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by fortis

They thought it was just anxiety,
but it was that bone, so teeny tiny,
like the smallest snail's shell.
Your cochlea, a messy, inflamed hell.

It was like all the blood in your head
was caught in a dizzying spiral.
"Do nothing," they said,
knowing that it was viral,
and the EBV would soon disappear.
So you just had to rest and wait.
But stiller seas in your inner ear
never came. They had to medicate.

And they gave you meclizine,
but it made your mouth tingle and your chest ache. 
So they gave you promethazine,
but you fell down and your walls talked themselves awake.

They gave you hyoscine
and you blossomed with a crimson itch.
So they gave you Valium, which
slowed your breath
and made you think fond thoughts of death.

Nothing worked. You were a slave of vertigo,
and it held you in a swirling spiral of fear
that every step you would tip and down you would go,
all thanks to the spiral deep down in your ear.

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841 Reviews

Points: 664
Reviews: 841

Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:12 pm
Radrook wrote a review...

Radrook here a once again to offer some suggestions.
Apologies if i offend. It isn’t my intention.
Please feel full free to cast aside all things you deem not helpful.
But if you do be sure its true by being extra careful.

That having been said:

Finally a poem about infirmity! I haven’t checked to see if this is under humor but that;’s how it seems to me. I like the way the medicine is interwoven into the poem along with the symptoms. There are also very clever rhyme scheme displayed which caused me to chuckle and felt amazed how you managed it. The use of enjambment in order to avoid the metronome tick-tocking monotony of end rhyme was very skillfully carried out. All in all a very interesting read on a very unusual but yet familiar subject with which we can all identify.


Some of the rhyme scheme needs work as well as the meter in order to improve flow.
The lines are also very excessively wordy in some areas which throws off meter.
Reading the poem aloud helps in avoiding drifting off meter.

The term EBV confused me.

The words "which" and "ïtch" throw the rhyme sceme off.

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18 Reviews

Points: 14
Reviews: 18

Sat May 19, 2018 6:15 pm
Quinine wrote a review...

Very interesting and well written! A few suggestions:

1. "Your cochlea, a messy, inflamed hell." This sentence is grammatically incorrect.
Suggested Fix: "like the smallest snail's shell, / your cochlea, a messy, inflamed hell."

2. "but you fell down and your walls talked themselves awake." I think personally "the walls" would sound more natural.

3. "slowed your breath / and made you think fond thoughts of death." These lines are very irregular in length. Perhaps make the second line shorter or the first one longer.

4. "and it held you in a swirling SPIRAL of fear / that every step you would tip and down you would go, / all thanks to the SPIRAL deep down in your ear." Replace one of the "spiral"s with a synonym, like curlicue or coil, as appropriate to each definition, to avoid the word becoming redundant.

Hope this helps!


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54 Reviews

Points: 3205
Reviews: 54

Wed May 16, 2018 5:28 pm
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shaniac wrote a review...

Shaniac here to review this poem!

What a wonderful poem with a lot of good and different things happening. A key thing I'd like to point out is the different medicines that you wrote in here. I know nothing of these medicines but for someone like myself, you paint a picture of the cons of using those medicines to take care of a problem inside of someone's ear. My favorite stanza out of this entire thing would be the third because it sets the tone for the rest of the poem. Along with this, the lines afterward also show a side of the narrator watching someone else suffer through this and not being able to help, which shows in this particular stanza "you were a slave of vertigo/and it held you in a swirling spiral of fear/that every step you would tip and down you would go,/ all thanks to the spiral deep down in your ear".

One minor suggestion that I'd like to offer would be the last line of the first stanza. Now, the first part is fine with the cochlea but the two words that kind of throw it off balance would be "a messy, inflamed hell". Now, messy kind of feels bland and off-tone with the rest of the poem, if that makes sense. Basically, I think you should delete it because, without it, the tone can resort back to this hatred to this person's pain.
Another key thing I'd like to point out as well is beginning of the third stanza. As a way to keep structure and flow, I think you should start the line off with "they" because in the fourth stanza you start off with "they".

To cap, this was an enjoyable read. There was a lot of emotions that came from every description within this and this poem kind of reminds me of the time I got Swimmer's Ear where it was just an intense pain and my balance was all whacked. Anyway, have a good day/night and let me know if you have any questions!

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23 Reviews

Points: 281
Reviews: 23

Wed May 16, 2018 1:18 pm
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Jevan13 wrote a review...

This sounds really tragic. The persona has this affliction and she is being hurt by it. Um, it gets into the health category perfectly and my only qualm would be that I didn't get as much emotion from it as I wanted. It felt lacking and impersonal. Aside from that however, your diction was superb, I like the fact that you used more scientific terms instead of just plainly saying "they gave me medicine".

My favorite lines:

Nothing worked. You were a slave of vertigo

but you fell down and your walls talked themselves awake.

PS. If this actually has happened to you, my condolences and I hope you are doing better now.


No one is perfect; not even your reflection.
— Chalkboard Words