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  3. gutters

    The way you used language in this poem is really beautiful. The metaphors are neither too obvious or too hard to figure out and I think the details make the poem even stronger. The last line is so powerful.
  4. how many animals cry over the dead? when they eat the bodies, is it mourning? do they have gods; do they debate their existence? are their languages capable of sarcasm? did wooly mammoths tell jokes to each other like in Ice Age? what do they call each other? what’s a lion to a bear? do they know the ecosystem the same way we do? will they stop eating when the ground cannot take it? do they teach their young respect for their world? for their prey? what would a dog tell us if it could talk? can they still hear the planet screaming? could we ever hear? would we have been better off if bonobos were our ancestors? is it wise to keep looking deeper into the sea? will we find aliens before we find every species on our planet? how long will the planet last, anyway? would octopi write manifestos on ethics or dungeons and dragons campaigns? how closely related to earthly cephalopods are those aliens from Arrival? if we can weave with spider silk, can we write with octopus ink?
  5. Dear Society,

    I’m sorry. I don’t have the greatest body, i’m not the prettiest, my teeth aren’t pure white or perfectly straight. I’m not tall, i’m short. My hair isn’t all the same color, I make stupid decisions. I’m scared to go out in public because of your expectations. Y’all as a whole made me who I am. Am I too nice? Am I one of the prettiest in people’s eyes? Am I too mean? What if someone thinks I look mean? Am I too extra? Am I someone’s crush? Am I ugly? Did the guy that just passed check me out? Am I beautiful? Did she just give me a dirty look? What do people think of me? Do I look that bad? There is an endless amount of questions I could ask you. And i’d want you to be honest with me. Honesty hurts, worse than unexpectedly getting stung by a bee. Worse than heartaches because you’re remembering the way it feels when a heart breaks. “Pretty faces shouldn’t feel like this” does that mean i’m ugly? “You’re too gorgeous to be crying” uhm thanks? “You shouldn’t dress like that, it’s inappropriate” ok, i’ll change. “You shouldn’t do your hair like that, it’s not in style” but… “You still shouldn’t even though you like it” okay. I won’t do it.. “You shouldn’t hang with so many guys, you seem like a hoe” they’re my friends. “Why do you hang around all girls all the time? Are you gay?” no… you just said not to hang with guys though… “Maybe you’re just lying to cover it up. I can’t trust you” “You shouldn’t wear that” “Why do you talk like that?” “What’s wrong with your eyes?” “Why do your teeth look like that?” “Your hair looks fake” “Is that your natural hair color?” “You look bad with dyed hair, don’t do that again.” “You look like a boy with that haircut” “You’re so skinny” “You look fat” “That’s not your color” “You look better in black” “Why are you wearing so much makeup?” STOP DOING THIS TO ME!!! I can’t stand it. I hear these voices every morning when i’m getting dressed. I hear them when I brush my teeth and hair in the morning. I hear them when i’m taking my bright blonde hair out of the braids I put it in the night before. I hear these voices every day. They taunt me, they tease me. They make me strive to be something better because I want to live up to societies standards. So, thanks for the extra pain. Thanks for the long nights, the tears, the screams and cries at night, and the gut feeling of fear I can’t shake. Thanks for nothing society. Sincerely, the broken and scared
  6. What do we say to the god of death?

    What are you thinking about? Nothing, really. Is death warm? Sometimes, I suppose. I’m Not the one to ask about this, You know. Yeah. I know. I’d like to think It’s warm. Like coming home. You will be coming home, You know. Not everyone is Quite as lucky. I suppose not. Is space cold? Again, not the one to ask. Try Z. Or, actually, don’t. I wouldn’t want to ask him anything, Either. Are you cold, father? Not really. The heart of winter Is hearthfire, I know. I know you know. Sometimes, you just have to say Something, even if it’s something The other person already knows. You know? Yeah, I know. Is it a metaphor? Is what a metaphor? Death. Sometimes. In stories. Aren’t we all in a story? Do you believe that? Sometimes. Then yes, we are. Sometimes. So, is it a metaphor, then? What answer do you want To hear? I don’t know. Okay, then. I don’t know. Clever. I guess the sarcasm is from You, then. Did you ever think it was From your mother? No, not really. Why does she stick around? Doesn’t she have leaves to leech light from? She cares. You’re family After all. Chaos is your opposite In part. She balances that order in you. Upends things. Cleans them out, Gives you a fresh start. I guess. She’s not very nice about it, though. Chaos isn’t known for kindness. But she is. You know better than most: Sometimes the stories get it wrong. They get me wrong, So why not her? That’s fair, I guess. She’s sharp. They told me she was motherly. You have two mothers already, I think that’s more than enough. Two mothers, two fathers Two cousins and three uncles. That’s not including the extended family. You’ll never be short on connections, That’s for sure, Mx. friends-in-high-places, Mx. Mage of Blood. I suppose you’re right. I have to be about some things, Don’t I? You should be right about some things, Yeah. Should be right about death. It’s different. For everyone, From me. I’m not “Death,” You know. I know, I know. But you know Death. Of course I know death, Daughter. This has been a one-sided exchange. Are you cold, daughter of death gods? Are you warm? Yes, to both. Blood is hot like lion’s breath, Heavy like the iron flecks all together But words are warm like space And space is empty, absence of heat Absence of everything. Not exactly. Space is everything, All at once and all spread out Across eternity and finite spacetime. Not that space is my business, but still. It isn’t nothing. Once, it was. No, it wasn’t. But nice try. Nothing is nothing but Nothing. It was before. It is Not, now. I suppose. Will Nothing come again? Maybe. I don’t know. I won’t exist in Nothing anymore Than you would. Are you words, then? What? Your answer. You said blood was hot and Words were Warm like space. I know. I know you are blood, All humans are. But are you words, too? Aren’t they the same thing, Words and blood? You tell me; I’m neither. Well, to me they are. I don’t know About anybody else. To me, I’m made of words. Everything I write down is what stays. Blood, It spills. It washes away, eventually. Words cut deeper into the rock. Space can be warm. Sometimes, yes. In stellar orbit. Is Reality a star? Do you think it is? I think it’s something of the like. I orbit, satellite captain, Erratic, like Pluto. How fitting for his daughter. Fitting indeed. Do you land on the star often? No, not now. Nobody does, really. You can’t stay there for long, anyway. It’s too much, for us. Have you been there, father? Do you live there? I can stand it longer, But no. I cannot live there. Some things are too much, even For gods. Is Reality a god? No. It never has been. Is the Nothing? Silly question, You know the answer. Hmm. Aren’t you tired? Staying up late talking to yourself? I’m not, though. You know that. Do I? Yeah, you do. If you insist, then. The point of your fatigue Still stands. All right. Goodnight, Then. Goodnight, Daughter of death gods. [Author's note: I wrote this piece rather quickly, and it's far from finished; I'd welcome any tips/criticism.]
  7. pinterest?

    I'm ocaptainauthor and captain-ocaptain but I don't use that account too often.
  8. pinterest?

    im a tagless gremlin under the URL corpus--corvus lmao i can't get to tumblr til tomorrow but ill follow u
  9. we'll be ok, boy

    so ill teach my brother how to squirrel pills into soft of his cheek above bracket and brace because mom, regional center veteran will check under tongue & never, never, never can i be again inactions clenched in jaw and fist him, back-first to carpet, mouth pried open and dose shoved in chased by water there are some things kids don't get to choose & never, never, never again will i wear 'bystander' can i will i should i how bad will it be if i do Contact Name: CPS Speed Dial: 2
  10. quiet, boy

    ...ouch. That hits really hard. Sending internet hugs, because it doesn't feel like there's much more I can do. (If I could do more, I would.)
  11. a week

    I practically have an allergy to punctuation, and I really need to work on that. Also, thank you so much for your feedback! (It really means the world.) I shall continue revising. :)
  12. gutters

    I love how "my little sister" functions in the poem - can be read as a literal sister or as a younger self. I really like these lines (and bloody hell are they too relatable), but I think that it might be more effect without explicitly using the word "manic". Love this: so much more effect than saying reflection. Damn. These are powerful lines. I think my primary critique would be to look at line breaks and punctuation. (Ex - Why is there a semicolon after "red" and not after other phrases? Why do you use commas some places and not others? There doesn't seem to be an overarching logic to it.) This is the sort of poem that I have trouble critiquing in any meaningful way because it hits so hard for me on a personal level, so my comments are likely a little less coherent than usual. Again: this is a really powerful poem. Well done.
  13. quiet, boy

    through dinner, mom sits haughty in brother's table-set place, & he's put down, patella biting hardwood kneel like i told you to she doesn't eat, rather his laptop propped glare-eyed open log in meets i won't & she spits there are hospitals for kids like you i'm going to bed, he twists over cry-swollen tongue and oh, father, mild father heavy-handed shoulder weight & mom bites kneel like i told you to
  14. pinterest?

    pinterest is soo hard for me??? idk, maybe bc i'm old?? but i mainly use tumblr, and tag posts with certain tags for projects. i'm wesmallsparrows on tumblr, lmk if ya have a url :)
  15. a week

    HAHA im not crying, just something in my eye. that refrain. seriously choked me right up. haha. i love the phrase "the chaos scale" but i might suggest adding punctuation to this whole poem to bring some clarification. i would probably add the punctuation to everything except the repeating lines. i agree with @woundedbirds on the second stanza's first two lines. i got the pill illustration, and i find it beautiful and well done. those who don't take them probably won't get it, and will be waving their arms over it, but it's actually subtle and lovely and well done. i like the way those last two lines are phrased. on the quote below, i'm not completely sure that we get this. we are told this, but not really shown how they make everything worse. ik this is important to you, but idk if this even needs to be in the poem. it could be a poem about needing pills, taking pills, and needing/taking pills, rather than the side effects... again, punctuation throughout this poem would be helpful. otherwise i have to reread it to figure out what word goes with which. once i do, i reeeeeeeaallly love the way it's written for rhythm and tone. and those lines!!!! dude!!!!! "believe because it is mandatory" DAMN and the last two! gaaah! finally, i like the lack of question mark, bc these kinds of questions are rhetorical, more of a statement, and i like it that way. so i guess my punctuation comment does not include everything. babe. this is haunting and beautifully written. seriously, i feel it in my chest. thank you for this. xxx
  16. gutters

    my little sister collected pennies, she picked them off the concrete and wiped them copper clean. she put them in her pockets. she hoped they were lucky. i collect memories from the dirt-dust corners and from all the days i swept under the carpets. i collect you in the places you touched me red; i collect the blood rush blush, the bitten skin, the flood and the float. i collect the shade of your eyes in dim afternoon light, the tune of your hands along this body and mind. i hold it all in rib bone shelves. they rattle when i walk too fast into something new, when i stand in the kitchen with darkened window glass staring at the image of god they say resides in my body and there is no mourning for me, because i know no sense of rest- me and my sleepless eyes, awake at four a.m. with shaking manic hands: soft mango in the right, knife sharpened in the other, and i stare at this god mirror girl in the night window and i breathe aching, craving blood and i do not make gutters out of these wrists. note, ye so this is something i've been sitting on for months and i don't like it v much, but i keep it bc of the last lines. haha. of course. *sigh* and yes, i always love critiques.
  17. hush, boy

    damn. the clause "he's yelling back" is powerful. and the med threats... like hard candy in red... and the last line... damn. yeah.
  18. The lights are on again

    There are lights on in the house next door. The glowing yellow window-eyes Shine forlorn and hazy through the evening fog. It’s been a long time Since those lights shone through the dark, And it’s been night for a small forever. The lights are full of memory, Beacons that speak of laughter, Childhood cartoons, Blue and orange play-dough. I still look out for them, even though They aren’t on much anymore. The light isn’t warm either, it’s too distant To be anything but stained-glass And unreachable. My mother says it’s not my fault, (The ghost stories) That they didn’t leave because of me. (The wild one) The doors are locked for another reason, But I can’t help wondering (Hoarse from yelling, cursing the world) Whether it would’ve been different If I had grown up normal. Could I still go back to the windows? Lay my palm flat against the clear glass And look in at past playtimes and exploration Through the orderly little neighborhood? Or would the lights turn off, blink out, Like they usually do, Leaving me in the empty winter street And the frigid, soul numbing air, Wishing I hadn’t grown up a freak? But it’s too late now. The lights are just on tonight While I’m trapped inside this box of a bedroom, Staring at them like they’re lighthouse gleams From an island far away. I think I’ll stay back here and remember them, Waiting as time takes their glow little by little. At least they won’t fade from my mind.
  19. hush, boy

    theyre screaming, actually hollering at my brother, tears and throat scratch & he's yelling back, yelling threat and fight and raw defiance in face of parental intervention & he's shouted his last, gone away sulk-shouldered they talk about him in moderate, father mild, chalked to teen age evens out mother wild, voice still raised and rolling med threats like hard candy in red, finality-caked mouth & there are some things kids don't get to choose
  20. Land of the Lost

    Confused and weary You stumble from my heart Into my home Of broken things And missplaced love ones They call it the Land of the Lost Don't be afraid my dear You'll like it here My branches will protect you My roots will ground you So that you may flourish in this place I guard Here You will be happy Welcome to The Land of the Lost Home of the free
  21. Characters!

    ME but i took four years sdkgjlsdfjs and i still dont understand despacito im crying all ur characters are so relatable i lvoe them so much
  22. Characters!

    Okay so I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year but these are some characters I made: Cecil, too old to be named Cecil. The sweetest juggling, pop-music-loving, facial-hairless rich-kid-grown-up you’ll ever meet. Wants to travel, but is too afraid of foreigners hating him for the sins of his home country. Tries really hard when it isn’t needed, but the second someone asks he gets really lazy. Cried when he realized that after two and a half years of studying Spanish he could only understand half of the lyrics to “Despacito.” Jack, hardcore musical theater nerd. Spent hours trying to get Hamilton tickets, but failed. Learning ASL for his brother’s girlfriend’s kid from a previous marriage. The kid just wants LEGOs. Borderline workaholic, despite only taking two Poli-Sci classes this semester and working nights at Safeway. His optimism consistently clashes with both the course material and the people who shop at Safeway past 10pm. Marianne, low threshold for decision fatigue. Can’t remember who she voted for in the last local elections. Has stopped trying at all. Uses “mm-hmm” for yes and “mm-m” for no so she has more plausible deniability. Gets bored when a song lasts for more than two minutes. Might be depressed, if the problem were her and not the entire friggin world. Only seventeen, but hates anyone below twenty-five as a general rule. sam way too edgy doesnt believe in punctuation no one gets him tries to connect everything to marxism but says humans dont deserve justice so maybe this is fine hates being asked to show his work overuses the term cultural appropriation has good grades for some reason Orion, Jack’s sort-of half nephew. LEGO fanatic. Only has one friend, and she lives in the same town as his dad. Refuses to wear jeans or any pants that aren’t sweatpants. Once asked if there was Tinder but for friendships and his teacher sent him to the school counselor’s office, so now he’s part of a “Lunch Buddy Group” every Monday. Always does the extra credit work before his actual homework but sometimes forgets to do the second part. Orion’s LEGOs, trying to be an important metaphor but always missing the point. ***** All of them make me sad, though.
  23. Yesterday
  24. mental tripwires

    I was summoned! (cackles maniacally) Alright, let's see what we've got. This is a really good line. I would honestly suggest cutting the rest of your first stanza and opening with this, possibly with a line break after "prophetic". I think that this could be compressed into or something similar. Mentioning hands, fingertips, and fingers feels a little redundant. Also, I am all for cutting out excess words and compressing things as much as possible. I feel like in poetry, we have a small word quota, and it's important to use each and every word deliberately. (This is probably a stylistic me thing, though.) Maybe change to "the lines you say aloud are tripping over reality"? I'm not sure if this example is necessary to make your point. (I think that statements without elaboration are more the style that this poem is headed for, but again, possibly a me thing.) I'd suggest changing this section to "the lines get crossed / (it was only a dream) / you will never know". I think introducing the idea of sparring/similar imagery earlier in the poem might make this line more effective. (I love the word "sparring", because it sounds almost like "sparing", which is completely different but almost the same.) This could be changed simply to "I will not trip / for then I might fall", which could loop back either to sparring or to the idea of trip-lines/wires. Finally: this sounds like a hellishly complicated social/mental situation... I hope that clarifies for you. (I probably ought to offer advice, because I'm an older Slammer with life experience and all that, but I'm also a socially awkward human, so I may not be your best bet. :P) And per usual, let me know if you have any questions about my feedback. Also, if you want to post a revised version of the poem here, I am down to read and critique that too. :)
  25. ...so apparently I have a friend now?

    1. woundedBirds


      chug a five-hour energy and meet me in a fred meyer parking lot to duel in the Shadow Zone

    2. queenie_flower



      wait i gotta ask my mom

  26. a week

    In retrospect, I completely agree with you. This is something I could say differently and something I'll definitely revise. Hit the nail on the head, there. The repetitions/handfuls line refers to handfuls of pills - mostly psychotropic, but also for migraines and the like. Possibly might change that to "repetitions and handfuls of", if it's too confusing. (I mean, some confusion is good, but I like people actually being able to get things out of my poems.) Yup, and a commentary on how some medications (usually psychotropic ones) can sometimes have paradoxical effects, in that they produce a reaction that is the opposite thing of what you would want to happen. As in, an anti-anxiety drug making you more anxious or a mood stabilizer making one's mood less stable. As a rule, I don't use question marks in my poetry, and I don't really like my poems to feel as though they've ended. I like it when an unsettled, uncomfortable, unfinished feeling sticks with my readers. Thank you so much for your critiques and feedback! Fact: you do not suck at critiquing, because (a) good critiques are a skill that everyone is constantly learning and (b) all feedback and reactions are legitimate. Final note: I am honestly surprised you got as much out of my semi-cryptic poetry as you did. I am the deity of obfuscation.
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