I would appreciate all suggestions for improvement...
More Than A Metaphor -------------------------------------------
Simmering in soliloquies
Denying the tangles
Just please, please, please
to pace away madness
Wall paint pantones include a shade
Only seen by those cornered Clinging to hope Marred by a verdict Yearning for last week Kissing intra venous marks
left on tiny arms
not yet able to hold on
and I not able to hold on for them
stumble through out-dated pages
of ‘Mother and Baby’
trying to shut out
stifling, scorching words
trying to fast forward clock hands
move from surgery to recovery
I knew there would be
a hole in my heart
should this little life leave
Words carry with them an inherant emotion which creates natural pauses, tone, and cadence, but should a writer, the creator, control every single aspect to a T? Punctuation has been up and down forever with me, it's usually punctuated how I hear it. Point being, do you think it's necessary to punctuate or let the words punctuate themselves? Your piece is beautifully intelligent balanced with intensely depressing emotion. Without punctuation it madly races through the moment, like I would imagine a mind to do in that situation, but is it a narrative of the moment, or a reflection, more controlled and contemplative? Amazing poem either way.
there are many things about this poem that seem to grow as you read it. i have read it a few times now. this is something i do most of the time, should the poem warrant it.
i can only really deal in likes and suggestions at the moment. i am being good. and careful. i dont want to upset the apple cart. i dont want to cause any harm. i dont want to wake the neighbours.
so the first thing that i like, or more importantly what i think works, is what you do not tell us. if my understanding is right, and it is not as if you are being elusive because i do not see this, you are speaking of an illness/disease. this is how it reads at first. this could be terminal; there are hints of this but nothing concrete, at least not on first read. this could be about the loss of a child at birth, using the reference to the baby magazines. and then you spell out vsd, and thus this becomes relevant. this also brings a whole new meaning and perhaps unfolds the metaphor of 'hole in the heart.' and then we can tie in the baby and the disease and the lines that link the things together. i think that this starts to unfold quite an intricate piece, and i like that i am allowed to discover these things for myself. conceptually, and i seem to say this in every comment, but concept really is so important in my opinion, your poem works for me. the dropping d o w n of the ventricular septal defect read like they would be heard. like the three most important words of your life. like everything else just stops. like the worst three words of your life. i do not know how serious this disease can be, i am afraid i am slightly ignorant on this subject, but this is how you portray it, which makes me feel like this is terminal. it also works as it is a break in your piece. if this were to relate to a real life situation then the before would be the waiting and the after would be the reaction. there are also some excellent lines in this piece: 'trying to fast forward clock hands move from surgery to recovery,' being the pick for me. and the direction of your piece is effective. it all seems to tie together towards the end and again as a concept the shortening of the stanzas works well for how the news would be received/is received. this reads to me as a personal experience. this is not to say that it is, but the fact that is does is generally a testament to the author. the title is effective and i think you have tied it in well. when you include the line of the title within the piece of writing you do have to take care where you put it, how you include it and how it looks back. and it seems that you have.
and now i wish i had done it the other way around and included the suggestions first. but i am ar-se about face anyway. keith picked up on a pertinent point in my opinion. the 'i,' word. the piece is like sitting in a waiting room to hear if your loved one is dead. in this situation as i would understand it, there are many things you would not say and some things you would say. i think this is the same for your piece. the whole piece restrains from being from a direct personal perspective, and thus seems more solemn and makes the reader feel like it really could be them. i think the timing of the word 'i,' in your piece is out and a slight distraction, and could be easily remedied should you wish. your capitalisation and lack of is random. and this is a serious [ok, perhaps not so serious] undermining of all the care and attention and respect and timing of your work here. the basics have to be done right in my opinion. it is like a wake without plastic flowers: it might not seem like the most important thing but is noticeable when not there or when not done correctly, in my opinion. i think your first stanza is a bit lost within itself. it seems to stutter start and the words seems to be slightly marred by some confusion in where you are actually going to take us in your poem. part of this is to do with the first four of the five lines being capitalised, and part with the construction of the lines. for example, do you mean: 'Simmering in soliloquies. Denying the tangles, The facts: Long-winded, monosyllabic obsessive-compulsive prayers.' or do you mean: 'Simmering in soliloquies, denying the tangles. The facts: Long-winded, monosyllabic obsessive-compulsive prayers.' or do you mean: 'Simmering in soliloquies and denying the tangles. The facts are Long-winded, monosyllabic, obsessive-compulsive prayers.' or a mix of the three somewhere in there? i think if you cleared this up there would be less potential for ambiguity, because after two or three reads i can not really see how the other commentators think that this is unclear, because it really is not, and i think these details must have something to do with it. i think that your link between cymk and the disease is a little tenuous. there must be significant importance in the colour to highlight it, but i think that this is unclear. what exactly is the link between the two? am i missing something. i think this is so important because highlighting this in your piece is a huge move, because it is not respectful of the rest of your poem. it is this that makes me dislike it, it is like bit-ching about a dead person at their funeral to their family. if you told us what relevance it has to the piece: is it to do with a monitor that was used to diagnose? i am clutching here because it is clear what cymk is to me but not how it is relevant to vsd. you have to remember that most of us to not have specific knowledge of these kind of things, so we are relying heavily on you. i would say that in the following lines: 'stumble through out-dated pages of ‘Mother and Baby’ and ‘Parents’ and ‘Newborn’ you only need lines one and two. after line two you have made your point, and you have done so in a shrewd and effective way, so i would say you do not need to draw it out. details are very important in poetry, as you seem to understand, but too many is too much i think.
and so lets go back to the likes: i like the way you finish your piece. you definitely tie the piece in just enough, and you drown it out to echo sentiments of pain/loss/distance, and your last line rings like a bell and sends away thinking about the whole piece you have written, which is exactly how it should be.
I like this poem a great deal. It's very realistic and I know a bit about the subject. When my youngest son was 11 months old, he needed emergency head surgery to release the pressure caused by a hematoma. While we really were only in fear for his life for a few hours, I think I can identify a bit with the subject of your poem. The thought of losing a child is simply terrifying.
I happen to work in the printing industry, so I understand the CMYK reference, although I'm sure many people won't. Nonetheless, it really works for me and maybe I can explain why. When Micah was in the hospital, everything in the world was confusing. Doctors are telling us things we don't really understand. Social workers and counselors flirt about the periphery trying to help. People want insurance information. Everybody wants to know exactly how we came to be here, over and over and over. In the middle of entire thing is a baby, scared, hurting, alternating between screams and troubled, fitful sleep.
In that environment, I found I looked for something somewhere that I understood. Since, I'm a computer tech, I noticed the computers. That screensaver is ugly. That monitor is blurry as hell, she needs a new one. Oh look her computer is running Linux. Any little escape to not think about my son dying on that operating table.
Therefor, I guess (how did this get so long), I can see our heroine thinking about color. Perhaps she's a painter, maybe a printer. In any event, she deals with color every day and in a moment like this, her mind looks for sanity.
Hey, I loved this. I've read a bit of your stuff,and it's great, but this one gave me chills! You certainly have a way with words. I think these were my favorite words: "Clinging to hope Marred by a verdict Yearning for last week" so few words, yet very moving and so true! I absolutely loved the way the first staza's talk of monosyllabic prayers led into the second stanza's "please,please,please." that was brilliant! the more I read it the more I like it. it's great work! ...that's a gigantic understatement. annie
this is the most saddest poem I have ever read! I am crying. your way with description of outer (devastating occurance) and inner suffering is more than I can bear! ah! I can say no more.. perhaps another poem.
Yes, I found the whole CMYK thing distracting, and being a Photoshop kinda guy, I coulda done without the description, but many would have had trouble with it. And see, that's the trouble with something like this. There's a powerful message here, and that bit of cleverness detracts from the impact of an otherwise exceptional poem. I don't want to harp on the matter because I feel certain those below will have made similar remarks. I just have trouble connecting the relevance of technical illustrator's terminology to the overall subject matter. If it is meant to imply observation as though looking at photographs, I'm still finding it at odds with the rest of the poem. And I'm not sure how to fix it or what to suggest . . . barring editing out the entire stanza in favor of something else.
Perhaps I've failed you in this comment. I dunno. I love your work and this poem IS good, it's just such a delicate and emotionally-charged topic, I feel it deserves more attention and a clearer, unambiguous focus.
Rare to ever hear me say that, but true from my point of view.
As long as this is not your personal experience, I agree that it should be written as though you are a narrator. It would not be so difficult to change that perspective long enough to feel your own pain for the child (along the same veins). And even to take the role of poet who uses the idea of metaphor, to describe the defective heart. Sometimes the short lines seem overdone, I fall through them faster. The way a poem looks on the page is how it's read. Mostly, this is great work, thanks!
hanuman is right, there is an element of encryption in this that could be interpreted in one of two ways: you are v bright and want to impress or you are building subliminal walls around something that hurts to explain. whatever. the poem suffers as a consequence. because your readership will bounce from the description to the poem and back again. and that is a shame because the subject is an incredibly emotive and resonant one. you are v able at pacing a write with good use of vocab, spacing and punctuation and this reads like a cab ride to bad news. as it should. because it is. and this is one that should not contain the i word. in my opinion. take it easy. K
Ouh! What latinate phrases in that first stanza. Ouh, ouh, ouh. sings "Joy to the World". Hm. You know, although i'm loath to admit any merit in assaults against Cicero's own, mb Hanuman is right: what if you did scratch that first stanza. Wd it be a loss? Wd it hurt like a b***?! No pain no fun/gain, as my idol (not really) Iggy Pop once said.
I kindof dig the media res (ouuuuuuuuh latin) intro with that second stanza. It barks wouf: a very satisfactory wouf after eatin a scrumptious Holistic Blend for breakfast, which even Anubis wd have killed for.
Then again admittedly the poem is an eclectic smorgasbord of styles, but fascinatingly enough you wrap them up in one package with one beautiful tonal ribbon of anxious apprehension.
You are truly the Cleopatra of beautiful closures. No wonder Caesar was diagnosed with maldita amorae (not sure about that one). Well done Your word are scorching, though not stifling, this is truly a hearTy baby you should be proud of. :) Peace Raz
You draw a red herring (or should it be a CMYK or RGB herring across your poem). It is actually about the heart defect of a baby, so write about that. The Dulux pantone colour chart doesn't work and is downright misleading and your Heavytype CMYK idea would be lost on most people without your note and good poems don'e come with notes. If you remove all this colour stuff, you are left with a very fine poem on a touching subject. Your first stanza is somewhat at odds with the rest, almost as if you aren't really into your own poem yet. I would tend to bring the language a bit more down to earth. "We sit silently across the breakfast table" sort of thing instead of "simmering soliloquies".
k. I knew you were good. I mean really, I look forward to reading your stuff because it is varied in content and style to some degree, from piece to piece, and always thoughtful. But this caught me off-guard.
This is very intelligent and clever. There is nothing, NOTHING even close to the fear we feel when something goes wrong with our babies, and you bring that fear to life.
Yearning for last week
this really struck me...longing for that more innocent time, when we were probably mired in concern over something so trivial now.
trying to fast forward clock hands move from ‘surgery’ to ‘recovery’
again, this need to control time, as if this would somehow fix or eliminate the problem.
the CMYK thing was clever and well positioned. It didn't feel forced at all... Just the sound of "more than a metaphor" is pleasing to read, and it fits so well within the poem and is enticing as a title.
Now, let me put my useless two cents in (and let me preface this by saying that my suggestions are purely subjective)-
ventricular septal defect
I like how you used single-word lines for this as it adds dramatic effect, but I think it would be even more dramatic if you skipped a line between each word. It is the revelation in your poem, and had it not been for your description it would have caught me completely by surprise and any dramatic effect you put in here would add to the ...horror of this discovery (a good reason to take it out of the description as well)
I don't think the quotations are necessary on ‘surgery’ to ‘recovery’. If you feel it must be highlighted in some way I think italics would be less unattractive. Personally I think the words stand well on their own.
The only other thing is, and again, this is to drag every ounce of emotion possible out of the reader, I think it would be more effective if the poem was written in the first person. You do an excellent job of expressing the feelings of desperation throughout, but I just think it would be more powerful if they were your feelings and not you describing someone else's.
On a third read I'm thinking italics might be better on the please please please part too.
Part of me wants the lines to be longer...to drag out the emotion, but there are two things driving this piece - the emotion and the drama - and the shorter lines do make it more dramatic. The content is emotional enough on its own, so I think you made a good decision on the line lengths.
Again, all suggestions are purely personal preference and very subjective and there is nothing technically wrong with any of your choices. The ending is very effective, using the metaphor to bring us back to that feeling your subject must have felt when she first heard the news. Frightening for anyone, but especially a parent, and again, so much more effective in my eyes if it's coming directly from you, someone I know, instead of someone a friend of mine knows, know what I mean? (and fu ck elite and the demand that you don't use "I" in your poem)
Excellent use of your imagination and your ability to feel and so well executed from top to bottom.
For lack of the proper words to describe how I feel, I'll just say I'm damn proud of you.
you blew me away with this incredible piece! the fact that you write this not out of personal experience, is itself a huge view into your heart AND creativity!
i think the timing and pace of this was right on target. you walk us through the minds of the parents as if we are sitting in the waiting room overhearing this diagnosis, and watching the parents face display ALL of these things at once!
you never cease to amaze me...wonderful tribute to those parents, that shows you may not walk in their shoes, but you sympathize with their plight!
beautiful in a really sad way...i love babies so much i quite possibly scare my bf and/or mother. And for a few family reasons this really touched me. "you knew there would be a hole in your heart should this little life leave " great because it sounds interesting with all of the lovely alliteration. im not sure there is something about the last line. perhaps its the lack of full stop therefore we're left hanging, which is probably intensionsl or perhaps i'd space it like this:
until it became diagnosis
yawn i always do that. tisk, any how maybe not...thanks for sharing this is really well written (perhaps the paint is a referance to the painting of a nursery? ah ha...now i get it..) Hope you are having a nice day down there ellisa :) *swedish biscuit* - getting exotic
"you knew there would be a hole in your heart should this little life leave
but you never thought it was more than a metaphor until it became diagnosis"
Very powerful image, that can apply to any parents who are gonna lose a baby. But go figure some people live throug ventricular septal defect, there is someone I know who survived it, and he is a fully grown young man. So I think it is always good when there is hope.
All we see here though, is the hours of waiting all through the treatment. "fast forward clock hands" the prayers lasting all through the day. I think it covers it all. I've read poems of you before, and I can say this is not your best, nevertheless it is a good poem, that I am sure will appeal to a lot of people.
you have the right emotion there, pretty well described in small saccadic phrases, to express the impatience, the waiting, and maybe the denial and the why me questions.
I don't think it needs any alterations. You have a complete work there between imagery, form and feel.
WOW! Powerful stuff. This hits pretty close to home, so I hope I'm being fair. You've hit the nail on the proverbial head. You capture the tension, the waiting, the horrible anticpation, and the reality of a sick new-born. No one should have to go through this, but some do, and they are very courageous people. This poem is just about pefect. My only humble suggestion would be to change "Dulux pantones" to something more general. Beyond that I want only to say that I loved this poem. It is powerful and enlightening. Not exactly a light read, but d*** good poetry, It is moving and a bit scary, I'm sure" as intended. Well thats all I can say, except again, I loved it!
Wall paint pantones include a shade Only seen by those cornered
-loving this line- it gives a specified audience, almost
Moving mechanically through loss? I dunno, I've a phrase for things like this: "Don't be too deep, you might out dive someone." You've lost me by about 20 feet- lol.
As far as diction and structure, meter and subject go- you've an ace in the hole! Beautiful piece even if I lost the overall view of it; still, I promise, that takes nothing away from its piece as artistry alone.