I would have liked to see a bit more description of the cigarettes burns--where were they on the speaker's body? The thought of blankets being coffins is one of my favorite parts of the poem for me.

Jumping right into the last stanza, you get the message across with it but it doesn't really feel like it's as strong as it's meant to be. We see at this point the speaker is pregnant with the other person who they're writing to in the poem which is a dynamic that works well as it ties something else other than just that the education system is quite stressful and needs to be fixed, it tends to be too vocal with the meaning of the poem. I wanted something more subtle from it, though the last two lines do work well with each other even if the rhyme came out of nowhere a bit. They make the last stanza worth it and it's odd because I forget where the saying in the last line came from. I'd say to play around with the last stanza to see what you come up with.

This is a gem, Ten, and I really appreciated the heart poured into it.

Tenyo says...

Thankyou ^__^

Looking at your feedback, I think there were too many things I wanted to put into this, and so got the tone all mixed up throughout the stanzas. I probably could have done with nailing the concept before I started scribbling. The painting was something I wanted to incorporate as well as the lettering, which is where the pictures and spray painting and acrylic stars comes into it, kind of as a background canvas to... well... resilience and bitterness and love and defiance and optimism and- I think I got carried away and stretched it too far. It could be a long stronger if I focused on a single concept
Your review is really helpful in that and gives me a lot to move forward with. Again, thankyou! It's much appreciated.

Attention is the beginning of devotion.
— Mary Oliver, Upstream