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retroactive memory exercises

by mantra


i. 
it was maybe the time
when i was back home, sitting outside
on the back deck smoking, flaunting
a mask to something i couldn't fathom yet.
15 years old, slipping into the void —
i reiterated mantra of solid, consistent
sounds to myself: "spit on the ground,
but away from the table."

ii.
or, also, there i was prone in my bed.
every night was the same
for a couple of years. stranger invited, 
mother & he in separate rooms, 
walls dry & hollow. each echoed groan
transmits through & radiates out
like marrow of my bones.

iii.
coming back home from school, 
third grade, harsh pennsylvania winter.
a car trails us, whatshername & i.
we run, keep running. we run & run 
& run & run. i am seized, 
tossed over shoulder, sobbing,
flailing for someone
who will never save me.

iv. 
help me! help me! help me!

v. 
recess is over. i'm back in my body, 
reflected back into myself, unwilling. 
sometimes memory fails me.
sometimes it does not. 


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217 Reviews

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Reviews: 217

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Sat Feb 10, 2024 12:04 am
creaturefeature wrote a review...



back for my aforementioned review!

i disagree with the other reviewer saying that this was "undeveloped" because i think it is incredibly deep. sure, it's very disconnected in that depth, but i assume that is intentional. every stanza is, i assume, relating back to the central theme referenced in the title. which is very interesting btw! "retrospective memory exercises" is such a unique idea to tackle, but you've done it well!

i reiterated mantra of solid, consistent
sounds to myself: "spit on the ground,
but away from the table."


the first stanza is gorgeous! probably the most detailed stanza in the whole poem; there's a lot of complex images that juxtapose nicely with the main theme. i assume that the narrator is going through a rough time in their life, marked by a sense of detachment ("flaunting a mask"). the whole smoking thing is a nice metaphor for control over your life when it seems otherwise impossible. 15 is a complicated age with complicated feelings. this stanza shows that well!

stranger invited,
mother & he in separate rooms,
walls dry & hollow.


i'd have to say the second stanza is my favourite. there's something so gritty and REAL about these lines above specifically, but the whole stanza hit me like a train. the "stranger" could be a metaphor for so many things, and each new interpretation changes the poem so much. overall though, i'm sensing a reoccurring theme of isolation and disconnection. the narrator is always alone, even with the people that are most important. such as the mother in this situation.

also! "radiates out like marrow of my bones" is such a brilliant image to me. i honestly wish you had written more bodily imagery like this. there's something very human about it; the kind of human this poem already features. if you want to capture more raw emotion, maybe try to go that route.

coming back home from school,
third grade, harsh pennsylvania winter.


personally, i think this is your weakest stanza. it isn't at all a bad stanza, but it lacks the emotional depth the previous ones have. almost being kidnapped is a very traumatizing memory, yet this stanza does not have the essence. the act of smoking a cigarette in the first stanza somehow feels more detrimental to the narrator, which is a little confusing to me! in all honesty, it should be the most impactful.

i don't mind "action-based" poetry, but i feel like this stanza could use something more metaphorical. although, the narrator not knowing the other child's name is very interesting to me! it seems like a small detail, but it adds to that separation i was talking about earlier. they lack a relationship with their peers.

recess is over. i'm back in my body,
reflected back into myself, unwilling.


beautiful conclusion! it's simple in a way, but it lingers.

i think the idea of being "back in my body" is especially powerful. trauma and bad memories have a huge impact on who we are as people. even down to the metaphor of recess ending. your poem has a lot of references to childhood, but it lacks all of the innocence. it's a pure, unadulterated glimpse into life. the detachment of settings between stanzas and the sense of urgency throughout are more good touches!

anyways i'm very excited to see what else you write!

best,
creaturefeature




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Thu Feb 08, 2024 10:11 pm
1TryingBird wrote a review...



Hey, mantra, I will be using my custom template to review this poem:
The Ink & Quill

Image


Spoiler! :

ImageImageImage

#daae71 "> 𝒲𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝐼 𝓉𝒽𝓸𝓊𝓰𝒽𝓉


Yep, this is one heck of a ride, an out-of-body experience one would say. This story is amazing, the use of repitition and as little detail as possible but still some there, so we know whats going on. Thats what I like about poems.
i am seized,
tossed over shoulder, sobbing,
flailing for someone
who will never save me.




Spoiler! :

ImageImageImage

#daae71 "> 𝓦𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝓘 𝓴𝓷𝓸𝔀


This poem, which seems to be about a girl experiencing mindfulness for the first time, actually thinking, (terrifying, I know), Is as clear as it can be, so overall I have nothing to say, except, the use of roman numerals as stanza counters is great. And I did learn what Mantra meant.
i reiterated mantra of solid, consistent
sounds to myself: "spit on the ground,
but away from the table."




Spoiler! :

ImageImageImage

#daae71 "> 𝓦𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝓘 𝓻𝓮𝓪𝓵𝓲𝔃𝓮𝓭


It irks me that poems can be written without proper capitalization and sentencing. AHGADHGSAG.
coming back home from school,
third grade, harsh pennsylvania winter.
a car trails us, whatshername & i.
we run, keep running. we run & run
& run & run. i am seized,
tossed over shoulder, sobbing,
flailing for someone
who will never save me.

-^- so many errors, yet so little to say, because this is but a poem. -^-



Spoiler! :

ImageImageImage

#daae71 "> 𝓦𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝓘 𝓯𝓮𝓵𝓽


This poem made me feel sad, uncomfortable, weird, and anxious all in one. It is amazing how stories can do that to you.
help me! help me! help me!




Spoiler! :

ImageImageImage

#daae71 "> 𝓦𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝓘 𝓼𝓪𝔀


This is a poem, and again, doesnt have development, so I can not say much about the potential, but the strengths are there, like how you can get away with repetition and grammar flaws. The weaknesses are in the format, I wish you went with the 4 lines per stanza, and added some rythm.




Overall, swell done, though this kind of poem is not my cup of tea, I still enjoyed reading and reviewing it!


Image
“When you're in your darkest place, you give yourself hope and that's inner strength.”
― Uncle Iroh




User avatar
217 Reviews

Points: 160
Reviews: 217

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Thu Feb 08, 2024 1:14 am
creaturefeature says...



one of the most beautiful things i’ve read in a while. remind me to review.





When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.
— Dean Jackson