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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Poetry Workshop's LiveJournal:

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Friday, August 15th, 2008
9:15 pm
Quality Online Poetry Workshop
Dear poet friends,

Come to The Gazebo .

It's what we've been looking for: a good online workshop.
Saturday, March 1st, 2008
1:10 am
Fresh edit of an old poem
... which means I have no idea if this is as effective as I think it is, or if it's merely dealing in sentiment.

So as Not to Forget

Silvio died from Alzheimer’s.
Towards the end, he was a curious creature,
shy and yet developing a hesitant romance
with a lady in a similar condition.

Dixie called it, “cute,”
and I suppose that’s what it was.
One couldn’t help thinking of playground
affairs. We put his car keys in the casket.

He had loved to drive.
She moved to Lodi, of all places, to be near him
and she volunteered at the home,
I suppose learning him all over new,

The way his mother had learned the child.
The first thing the home had done was slim him down,
so by the time he was at his rest, his skin
was oversized. It’s not the sort of thing you notice

on a living person. They’re just wrinkles.
We left things that were no longer his,
twelve long-stemmed roses for his favorite color
and toothpicks for his pocket.

Auntie Jean made herself busy writing notes
and taping them on the bottom of lamps,
credenzas, rocking chairs, to ensure the history
of each oil well lamp and brass bed frame.

Those of us … who weren’t preoccupied
with how history could be saved
made awkward jokes in the cramped limousine.
I told myself I wouldn’t write it,

letting go of the casket,
or laughing with the cousins.
Easter was coming.
For Lent,

I gave up foolish resentments of Lazarus,
and Jesus,
who had ways out of those holes dug
to keep them.
Sunday, February 10th, 2008
7:41 pm
Avocado Beach
Red warm bright eyes swirling close distance
Hypnotic black night comfort entangle minds
Skin wave trickle finger tips trace resistance
Below support mocks conversation aligns

Wind chill caress goose bumps climax breathing
Friction kiss lips part engulf worlds heal mankind
inside twist infinite knowledge flows streaming
Merge pallets transcend emotion universe glows love light
Sunday, February 3rd, 2008
2:28 pm
The Doldrums

The ocean holds her cobalt breath in check
and stillness softens round horizon's rim;
all rig and rope lie limp upon the deck
as world awaits a breeze's whispered whim.

My ill-caulked heart drifts over azure water;
the vastness of these skies enthralls my mind.
A sister; friend; a loving, baffled daughter - 
deep distance dulls the wind I seek to find.

Too long my sheltered port, your loving arms;
*me, half-unsure of tales of sails that tore.*
But sea has lured me, baits me now - becalms
and hides the wreck and whirlpool at her core.
In time, when she puts forth these wilder charms,
then will you wait for me, upon the shore?


I've tried to rework this poem several times and I'm still not quite happy with it. The sestet is causing me the most issues, but I'm open to criticism on the rest of the poem as well. I do have a few specific questions, though:
1. Does the asterisked line scan alright, or is it a mess of too many rhymes / not enough proper grammar?
2. Have I used the word "becalms" correctly, in the sestet? I've been staring at it way too long today to be sure.
3. Are there any other lines or words (or even whole sections) that are particularly awkward to read, or where the metaphor falls prey to the rhyme?
Wednesday, November 28th, 2007
11:46 am
She sits on moonlit tracks leading nowhere
And the smoke curls from her lips
Into the moist, caressing breeze
Only to lose its scent in the smell of the wood from the mill.

She shifts her feet in the fuzzy slippers she, again,
Had forgotten to take off.
And now they were getting dirty and torn
And Mother would be asking her soon
How they'd gotten so ragged.

From far off in the distant dark
The air carries the rumble and clatter of steel
Rolling on unknown tracks leading

This is where she sits most nights
After her goodnight kiss.
When Mother's and Daddy's light goes out
And Whiskers and baby Charlotte lay cozy in their little beds
She slinks out of the rusted aluminum neighborhood,
Barefoot when she remembers to be,
And watches the moonlight dance
Or feels the cold rain soak her nightclothes.

She often goes to Dean's house
Because it's probably a bad idea.
Dean, who's old enough to drive but never does
Because there's nowhere to ever go.
Dean, who sits around all night with bottles and knives
While his father works 'the grave.'

The grave. The pile of lumber fifty yards down track.
The place the most recent body'd been found,
Half-eaten by something half-human.
And she wonders what it must have felt like.

She and Dean had spoke a bit about it
And he'd said it must become addicting;
That maybe the first time was hard and awkward
But that you must start to get horny for it.
And though he kind of understood it
He wasn't sure he'd "have the stones", he'd said.

And she can understand it too
Because it must be quite a thing to feel.
And there is nothing to experience here.
And her body keeps changing and wanting to feel new things.

There are so many sensations she wants to try
And she always wonders "What was it like?"
Of what someone else had done.
And she knows only what it's like to sneak back into bed
With dirty feet or tattered slippers.

So she smothers the cigarette against the rail
And watches the flame slowly die,
Exhaling its ghost into the damp heavens.
And she looks across the rails and the street
At the light in Dean's window.

And she walks in the dark to his door
To find out what it feels like.
The knife entering flesh,
The rush of blood, the rush of breath.
And she tells him
"I want to be your first time."
3:53 pm
A kind of introduction...

It feels a little awkward to be posting here without having commented on anyone else's poetry yet, but I am dubious as to whether critiquing poetry from 6 months ago would be of any use to the people who posted it. Hmm.

Well - after a bit of deliberation, I thought I'd post this one... a sonnet in couplets that I wrote quite a while back, and a poem I want to develop to make it sound a little less... basic. It'll serve as a kind of self-introduction here, too, but it needs some work - I'd love to hear what you think needs help, either specifically or generally! 

Personally, I suspect the metaphor becomes a bit too clunky by my revealing its meaning in the 10th line... and I'm never entirely sure about whether I over-use punctuation.

The magpie
The magpie spent her life collecting
shiny, pretty things for nesting.

Burnished keys and tiny bells;
chocolate wrappers, pearly shells.

'Mongst shards of glass and polished stone,
her own reflection: monotone.

Embarrassed by her black-and-white,
she saw no point in taking flight.

Besides, joy came from other birds;
she sought new poets, craved more words.

A hungry thief, she saw no choice,
unaware she, too, had voice.

        Now the magpie spreads her wings,
        pulls in breath, and learns to sing.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007
8:11 pm
Interest in the Workshop
Hi, this message is for nineblackcats

(You appear to have your settings such that I cannot reply personally to the message you sent me. So I'll post my reply here, and perhaps you'll see it.)

I think there were several people who were interested in getting this community up and running, but it never seemed to get off the ground.

I'm still interested, and I keep a watch. If nothing else, you can be guaranteed that I'll reply with some critique.

Some have found my advice helpful, others have been very opposed to it, but I can assure you I put a lot of thought into it.

The only thing to consider is that I will assume any poem posted is looking for serious critique. In other words, be prepared for advice like, "Cut this line, it isn't working," or "I loved your metaphor, but I can't help feeling there's more work to be done to flesh it out."

I look forward to seeing your work!

Saturday, March 24th, 2007
8:54 pm
"I/you" format vs. "he/she". This has always perplexed me. How do they differ? I mean, what aspects of a poem (or any narrative) does the "I/you" emphasize, that "he/she" doesn't (and vice-versa.) When do you use "I/you" or "he/she" and why?

Sorry if this isn't clear. I've just been stuck in an "I/you" rut lately, and I'm wondering what red flags I should look for that would tell me if I'm abusing it.
Friday, February 23rd, 2007
10:19 pm
This one was an experiment
... After this, I'll try to stay away from free-verse and venture into other kinds of poetry, just for the sake of being able to say that I've ventured.

Read moreCollapse )

I struggle with line-breaks and I have mixed feelings over repetition.
I won't be able to reply for about a week though because I'm in Taiwan right now, killing time with my boyfriend's laptop until my jet-lag subsides, so I apologize ahead of time for my lack of response to any (if any) comments/queries.
Sunday, February 18th, 2007
2:53 pm
Body is the First
Body is the first philosophy we’re given.
Its motions become emotions, and stay that way.
Touch can soothe, and touch can burn. The sting from
a lover’s palm can do both. Find the nerve that roots
in earliest truth, knowing no better, and there ends
the mystery of love. Only to begin romance.

Grab a rattle, teethe a drum, pound it in driven
snow. We’re windswept into choreography,
the dancing fiddler, or a drunken lecher’s hum,
our valentines turn pirouettes on the same beat
because of these crib-early tempos. Skinned, we dance.
Aching to get us into each others pants,

Body asks, Are my rhythms shackles? Do they mood
the bent wrist, or heel at the chain? Do they draw blood?
Tuesday, February 13th, 2007
5:16 pm
Hello. New here.
This is exactly the type of online community that I'm looking for. I've recently started writing poetry and I'm very serious about it (my livejournal account is a portfolio.) I read a lot of poetry, specifically the Modernist period, though it might not reflect in my work. I'm also very interested in international works. I hope to receive constructive criticism and feedback for improvement, and I have no problem with critiquing and encouraging other works as well. (I'm not here for an ego-boost, trust me.)

So without further ado:

Read moreCollapse )

Thursday, February 8th, 2007
3:07 pm
The Emptied Plate

We, the poets eat
our world, a field
of comestibles.
We, the consumers
taste the world
and digest it.
Enzymes and pens,
catalysts and ink,
poems churn forth
from the emptied plate
and the full stomach.

An older piece. Not sure I like line breaks on this piece. Haven't been producing much lately unfortunately. Any thoughts on getting back into that when in a slump?
Tuesday, January 30th, 2007
12:27 pm
My Poem
The Hag of Immature Stupidity

Ignorant, controlling, ugly soul,
Walks the room, fills the bowl.
Fat for breakfast, fat for tea.
Fat she tries to force down me.
Words spoken before a single thought,
Insinuating comments hastily sought.
In this my heart will always hate,
The day my dad married his fate.

Five is young for a marriage,
But who would know, when hidden by a body of age.
Only those who can see clearly behind the mist,
Those who really read the words on the page.

Ignorant, controlling, ugly soul.
Walks the room, fills the bowl.
Fat for breakfast, fat for tea.
Fat she tries to force down me.
Words spoken before a single thought,
Insinuating comments hastily sought.
In this my heart will always hate,
The day my dad married his fate.

She curses my mother,
A woman un-met
All on un-forgiven words,
A record is set.

Ignorant, controlling, ugly soul.
Walks the room, fills the bowl.
Fat for breakfast, fat for tea.
Fat she tries to force down me.
Words spoken before a single thought,
Insinuating comments hastily sought.
In this my heart will always hate,
The day my dad married his fate.

Guilt she trys to feed my throat,
Because the fears she’ll always hold.
Controlling everything in her path,
I’m a mind she’ll never mould.

You see I’m a different person,
To what she’s used,
She’s not one to think,
Can’t handle the bemused.
She’s not one to think,
A dying soul
She’s not one to think,
As dumb as a troll.
She’s not one to think,
And I’ll be her end,
Unless her lies, and comments she’ll mend.
She’s not one to think,
She’s growing cold.
No more blood left,
No one to hold.
On this I swear the day,
That I stand over her,
Sword in hand,
Where she lay.

Ignorant, controlling, ugly soul,
Walks the room, fills the bowl.
Fat for breakfast, fat for tea.
Fat she tries to force down me.
Words spoken before a single thought,
Insinuating comments hastily sought.
In this my heart will always hate,
The day my dad married his fate.
Saturday, January 27th, 2007
7:21 pm
Hello, I’ve always loved poetry, and have written myself, intermediately. However it is mostly just lyrics for songs I had written, lacking any definitive structure.
I would like to get more serious about both reading and writing.

i would greatly appreciate any advice for books a novice might pick up. Either for simple enjoyment or a solid how-to to help with my writing

Friday, January 12th, 2007
4:23 am
Sunday, January 7th, 2007
1:56 pm
The poem that I posted somewhere else
Hi. Here's the poem previously mentioned.


this is me writing you a wordless letter.
i'm sure that death and birds exist somewhere.
the opposite of birds exists somewhere too.
i'm sure about it. i can't imagine the opposite
of death, eventhough little kids repeat it
continuously in classrooms very far away from
here. here. here, all the windows are shut.

i draw spirals into myself. i try to reach you,
i really do, but sometimes, most times, i
end up believing that you're not there and even
if you were, you wouldn't care for one more
face in the subway, one more face in the elevator
at the moment that you want to be left alone.

i know how it feels wanting to be left alone.
no more misinterpretations, wasted feelings and
bitter ends. no more me and you walking by the river
on a non-existing sunday of a non-existing spring.

we're kindred spirits, someone might say, but someone
might say whatever. there are no limits to what someone
might say. someone is to big a person.

metaphorically speaking, there is a whole world beyond
these walls. there are mothers and rain. there are
all opposites working for the same denial. and, then,
your face against all odds. the touch of your skin
not being valued. the gentle weight of your eyelids.

someone may think that i'm in love. someone may think
whatever. i'm here. you are
(and i just feel like not ending this sentence.)

someone doesn't know us. there are no limits.
someone could never know us even if
(and i just feel like not ending this sentence.)
Saturday, January 6th, 2007
1:15 pm
new here
hi, i'm new here.
here's a short poem that i just finished writing.
comments are very wellcomed.


i’m the old lady from that book
you once read. i cross something
but i long for something else.

i’m the stranger that shows up
in your dreams.

i’m the rude stare of a mirror.
i’m not a mirror.

i’m the beauty – distant and
fearful. i can resurrect.

and i’m also a chair.
yes, a chair.
one chair.
Friday, January 5th, 2007
10:16 pm
Inside Job
This one definitely needs some work, but I just felt some odd urge to post it.

I hope it has some hidden potential.

Inside JobCollapse )
3:55 am
You might recognize this poem of mspixieears' from APC. As I will no longer be posting in APC, and I can't figure out how to send mspixieears a personal message, I will post my response to her extraordinary poem here.

Après Sir Thomas Wyatt
Read more...Collapse )
Thursday, January 4th, 2007
5:40 pm
In Seine Reflected
A piece I wrote some months ago that has never felt finished. I feel too much like I'm talking in this piece. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

I often think of Paris
reflected in the Seine
and I see the color gray.
Clouds and architecture
swirl around boat propellers
in ancient swells
around Javert's bones.
Even the yellow
of the city's infamous lights
has been tainted,
and the grayness rises
from the river
taints the Sphinx's landmarks,
Quasimodo's bells
and even rolls
down the roads into the Hall
of Mirrors in Versailles
where it echoes sadly.
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