Sharp Edges (Revision 5)

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Sharp Edges (Revision 5)

Post by Mirrorball » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:49 pm

I've got a revision 5 and a possible 3 line Stanza version of the same poem (thanks Not)

Sharp edges


She claims I saved her life, my words…
convinced her not to take it.
her son, born out of rape, was not enough
she’s laid on crumpled sheets,
a head rush to a wanted madness, there
is no cut, no scar, no release of me.
my finger traces up laddered ridges
on her inner thigh, invisible to all
but those who fucked her. bloodfall
she says, makes her feel in control
not forced, not used, unwanted,
not impregnated.


She glares outside, light blurs through streaked glass
smeared by tiny hands. It rained on our wedding day
it could be raining right now, she wouldn’t know:
water splashes over red knuckles, sizzles
third finger, precious metal in an acid bath.
she rubs, forgets I’m gone, she scrubs, over
and over, a vow drowned sink hiss.
to girls, it’s the white noise of her womb,
all they know. soft hands clutch coarse hands. her
skin cracked but not yet broken, not yet broken. not yet.
trapped, her figure, in fractured stained glass, hangs
fragile; unspilt of me.


?????????????????????????????????????????

Possible Version 5

Sharp edges


She claims I saved her life, my words…
convinced her not to take it.
Her son, born out of rape, was not enough

she’s laid on crumpled sheets,
a head rush to a wanted madness, there
is no cut, no scar, no release of me.

my finger traces up laddered ridges
on her inner thigh, invisible to all
but those who fucked her. bloodfall

she says, makes her feel in control
not forced, not used, unwanted,
not impregnated.


She glares outside, light blurs through streaked glass
smeared by tiny hands. It rained on our wedding day
it could be raining right now, she wouldn’t know:

water splashes over red knuckles, sizzles
third finger, precious metal in an acid bath.
she rubs, forgets I’m gone, she scrubs, over

and over, a vow drowned sink hiss again.
to girls, it’s the white noise of her womb,
all they know. soft hands clutch coarse hands. her

skin cracked but not yet broken, not yet broken. not yet.
trapped, her figure, in fractured stained glass, hangs
fragile; unspilt of me.


*****************************************************
Revision 4

Sharp Edges

She claims I saved her life, my words…
convinced her not to take it. Her son
born out of rape, was not enough
She’s laid on crumpled sheets,
a head rush to a wanted madness, there
is no cut, no scar, no release of me.
My finger traces up the ridged scars
on her inner thigh, invisible to all
but those who fucked her. the blood trickle,
she says, makes her feel in control
not forced, not used or left unwanted,
not impregnated.


She glares outside, light blurs through streaked glass
smeared by tiny hands. It rained on our wedding day
it could be raining right now, she wouldn’t know:
water splashes over red knuckles, heat sizzles
third finger, precious metal in an acid bath.
She rubs frantic, forgets I’m gone, she scrubs,
my vows drowned by sink hiss.
To our little girls, it’s the white noise of her womb,
all they know. soft hands clutch coarse hands. her
skin cracked but not yet broken, not yet broken. not yet.
trapped, her stained glass figure is cracked
fragile; unspilt of me.



*****************************************************
Revision 3

Sharp edges

Another love

My finger traces up exposed ladders on her inner thigh,
razor blade ridges, invisible to all but lovers and
those who fucked her for themselves,
she told me that the blood trickle makes her feel in control
not forced, not left unwanted, not impregnated.
She claims I saved her life, my words…
convinced her not to take it. Her young son
born out of rape, was not enough to stop her.
She’s laid on crumpled sheets, a head rush to a wanted madness
there’s no cut, no scar, no release of me.

A marrriage

She glares outside, the light blurs though streaked glass
smeared by tiny hands. It rained on our wedding day
it could be raining right now, she wouldn’t know:
hot water splashes over red knuckles, third finger sizzles
precious metal in an acid bath. She rubs frantic she forgets I’m gone,
my parting voice drowned by sink hiss and gulp.
To our little girls, it’s the white noise of her womb, it’s all they know.
soft hands clutch coarse hands. her skin
cracked but not yet broken, not yet broken. not yet. trapped
beyond the altar, stained glass is cracked fragile; unspilt of me.


*****************************************************

Version 2:

Unhealthy Obsessions

An Obsessive Affair

Exposed ladders on your inner thigh,
mark a storyline, a life,
bloodletting for lost love,
suicide attempts and rape.
Tracing my finger, you draw me in,
a head rush to a wanted madness
no cut, no scar. Nothing
new to release me from you.


A Compulsive Marriage


Far away, she glares outside
the light blurs though streaked glass
smeared by tiny hands.
Soft hands clutch coarse hands. her skin
cracked but not yet broken,
not yet broken. not yet. trapped.
like cracked glass fragile in a frame:
she holds, unspilt of me.




*****************************************************

Version 1:

A compulsive obsessive affair

You're my life, my blood
pulsing through my veins
reaching finger tips, toe tips.
you’re a touch, a swell, an infusion:
you rush my head to wanted madness.
I let you in, there’s no way out.
no cut, no scar. Nothing
can release me of you.


Far away, she glares outside
the light blurs though glass
smeared by tiny hands.
Soft hands clutch coarse hands. her skin
cracked but not yet broken,
not yet broken. not yet. trapped.
like cracked glass fragile in a frame:
she holds, unspilt of me.
Last edited by Mirrorball on Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:22 am, edited 8 times in total.

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Re: A compulsive obsessive affair

Post by Firebird » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:19 am

I think the second stanza is very good. Not sure though about the first: not keen on the first four lines. I know this is an extreme suggestion, but I might cut the first stanza and just let the second do its stuff alone. This will probably only be me though.

Interesting read and great final image.

Cheers,

Tristan

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Re: A compulsive obsessive affair

Post by Mirrorball » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:52 pm

Hi Tristan,

Your suggestions are much appreciated no matter how extreme or minor. I’m here to improve my writing after all. :)

Often, I see my poems as undeveloped ideas. It’s like writing comedy, if you have to explain the joke then that means you’re not very funny. Perhaps if I explain my intent of my poem then you or someone else could advise me on where I’m going wrong.

I agree that stanza one is a weak partner. I can’t cut it out because this poem is about two women. The first stanza is the other woman of an affair. The second stanza switches to the third person and is about the narrator’s wife, who suffers from OCD and the narrator feels trapped in a conflicted relationship situation just as his wife is trapped in the repetitive cycles of her disorder.

Affairs usually follow a stereotypical pattern, hence the ‘you’re my blood’ type metaphor, which many poets would see as cliché. On the other hand, what’s not coming across as I would like in this poem is that the other woman has a history of self-harm and acute hypersexuality (cuts ,scars, bodily fluids). I have other poems that pair with this poem. One poem in particular would need to be posted with a graphic self-harm and sexually explicit imagery type warning. I don’t want to make waves on here as a meagre newbie. Perhaps you could tell me if that sort of poem would be acceptable on this forum?

Anyway, I’ve read a few of your poems already and I look forward to reading more because you clearly know your craft. I value your input greatly.

Many thanks

MB

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Re: A compulsive obsessive affair

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:58 pm

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Hi Mirror,
I agree with Tristan, I'm afraid, even after having read your explanation.

S1: I think it is simply too generic/clichéd, except for L5 - 'you rush my head to wanted madness' - which I like.
The language isn't a muscular as your explanation of the character would suggest (to me at least); touch/swell/
infusion are all rather genteel, aren't they?

S2: I think this is much stronger, the OCD suggested by the repetitions is very subtle ( 'cracked but not yet broken
skin' could also allow an abusive interpretation though). If it's that important, maybe you could develop the idea
more (and, conversely, cut out the repetitions in S1)?
I think 'blurs' (L10) is a little weak, perhaps:
Far away, she glares outside
the light smeared though glass
streaked by tiny hands. ?

I'm not that keen on the last two lines (I think the word 'like' undermines the image).
The word order of the title suggests that the first verse is 'compulsion', the second 'obsessive', which seems to be
the wrong way round to me. Could you perhaps cut the title down, and subtitle each verse (either O or C?)

Regards, Not.
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Re: A compulsive obsessive affair

Post by Mirrorball » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:34 pm

Hi Not,
That’s another incredibly helpful review, thanks.

It’s reassuring that both you and Tristan like S2 because I gave it a lot more thought and attention than S1. The only line on S1 I kept tinkering with was L5 funnily enough and I’m glad you like it.

I’ll scrap S1 and consider building the next iteration around L5. Sometimes my ideas/ambitions are beyond my capabilities. Alternatively I could scrap the affair element and focus on OCD woman’s imprisonment i.e. keep it simple.

I was going for the repetition of glares/blurs/smeared but I’ll consider streaked (it fits with cracked/broken). Any hint of domestic abuse was unintentional. I struggled with the title, it never occurred to me to subtitle the verses so thanks for the suggestion. I agree that the poem needs a better title.

I see what you mean about the last two lines but I’m struggling to come up with an alternative. I don’t think converting the simile to a metaphor would cut it (pardon the pun).

Cheers

MB

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Re: Unhealthy Obsessions

Post by Mirrorball » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:54 am

Tristan/Not,

I've redrafted taking into account your comments.

Thanks

MB

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Re: Unhealthy Obsessions

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:48 pm

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Hi Mirror

Still not entirely convinced by the title (though it is an improvement)
and both verses seem a bit too short (lacking in narrative detail).

S1: There's a bit too much telling, not showing.
I think it might be more interesting to focus on the more erotic element,
rather than the blunt, harmful ones. Also, I'm not sure who is speaking
now. Her or him?
Exposed, inner thigh,
finger tracing, drawing in,
blood-letting, a rush
to a wanted madness...


S2: It's a nice subtitle, but I don't think it reflects the verse.
Perhaps a bit more detail about the marriage to balance out the ocd?
(I was also reading the 'cracked glass...frame' as an indicator of
domestic abuse').
? glass, cracked, fragile in a frame:
she holds...


I was left wondering whether this is missing a third part, one from
the husband's perspective.

You told Tristan that you've other poems that 'pair' with this one
so it may be that they provide the context which, for me, is missing
from this peice.

Regards, Not.
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Re: Unhealthy Obsessions

Post by Mirrorball » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:58 pm

Thanks Not, that was quick.

I have a pre-seduction poem and an erotic (in the act) poem that pairs with S1 but I’m not sure if it would be enough to gives this poem the kind of context you are looking for (more details on the marriage and husband’s pov). I’ll have to put my thinking cap on again when I can find it. I have been known to criticise others for telling not showing, silly me, I should get my own house in order.

The husband is meant to be conflicted, there’s blood waiting to be spilt on both sides of the coin.

I’m going to make a couple of tweaks to V2 before I do anything more major because ‘you drawing me in’ should have been ‘you draw me in’ and I’ve accidently confused the viewpoint as you say so I’m changing the last two lines of S1 from:

“no cut, no scar. Nothing
can release me of you.”

“no cut, no scar. Nothing
new to release me from you.”


I hope that’s not cheating forum rules. V3 would be a more significant update taking into account your last comments. I think those quick changes are warranted to avoid further confusing any more readers.

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Re: Unhealthy Obsessions

Post by Mirrorball » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:04 pm

Ps. Not, I can post the other two poems if you are interested but I'm slightly nervous about flooding beginners boards. Erotic poem is a clear fit with this one. Pre-seduction poem is more of a stretch because it draws on a siren song classical narrative.

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Re: Sharp edges (Version 3 and another new title - sorry)

Post by Mirrorball » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:44 pm

Hi again,

I've added more meat to the narrative bones as suggested. I hope it's developed beyond the seed of an idea now.

I'll try to post my poems when they're at a greater level of maturity in future and thanks for your patience on this one.

MB

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Re: Sharp edges (Version 3 and another new title - sorry)

Post by Pauline » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:11 pm

Hi Mirrorball.
Mirrorball wrote:I've added more meat to the narrative bones as suggested. I hope it's developed beyond the seed of an idea now.
It certainly has :)
Jeez, that's some tale you have to tell.
I appreciate you haven't gone into detail but I get the general gist of it.

Okay.
Firstly, I'm not mad keen on the two separate headings of the poem.
Why not just let it blend into one.
I understand it's two separate areas of your life, but I don't like the stop n start, if you know what I mean. :wink:
May just be me but hey, just saying.

Love the new title. Sharpe edges.
It connects both sides.
Now, and here's where we may disagree.
I'm shite at critique.
I can never explain just what works for me.
Why it works.
Why I feel it lacks a certain .....whatever.
So,
Now don't hate me but...
I fiddled around with your words.
I ain't saying its right, or better .
All I'm saying is this is how I read it to kinda understand it.
All I'm saying is, if you can find something in there that you can use
then that's great.
If not, then totally ignore.



Sharp edges

My finger traces up exposed ladders
on her inner thigh. Razor blade ridges,
invisible to all but those who fucked
her for themselves. Trickling blood makes her feel
in control. Not forced, not left unwanted.

Claims my words saved her life. Born out of rape,
her young son was not enough to stop her.
Laying on crumpled sheets, no cut, no scar,
no release of me, just wanted madness.

Back home, light blurs through streaked glass. Tiny hands
have smeared her glare. It’s raining, she wouldn’t know.
My parting voice, acid over coarse hands
cracked but not yet broken. Soft hands clutch her
and she forgets I am gone.

Feel free to totally ignore :wink:

Nice to see you around. :)

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Re: Sharp edges (Version 3 and another new title - sorry)

Post by Mirrorball » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:00 pm

Hi Pauline,

I like the style of your critiquing and you’re very modest, which is a virtue.

I’m always fascinated to see what other poets would do with my poems and I really like your version, it loses a little something and gains something else that gives me useful ideas. I wonder if I’m getting a bit too prosaic with Version 3 and the poetic devices I’m using are a bit gimmicky. Your more intense narrative version cuts out what could be considered to be superfluous, there’s no bells and whistles, but this is a gritty realism type poem so I think it’s fair enough.

There’s no way I would ignore you for helping me out and thanks for posting a review. I hope to see you around too.

MB

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Re: Sharp edges (Version 3 and another new title - sorry)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Fri Aug 17, 2018 5:10 pm

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Hi Mirror,
lots of progress!
I agree with Pauline about the subtitles, they
seem redundant now. Some suggestions by
way of an edit (below). I think starting
at L6 grabs the attention, and, generally
you could cut/prune a little. Also you
might improve the enjambments.


She claims I saved her life, my words…
convinced her not to take it. Her son
born out of rape, was not enough
She’s laid on crumpled sheets,
a head rush to a wanted madness, there
is no cut, no scar, no release of me.
My finger trace
s [the] ridges
on her inner thigh, invisible to all
but those who fucked her. she told me that
the blood trickle makes her feel
in control not forced, not left unwanted,
not impregnated.


She glares outside, light blurs[,] streaked glass
smeared by tiny hands. It rained on our wedding day
it could be raining right now, she wouldn’t know:
hot water splashes over red knuckles, sizzles[,]
third finger[,] precious metal. She rubs[,] frantic
forgets I’m gone, my voice drowned by sink hiss.
To our little girls, it’s the white noise of her womb,
all they know. soft hands clutch coarse hands. her
skin cracked[,] not yet broken, not yet broken. not yet.
trapped beyond the altar, stained glass is cracked
fragile; unspilt of me.


I did like (for want of a word) how, in both versions
two and three, both women appear to be engaged in
what are effectively self-harming behaviours.
Still think you might be more consistent in your
punctuation, but it's a small nit (as is 'beyond'
the altar).

Regards, Not.
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Re: Sharp edges (Version 3 and another new title - sorry)

Post by Mirrorball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:43 pm

This is great, two versions of my poem rewritten by others and I like them better than my version. What to do? What to do?

Not, I think I'm going to take your version and tinker to put my own stamp on it. I'm so out of practice I had to look up what enjambment means, I'm not joking, apparently there's something called couplet too. :) I need to rediscover.

Regarding the subject matter, I've met quite a few of these self-harmers in a social context and what always strikes me is they enjoy doing it. Strange, I think there's some things about the human condition I'm never going to understand.

Not, seeing that you nit pick on beyond the altar. I'm thinking "trapped. Behind the altar," it's less than ideal I know. Last lines are important.

Also agree that the subtitles need to be stripped.

Thanks again.

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Re: Sharp Edges (Revision 4)

Post by Mirrorball » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:00 pm

I've taken Not's version and tinkered with it for Version 4. You can claim joint authorship if you like Not :)

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Re: Sharp Edges (Revision 4)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:20 pm

Mirrorball wrote:You can claim joint authorship if you like Not :)
Thanks for the thought MB, but, your poem, your responsibility. I was simply an innocent passer-by. :)

Reads well, I think, though S1 is still (slightly) the stronger of the two.
Some very small (ha!), mainly cosmetic, suggestions.

She claims I saved her life, my words…
convinced her not to take it.
Her son, born of rape, was not enough

She’s laid on crumpled sheets,
a head rush to a wanted madness, there
is no cut, no scar, no release of me.

My finger traces up the ridge
[s]
- I don't think you need to repeat 'scars'
on her inner thigh, invisible to all
but those who fucked her.

- 'the trickle' is a bit ugly, sonically speaking.

blood, she says, makes her feel
in control not forced, not used or left
not impregnated.


She glares outside, light blurs through streaked glass
smeared by tiny hands. It rained on our wedding day
it could be raining right now, she wouldn’t know:

water splashes over red knuckles, heat sizzles
third finger, precious metal in an acid bath.

- The acid bath image rather comes out of nowhere,
and 'she rubs frantic' is awkward (at least without a comma
after rubs)
She rubs frantic, forgets I’m gone, she scrubs,
- It would be nice if you could get this to read
as 'frantic', maybe a few more sentence fragments?

my vows drowned by sink hiss.
- I like the introduction of 'vows' but wonder if
this reads as if she is drowning his vows.
To our little girls, it’s the white noise of her womb,
all they know. soft hands clutch coarse hands. her

skin cracked but not yet broken, not yet broken. not yet.
tracery trapped, stained glass is cracked
- tracery is a bit much, and there was a nice effect with
'skin cracked...trapped' that it disrupts. Perhaps consider
changing the second 'cracked' for 'fractured' (or similar)?
fragile; unspilt of me.


Regards, Not.
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Re: Sharp Edges (Revision 4)

Post by Mirrorball » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:40 pm

Not, thanks for making me laugh with the innocent bystander comment. Joint authorship can be our dirty little secret :lol:

I was also amused by the nits with your own version of the poem. :)

One thing I enjoy about writing poetry above all other types of creative writing is that so many readers conflate author and narrator. The reality is nowhere near as exciting but I’m flattered nonetheless.

Onto your small but important points:

You have an eagle eye because you caught me mid-revision on ‘tracery’. I changed it yesterday evening before anyone noticed (I had hoped). You must have a cut and paste bank?
I took out tracery and put in ‘figure’ because I thought tracery didn’t read well and was too fanciful. Any thoughts on figure?

I agree with your enjambment changes.

I agree that scar doesn’t need repeating. An intelligent reader should be able to put two and two together.

Trickle is an ugly word. The situation is ugly in some respects but it’s a bit unfair to woman one so I’ll say ‘bloodfall’ like a blood waterfall. What do you think? Or I can just call it blood fall. I think blood on its own doesn’t quite make sense. Bloodfall links into the tap in S2, sort of.

I can see what you don’t like the acid bath. The reason I like the image is bath goes with tap, sink etc and the water is corrosive on skin. Nobody would want to throw their wedding rink into an acid bath but she doesn’t have any insight into her problems.

Regarding frantic, you make a good suggestion, I’ll think about how I can implement it.

Regarding ‘vows’ I think it is his vows that are being drowned e.g. ‘in sickness and in health’ has been lost down the sink. I don’t want to evoke any sympathy for him though. I’ll consider ‘our vows’ instead.

‘Fractured’ is a good word for me to think about introducing too.

Thanks Not, you’ve surpassed yourself again.

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Re: Sharp Edges (Revision 5)

Post by Mirrorball » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:25 am

Revision 5 is ready.

My preference is to keep the two stanzas unbroken because of the nature of the poem but three line stanzas coincidently fit the way I've constructed my sentences/images.

I'm not quite sure

Thanks again

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Re: Sharp Edges (Revision 5)

Post by NotQuiteSure » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:29 pm

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Hi Mirror.

My preference is to keep the two stanzas unbroken because of the
nature of the poem but three line stanzas coincidently fit the way
I've constructed my sentences/images.

I'll offer you the observation that was given to me, that those spaces
may allow the reader in. (Wish I could remember who told me that...
probably someone here).

I'm not quite sure
Taking my name in vain?

Any thoughts on figure?
You've solved this without me.

I’ll say ‘bloodfall’ like a blood waterfall. What do you think?
I like the word, and it seems to fit (whether it implies a flow
greater than you intend, I'm not quite sure (!), but leave it
for a while and see how it beds in.

the acid bath
Not entirely sold on its connection to tap, sink, etc....It appears in the
narrative before 'sink' (so you haven't established that image yet) and
now, 'vows drowned' could be read as a (to me, better) variation of this
thought (assuming 'vow' as a metonym).

trapped, her figure, in fractured stained glass, hangs
maybe:
trapped, her figure, fractured, stained glass, hangs ?
Are you sure about 'hangs'? Given all the preceding self-harming
references, it suggests she's committed suicide.


Regards, Not.
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Re: Sharp Edges (Revision 5)

Post by Mirrorball » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:37 pm

Not, it was either bloodfall or blood sprinkle but I didn't want to give the impression she's having a p*ss.

I've just checked the forum commandments and there's nothing in there about taking your name in vain or adultery. But I'm not quite sure and there's a fine line between Dante's inferno 2nd circle (lust) and 9th circle (treachery) depending on how far you take it. I'm going to pretend it's the first time I've had this conversation :lol:

Anyway, back to the poem, I'd be interested to hear other views regarding the structure of the poem. Letting the reader in can't be a bad thing. I'm not deliberately obscure but it's a poet's prerogative.

I've never heard of the word metonym but you're saying you like it. I thought about acid rain first but I've already had two lots of rain. "acid downpour on a precious metal"? "acid shower on a precious metal"? Both would keep the rain theme going.

regarding 'hangs', I was initially looking for a 'picture hanging on the wall' type imagine. The poem starts with the suicide prevention for a new mentally unstable woman. Why not end on the possible(?) suicide of a former mentally unstable partner that's unspilt? I know it's a bit strong but it leaves the reader wondering or that's the effect I was looking for.

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