poetry critical

online poetry workshop

something deconstructed

my hands keep wanting to open,
to rove bloody over a landscape
i might never write.
against something deconstructed,
he curls.
softest juniper,
you must know.
i taste everything new in your mouth.
i become more than my parts.
you. there was parting.
i'd call you moon-terrace,
bone marrow;
i would sing you winter.
only hallow this.
do not pull grace from behind my ear
and tell me what kind of love i deserve.
love. call us crystal,
made for breaking.

15 Dec 11

Rated 10 (8.5) by 3 users.
Active (3): 10
Inactive (10): 3, 4, 6, 8, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(21 more poems by this author)

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 — unknown

quite beautiful indeed

it seems to ripen on subsequent readings
 — professir

very nice.  no nits or crits.
 — JKWeb


going to suggest something possibly annoying. but still, wanted a bit tighter:

begin right in on line 4
then end on 'deserve'

then rearrange last couplet into title without giving it . . .  away

thanks you!!
 — funes

the language invents an echo of a song that laments yet holds holy without doubt, aching us on to figure it out
 — AlchemiA

Exquisite.  4-5 and 14-16 in particular.
 — sybarite

author, you remind me of a falling leaf and not a fallen leaf.
your writing is so graceful. it is lyrical choreography.
 — lysandre

Stunningly beautiful!  Applause!  :-)
 — starr

the frisson of dualities friction, sparks the sublime from time to time ... Octavio Paz testifies: “Love is a wound, an injury…Yes, love is a flower of blood.” -- The goal is Love! The goal has always been Love, however derived, denatured or deconstructed we make it. -- "Unless you love someone, nothing else makes any sense." -- ee cummings...
 — AlchemiA

beautiful, i really feel this enthusiastic dedication
 — useine

when i first read this i thought' oooh how ethereal and pretty!"  but that is because i didn't really read it as a poem, i just swept up by the candy that was tossed along the path.

so i read it again, and again, and yes, there are some beautiful areas in this poem, such as 'i taste everything new in your mouth' and 'i would sing you winter' i mean, they are kind of thick and sappy,  but the mouth thing was refreshing. it would be neat to know how you sing winter, if snowflakes fly from the tongue or if the notes tastes like peppermint...i don't know.

i find the words pretty but it feels like something from the online translator, or it could be my failed reading attempt at some highly economical writing.
at any rate, i don't feel a sense of depth or honesty, some things don't seem intentional or realized.  

line 4, choppy start to a line
and line 5, she curls.  i am avidly opposed to this reversed tense thing.  someone said it better but i forget what you call it.  that kills a poem for me.

softest juniper?  what's soft about it,  the plant is pokey with needles. are you referring to the spice?  and why juniper?  why not dandelion or rosehips? it would make no difference what you put here because there is no reference to it.  where are the aromatics? the gin, the bonsai...where's DONOVAN?  hehe just kidding about that last part, but seriously if you're going to throw juniper out there then i would hope you'd give this beautiful and poetic species some stage time.  

moon-terrace and bone marrow sound nice together but really, it does nothing to tell me about you or this poem, or what is deconstructed.  nobody calls anybody these things, please explain why this is important conceptually.

lines 15 and 16 finally have some direction, some tone and clarity.  i like the command of your voice here and it gives the reader something to relate to, at least it sounds human and honest.

you end this fine enough, crystal, breaking, love...kind of gimmicky/cliche in the sense that love is related to glasswork, yet again, but it's ok.  i would think to try to bring something you already mentioned in the poem to end it, there seems to be too many 'things' going on here that have no relation to each other.  it's not tied together enough for me, i like my stuffed pig to be tight.

thanks for sharing, merry christmas.
 — jenakajoffer

i just had a look at the comments and i have to agree with funie and suggest the end with L16: deserve.

also line 1, the start to your masterpiece, is weak.  your hands don't have a mind of their own, even though we humans love to blame our body parts for having such minds and roaming where they shouldn't go.  'keep wanting' is not good phrasing no matter where you put it.  i'm sure you can edit this line to become something more tasteful and sophisticated.  even 'i want to open my hands' would be far more concious and honourable.

line 3 is confusing information.  what are you writing and what are you not writing? is this poem about writing?  i'm digging myself into a hole with this, i am liking this poem less and less the more i read it, but surely i must suck as a reader because i am clearly the only one who finds this poem problematic.
 — jenakajoffer

this poem has some interesting qualities, which sound very nice, but overall it comes across as a tad vague.

oftentimes, poetry that succeeds in reaching the reader (me) on a deeper level is deft in what it doesn't say. the reader does not get led to water and have their head forcefully pushed down to drink, we are simply shown the way, and allowed to find the emotions ourselves.

in some ways, this poem is strong in that regard, such as the opening lines 1-3, lines 8 and 9, and 15/16 and 17/18. these are the images/ideas that have just enough flesh to give me a sense of what the poem wants me to feel, but do not slam me over the head by being blatant.

the poem falters, for me, in a few different places, by being far too vague. in these areas the poem has blindfolded me and kicked me off the camel in the middle of the desert in a sandstorm, and told me 'go find the water yourself; you have feet, don't you?'

4-5 bothered me, after reading the piece, because 'she' only seems to make this single appearance. the first person perspective in the rest of the poem speaks directly to "you", so this other player in the drama really never registers. also, "she curls" "against something deconstructed"? am i reading this correctly? i suppose it is my own problem that i have difficulty registering the image of some very vague "she" being able to "curl" (i want to stop myself from thinking about stones sliding on ice, or hot irons and hair), let alone curl "against" something.

in 6/7, i have to assume that the poem is written with skill and intent. therefore, i take these 2 lines as being inverted, as with the immediately preceding 4/5, and "softest juniper" becomes the subject "you" of the poem. odd.

line 10 i might suggest either adding more context, or deleting "you." it just reads stunted, to me.

11-13 is lovely verbiage, no doubt, but comes across as over-affected fluff. "bone marrow" as opposed to "hair marrow", "skin marrow"? and what exactly would a "moon-terrace" be? i actually like these 3 lines, as their ambiguity is leading me just enough to allow me to find the image on my own. however, i suggest finding something stringer than "bone".

the imperative of 14 is a fine example of me being blindfolded in the desert. "this" is neither clear, nor even supposedly alluded to. only hallow what, now?

the end is a nice wrap, but i felt that it ultimately comes across slightly weak, when the title and line 4 are considered. i suppose "deconstructed" could be relative to "breaking", but in the context of crystal breaking, i think the 'picking apart piece by piece' connotation of "deconstructed" does not fit. doesn't sound like the chaotic shattering that "crystal... breaking" brings to mind.  
 — unknown

This is my take on this poem and why I am puzzled by some of the lengthy comments:

First line, beautiful and a clear indication of a desire to receive, to welcome, to embrace, second line, to allow all to fall on the landscape, as recipient, a landscape (person) the speaker/narrator may never actually touch.

Second stanza, 'deconstructed' is a psychological term for something analyzed, via a process of taking it apart--she leans or withdraws or relies on something that is not really whole, but her own understanding of a whole, which I deduct is the narrator.  
"softest juniper" is the most beautiful phrase in the poem, to me, and I had to look up.  I did start with the trees and shrubs, but was pleasantly surprised to find yet another definition-- a new name for the color of a paint-- a light, fresh green color.  This is the most unique and creative way for a name of endearment!  Followed but such imperative, yet, a plea, to know that all the narrator tastes from her mouth is fresh, new.  (There is no doubt of what this means).  And, here, a reference to "deconstructed" as the narrator mentions "i become more than my parts."  The narrator, sadly sees how 'she' is leaning on separate aspects of the narrator's parts, and here, the narrator lets her know, that, thanks to what he tastes fresh from her mouth, he rises above his parts--those parts she deconstructed--in other words, plea to look at the whole, the macro, not the micro separate parts of who he is.

A sad note, an apart, perhaps the reason why the narrator cannot open his hands. "there was departing."  It is finished.  To him, it is finished.
"moon-terrace" -- just gorgeous!  "bone marrow" is life, blood, essence.  And there is an actual song called "winter" I believe, but, if not, all the more beautiful.  A sad contradiction of all he would do, while he will not, cannot bring himself to open his hands, for, to him, it is a done deal.  
"only hallow this"  honor this, and then those two lines I think everyone likes, and, yet another contradiction, for he asks questions that she cannot answer, since he is not opening up to receive.  Does it imply he is not deserving?  What is she pulling from behind his ears?  What he tastes from her mouth?  
The most pessimistic ending, but not an uncommon view of love, at large, and, indeed, a fragile thing it is.  And in this case, it is evident that something besides the narrator was deconstructed-- love itself.  

Very beautiful and sad poem!  One of, if not the most beautiful I have read in a long time!  It prompted me to join just to be able to comment.
 — unknown

I do not know how to edit, to add--  the part where the narrator says he rises above his parts-- he credits her with this!  It is a sublime poem, from any angle one really cares to see it.  --
 — noia

that's a great review, noia, but what puzzles me is that one could be puzzled by my review. i thought i was quite direct and detailed in my account of how the piece worked/didn't work for me.  regardless whether one agrees with me or no.

 — unknown

^unk, nola didn't give that review (it was another Unknown just above nola's comment)

And if I may, this:

"oftentimes, poetry that succeeds in reaching the reader (me) on a deeper level is deft in what it doesn't say. the reader does not get led to water and have their head forcefully pushed down to drink, we are simply shown the way, and allowed to find the emotions ourselves."

I am not here to discuss who is correct in their review - poetry is subjective and all discussion is guidance and educational - but I simply wanted to rehash that quote. There is a lot of truth in it and it is beautifully written.

As far as my review?

The title is captivating, it makes me want to uncover the mysteries within.

L2 I don't like the word choice "rove." It's just my opinion, however it seems so harsh, that nasty V. Perhaps harshness is what you were going for.

I don't find issue with L4-5

L10 is interesting and reads very well.
L11-12 plays nice but seems useless (nonsensical).
L13 is a phenomenally beautiful image, no matter how abstract. Really great work with this line.

L15-16 is also great writing. I initially read this piece days ago and L15-16 stuck with me.

L17-18 is bittersweet in a strange way. It is a beautiful image and completely heartbreaking at the same time. Well done.

Overall, though? Would I implicate myself as simpleminded if I said that I don't get it? There are powerful phrases here and you should consider yourself lucky to have those at your disposal. I would love to see you open up a little more though, let us all in (as readers) to see what you are talking about. I struggle with a lot of the same issues in some of my writing. I attempt to describe emotions which come across as veiled, vague. At best, it has great language and reads well - it is also mysterious and interesting/ a puzzle. At worst, it's purpose is unclear.

Hopefully you can take something away from my suggestions. I do like the poem and am rating it an 8. I simply gave you my thoughts so you would have a new perspective on your work. Keep it up :)
 — professir

it's just really nice to see this poem getting so many indepth and varied critiques.  bravo, author. :)
 — jenakajoffer

ultimately a poem is a personal song sung from a pre-language longing that analysis can never plumb -- deep calls to deep -- that you've echoed a small voice of longing in a plaint made in your own image that'll fractal beautiful tessellations in our brains is the Artfullness here -- that you've tricked our brains in these twisty-words to remember to just feel again is the humanness which is divine ... many will not be able to see this, as the same part of the brain is used either to judge or to observe, but cannot do both at the same time... the whole is greater than it's parts as the parts cannot hold succour to the feeling...
 — AlchemiA

oh my!!! I feel it
 — unknown

thanks for confirming my daftness, alch, but i stick to my guns; if i don't feel it, i don't get it.  if there are inside references, well, how the hell am i supposed to understand?  
this is not a universal poem, which is fine, but i'd like to see my sister or even my friends read this and try to come away with something relative. they like reading poetry sometimes but they probably won't get it either.  it's a bit too cryptic for me i guess.  i'm glad some of you are able to communicate why you like it though, it's a good way to flip the meat and see the other side, even if i don't taste it.  see, this sort of poem reminds me a lot of aurelius, but he would write type of poem in such a way that pretty much anyone would go away with a hit to the guts.  

and besides, i believe poetry isn't always just for poets.  
so, maybe this poem is for the poets.
 — jenakajoffer

no proclamation of judgement here, jenk, merely observing what it does for me ...
 — AlchemiA

Don't worry about it, Jen, Alc has been spouting this nonsense for years; it's rubbish without merit, or substance, and serves only to suckle the nuts in the most sycophantic of ways.

to wit:

"ultimately a poem is a personal song sung from a pre-language longing that analysis can never plumb"

What a flat of tripe.
"a personal song"? As soon as a piece becomes published/shared with a group (especially in a workshop setting), it stops being personal, and becomes completely public, to be read, rated, enjoyed, disliked, critiqued, or tossed into the boiler-hearth as the reader deems fit.
"pre-language longing"? What, the poem comes from the grunting days of knuckle-dragging yearning? Some kind of primal animalistic non-sentience-driven base yearning? Sod off, ye block-o! Nonsense.
"analysis can never plumb" Oh really? Is that a fact, now? Analysis most certainly can, and does indeed plumb most everything ever created in the world of 'art', 'communication', and 'linguistics'. One of man's main functions as a sentient being is to "plumb", to "analyze" things, and figure them out. This does not at all render those that tend toward these things un-feeling, or unaware of a deeper beauty. It could ultimately be argued that those who "plumb" and "analyze" find the beauty, and feel the art more instantly upon recognition thereof, due to a keener sense of judgement, and awareness of pattern.

"that you've tricked our brains in these twisty-words to remember to just feel again is the humanness which is divine"

More utter nonsense. "tricked our brains" immediately calls to mind the snake-oil salesman; are you all bleating sheep, tricked? "twisty-words" Oh dear. This is "deep to deep" indeed. Please, if you want to be taken seriously, you might want to start by taking the lolly out of your mouth first. "to remember to just feel again"? Ummm, okay? I didn't realize that there was some great issue, en masse, of poetry-readers/reviewers having forgotten to "feel", but I suppose we can take you at your word. [/sarcasm] "the humanness which is divine" Do I really need to point out how ludicrous this is?

It's fine to enjoy something you like. It's fine to not even know why you like it. But, and here is the kicker, this is a "Workshop"; there are going to be disagreements on a great deal of things. To spout off nonsense, in this manner however, and expect to pull the wool over the eyes of those who have obviously demonstrated they are not part of the bleating flock, is folly.

Your review/critique/retort/whatever nonsense, is a complete waft of empty air.
 — unknown

^^^yes, but are you sure? you sound stand-offishly conflicted about your vapid-equivocations. Indeed, there has never been a statue erected for a critic... beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the critic rejects it as merely a subjective waft of air, while the lover looks and dares to see this sentimental-realty by moving through wonder into awe. as his eyes glitter with the beauty that he saw... some-mor dumbing-down rant again and again
 — AlchemiA

i know you weren't passing judgement, alch, just thought that was funny. :)
 — jenakajoffer

What has been  deconstructed ? A clever title, owes the poem in itself to be just as clever or telling
 — unknown

woahh, comments. thank you everyone for the thoughtful reads!
jenna: i found this poem problematic, too. hence, the post to pc. thank you so much for your honesty! it's going to help me out, promise.

professir: thanks for reading! i'll take your crit into consideration.

and the second unk. oh, you angel. your defense of this poem is flattering! maybe i love you a little bit.
 — _fallenleaf

I like "rove", it makes me think of exploring Mars.
 — unknown

So now you disclaim me?
 — unknown


This is still one of the most beautiful poems I have read online.
 — noia

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 — dongbei