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by silverhanded

note: this is the last poem in a long series.

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Points: 64
Reviews: 4

Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:46 pm
OS2000 wrote a review...

Interesting use of juxtaposition here. The lack of capital letters giving an impression perhaps of apathy and defiance, and the solemness of the noun "ritual" (and the spiritual implications this entails) lends a paradoxical quality - in that the subject seems to wish to escape or rebel, yet is still confined by the rites of society (the actions of brushing your teeth, looking at oneself in the mirror, surviving). The use of the verb "decay" implies that these rituals are the fragile bedrock on which civilisation (and perhaps the subject's existence in civilisation) stands, and so lends a certain insecurity to the poem's tone. My main criticism is that the poem seems a little unrealised. Although the ambiguity makes it compelling and thought-provoking, this ambiguity means that the meaning is somewhat lost along the way. Perhaps if the ideas were developed further, and with greater clarity, there would be less need to speculate. However, this takes little from the intriguing nature of the poem. I can't wait to read some of your other works.

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276 Reviews

Points: 24311
Reviews: 276

Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:32 pm
MJTucker wrote a review...

Hey there! MJ stopping by for a (poor attempt at a) review!

First of all, what did the 2 lines in the middle of the second line mean? If it was symbolic or metaphorical, I didn't catch the meaning. It seemed to me like a line break in the middle of the line, but if you could clear that up for me, it would be much appreciated.

And as the final of my grammatical nitpicks, I think that 'through ritual', in the second to last line. I think that 'routine' would fit better there, since ritual seems to generally mean a spiritual ritual. When I think of "ritual", the image that comes to mind is a dramatic ceremony in an old temple, complete with human sacrifices and all that. Since I'm assuming that's not what you mean, routine might be better here.

I also didn't see how the title fit in. There was no farewell or parting of anything that happened in this poem, and therefore the title "Goodbye" gave the reader an idea of a poem that was a melancholy farewell, like two friends parting. Perhaps a better title here would be "Girl-Without-Soul", or something along those lines.

Your comparison to the mouth was my favorite part of this poem, since it was a very good analogy, especially the mention of how it was cold and rough-edged, fragile, but savable. I thought that was really creative and clever, and can't wait to read more! If you have any questions, feel free to let me know, and I'll do my best to answer.

Best wishes,

silverhanded says...

Hi! First of all, thanks for the review!

I'm going to mention eating disorders and mental health in my reply so if you're not comfortable reading that, this would be a good place to stop reading! Just wanted to leave a little heads-up.

So the two parallel lines were actually a big concern for me as to how well they would be understood. It's a part of how I take notes, a little glance into my life as a student. I use them to note that two ideas are connected, whether this correlation is good or bad (bad, in the case of this poem.) I'll definitely rework this line if I revisit this piece (which, honestly, I'm terrible about.)

I definitely get what you mean about the word ritual and I agree when taking the poem at face value, but the word does accentuate the closeness of my relationship to my eating disorder (the subject of the entire collection.) The way I tend to my teeth is almost religious; I don't want to be graphic but I will say that over time bulimia essentially destroys your teeth so the "ritual" referenced here is the way I tend to them religiously. There's a lot of mouth imagery throughout the collection and this poem is meant to tie that into the overall meaning in some ways that seem a bit off out of context.

The title is also meant to play into the idea of battle with mental illness and the intensity of my fight to recover from my eating disorder.

Oftentimes my poetry deals with very individual topic, so I use vague or dense language to make it more universally accessible. Sometimes this works well and sometimes it backfires; in the case of this poem it seems to have been a bit of a mixed bag. :)

Thank you so much for your review, it definitely gave me good perspective on how this piece performs out of context. I'll make sure to keep your suggestions in mind when/if I end up revisiting this collection.


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1065 Reviews

Points: 1615
Reviews: 1065

Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:45 pm
Kays wrote a review...

Hi there Silverhanded! This is Kays here dropping in for a review on a lovely morning.

Haven't seen your poetry around in awhile! I missed your presence in the section so I'm glad that you're back with content for me to poke at. I haven't been poeting/posting as much lately either, so I can't say too much! Without further ado, let's review.

First of all, I'm wondering about the rest of the series. Is there a continuous narrative? Are you going to eventually post these other parts? Doesn't seem so, but I wanted to let you know I'd be interested in reading them anyway if they aren't already posted. No pressure of course! Anyway, I can say that this poem is pretty minimalist in style. I'm not as fond of the first two lines here as I am of the rest of the poem. The same tone exists throughout the whole poem but there's a shift in thought after the second line ends. I enjoy the last four lines more because I get what they're saying right away. I understand the theme that's being portrayed.

In contrast, the first two lines are a little more subtle, almost too subtle, with the message. Perhaps changing 'correlation' to 'connection' to be a bit more direct? I can see that the speaker is talking about how fearlessness is often connected to sociopathy. I'm guessing 'mirror-avoidant' is to say that the speaker doesn't like looking at themselves or doesn't like being in pictures (probably the former if anything, you'd have put 'photo-avoidant' if you meant that instead).

The 'ignorant' is directed to those who believe that fearlessness and sociopathy are the same? These first two lines could've been longer and more in-depth with their points and you chose to do them in this form. I find that quite interesting! They're quite minimal and for the most part only include what's absolutely needed.

Overall this poem hurts. The part about mouth and teeth hits hard and I didn't expect anything less from a piece of yours. Nice job on that. I'd like to be filled in on what the first two lines mean just out of curiosity and my interpretation is still that those openers are saying that fearlessness and sociopathy are different.

Fearlessness isn't fear at all while sociopaths (excuse me if I get this wrong, I'm not an expert in this area of mental illness) fear losing control or being exposed or just in small doses. From what I know, psychopaths...don't feel fear? Sociopaths feel little. Egh, I am sorry if I'm butchering this and I assume you know more about that than I do but the point is, I want to understand what the first two lines were intended to mean. I'll have to put research into those topics.

Again, lovely poem. Apologies that the review is sub-par but there's not much critique to give for a poem that deserves praise. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day.



silverhanded says...

You angel incarnate. <3

The entire series (tentatively titled "utterances") is about my mental health and my ongoing fight with my eating disorder and attempts at recovery within the confines of myself as a person. The first two lines play off of an earlier motif (that may or may not be communicated effectively in earlier poems, I can't quite decide) dealing with my inability to perceive and express emotion "correctly" in emotionally charged moments. Mention of sociopathy is because I have been, on more than one occasion, called a robot/sociopath/psycho/alien/etc. because of my (relative) emotional expressionlessness.

The first two lines are the least able to exist out of context in the collection, I think. They both lean heavily on understanding of the overall subject matter. "mirror-avoidant || ignorant" is a look into my life as a student, I draw this || when I want to show that two ideas are connected while taking notes (hence my inclusion of the word paralleled at the end of the second line.) I was worried about that line in particular being too ambiguous, so I'm glad that you mentioned those two. I may end up re-working them (although I'm terrible about revisiting poems, to be honest.)

& you hit the nail on the head with mirror-avoidant, it ties into the overall picture of eating disorders (& all that jazz.) Ignorance & mirror-avoidance is meant to point to societal fixation on appearance (or at least how I perceive that, admittedly biased) and the idea that a lack of interest in social media/photos/makeup/etc. means I don't care about my appearance or body when in fact I avoid these things because they quickly become obsessions; I care too much (which I've heard is a relatively common phenomenon among people with eating disorders.)

I am often vague in poetry, it's my way of shielding myself but also making certain singular experiences more accessible for a reader.

I hope this isn't totally tone deaf and that it doesn't make you uncomfortable at all, I don't have any problem at all discussing my mental health, especially as it applies to my poetry.

& thank you for this, it was such a kind review.


P.S. it took me a hot second to figure out that it was you, I've been gone so long! :)

Kays says...

Nope! I'm totally okay with that discussion. I wanted to thank you so, so much for the response! <3 I usually never get replies that go through the length to explain or elaborate and when I do I'm quite grateful. I can connect to an extent with being seen/stereotyped as cold or expressionless (personal jazz I'd be okay explaining via PM) so I can see what you're attempting to do there.

Vagueness vs. personal experiences is always a topic that interests me (some want to let the reader fill in the empty spaces and others use their own and more direct personal experiences) so that's definitely an intriguing viewpoint to learn about!

Thank you again for the kind response! And yes, I did change my name again, haha.

The first draft is a trip to the amusement park. The next drafts are returning there as a safety inspector.
— SunsetTree