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matricide

by alliyah


Earthen Ghost,

when did you die,
is your body whole?
my parasitic-love 
can't help but know.

is it far too late
to pay my respects;
tack these plastic flowers
to your fire grave?

did anyone mourn
your lakes melting
or notice when you
stopped your twirling
empty dance 'round the sun?

we so rarely notice 
those arms that hold us
except in hollow absence;
need can be blinding.

we're too busy it seems
always two steps late
for the day not yet begun,
forgetting we don't control the sun.

we let our fingers linger
too long over candle wax
and don't mind the scorch,
because pain is just
one of those inevitables.

just let our hands burn to ash, so
no one can blame us when they find 
our fingerprints intertwined,
lurking where the grass had been
pulled clean from the roots.

you know it's not my fault,
i'm only ever careless.
apathy was written into my veins
long before i learned to breathe.

i taught myself to deny smoke
does more damage than fire;
you will never remove its acrid
tendrils lingering on your skin -
never mind that all my DNA
can not easily be absolved.

you know, Mother, i won't take
the blame, but i do know
enough to know the difference
between lake-swimming and
pool-drowning, isn't as stark
when all the fish are gone.


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Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:18 am
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alliyah says...



Alrighty! So @starlitmind asked me to leave a compliment on my own poem so I'm shamelessly going for it!

SO what I love most about the poem is the uncomfortability of the theme of matricide (ie. murdering one's mother!) this metaphor is very uncomfortable to think about, and then when you understand that the mother in this case is the earth, that's even another level of discomfort because it's totally true. We are literally killing something which has housed and sustained us - and to our own demise.

To be honest I'm normally not someone who is even a huge "we've gotta save the planet immediately" type of person -> like I'll do what I can, but it's not something I dwell on every day of my life? But I think quarantine heightened my awareness to environmental issues and has made me feel especially disconnected to the world, in a way that I really long to connect to it again, and very aware of my the resources I expend on a daily basis. So that's kind of where this poem came from -> a deep desire to reconnect to something we are intimately supported by - but in the same way not being able to because quarantine and planetary destruction. Conversely, you could take this poem to be about someone feeling disconnected from their mother and the earth's destruction being only the metaphorical layer which is also an uncomfortable interpretation, and totally valid.

My favorite stanza is absolutely,

let our hands burn to ashes,
so no one can blame us when they find
our fingerprints intertwined


^how HAUNTING is that? Like I know imagery-wise that's a bit hard to imagine, but also the idea that we're okay with self-destruction comes across very clearly there. Back to the uncomfortability thing for a moment -> I really dig poetry recently that isn't pretty. Like poems about sadness, trash, disconnect, bodies, FIRE, death, death, etc etc. maybe it's just that I want art to reflect a bit more what's going on in the world - > but to be honest, right now the very last thing I want to read is a poem about flowers and butterflies (am I still writing that type of thing? yes) you know? I think the quality of being unsettled by poetry can be very powerful.

My big self-critique of this poem is the flow's not awesome, and it's too long (nearing on rambly) to really appreciate some of the best lines. Which is why ~

I actually revised this poem into a song a while ago. Warning: it is a bit dramatic, because the last song I posted on YWS I was told I need to be a bit more emotional in my singing, so I'm /trying/ and this is just a dramatic song??? also this is just not super polished - but if you made it through those disclaimers and you want to give it a listen you are welcome to!

Earthen Ghost | Matricide : Song Link

thanks star for requesting I compliment this, or I probably wouldn't have re-visited to post the song recording ~




starlitmind says...


Yay! Thanks for doing this, I loved reading it. Also, your voice is beautiful <3



alliyah says...


Ah, thanks so much !! I really appreciate it. <3



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Sun May 31, 2020 3:49 pm
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Tenyo wrote a review...



Hey Alliyah!

Aw man, this is so good! I love the imagery, you've portrayed some really strong and impactful sentiments. The plastic flowers is one of my favourite lines. I can just imagine putting plastic flowers onto an actual grave and in this context it suddenly feels so disingenuous- even disrespectful- to do so.

There's a hardness to this as well that makes it stand out. It feels honest and thoughtful, reflecting on the environmental crisis as something that we're all apart of, where I feel that a lot of literature of this theme looks at it simply as some tragedy to draw inspiration from. Those last few stanzas create such a fragile balance between blame and fault, without assuming to place either on someone else, and that evokes a lot of thought, especially in terms of current events and where each generation stands in how much responsibility they have over the environmental issues we now face.

This is a powerful piece and beautifully written. Thank you for posting!




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Mon May 25, 2020 12:26 pm
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LittleLee wrote a review...



Hi alliyah!

I love the poem. it's wonderful, and being an environmentalist at heart, I really appreciate this piece. It's well-written and reads smoothly.
I admire how the poem is a dramatic monologue of sorts. The feelings of regret and sorrow mixed with a strange alienation from the earth makes for an interesting style.

my parasitic-love can't help
to be concerned

This is by far my favourite line. Yes, we are parasites, and yes, the majority of humanity seems to be unconcerned with the fate of our planet. Very moving and well worded.

when did you die,
is your body whole;

Maybe a question mark could replace the semi colon? Just my opinion.

This is completely my own opinion, but I think capitalization would please the eye in this poem's case. I don't know, I just think it would be more suitable to your structure.

Otherwise, great poem!
I don't think I've reviewed your work before and I'll admit I feel a little intimidated
I'd love to see more of your writing, though!
-Lee




alliyah says...


Hey LittleLee! Thank you so much for your review! Can you explain more on why you think capitalization "pleases the eye" or why it would be fitting for this piece? in some cases in poetry, capitalization is intentionally lower-cased to unsettle/ or go against the grain, and in this case I think I wanted the poem to actually be uncomfortable to read in order to further convey the alienation and subversive relationship you mentioned.

I think I agree with you on the punctuation being a bit inconsistent & taking away some of the intended meaning though, so I'll definitely take a second look at that! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts (ha, don't be intimidated, you have interesting poetic thoughts! - & I promise I don't bite xD ) have a good one!



LittleLee says...


I read your reply to MoonIris, and see why you did that now, but I thought that other than being visually pleasing, to me capitalization adds gravity. It feels as though each word has more weight to it, beats a silent drum in my head. But that's completely my perspective, and I appreciate your reasons!



alliyah says...


to me capitalization adds gravity

^ Gotchya, that's a valid point! I was just curious, and absolutely agree that capitalization adds a sense of formality and maybe seriousness / weight to a piece. Those are good reasons to consider capitalizing! Thank you!



LittleLee says...


Glad to help!



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Sun May 24, 2020 6:50 pm
MoonIris wrote a review...



Hi! I think you chose an important and interesting topic for the poem. It's really important that we take action against global warming. This is why I decided to review your poem in the first place. I think you used a really good vocabulary. However, I have a comment on your punctuation. You usually use punctuation well but in some stanzas you don't have any at all. For example:
"We let our fingers linger
too long over candle wax
and don't mind the scorch
because pain is just
one of those inevitables"
Here you didn't use any but you used in the stanza before. Of course, this is your choice but I think it would be nice if you had a look at this. One more thing would be that you don't have any capital letters. These two mistakes are unimportant and it's your choice if you want to change them or not.
What I really liked about this poem is that you spoke about some of the most important problems of global warming; like lakes that are drying or how much damage does the smoke creates. My favorite line from your poem would be, 'that smoke sometimes does more damage than fire". This line really spoke to me.
You wrote a really good poem and I'm glad I could read it! I hope you enjoyed my review and that you have an amazing day!




alliyah says...


Hi @MoonIris, thanks for stopping by - good point on the inconsistency with the punctuation -> I'll take a second look at it because it's important to me to be stylistically consistent within a poem.

Capitalization in poetry isn't a "rule" or necessarily a "mistake" -> poets use capital/lowercased letters for expression, flow, and to convey meaning. In this case my capitalization choices were made intentionally to convey the importance of earth as both of her name's (Earthen Ghost & Mother) were capitalized compared to the insignificance of us (lowercased 'i') - as far as why I don't capitalize between stanzas or sentences, I find that this detracts from the flow of the piece and breaks a poem up unnaturally (this is the same reason I normally go for minimal punctuation). If you're interested in different capitalization usage in poetry This Article on YWS is very useful. Thanks again for sharing your impressions and interpretation!




Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
— Mark Twain