• Home

Young Writers Society

E - Everyone

living tomb (valentine's day is a graveyard)

by tatteredbones

weightless ballerinas do broad strokes in the air
their tutus bending into bright pink hearts, i see
strong and sure people waiting to catch them,
eyebrows furrowing into handwritten letters and special-
someone's with impromptu movie nights; they are chaotic,
much more fun than me, with my poor bedside manner
and hoodie pocket nothing's i don't dance;

i barely sing

i see sobbing, heavy-stepping maidens, they reach out
with their fractured hands and they hold them with poise
more significant, more bitter hands held theirs once,
and you can tell, but they won't, if they sigh a complaint,
it is with a dignity i've never had; i have gutless anger
lashing inwards and outwards but hoping no one gets

h u r t

i sit with my key clacking empty madness,
my heart is a stone that isn't quite hollow yet,
the wind says it doesn't have to be romantic to want
some room to breathe; my hands are unpoised and
my heart isn't broken or pink or even heart-shaped
i am me, and i have nothing but couch-cushion-loneliness
and busy bare-hands, and i wonder if there is something i am
supposed to be reaching for because everyone else is
looking for something outside themselves;

i am closing my eyes so i can count the ghosts in this closet.

Is this a review?



User avatar
100 Reviews

Points: 0
Reviews: 100

Stickied -- Wed Mar 22, 2023 4:32 am
View Likes
tatteredbones says...

Listen to this with it: https://voca.ro/1nubyQO2KWtH

For those who have already read and liked: @Lucrezia @Quillfeather @spatula

Random avatar
Lucrezia says...

OOH, I LOVE THAT. Your voice suits it so well! There is such a profoundly haunting and beautiful melancholy about this piece, both in the written and the spoken version, which I absolutely adore. <33

tatteredbones says...


Hkumar says...

You have put so much emotions in the writing, it's great.

tatteredbones says...


User avatar
487 Reviews

Points: 4379
Reviews: 487

Sun Mar 26, 2023 3:07 am
View Likes
Meshugenah wrote a review...

Hi! Here as threatened :)

I love your last line.

The stanza above that I think is your strongest - it's definitely the tightest, though you still have moments of what feels like wordiness to my ears/eyes (though I definitely notice it more in the written vs. the spoken, which is part of what makes reviewing poetry difficult at times).

I do feel like there's more of a disconnect between everything above "h u r t" and what falls below. Definitely still on theme, but not quite as connected. Above feels more wordy-chaos stream-of-consciousness, which I am assuming is intentional. Below feels a bit more aware.

There are a few spots where I think you went over-wordy, or can trim it up for better rhythm/intention.

I agree that first stanza, you could trim out "i see," but then you lose the repetition in the next full stanza. There's something I'm having trouble putting my finger on in this first stanza that's nagging at me, but I'm not quite sure what - maybe the juxtaposition of "broad strokes" to describe ballet? I find that more distracting than descriptive, so maybe it's that description that's throwing me off the rest.

In the final, I want to delete "is" and "yet" from the second line, and then end that line with a semicolon. Then the next semicolon (and I love that phrase in between) I want as a period, because the fuller stop fits better rhythmically, and sounded to my ear how you read it, too. You could also nix "i am me" a few lines below and go right into "i have nothing..." Nit-picky all around, but if tighter lines and words is what you want, I'd start considering trimming there.

There are parts here that I really like, but I think there's a disconnect happening, or maybe a transition that is missing. Your title and second half fit together nicely; it's fitting those pieces with the rest that is a bit more tenuous. They're still tying together to a degree, but not as seamlessly as I think you could do. I'm not sure I have a solution, but something to consider if revising or revisiting.

User avatar
353 Reviews

Points: 1859
Reviews: 353

Sun Mar 26, 2023 1:03 am
View Likes
LadySpark wrote a review...

Hi friend! Here for a quick review :)

First off, LOVE the recorded version. I hope you continue to do that, because it's excellent and really adds color and depth to your poem. Your speaking voice is phenomenal!

I'm obsessed with this, as I usually am about anything about ballerinas. there are a few little clean up things I think you could do for sake of clarity of voice, but overall this is an excellent precursor to your NaPo and I'm SO excited to read more from you next month!

In line two, I'd get rid of "I see" and just go straight into line three. Additionally, I would cut the "and" between letter/special in line four, as it seems a little superfluous to me and I think it would flow better w/out that extra word hanging on.

The lines "much more fun than me, with my poor bedside manner" seemed a little random to me. I like the poor beside manner bit, but it doesn't really *connect* with anything. I honestly think you could workshop the last couple of lines on this stanza and come up with something a little more enmeshed with your overarching themes. However, the "hoodie pocket" line is gold, so definitely work around that part. Heck, maybe even expand that imagery a little bit— the juxtaposition between imaging someone with a ratty zip up hoodie against ballerinas with their flawless tutus is really satisfying.

In stanza two, you've got a few more extra "and"'s that don't feel exactly necessary. Specifically in line two of the stanza, between hands/they. If you adapted the line, I think it would flow better to go straight into "with their fractured hands, they hold them with poise". In the next line, I'm not the biggest fan of your use of "bitter". I want something a little more flowery in language, if that makes sense? Maybe something that either reflects or contradicts the first stanza.

The final stanza/final line is really where your poem hits its stride. I am OBSESSED with so many lines from this part of the poem, and if you're looking for internal inspiration for workshopping this poem— look there. You've got some really quality stuff going on in there. I honestly think it could be a whole poem on its own, but it's also an excellent ending to this poem as well. My favorite lines are
"i sit with my key clacking empty madness,
my heart is a stone that isn't quite hollow yet,
the wind says it doesn't have to be romantic to want
some room to breathe;"


"my heart isn't broken or pink or even heart-shaped
i am me, and i have nothing but couch-cushion-loneliness
and busy bare-hands, and i wonder if there is something i am
supposed to be reaching for because everyone else is
looking for something outside themselves;

i am closing my eyes so i can count the ghosts in this closet."

.... so literally the whole stanza.

Excellent work. I'd love to talk more about this with you if you're interested, let me know if you work on this or post an edited version, because I'd love to read!


User avatar
1176 Reviews

Points: 135338
Reviews: 1176

Sun Mar 26, 2023 12:55 am
View Likes
alliyah says...

Ohh - I quite like these lines especially:

with my poor bedside manner
and hoodie pocket nothing's i don't dance;

i barely sing

Nicely phrased! <3

User avatar
1260 Reviews

Points: 2430
Reviews: 1260

Sun Mar 26, 2023 12:34 am
View Likes
Elinor wrote a review...

Hi tatteredbones!

I'm going to do my best to give this a review, because you did a fantastic job with this poem. If you ever get a chance, you should check out the movie "The Red Shoes", because that's what this poem reminded me of. To a lesser extent, you should also watch the movie "Waterloo Bridge".

The comparison of a ballerina's performance to the risk that comes with falling in love is a brilliant one, because on one hand, she's caught, but one the other, it's so easy for someone to get hurt in the process.

If you do go back this, I think I'd want to see how to the narrator relates to these ballerinas. Does she admire them from afar? Has she gone to seen a performance? Is she a member of the ensemble, or the orchestra, or even a part of the theater crew?
That would be my only critique at this time. Bring it back home. Your last line is an excellent one, but I'm not sure how it relates back.

Overall, excellent work!

User avatar
417 Reviews

Points: 500
Reviews: 417

Wed Mar 22, 2023 11:59 pm
View Likes
Willard wrote a review...

hey tattered!! i don’t think i’ve reviewed a work in, like, three years, nor did i log in with that intention. yet this work invoked a feeling strong enough that I’d like to articulate. it’s going to be rusty, sorry about that, but thank you for this poem. i like it a lot.

why did you write this? what was the intention?

i only ask because i’m unclear on what the connection is between the substance and the structure. it’s the thing whenever authors make decisions about the text’s outward appearance. whenever a body is altered to include something that can’t be spoken out loud (i.e. h u r t), the work’s priority becomes split between the spectacle and the story. at that point, the two paths that can be feasibly taken are: 1. divulge fully into the outward aesthetic and make it solely a visual piece of art or 2. find a nuanced way to blend both the heart of poetry and appearance of art to make a cohesive piece. however, it feels like a lot of people (myself included) underestimate how difficult it is to achieve the latter? like, it’s super freaking tough. you have to break the bones of this raw material and alter it with the intention of it becoming something more. yet, when you do, it runs risk of distracting from the emotional, substantial value.

which i think is what happens here. and this is not to be condescending, but i feel like the vocaroo link exemplifies the point. hearing it read aloud was very affective. there was an overwhelming sense of vulnerability yet softness to it that felt like voyeurism of a stranger’s sadness. take into account the final line, “closing my eyes so I can count the ghosts in this closet”., which is a brutal line accented by the vocal delivery. because i didn’t get the sense you were speaking in bold like you had written. in fact, none of the stylistic choices besides flow were reflected in the recording, which felt much more powerful than reading it as text. how it’s displayed feels like the audience’s access to the honesty and ideas at hand are prohibited. we are not allowed to touch this very real, beating pulse. this isn’t a critique because it’s something we all struggle with, so i want to open up conversation and thought about what you want to communicate to the reader. what is lost? what is clear? what is your language to get messages across? how can you improve, what do you know is your best, yadda yadda yadda, so on and so forth.

you have a strong sense of the body. there’s a lot of inference towards weight that you seamlessly transformed and tied into the idea of not being loved. even though the ballerinas are weightless they still are a vessel to be cared for by another vessel. whether you mean it or not, i like the subtle implication and reversal of existence and essence. instead of needing a body to be intimate, you need intimacy to have a real body. an effective, yet not super obvious, way of demonstrating loneliness. the only time i felt tripped up/distracted from this emotion is the stylistic abandon of full stops. it’s an “old man yells at the sky” thing to complain about with contemporary art, but namely “they are chaotic/much more fun than me” and the phrasing of the final two lines of the first stanza demanded rereads that took away from the immediate impact. i think a comma between chaotic and much would help?? but only slightly. don’t fret too much about it.

I barely sing

i sit with my keyboard

is the inconsistent capitalization of ‘I’ throughout the piece intentional?

not to reharp points, but i do like how the juxtaposition of strong bodied, loved individuals and the weak, silent narrator is weaved throughout. it’s very strongly upheld, rarely diverting into images that could weaken the razor sharp focus. i see the use of hyphenated descriptors and feel like their usage in the second and third stanza is meant to draw a parallel, a way to emphasize the physical and the lack thereof. the repeated use of hyphens near the end of the last stanza is somewhat redundant, as the point (or a point) had already been established early on. room could be made for less wide, more straight forward and concrete language that’s clear. contrasting flowing structure with biting cuts could also be a contrast of positive value for this work.

even though I think the final line is very cutting and biting. It’s such a cool way to end the poem. Along with the first period! I do think that “and I am” belonging in the stanza before is a bit awkward and dulls the power of that final moment. I also think how it’s in bold draws from the emotional value as well, because you are using three different techniques to isolate and draw attention to it. It’s spaced out from the rest of the piece, it’s bold, and it has the only full stop. That might be doing a bit too much, and I think the textual separation and period is enough to provide an effective emotional resolution for the reader. Whatever best suits your goal.

I apologize for how rambling this review got near the end, but I do want to say thank you once again for writing this and I hope reading this wasn’t a complete waste of time. Wishing you well.

tatteredbones says...

Thank you ! And to be honest I was experimenting with the format of the poem - I wanted to find a way to make it sit the way I read it. I appreciate your comments and they were very helpful! I didn't notice the inconsistent i 's I meant it to be lowercase but the auto caps on this tablet had other plans! If there is anything else I could work on with it what would that be? And what does this poem seem to be about from your reading?

Willard says...

i think yr most recent revision kind of narrowed in on it, but it's important to emphasize the difference between holistic vision and individual vision. as in, even if you've written great lines, if the poem's structure doesn't seem stable nor connected, then what's the point. you have some truly devastating, impactful moments that more or less were diluted by the very on-the-wall structure the version I reviewed had. the new spacing makes it look great. other than that, focus on unnecessary words. "buts", "i ___", "or", "ands". it's tough but an abundance of those can distract the reader and unfocus what you're getting at.

i understood the work to be about the narrator's loneliness. the idea that those who are loved have a sort of active talent, something that they can prove that they should be loved. a physical weight. like dancing or heavy stepping. yet its contrasted with the narrator's lack of physicality, or physical importance to the space they're in. because they do not have grace or any "true" impact in what they do as opposed to other physical performers, they are not meant to be loved.

i hope that made sense. reading it again made me greatly appreciate it more.

tatteredbones says...

Thank you so much and i completely understand ahh <3333 I definitely want to cut through the and's in this on a reread :D

Random avatar

Points: 17243
Reviews: 328

Wed Mar 22, 2023 3:59 am
View Likes
Lucrezia says...

I wish I had something constructive to say, but all I can tell you is that this is gorgeous and great. <33

tatteredbones says...


tatteredbones says...

Maybe you can give some commentary now that I have done the spoken version!

I can't understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I'm frightened of old ones.
— John Cage