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radio silence: a love story

by paperforest

do you have a ghost song humming in your bones?
fragments of verses long forgotten still
stuck to you like the to-do lists on your wall
never finished, never thrown away

you only heard it once, a long time ago
between ads and thrumming static on the radio
you can picture that day so clearly, but
every time you do you see a different day,
a different photograph on your shelf
[ you were in the backseat with your siblings,
the sky was dark with snow ]
{ you were driving with the windows down,
the air smelled like overturned earth and the colour green }
( you were home alone, dancing in the living room to
the rhythm of the rain on the roof )
you never heard its name

the melody still runs through your life,
a half-remembered thread that you cannot let go of –
you wind it round your fingers and string it through your ribs and
sometimes you think you might be crazy,
your nervous hands tapping out the (heart)beat,
afraid to forget

as you watch your reams of paper,
your rhyming dictionaries, spilling out to fill
all the singing rooms in your mind as you
try to piece the words back together, but none of them fit –
not like they should in that memory
of a memory

so you haunt the streets,
asking everyone you see:
Have you heard a song that goes like this? no, that's not it -
Like this? but that's not quite right either.
The lyrics talked about birds, and loneliness.
If you had heard it, you'd remember.

one day you stumble into someone who
doesn't shake their head and walk away when you ask -
their quiet interrupts your constant rhythm,
their gaze melt away the fragments of
ectoplasm clogging up your lungs

No, I've never heard it before, they say
But it sounds beautiful,
Is it yours?

you say: No, but
Then again, it's been so long in my blood that i've
Forgotten where it began, all i have left is layer upon
Layer of wishes, an impression in sand of
What it should have been,
So maybe,


It's mine.

and something inside you settles gently,
the frantic rushing static quiets a little.
you don't notice until later that you've forgotten the song
the last fragments fell from your heart like
dead leaves from a sleeping tree
but it doesn't bother you anymore, because
there is someone with a soul you recognize but don't yet know,
and they see your ghosts and make up songs that fit the rhythm
of both of you

wavelengths colliding, mutual interference
comfortable radio silence.

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60 Reviews

Points: 4400
Reviews: 60

Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:32 pm
silvermoon17 wrote a review...

What can I say..
I’m an escapist, and I promise that reading this really projected me in the dimension that you built. I love how you mix mystery, love and romance. I love how your words melt into each other (mElt okay, not dissolve) causing each sentence to fusion in what is this beautiful poem. The pacing is alright, the rhyming scheme is the only thing missing- which I think is a shame. You should try putting more rhymes, it will give a much sweeter aroma to this poem. I like how you made the two last sentences rhyme, and how the direct, rigid sentences of the beginning; grow into something mysterious and cold, before melting and breaking apart- that part when the sentences become single words, clearly illustrate the evolution of feelings in this poem. There is an inner debate, growing, reaching and dying as we move on. The last sentences showing how this is but a sole feeling/thought in a plethora of them- the narrator clearly is not as his first growth/reach/death. And that’s what’s so beautiful, and sad.

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109 Reviews

Points: 4485
Reviews: 109

Fri Jun 07, 2019 9:53 pm
xJade wrote a review...

Wesh! Jade here to give this a quick little review.

I think this was well written, deep, and honestly took my breath. The syllable count and flow stutters in places, which takes from the overall appearance but other than that it's good. This paints a clear image in my head and I really enjoyed it I hope his helped and I cannot wait to see more of your work soon!


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49 Reviews

Points: 29
Reviews: 49

Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:25 pm
lelu says...

(except for these.)

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97 Reviews

Points: 1121
Reviews: 97

Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:57 am
AmadeusW wrote a review...

Okie dokie! Here to review! Great job, great concept and I like the way you explored it. What I am critical of are some minor details mostly relating to word choice, grammar/punctuation and/or style choice:

1: "fragments of verses long forgotten still
stuck to you like the to-do lists on your wall"

After "forgotten", I think you should put a comma, or it'll read like "long forgotten still, Stuck..." which I understand is not how you want it to be read.

2: "{ you were driving with the windows down,
the air smelled like overturned earth and the colour green } "

Here, I am concerned about the use of "overturned", not for its definition, but for the way it flows in the phrase; it seems to go against the flow you already established. Read it over and maybe you'll hear what I mean... or not. Even though I like the word, it stands out a bit.

3: "so you haunt the streets,
asking everyone you see:
Have you heard a song that goes like this? no, that's not it -
Like this? but that's not quite right either.
The lyrics talked about birds, and loneliness.
If you had heard it, you'd remember."

This stanza, to me, has a very noticeable change in style. It changes from the previous style of an almost philosophical, metaphysical natural flow that is descriptive in language and ethereal in feeling; to this stanza, which feels much more mechanical and conversational, especially when you interject, "no, that's not it - Like this? but that's not quite right either." Those two lines specifically are what I am focusing on. With those two lines I picked out, I sense a much different energy, a more active energy, coming off of the page, in contrast with what was stated earlier in the poem. I don't think too much would need to be adjusted, maybe just some simple word choice.

4: Last thing: What the heck is ectoplasm? Whatever it is, the word jumped off the screen at me, screaming, "Look me up in the dictionary, dang it!" Not saying you shouldn't use the word, I'm also not saying you should...

To conclude: You have an excellent thought process, an excellent concept and some very unique style choices that I found rather enjoyable. And there were only a few tweakers to write home about! Keep up the excellent writing.

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18 Reviews

Points: 119
Reviews: 18

Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:37 am
ToxicAnglerFish wrote a review...

Honestly, this is such a detailed, carefully crafted, and excellent poem if I have seen one. The emotions in this one were so raw and powerful it was a powerful read. The details are so good and describe so many emotions and are relatable in a sense to everyone no matter their story or background. I really hope to see more from you :).

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811 Reviews

Points: 28201
Reviews: 811

Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:20 am
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Morrigan wrote a review...

Hello paperforest,

my dude. You've got me with chicken skin arms and tears in my eyes. This is a gut-punch of a poem if I've ever read one.

You use your emotions like a paintbrush with all these beautiful images that ride the line between abstract and concrete. Surreal, but weighty and direct. Yes. This is the best poem I've seen on YWS in a long time.

That being said, there is always room for improvement. And since this poem is so good, I get to be a little nitpicky.

do you have a ghost song humming in your bones?
Honestly, phrasing this as a question might not be a strong choice to start out with. It feels immature, like a kid starting out an essay by saying, "have you ever broken a leg? Well I have." I would phrase this as a statement, an accusation. "there is a ghost song humming in your bones." Or, if you want to take it in an even more surreal direction, try "your bones hum with ghost songs." Starting out a poem with a statement is a solid foundation for the rest of your piece.

the melody still runs through your life,
I want something more tangible than "life" here. You do that earlier with the bones line. Find something that represents life and use it here instead. You could use "body" or "blood" or whatever you deem fit! Life is a big old abstract concept, though, and it doesn't bring the reader into the world of your poem-- it alienates them from it because you do not provide them with a concrete enough image here. Additionally, I think this line would benefit from a stronger verb, one that has to do with music and melody. You can have a song running through your head, but think about how a ghost melody might sound. Does it trickle, does it chime? Does it pound, or does it whisper? Any song can run, but not any song can do one of those.

The lyrics talked about birds, and loneliness.
Don't reveal your hand! Loneliness, again, is a big old abstract concept that is hard to visualize. Also, that's what this entire poem is about! Don't hit readers over the head with it. Instead of loneliness, try an image that encompasses it. What does it mean to you? Empty houses, an abandoned shoe, a weed sprouting from the sidewalk-- you could use quite a few images to give us here instead of loneliness. When you have an option to provide an image or a concept, always go for the image.

I like the way that you separate the dialogue from the rest of the poem. It jarred me a little at first, but I think it's an interesting choice. I personally would have chosen to capitalize as if the poem was a sentence, but feel free to disregard that suggestion. I don't see any problem other than I thought it was a little jarring. It might feel more natural the other way. Maybe that's how you wanted it, though!

What it should have been,
I feel like this doesn't fit with the image describing it, the impressions in the sand. I feel like if you're going to keep that image, I'd change this line to "where it used to rest" or something of that nature. If not, try changing the image to fit this theme!

I like the ending. It still manages to be a little lonely, but it's cozy, too. There's silence, but it's not emptiness. Good.

The last thing I'll suggest is a title change. I don't think you need the love story part. Radio Silence is a great name for this poem.

Altogether, this is really lovely, and when I'm up to it, I'll be checking out your other works. Again, this really captured my emotions, and I really related to the imagery-- you'll find that there are a few mentions of static in my poetry as well. I hope that this review proves useful to you! If you have any questions, or if you ever want to chat, let me know! Keep writing, and keep YWSing!

I’d heard he had started a fistfight in one of the seedier local taverns because someone had insisted on saying the word “utilize” instead of “use".
— Patrick Rothfuss, A Wise Man's Fear