• Home

Young Writers Society

12+ Mature Content

summer is for lost souls, white-knuckled punches, and braided hair

by Virgil

Bodies built out of rubble
the mix-matched material
knit from the core of my needle heart.
Quilt bodies on the floor
a nest of birds
breathing in the stale air and self-hate.

Take me to the cutting board
dice me up into tiny cubes
to put in small plastic cups for samples.
Hand me out at a stand,
even if they only like me because I'm free.

Campfires built of bone tipis
strip the marrow and use it as kindling.
Fireflies hovering in the air
blinking slowly like light bulbs
about to go out.

Campfires that aren't for the camping
rather a bubble of security
from red eyes staring back at me in the bushes.

My mother tells me
"braiding hair like that is strictly for females".
And I whisper under heavy breathing
that i'd rather die with the name "Kay"
on my tombstone.

[[Maybe then they will call say, "I'm sorry about your daughter.".
It only took death for them to accept my gender.]]

I want to tell my mother
that I'd rather go out how I want
and take all the words and white-knuckled punches
she'll think I'll receive
than put a paper bag over my head.

Like a fad I will die out.
Escape the minds of those who can still whisper
through chap lips.
Remembered only through old photos
and a slab of stone.

My body melts into the floorboards
of the living room;
sink my body into the world machine.
Magnets pull towards and away from each other in my stomach
my body slowly gravitating to the mantle.
The mantle is the only crematory I need.

They bullied him to his grave
and scared my mom out of high school.
For him I will wear my hair in braids
and accept all the white-knuckled punches I receive.

Is this a review?



Random avatar

Points: 121
Reviews: 4

Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:59 pm
tsps0825 says...

Wow! That is insane with imagery! The fact that it didn't sound like anything involving gender until you got to the middle. Then that this person died because of the way they feel! This was an awesome poem, but so hard to completely grasp the meaning.

User avatar
55 Reviews

Points: 4517
Reviews: 55

Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:49 am
DarshayataDeka wrote a review...

This poem of yours was excellent, as usual. I guess it was not written in your usual style, but had the magical Kays touch anyway. Beauty, realism and dreams shone in every line. What dissapointed a bit, however, was that you used those square brackets. I don't know if its just me or whatever, but I think it hampers the smooth flow of the poem. You wrote the poem from your point of view, emphasizing both on your feelings and the incidents which occured. Reading this literary piece was like hearing a story being narrated to us by someone. I know this is a very comment-ish review, but the thing is that there's no need for much improvement. I just want to request you add a few more things about other people's thoughts instead of writing only about your feelings. Other than that, this was a lovely poem.

User avatar
20 Reviews

Points: 115
Reviews: 20

Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:02 pm
RossiRainCloud says...

WOW! this is some of the best poetry I have ever seen, but I have to go so this will not be long, but still this is awesome, oh sorry, bye

User avatar
745 Reviews

Points: 1626
Reviews: 745

Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:38 pm
View Likes
Lumi wrote a review...

You were doing so well. So, so well--until the brackets.

It's a cool idea to present that your only chance at acceptance is through persecution-death, but it's so on-the-nose and obvious that it ultimately undermines the remainder of the incredibly well-developed narrative you have. Your images work, your sentiments lock into the scenery and ideas. You just succeed, but dear god--learn the benefit of subtlety in poetry.

Particularly controversial topic poetry. Self-actualization. Catharsis. Good things. All good things.

..can you get those feelings onto paper without slapping the reader with the gender wand? Absolutely.

So take your piece, your images, your sentiments. Remove the flashing sign of dysphoria and let the reader parse it for themselves because interpretation is an enormous element of the poetic experience, and it's a crime for you to rob your readers of their experience for the sake of your blatant statements.

In a publishing sense, I would leave that as a separate page entirely. Consider it a divider between topical poems. I do something similar in my collection, but it's not exactly a collection of statements for the sake of getting it out of the body, the mind, the throat. Ya feel? Yee.

I'm wont for a better utility to show you self-actualization in poetry that's in the publishing world, but in my limited time I don't have any on my fingertips. BUT my 2015 works were all about a single same-sex relationship and it never exactly got picked out. So I think subtlety and actualization can coexist. You just need to practice and temper yourself in ink so it can come naturally.

So onto your images and flow, general curve of narration. I think your general momentum is a decent pace without the bracketed lyricism, but the final two stanzas, iffy on the third-to-last, get very clunky and angry and blunt, and I don't think it works for you. Give the second half a few dozen read-alouds and figure out where your flow is screwed up.

That said, in a different approach to the piece, analyzing in spoken word theory, the curve works quite nicely and reminds me of some material flatsound has produced. You just have to know your delivery.

If that's a challenge you'd appreciate, you should consider finding the Spoken Word thread in the lounge. It's a very good tool for carving out those final touches.

Keep trucking, but learn and improve.


Virgil says...

Thanks for the review!

Virgil says...

Hello year-old Lumi. I finally liked this review. Thanks for the review again buddy!

User avatar
624 Reviews

Points: 3571
Reviews: 624

Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:56 pm
Casanova wrote a review...

Heya Kaos! Casanova here to review for you!
Now I've been doing this a bit differently. I list the good(in MY opinion,) then the bad(Again, in MY opinion,) then conclude it. Bear with me!
And, no, I'm not going to BBcode because I can't remember what they are 'cause ADHD brain wun let me concentrate enough to remember!
Anyway, to the review!
First off- the good. I know you like to say and say and say that imagery is the most important thing when it comes to a poem. And you really show that here. Your wording is really good, and you definitely get your vision across. I'm not saying,"Oh look, another poem. LOOK AT THE IMAGERY. Nope, that's all. I'm done. Bye~" No- this had several points it had to make and you conveyed them with passion. Props for that, Kaos. Really. Amazing job on that.
Anyway- as I've been doing with every poem I would like to list the lines that I FEEL are the best in this poem. Basically as a trophy like deal, ya know? Because I feel as if some lines should be remembered- even if the poem as a whole isn't. And yes, no BBcode 'cause brain.

"Magnets pull towards and away from each other in my stomach
my body slowly gravitating to the mantle.
The mantle is the only crematory I need."
For some reason these lines just screamed at me, ya know? They're really on point and precise- and the imagery is there. I absolutely love them. So, props for that Kaos. Wonderful Job.

Anyway- on to the bad, the errors, the flaws, the nitpicks, or whatever you want to call them.
The main problem I've had with this is mainly style preference. No capitalization of the first word of every line- I've had that ingrained into me for a long time now- and the flow(at least to me) is a bit choppy.
Thought, I would like to say, to improve the flow, you could use more punctuation. For example:

"Bodies built out of rubble
the mix-matched material
knit from the core of my needle heart.
Quilt bodies on the floor
a nest of birds
breathing in the stale air and self-hate."
To the first glancing eye this appears to only be two sentences, two thoughts, two ideas. But in reality it is much more. It needs to be broken apart- put in a different flow. You wouldn't read this aloud as if one thought. No, you would pause, give the idea time to breath. So punctuate.
I know this is troublesome to do. But, something my old Algebra One teacher back in ninth grade told me,"Repetition impresses facts upon dull minds." I think you can get the meaning of this- but it practically means the more you try, the harder you work, the more you do it- the better you will be and the better you will. I think you should really give it a try. I'm not going to go through and nitpick every little flow error/punctuation error I can think of- I'll leave that to you to do as you see fit.
Anyway- congrats and props on the poem. The imagery was wonderful.
Keep on doing what you're doing, and keep on keeping on.
Your Friend- Matthew Casanova Aaron.

MayaM says...

Uh, friends? Plural?

Casanova says...


Virgil says...

New lines can also indicate breaths without punctuation, haha, it's not like you'd read it aloud all in one line, because it isn't all in one line.

Casanova says...

Mm. In most cases, in poetry that I've seen/been told, the new line, without specifying a new thought in the next line, makes it seem as one thought. Without capitalization of the next line, and without a comma in the first line, it appears as if it's read as one. In my opinion, as I said. :)

User avatar
396 Reviews

Points: 27
Reviews: 396

Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:14 pm
View Likes
Pompadour wrote a review...

<3 hey there. here as promised~

there's not much i have to say content-wise--i know this is a personal piece and you have a bunch of really jolting lines in there that really hit me (the images in the second-last stanza especially, damn it, that's a strong visual), but the main thing I think you need to focus on is the coherence and integration of imagery. i'm always a bit tetchy reviewing pieces like this because even writing them is a process that really /means/ something to the writer--so apologies if i come off as harsh or insensitive. that is not my intention.

that said, my main focus's going to be on the imagery in this review, but if you want any criticism on tone and structure, you know where to find me. right now, the images are kind of everywhere, and although you have something solid to talk about, the execution is a little watery because we jump from one image to another so quickly--it's disconnected.

getting straight into it: ''needle heart'' is weak. ''needled'' i would understand, because that implies that the narrator is hurt, but needle heart works because it has ''knit'' the rubble--which brings me to my next point: you can knit scarves, but not rubble. poetic licence lets you get away with many things, but the visual that the words create here is not strong. i picture wet cement, i picture concrete mixers, jackhammers and hardhats, because those are the kind of images it would seem natural to lead to. rubble and material imply images of concreteness, the kind of chaos that is tangled wires and falling electric poles--destruction on a vast scale. so when you hop to more domestic images (quilts, knitting, needles), everything suddenly falls flat. the apocalyptic bubble has burst.

also, i don't quite know if stanza one is trying to say that the poetic voice themself is responsible for the hurt of someone else or if the broken 'bodies' they are talking about are parts of their own internal being. because of the last line ('breathing in the stale air and self-hate'), i'm inclined to think it's the latter.

i love the image of the birds. i think you should keep it in somehow, but do choose between domestic images/construction images. i'm a fan of the construction images, personally, because i feel like knitting and needles is a very overused image in poetry, but while i have noticed that the building of things is a prevalent theme throughout the poem, the kinds of construction are not. you have rubble --> quilts --> cutting boards --> campfires/teepees --> living rooms --> a massive 'world machine' aka the earth, mantle, crust images. there is no integration, and integration is what you need to make this more hard-hitting. you have really good, strong images, but there is nothing tying them together.

when i reached stanza two, my initial reaction was 'domestic images again!' but these are actually way refreshing and i adore the cutting board visuals. my only itch with this is that it does not appear to connect to the first stanza, excluding the last line which foreshadows what the rest of the poem is going to be about.

(we totes only like you because you're free<3 free of being a total noobian that is jk)

i like the image of bone tipis (*hisses because computer dictionary uses mean red squiggly lines on American English*) and using them as kindling, but it doesn't seem to serve much purpose because it's totally disconnected from the image of fireflies--which doesn't do anything to add to atmosphere or tone, and is like this block between the first and second campfire images we have. i think the fireflies being about to go out may symbolise the narrator's exasperation with the world, but it needs a teensy bit of clarification/something that makes it seem less out of place. one thing i've noticed is that you tend to present lots of scattered images as though they are factual, and that robs your images of their personality. this is a personal piece. make it read like one. don't hesitate to use 'i' earlier on in the piece--the first few stanzas are like a montage for what is actually the main poem (the last six stanzas), and you need to get a handle on that poetic voice earlier on in the piece than later, when the jump becomes jarring.

'chap lips' should be chapped lips. on the part in brackets: i don't think you need them here. these are not side thoughts; they're one of the strongest parts of this poem and the flow is perfectly solid, so you don't need brackets to set them apart at all.

i love the second to last stanza. beautiful.<3

this poem reads like a trainwreck; it acquires momentum nearing the middle, where the voice really acquires strength. work on making this less disjointed. that's all the advice i have to offer.

hope this helped. keep it up! keep it writing!

~pomp x

Virgil says...

thanks for the review.

As a writer, I'm more interested in what people tell themselves happened rather than what actually happened.
— Kazuo Ishiguro