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august burnout/ blocked september

by snorfus

august burnout/

blocked september




this place in washougal

a 2 story collection of uncreative shapes

90 degree angles and straight lines

a setting so arbitrary

convoluted with contradictions.

an ever fluctuating current

where seasons wash past

in a hail of near identical days

flooded with hours spent

trying to spot the differences.



some days are better/worse

than the vibrance and nirvana of

a former version of

the very same summer from which

this (sullen and

exhausted attempt to

collect enough relevant words

and stack them)




i thought i had fixed my car

but my mechanic can’t explain how

a cold engine running on fumes

can overheat and burn out.

long past are such days

full of auspicious musing of

the state of expositions.

far buried are such nights

lost in romantic recallings of

the stories lived and living through me.

extensive is the distance

between me and myself,

and the energy demanded to

bridge such a chasm.




my faith in the

significance of setting

is fading.


i will miss these streets which

not so many poems ago

i didn't know.

the neighbors stay inside, the cars stay parked

these uniformed trees vibrate so bleakly

they know of me and that i know of them

caged animals which sing to each other

keep me company, feel my grief

at the edge of the pavement they wait to die

and dream slow wooden dreams

count the rings when they chop me down

are there many or few, were they muted or bold

or will they be composed of

90 degree angles and four equal lines?

may my flesh be too gnarled to cut into planks.

of death i am unafraid, it’s a life without creating that keeps me awake.

cruel and thorny is the maker who decided

that the vast burden of inaction would be

less crushing than the weight of unrealized art.

far above lustfulness & pride, alcohol & dopamine,

my most destructive habit is words left unwritten.

forever waiting for creative sanctuary where words flow like water.

when will someone come to take me far away from routine and writers block

from dresser drawers, posters, windows panes & shelves?

in the place i now sleep i try to count the right angles (a total of 79,920 degrees)

is it this box full of squares which keeps me imprisoned or

is it a self-centered romanticization of my flawed mind,

my obsession with inefficiency, distractions, and non-orientable shapes?

homesick for a setting not yet complete but

somewhere aside from chronic patterns of change

that may never be developed into 90 degree angles

this earth is full, but space is expansive

find me a star made from broken physics

find me a seam in the fabric of everything

or take away my telescope so

i can fall asleep on time, i have work in the morning

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Points: 440
Reviews: 13

Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:54 am
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Baranczak wrote a review...

This is an amazing poem. First of all, your writing and use of imagery is so evocative. I love the way you use metaphors from math and physics . I really liked the sentiment that the narrator expresses: that they cannot be fully alive without being creative “it’s life without creating that keeps me awake”. For a poem about someone experiencing writers block, this is a masterpiece. There are so many stories and memories that this person is holding, and yet somehow they cannot express them. And that is their “prison” I think. Instead they have straight lines and ninety degree angles. I love the way you show their despair by the thought that the three dimensional complex creative birds in death might become nothing more than a deer of angles, completely abstract and lifeless. It is this loss of creative spark that the narrator is so afraid, because without it he is as good as dead. And then the ending is perfect. It’s pure poetry. The “ find me a star made from broken physics”. The metaphors are captivating. The narrator does not want perfect things - straight lines and mathematical formulae. Creativity means imperfect, broken things, like “a seam in the fabric of everything”. They do lot need a telescope like a scientist - they as a poet, need to fall asleep in time to think and let the imperfect world deep into their imagination, become that elusive setting that they have not yet discovered. I love the last line “I have work in the morning”. Then the reader suddenly starts seeing the poem in a different light - perhaps the narrator is in bed, it is dark with actual stars outside, and these beautiful musings on the nature of an artist and their art are the sleepy half remembered thoughts of a person in the cusp of sleep, that i between luminal state where two worlds meet. And they are tired, because they have work in the morning. That perfect practical twist at the end of this dreamy ethereal poem

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snorfus says...

Thank you so much for your review, i appreciate what you had to say! Just one clarifying question though,,, what did you mean with the bit about the bird and the deer? I dont have any animals in the poem so i couldnt figure out which part youre referring to

Random avatar
Baranczak says...

Hi Snorfus! Sorry for the confusion - these are actually typos ( should have edited a bit more carefully!) Bird was actually supposed to be being ( referring to your lines about the trees in your street) and deer was supposed to be disintegrating ( that they disintegrate in death into straight angles).

User avatar
27 Reviews

Points: 114
Reviews: 27

Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:40 am
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lukekazey wrote a review...

Hey, Luke here for a quick review!

So, I'm just gonna go through what I liked, then some of my own personal potential suggestions for improvement, and then summarise.

First, I never read poems this long. I have the attention span of a goldfish so most poems of this length I have no chance of finishing, but something about this kept me wanting to read, kept me engaged, so youre definitely doing something right haha. I think your poetic voice is stunning; the poem reads like an internal monologue from one of the most eloquent people to ever exist. I loved the motif of the slashes in the first half of the poem (although I do almost wish you'd carried it on). Clearly the gap between the romanticising of setting and its reality is central to this poem, and your imagery is really effective in portraying this, as the mathematical versus the literary. However, my favourite line comes from the final stanza, reading "find me a star made from broken physics." There's something beautifully and sadly poetic about it, it's just lovely.

In terms of suggestions dor improvement, you have my earlier one about the motif of slashes, but beyond that, I'd love to see more seasonal imagery. Thats what we expect from the title of the poem, and while burnout is aptly presented, I feel its somewhat lacking in August and September. Of course, subverting expectations is great but I feel like you could be really successful using this kind of imagery.

Overall though, a truly beautiful poem that was so engaging to read. Welcome to YWS, and I hope I get to read more of your work!


Random avatar
snorfus says...

Hey thanks for the review, thanks for taking the time to read it and leave your thoughts! I appreciate constructive feedback alot so thanks for including that too. As far as the slashes motif, it wasnt even intentional to do that so good catch lol, slashes are one of my favorite devices to use in poetry sometimes i use them without meaning to introduce them as a repetitive thing. If youre into it want to read my poem called February * or chasm? Leave a review (be harsh i dont mind) if you got time and ill review one of your old works too! Green room is cool for bonus points but sometimes i want more than one review so if you wanna do a trade let me know which one of your works i should check out! If not then no worries, have a great evening

lukekazey says...

Definitely, I'm more than happy to do that. I'm a little busy at the moment so it may not be for a while but I'll definitely get to reviewing them. Could you please review "hunger" and "Letters from an Unknown Writer" if thats okay?

Random avatar
snorfus says...

Yes i gotchu!! It will be a slow process, i am not on the site too often but ill get to it i promise

May you never steal, lie, or cheat. But if you must steal, then steal away my sorrows. And if you must lie, then lie with me all the nights of your life. And if you must cheat, then please, cheat death.
— An Unknown Bride, Leap Year