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The Love Mutt's avatar

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I feel like the square peg in the hand of an infant,
smashed over and over again into the triangular deficit.
But every so often,
an angle matches up, offering
the merest glimmers of hope until resolutely,
indubitably,
line meets corner and woods collide with a clamor.

Then, when the child sees solutions failing,
it makes its own fix- it might not taste good,
but it soothes the ache -

it gnaws on me, hardened gums smacking down,
covering me in saliva, its drool slowing etching away at my edges,
filling me with its burdens, swelling my head,
my heart, with its recycled spit.

I feel like shaking the damned thing,
pointing out the correct holes, forcing it to practice
like a dog's nose is shoved in its indoor s**t,
until it can just get the puzzle right-
it's simple isn't it?
Just shove me in where I'm supposed to go,
and leave the mechanism be.

But that would lead to Shaken Baby Syndrome,
and then where would I be?
The Deuteragonist's avatar

Dapper Genius

First impressions: Cute, though there are quite a few places where it straddles the line between being cute and trying too hard to be cute.

Will leave more later. Bug me if I fail to follow up within the next few days.
At any rate it's nice to see a familiar face.
The Love Mutt's avatar

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Have you changed usernames? xD

Also, damn. cute is so not what I was going for. I await your more specific comments =]
The Deuteragonist's avatar

Dapper Genius

I used to be known as elixir10, Elixir-10 MK-II v1b, or some other variant of Elixir.

Will give more specific comments after a few more reads.
The Love Mutt's avatar

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Ohhhhh, okay. xD Thanks =]
The Love Mutt's avatar

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The Deuteragonist's avatar

Dapper Genius

As promised.
I haven't done this in ages on Gaia, but I HAVE been busy with writing and critiquing poetry offline. Which explains my lack of recent posts here.
There are things I'm not sure I get, though, maybe that I should be getting but am not, so take with a grain of salt.

The Love Mutt
I feel like the square peg in the hand of an infant,
smashed over and over again into the triangular deficit.

The word "deficit" is such a weighty word because it connotes some sort of lack. I'm wondering why this word specifically was used, instead of hole.

On the other hand, I think the use of the word "infant" is pretty neat, because it's such a technical term (just like how David Thorne refers to his son Seb as his offspring). It works coolly with how you refer to the infant as an "it" throughout the piece.

Quote:
But every so often,
an angle matches up, offering
the merest glimmers of hope until resolutely,
indubitably,
line meets corner and woods collide with a clamor.
The first point I'll make here admittedly seems nitpicky of me, and may or may be moot. Assuming I know which toy you're talking about, I cannot remember if that thing has a right-triangular shape, because that's the only way the angles will ever match up. The one I had only had an equilateral triangle.

On a more serious note, I don't think "clamor" is the right word here. The sound would be a rather solid sound--either dull, as in a clunk, or a sharper clank--but not something like a clamor. A clamor is made of voices, it's... not solid. (Darn I'm grasping for a familiar word here.) Even on a sonic level it's jarring; the onomatopoeia of "clunk" or "clank" would be a far better description than such a breathy word as "clamor." (Hell, "clamor" rhymes with "glamor," strengthening my case against it.)

I'm not digging "indubitably" getting its own line. Especially when it's just a reiteration of the previous modifier.

Quote:
Then, when the child sees solutions failing,
it makes its own fix- it might not taste good,
but it soothes the ache -
First, a formatting/aesthetic nitpick. I think it'd be better if you were consistent with the spacing around the dashes. Either put spaces on both sides, or none at all. Here on the en I think it would better with spaces.

Something a bit larger. You have the parenthetical. Depending on how it's supposed to be read, it could be detrimental. One, you are trying to explain the chewing as a solution to the problem of not fitting. Why is the ache (I suppose of the gums) important then? Another thing, it runs counter to all the other objectification of the child in the piece. The thing shouldn't have feelings, or at least, we shouldn't care.

Quote:
it gnaws on me, hardened gums smacking down,
covering me in saliva, its drool slowing etching away at my edges,
filling me with its burdens, swelling my head,
my heart, with its recycled spit.
"Slowly etching," maybe?

You touch on the child's "burdens." First, I'm not sold. Children in general aren't asked to be responsible for much, so they really don't have burdens to speak of except the things in their diapers. (Eww, that just led me to a really, really sick image.) Then again it goes back to a point I raised a while back: is the child a person or a thing?

The "my head, my heart" phrase strikes me as hackneyed, and it's not doing much but slowing the piece down. The swelling of the head though is quite clever.

And what's the point of the "recycled" modifier for the spit?

Quote:
I feel like shaking the damned thing,
pointing out the correct holes, forcing it to practice
like a dog's nose is shoved in its indoor s**t,
until it can just get the puzzle right-
it's simple isn't it?
Just shove me in where I'm supposed to go,
and leave the mechanism be.
The comparison to shoving a dog's nose into its own s**t is nice, but the sentence can be structured better. I mean, I get what you're saying, but there are a lot of awkward misreadings (is the dog supposed to get the puzzle right? is the practicing like the dog's nose getting shoved into s**t?) because of the way your sentence is constructed.

I do like how the last two lines flow, though.

Quote:
But that would lead to Shaken Baby Syndrome,
and then where would I be?
I don't know if it's just because I actually have worked at a daycare/school with small children (sometime in 2010) but the words "shaken baby syndrome" have an impact on me, even more so when they are capitalized like that. The question is, why? You went about objectifying the child for the most part, then you suddenly hit us with something like that. Are we or are we not supposed to feel for the child? I'm confused now.

A couple of general remarks.

Again, if I am reading this right, the general metaphor is clear enough and resonates on a familiar level. The narrative persona feels like she is being pressured to be something she isn't quite. However, the exact circumstances behind it are left unspecified, leading to the focus being on how the persona feels and is reacting to these feelings, if only in her head. This, to me, causes some problems, as I shall indicate later.

I felt the piece had a lot of issues with language. I felt you were trying to jam the thesaurus into the piece at some points, and as a result a lot of possibly unintended meanings arose. Sometimes it's a good thing; sometimes, it just makes the piece unnecessarily difficult to read. The sentence structures didn't exactly help, either.

Most of all, this may be just me, but I'm honestly not sure what to feel about the narrative persona. This is because the situation isn't exactly fleshed out--I don't know what is going on at the literal level--so depending on it the persona could be sympathetic or just outright bitchy (especially entertaining the idea of shaking a baby). (It doesn't help that I don't know if I'm supposed to feel for the baby or not.) Admittedly, I'm leaning towards the latter, but even then I'm not sure if it's the kind that makes me quake in fear or makes me think, "Oh, shut up!" I'm not entirely sure where the piece is going in that respect, which makes it difficult for me to enjoy it.

Hope this helps.
is this about abortion?....s**t
The Love Mutt's avatar

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Dirtflake
is this about abortion?....s**t


Uh, no.

It's about not fitting into the life you've made for yourself. Every so often it seems like the pieces are all fitting together, but then something happens and it all falls apart again, or it's not quite as together as it first seemed. The frustration of it all...


Deut, I really appreciate your crit. I'll respond in more length once I'm slightly more awake xD
The Love Mutt
Dirtflake
is this about abortion?....s**t


Uh, no.

It's about not fitting into the life you've made for yourself. Every so often it seems like the pieces are all fitting together, but then something happens and it all falls apart again, or it's not quite as together as it first seemed. The frustration of it all...


Deut, I really appreciate your crit. I'll respond in more length once I'm slightly more awake xD


ah i thought it was about abortion because it starts with a baby then it gets depressing and it talks about drooling and stuff like thay, but now that i read this comment and reread it i just keep going "ooooohh!"
The Love Mutt's avatar

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The Deuteragonist
As promised.
I haven't done this in ages on Gaia, but I HAVE been busy with writing and critiquing poetry offline. Which explains my lack of recent posts here.
There are things I'm not sure I get, though, maybe that I should be getting but am not, so take with a grain of salt.

The Love Mutt
I feel like the square peg in the hand of an infant,
smashed over and over again into the triangular deficit.

The word "deficit" is such a weighty word because it connotes some sort of lack. I'm wondering why this word specifically was used, instead of hole. It's gonna sound dumb, I'm sure, but I kinda felt that "hole" would lend to the idea of sex/love, which I was trying to avoid. It's also part of why I avoided giving the infant a gender.

On the other hand, I think the use of the word "infant" is pretty neat, because it's such a technical term (just like how David Thorne refers to his son Seb as his offspring). It works coolly with how you refer to the infant as an "it" throughout the piece. thanks! =]

Quote:
But every so often,
an angle matches up, offering
the merest glimmers of hope until resolutely,
indubitably,
line meets corner and woods collide with a clamor.
The first point I'll make here admittedly seems nitpicky of me, and may or may be moot. Assuming I know which toy you're talking about, I cannot remember if that thing has a right-triangular shape, because that's the only way the angles will ever match up. The one I had only had an equilateral triangle. Ack. I did think of that, actually, and was hoping no one would care xD

On a more serious note, I don't think "clamor" is the right word here. The sound would be a rather solid sound--either dull, as in a clunk, or a sharper clank--but not something like a clamor. A clamor is made of voices, it's... not solid. (Darn I'm grasping for a familiar word here.) Even on a sonic level it's jarring; the onomatopoeia of "clunk" or "clank" would be a far better description than such a breathy word as "clamor." (Hell, "clamor" rhymes with "glamor," strengthening my case against it.) Interesting point. I'll definitely give that some thought.

I'm not digging "indubitably" getting its own line. Especially when it's just a reiteration of the previous modifier.

Quote:
Then, when the child sees solutions failing,
it makes its own fix- it might not taste good,
but it soothes the ache -
First, a formatting/aesthetic nitpick. I think it'd be better if you were consistent with the spacing around the dashes. Either put spaces on both sides, or none at all. Here on the en I think it would better with spaces. that was definitely just carelessness. Oops sweatdrop

Something a bit larger. You have the parenthetical. Depending on how it's supposed to be read, it could be detrimental. One, you are trying to explain the chewing as a solution to the problem of not fitting. Why is the ache (I suppose of the gums) important then? Another thing, it runs counter to all the other objectification of the child in the piece. The thing shouldn't have feelings, or at least, we shouldn't care. ache of the gums, of the frustration of not getting it right.. etc.

Quote:
it gnaws on me, hardened gums smacking down,
covering me in saliva, its drool slowing etching away at my edges,
filling me with its burdens, swelling my head,
my heart, with its recycled spit.
"Slowly etching," maybe? Yes. thanks xD

You touch on the child's "burdens." First, I'm not sold. Children in general aren't asked to be responsible for much, so they really don't have burdens to speak of except the things in their diapers. (Eww, that just led me to a really, really sick image.) Then again it goes back to a point I raised a while back: is the child a person or a thing? I meant more that it's imposing on me, not necessarily its own responsibilities. And it would be more of a thing, I suppose.

The "my head, my heart" phrase strikes me as hackneyed, and it's not doing much but slowing the piece down. The swelling of the head though is quite clever.

And what's the point of the "recycled" modifier for the spit?

Quote:
I feel like shaking the damned thing,
pointing out the correct holes, forcing it to practice
like a dog's nose is shoved in its indoor s**t,
until it can just get the puzzle right-
it's simple isn't it?
Just shove me in where I'm supposed to go,
and leave the mechanism be.
The comparison to shoving a dog's nose into its own s**t is nice, but the sentence can be structured better. I mean, I get what you're saying, but there are a lot of awkward misreadings (is the dog supposed to get the puzzle right? is the practicing like the dog's nose getting shoved into s**t?) because of the way your sentence is constructed. Hmm... *to ponder*

I do like how the last two lines flow, though.

Quote:
But that would lead to Shaken Baby Syndrome,
and then where would I be?
I don't know if it's just because I actually have worked at a daycare/school with small children (sometime in 2010) but the words "shaken baby syndrome" have an impact on me, even more so when they are capitalized like that. The question is, why? You went about objectifying the child for the most part, then you suddenly hit us with something like that. Are we or are we not supposed to feel for the child? I'm confused now.

A couple of general remarks.

Again, if I am reading this right, the general metaphor is clear enough and resonates on a familiar level. The narrative persona feels like she is being pressured to be something she isn't quite. However, the exact circumstances behind it are left unspecified, leading to the focus being on how the persona feels and is reacting to these feelings, if only in her head. This, to me, causes some problems, as I shall indicate later.

I felt the piece had a lot of issues with language. I felt you were trying to jam the thesaurus into the piece at some points, and as a result a lot of possibly unintended meanings arose. Sometimes it's a good thing; sometimes, it just makes the piece unnecessarily difficult to read. The sentence structures didn't exactly help, either.

Most of all, this may be just me, but I'm honestly not sure what to feel about the narrative persona. This is because the situation isn't exactly fleshed out--I don't know what is going on at the literal level--so depending on it the persona could be sympathetic or just outright bitchy (especially entertaining the idea of shaking a baby). (It doesn't help that I don't know if I'm supposed to feel for the baby or not.) Admittedly, I'm leaning towards the latter, but even then I'm not sure if it's the kind that makes me quake in fear or makes me think, "Oh, shut up!" I'm not entirely sure where the piece is going in that respect, which makes it difficult for me to enjoy it.

Hope this helps.


See my comment to Dirtflake about the general meaning of this. The entire thing is a metaphor on feeling out of place, feeling like things won't quite come together. The child is just a metaphor for, oh god, society? or just expectations, hopes, needs, etc.

It's all so overwhelming, but you can't just go shaking/killing your burdens, right?
The Love Mutt's avatar

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