poetry critical

online poetry workshop

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Welcome!

Welcome to Poetry Critical, an online poetry workshop. To post your own poetry you'll need to create a user id by typing a name and password in the box above and hitting 'New User'. If you just want to critique or jump into the discussion, however, you can go ahead and get started!

Random Poem:

the strength of a purple heart
tragicbubble

I was only nine when my grandfather left,
 1
so it should have been easy
 2
to place his memory in the backyard
 3
with the rabbits I never had.
 4
But blanket burials hardly ever work out
 5
the way they e supposed to. If you have that many bodies
 6
stashed in your closet, you’ve got bigger problems.
 7
 
 
The last time I went to mass with my family
 8
was for his wake. Even then
 9
religion tasted like a funeral urn,
 10
full of the burnt remains of a veteran soldier  
 11
scarred spirit coalesced with the dying
 12
scent of flesh that haunted him
 13
until his death.
 14
 
 
This was back in the days
 15
when my father eyes were concave
 16
as my mother blew SOS smoke rings
 17
across the church aisles to grab his attention
 18
and I watched it all( not-quite)
 19
unaffected but, see, you learn to walk
 20
circles around imperfection, early, when
 21
your bloodline is trapped within flesh
 22
car wreck-wrapped around the highway median.  
 23
 
 
And when I heard the news
 24
my stomach crashed like an elevator shaft
 25
with its cords cut, the car falling to the pit
 26
of my gut, bodies like butterflies
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tumbling out the open doors into my intestines
 28
to rocket into the folds of my esophagus
 29
when the wires snapped back and lodged in
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my throat--clustered like bombs dropped
 31
from an enemy  plane onto the deck of a navy boat
 32
(the walls of the ship wrapped around soldiers
 33
like aluminum foil over last nights leftovers:
 34
blood and oil seeping through the hot sharp corners
 35
into the South China Sea--along the coast
 36
of a country in a war
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he didn’t  believe in)
 38
that stopped me from speaking.
 39
 
 
As the family told stories in hushed tones
 40
of how he dragged the wounded bodies of his comrades
 41
through Vietcong waters to be awarded
 42
the Army’s  purple heart he tattooed on his wrist
 43
with about as much reverence as holocaust refugee  
 44
favorite lotto pick.
 45
 
 
By the afternoon of his wake, I hadn’t  eaten
 46
in days. I was too busy sifting through old journals of a man
 47
who had keloid scars spelling out words
 48
he never said but let ferment till they rotted
 49
away tissue on his lungs like edited scriptures
 50
scribbled on bible thin pages
 51
that changes the entire moral of the story.
 52
 
 
My stomach groaned like a church organ
 53
beneath the somber service.
 54
The preacher’s  voice was like the tip of a pistol
 55
held to a traitor’s  temple. His nervous fingers trembled
 56
Morse-code patterns against the trigger as I pressed
 57
my hands to my ears to stop the sound of ignorance
 58
hitting the ground, but it ran
 59
down my forearm, turned holy
 60
wine and leaked back into my blood-
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line as my grandmother sang along to hymns
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humming across the old stone floor numbing my feet
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with vibrations like gunfire aimed at
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innocents in with its blind unison.
 65
 
 
But I walked on through the waters of his history
 66
to the cemetery, still unsure if forgiveness was something
 67
you earned as you grew older. And I pressed
 68
fresh flowers to his grave, and prayed
 69
one day, I would never need his strength.
 70

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