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Red That We See

by Zenith

Red marks crawling.

Like writhing snakes,

they strangle me.

Underneath my skin,

Rushing through my veins.

I push it down my throat.

Bite my lips till they bleed.

Yet there's red everywhere.

Sneaking around the corner

Of these bloodshot eyes.

Wipe it off with my fingertips.

My nails are liquid crimson.

I drown myself in the bathtub.

Floating in a strange world

A world painted bitter scarlet.

Hold my breath, stay there

Until time outruns me.

You smile at me

With those pretty eyes.

Eyes that can see the rainbow

And not just the blood red.

For a moment it's alright,

My insides are not tearing apart.

You need not ever know

The truth that I die every day

On the other side of the door.

The only red you'll see

Is this love that has always

Pulled me out of the gory water. 

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896 Reviews

Points: 29795
Reviews: 896

Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:06 am
alliyah wrote a review...

Hi, you requested a review from me in my Will Review For Food thread quite a while ago, and I'm just getting around to reviewing! Sorry about the delay, thank you for your patience!

So I'm always a fan of color poems, it's a good way to build an immediate imagery connection, with something concrete that the reader will normally attribute a lot of symbolism to.

For my review, I'll cover some specifics and then get to interpretation and overall impressions.

A few specifics:

I push it down my throat.
- I'm not sure it should be "it" singular, since you described the red as plural "marks" earlier.

My nails are liquid crimson.

I drown myself in the bathtub.

^ I found this progression very jolting, because the speaker was describing injury, and then suddenly it looked like they had committed suicide and were dead - without a whole lot of lead-up to it, upon further reading, it looked like you meant they were trying to drown themselves, but hadn't actually drowned at this point - I would change the phrasing to make that clear so it's not quite so jolting for the reader and they understand what's happening.

Until time outruns me.
<- I found that to be a clever twist on personifying time, very nice.

When you got to the second stanza, the second half felt really disconnected from the first - it felt like we needed more of an emotional transition because it's really stark and dark, and then there is a complete emotional and imagery 180. Some transition is needed.

"Eyes that can see the rainbow

And not just the blood red."
I liked this set of lines, it clarified that the "red" could be a metaphor for some sort of pain, illness, emotion or difficulty that the speaker was going through - and the color imagery is continued to be used metaphorically.

You need not ever know

The truth that I die every day

On the other side of the door.

I took this chunk to mean that the girl doesn't actually know the full extent of the pain of the speaker, which actually felt like it undercut the lines from above so that they weren't as impactful. I think it's more of a testament of love - if someone sees how hurt and broken you are, and still loves you, rather than if someone is oblivious to your pain and loves you. I think that part really undercut the impact of the message for me.

The only red you'll see

Is this love that has always

Pulled me out of the gory water.

This was a good twist on the red imagery from before and also brought a good piece of continuity to the piece, by bringing back the water / drowning image.

I took this poem to be about someone who is deeply suffering, perhaps based on the drowning line, the speaker is suicidal, or self-harms, or are suffering from depression - whatever their pain or "red" is - it really controls aspects of their life, to the point where the speaker considers death in comparison. In the second stanza it is revealed that the speaker has someone who deeply cares about them and brings some love to their life, even though they're not part of the suffering, they seem beyond the suffering, but this person is ultimately cut-off "behind the door" (of the mind, or from the knowledge) of the extent that the speaker suffers.

I thought it was a good idea that you didn't clarify just exactly what the "red" was - but you still brought specific enough emotion and imagery to it, so that the reader can connect and make guesses.

I think you could extend your description of the person that the speaker loves - I don't think that the opening line about her beauty is strong, because it feels kind of shallow - in comparison to the deep heavy stuff that the speaker is going through - why do they really love each other? Surely it's more than just appearances?

I think you could do more with the color imagery too - red can be used to symbolize more than blood & scars - which seems to be the primary images you were referencing in the first stanza - getting into red as pain, or red as anger might be interesting too, or red as roses, or hearts.

Overall, this poem is heavily dramatic, but it does have a story, which I think makes it more engaging for a reader than if it was just a description of pain - mostly because we are given emotional levels (ie. a piece is much more interesting to read when it's not just one emotion the whole time - but you've developed a few different motivations and emotions expressed in the piece to give some variety and depth).

I didn't take issue with anything in the formatting, punctuation, or capitalization, it all seemed pretty consistent to me, and didn't distract me at all from the reading. Keep on writing!

- alliyah

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Points: 162
Reviews: 55

Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:29 am
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brookeallo says...

i felt this so much and it just helps remind me how strong I am and others that go through similiar situtations. You are a really good writer and I hope to read more from you soon.

Zenith says...

I'm glad you liked it. Also, if you have gone through something similar, I hope you know that you did a great job surviving through it. And I hope you never stop being strong. Everything is going to be okay. :)

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6 Reviews

Points: 443
Reviews: 6

Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:38 pm
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mechasvi969 wrote a review...

hey zenith, the first thing which i would like to say is the unique topic which you chose is awesome. The gradual illustration of how the blood can influence your life in an unusual way marks the beauty of this poem. I liked the way in which you made profound arguments on how an essential part of your body ( blood in this case) can devastate your entire life and still be unnoticed by others. The way in which you have correlated the small small events which passes through unnoticed to different shades of blood is quite extraordinary. The last part of the section of poem was mesmerizing. It gave an understanding of the relation between the darkest shade of the colour red and the darkest time in one's life. What a simile used between the colour of blood and shade of life. Your imagination in the second section about an entity who is regarded as the person who can see or feel colours of rainbow rather than just feeling the blaze of red colour was good. The way in which you have emphasized on the inner conflicts within you which are not visible or comprehensible by that entity, it also reflects the pure and kind nature of you( your character in poem) who don't want to disclose it's inner battles but is ready to show only the love.

Zenith says...

Thank you so much for your review mechasvi969. %uD83D%uDE0A

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79 Reviews

Points: 1923
Reviews: 79

Thu Nov 28, 2019 6:28 pm
dahlia58 wrote a review...

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel that this poem is about unrequited love. The woman doesn't seem to know that the man loves her to the point where it's agonizing, at least that's the impression the lines gave me. Either that, or the man is suffering from some other malady that only his love can distract him from. I especially liked the last two lines, as they seem to indicate regardless of what's happening, the speaker really seems to love the woman.

This was both a slightly scary and emotional work. I enjoyed reading it.

Zenith says...

Actually what I really tried to portray here is how a person goes through a ton of internal struggles (depression, anxiety, panic attack) alone and how the impossible pain makes them suicidal. And yet, they endure it silently for the sake of their loved ones and thus live on.

Zenith says...

Thank you for reading this poem. I'm glad you liked it.

It's a dramatic situation almost every time you answer the phone—if you answer the phone.
— Matthew Weiner