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Old 01-16-2012, 02:51 AM   #1
ZanasCross
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Mephisto


Her lips parted,
but it was not a song that fell from her tongue.
Instead four live doves
sputtered out of her throat.
She gagged and writhed
as each beast forced its way out of her breast;
beak after beak tore through her neck
and the blood rolled down her blouse.
The wind whipped her hair around
and stray strands caught in the gashes;
a clotted mess of blonde and crimson.

And still she sat on her stool,
half smiling;
her aqua eyes gleaming in the midday light.

The fourth bird burst forth
and they darted across the room;
wings beating in a velvety rhythm,
chasing around her head in figure-eights
She raised her arms out to her sides,
and the dance concluded:
two birds perched on each arm.
The song came forth,
each bird singing out in turn:
"Mephisto come! tip-terp-tip-terp!
We have been born! terp-tip-tip-terp!
Send to us the sign of your time.
Call us to your realm!
For we have lived
such that you might fly! tip-terp-tip-terp!"


All fell silent.
Her eyes faded to grey;
a dull sheen came over her
as her mouth ripped open.
A raven emerged from her mouth,
leaving behind a trail of darkness
that swallowed all passing light.
One by one, the raven came to each dove
and bowed to them.

The doves spread their wings wide and bowed deeply.

They sped off her arms and spun back upon her,
talons tearing through flesh.
She fell from the stool, and her lungs held no more breath.
The raven took to the air and thrust himself into her eyes,
gouging them out and screaming into the hollows that were left behind,
"Harlot! Wretch! Filth!"
The doves cackled and landed by her head,
each taking a submissive pose.
The raven sprang from the remains of her face,
approaching each dove with fire burning in his eyes.
The doves stood stoically,
each staring at the ground, as he ripped off their heads,
one by one,
and shoved them into the throat of the lifeless girl.

Finally, he drew himself up upon the girl's breast,
"I have come to pass judgement,
for she has asked me to cleanse the people,
though she was not worthy."
His wings spread wide,
each feather tickling the ends of the Earth
and he dashed into the sky
dragging behind him the void.

Last edited by ZanasCross : 01-23-2012 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:51 AM   #2
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Aaaah, more like this. I very much enjoyed.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:27 AM   #3
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that was immensely weird, however immensely entertaining.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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I enjoyed reading this very much - the piece is very calculated and very well-crafted (I couldn't find anything that stood-out in a wrong manner when I read this.) Your punctuation and word-choice were spot-on. I do agree with rd93 about the monotonous narration, but that didn't add or take anything away from the piece.

With this line: "The doves spread their wings wide and bowed low", I felt that you should have added a reason for why the Doves bowed as well, because as it is it reads a little bit haphazardly.

I will review your previous piece as well because I still owe you some.

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Old 01-17-2012, 05:21 PM   #5
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this is probably the best thing i have ever read from you. with that in mind more full crit in next post which will mostly just point to places that do not match up with the rest in voice, content, or that just plain tripped me up when i was reading through this.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZanasCross

Her lips parted,
but it was not a song that fell from her tongue.
Instead four live doves
sputtered out of her throat.
She gagged and writhed
as each beast forced its way out of her breast;
beak after beak tore through her neck
and the blood rolled down her blouse.
The wind whipped her hair around
and stray strands caught in the gashes;
a clotted mess of blonde and crimson.
this says exactly what you wanted it to. perfect.

And still she sat on her stool,
half smiling;
the aqua of her eyes gleaming in the midday light.
you could keep this stanza but i dont see why you would. it adds nothing in my opinion and breaks the flow, unless that was the intention in which case this needs to be rephrased. the last line especially gave me trouble. i dont like the "aqua of her eyes" metaphor as i cant picture aqua. seems very vague in the midst of such visceral imagery. My revision, if you kept the line would be something as simple as "the aqua in her eyes gleaming through the midday light"

The fourth bird burst forth,
and they danced across the room;
is the comma necessary here?
wings beating in a velvety rhythm
chasing in figure-eights
is this in relation to the rhythm or the birds? i dont like not knowing which. maybe a comma after rhythm to differentiate?
but without a single chirp.
She raised her arms out to her sides,
and the dance concluded:
two birds perched on each arm.
And the song came forth,
please get rid of the and here. does not work and is much stronger without it
each bird sang out in turn,
building to a final crescendo:
is final necessary here? might be stronger without it. but if you think that final adds something to the image that crescendo leaves out i reckon you should keep it
"Mephisto come! tip-terp-tip-terp!
We have been born! terp-tip-tip-terp!
Send to us the sign of your time.
Call us to your realm!
For we have lived
such that you might fly! tip-terp-tip-terp!
"

i didnt like the bold. just as strong in only italics

All fell silent
the aqua of her eyes faded to grey,
a dull sheen came over her
and her mouth ripped open!
exclamation neccesary? detracted for this reader
A raven burst forth from her mouth,
leaving behind a trail of darkness
that swallowed all the light that passed nearby.
One by one, the raven came to each dove
and bowed to them.
The doves spread their wings wide and bowed low.
something about the last three lines are off. maybe make the last line its own stanza? with the current phrasing i wanted more space between the raven bowing and the doves bowing

Then they sped off of her arms,
stronger without the "then"
and spun back upon her... attacking her with vicious blows.
either get rid of the part after the ellipses, it is implied, or make this immediate attack image more visceral. it is a turning point in the piece and should begin by hitting much harder than it does now
She fell from the stool, and her lungs held no more breath.
The raven bowed low to her, in a final salute and then
take out "in a final salute" please, redundant as all hell
took to the air and crashed into her eyes,
"crashed" was obviously chosen for a reason but it doesnt show to the average reader. for me this just read clumsy. synonym.
gouging them out and screaming
into the hollows that were left behind,
"Harlot! Wretch! Filth!"
The doves cackled and landed by her head,
each taking a bowed pose.
is there a word you can use here that isnt bowed but says the same thing? synonym
The raven sprang to each one,
ripping off their heads with a single bite
and shoving them into the throat of the lifeless girl.
beautiful image destroyed by the pacing of the piece at this point. plot speeds up to such a degree that I am left wondering when the transition was. slow this turn on the doves down.

He drew himself up upon the girl's breast,
standing tall and regal.
"I have come to pass judgement,
for she has asked me to cleanse the people,
though she was not worthy."
His wings spread wide,
each feather tickling the ends of the Earth
and he dashed into the sky
dragging behind him the void.
i loved this. really shows how mature you've become as a writer. the last couple lines here sum up how great the entire piece can be. really, this last stanza hits on all cylindars for me and carries the confidence and tone that the rest of the piece should follow.


let me know if you have any questions zackk, i really think you got something here.

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Last edited by #1 synth : 01-18-2012 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:51 PM   #7
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*updated*

sorry for triple post.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:05 AM   #8
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Unfortunately I can't say much that hasn't already been said. To echo everyone else, it was a strange and entertaining read. I know I'm nitpicking here but it felt a little bit too much like "then this happened, and this happened, and etc...". The last stanza was great and just seemed to roll of the tongue nicely especially with the last line.

I'd have to agree with #1 Synth on a lot of the more technical aspects of the piece, he did a good job on ironing out the bits that could make it even better. There are lines in this that are just beautifully morbid that seem to tie everything together. The portions where the doves and the raven speak half in chirps and half in words are a nice touch. Upon a second and third read I'd have to say that I enjoyed more and more your word choice than I did the first time. The imagery besides the girl being mutilated the whole time, seemed rather plain at first but definitely more noticeable and powerful the more invested I became. Overall I did like it and its obscurity, sorry I couldn't give a better critique but like I said, everyone else here is pretty spot on. Thanks for your review of mine too, it was very in depth and helpful!
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:27 AM   #9
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a lot of what synth said. i really liked the imagery, save for one little piece: the doves "dancing" across the room. i guess i'd prefer a more avian word. flew and flight are overused at this point, but i'm sure you could come up with others. also, you call the doves "beasts". what i think would really bring a heavy significance to that is if you called the raven something dissimilar - elegant, beautiful, lovely, et cetera. i certainly don't associate beasts with doves, and that kind of stood out to me as off, barring their transformation later.

finally, two little errors - one by one should be moved to after doves, and you can take the of away from off of.

but i liked this.
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:36 AM   #10
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tl;dr

juuuust kidding, I'm already intrigued by the title and the first stanza (what a great opening!), but I will have to save this crit for when I'm more awake.

I WILL get back to it though.
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:31 PM   #11
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I think the introduction was the strongest part of the piece, so visceral and violent I could really picture this gruesome image.

"The fourth bird burst forth" is a bit of a tongue-twister, it's an awkward combination of sounds that I would recommend changing.

I think the onomatopeia, tip-terp is a bit too humorous for the rather dark tone of this piece. also, I don't think it's even neccessary. we know they're birds, you don't need to show them actually chirping.

wasn't a big fan of the exclamation point at the end of the line, "and her mouth ripped open!" but that might just be personal preference, though I think it might have the same effect as the afore-mentioned onomatopeia above.

I almost wanted you to end it on the second to last stanza, it really brought back the violence of the beginning in a nice circle.

all in all, dramatic, dark and just the right touch of the macabre. I appreciate your subject matter.
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Old 01-20-2012, 10:00 PM   #12
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Sorry for not doing this sooner, been a bit busy. Anyway, that first stanza was incredible. There's not much I can say really that hasn't been said. The violent, unpredictable imagery. Classiness that the birds gave off (bowing even after the gruesome event) They were also the only character that gave an indication of speech and I enjoyed the fact that you didn't use the doves for any of the generic uses of it like peace etc, they were just monstrous. Favorite stanza is the last, it seemed to sum up the piece really well. That's all I can say about this piece, nothing I would change here but the bit in bold didn't feel right for some reason.
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:08 AM   #13
ZanasCross
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Edited.

Thank you all for taking the time to read. It was very hard for me to edit this originally (I wrote it all in one sitting with this vision dancing through my head), I just couldn't find any ways to say it differently because it was such a clear vision in my head.

If you would like me to re-pay you, please get me a link. Also, any thoughts on the edit would be lovely. I'd like to get this one to a finished state.

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Old 01-25-2012, 11:32 PM   #14
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From reading the version Dylan quoted in his post, I really think this was tastefully edited. Daemonica comes to mind, if you remember that dude. This scene is beautiful and terrifying and mysterious all at once, and that's all I have to really say about it. For two minutes, it captured me completely. I'm sorry I don't have anything useful to say, I just like it too much. I'll give you more constructive feedback when you post something that allows me to do so.

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Old 01-25-2013, 06:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZanasCross

Her lips parted,
but it was not a song that fell from her tongue.
Instead four live doves
sputtered out of her throat.
She gagged and writhed
as each beast forced its way out of her breast;
beak after beak tore through her neck
and the blood rolled down her blouse.
The wind whipped her hair around
and stray strands caught in the gashes;
a clotted mess of blonde and crimson.
Strong tone. I like it. Stray Strands is a bit of a tongue twister but reflects the content so I'll buy it. Are the doves bloody too or do they somehow come out clean? Just wondering what to picture--it somehow seems to matter. Maybe as an indicator of how physically linked they are to the material/"real" world
And still she sat on her stool,
half smiling;
her aqua eyes gleaming in the midday light.
OK
The fourth bird burst forth
and they darted across the room;
wings beating in a velvety rhythm,
chasing around her head in figure-eights
She raised her arms out to her sides,
and the dance concluded:
two birds perched on each arm.
The song came forth,
each bird singing out in turn:
"Mephisto come! tip-terp-tip-terp!
We have been born! terp-tip-tip-terp!
Send to us the sign of your time.
Call us to your realm!
For we have lived
such that you might fly! tip-terp-tip-terp!"

I like the "tip-terps"
All fell silent.
Her eyes faded to grey;
a dull sheen came over her
as her mouth ripped open.
A raven emerged from her mouth, Repetition of mouth is excusable but could be better if her jaw ripped open or lips or something. The tone might get a little more twisted with the added detail but you are toeing that line anyway.
leaving behind a trail of darkness as he flies around the room? Maybe one more nod to his movement/motion/pace would be helpful here. He emerges, which sounds slow and deliberate in this context, but if he's leaving a trail I presume he's flying or there would be little room to trail darkness across, and I don't get flying/wings flapping (a raven's wings for godsake!) and I think that would help tighten this even more if I knew what state to picture him in. How does he approach the doves below? does he hover/walk upon here/float magically? I want to picture him walking and I'm okay ignoring that there isn't much space on her arms as she sits on a stool for that, but if you can give a line about how you're picturing this, it might be better because your verbs for the raven outside of thrusting at her face are mostly very passive (approach, came to, emerge) and that doesn't give much of how he exists in space assuming you want us to picture that
that swallowed all passing light.
One by one, the raven came to each dove
and bowed to them.

The doves spread their wings wide and bowed deeply.

They sped off her arms and spun back upon her,
talons tearing through flesh.
She fell from the stool, and her lungs held no more breath.
The raven took to the air and thrust himself into her eyes,
gouging them out and screaming into the hollows that were left behind,
"Harlot! Wretch! Filth!"
The doves cackled and landed by her head,
each taking a submissive pose.
The raven sprang from the remains of her face,
approaching each dove with fire burning in his eyes.
The doves stood stoically,
each staring at the ground, as he ripped off their heads,
one by one,
and shoved them into the throat of the lifeless girl.

Finally, he drew himself up upon the girl's breast,
"I have come to pass judgement,
for she a little odd that he speaks in third person with no one else around but it's also kind of eerie that he doesn't speak to the dead her as "you" because he speaks to either to himself/to no one (or maybe even everyone) as a proclamation of intent, an unnamed observer, or the reader and any of the three are kind of freaky. has asked me to cleanse the people,
though she was not worthy."
His wings spread wide,
each feather tickling the ends of the Earth woah, so that's what we're dealing with
and he dashed into the sky
dragging behind him the void.
I don't know how to feel about this. It feels like closure but really there's a great deal of questions left unanswered. Seems strangely appropriate though.

I loved it. One of your most consistently well written pieces and very interesting. I entered the world pretty fully, and maybe that's why I'm having trouble letting go of the void rising to the sky because that feels cataclysmic beyond the girl's story--like it might be trying to be too big at that point, and I have no idea what the void rising to the sky means. But I can't say I don't like it. It does make me have to "suspend disbelief" in a very conscious way and that makes me less enthused about where I'm left off, so maybe there's space for either a bigger ending (a broad stroke isn't something to fear here) or a smaller one. I think you are caught strung between the apocalypse, the bird going on and doing more dark, if cleansing, things (which could also be apocalyptic), and the bird disappearing quietly. If you picked one, or didn't imply any of them at all, I think it would be stronger. I hope that makes sense.

Regardless,
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