#1
While in a bit of a careless slump, this is my world.

--

A third grader spouting out the words
"I will protect you" on the walk to school.
there's a dude behind us -
he looks like the convict with the tats
we weren't allowed to ask about

A few weeks ago, the East San José assembly
featured an old gangster serving fifteen to
life in jail, and he stood in front of all of us
with his shame inside the orange jumpsuit,
cuffs and leather shackles.

He couldn't talk about the gangs he represented
or the faded ink up his arms and legs
but he told us not to get involved,
that drugs were bad, and not to **** with guns
(he got in trouble with the guards with that last one)

His name was some Latino name that he
wasn't proud of, and I think he was
the only one that hadn't had enough yet.
Maybe he knew what I knew then -

embarrassed but sincere,
he knew that by doing this,
he could get off a couple years
and return to what he did before.

Following kids on their way to school,
maybe this was him - he was getting back
at me for knowing what he knew then.

Right before the school, he turned and
crossed the street, and I thought my dad
would kill him at the corner store.
That's where he worked and where he yelled
at me when I was bad.

One day after classes, I took another route;
the other kids refusing to take a little chance.
But all I really wanted was just to run away,
maybe to the northeast heights, maybe just downtown.
Having been betrayed, I said - how could
you rat me out? I hate you.
ending up in his room, my dad,
with the leather belt that bore his name
that's he's had since I was born.

I was scared, but I think he needed me to
understand that he didn't know what to do.
His confusion, leading mine, was his way
onto the airwaves. He demanded that I dig,
and sent me on my way.

He would take me to the dinosaurs
and out for pancakes some Saturday after that.
Bought me this toy tiger with the seven
eleven on his sleeve.

I kept that thing for years, even when he left
my stuff on the broken steps of my mother's house
on december tenth, ninety four, after
my friend's birthday candles had hardly been blown out.
#2
i'm not a hundred percent sure about this one. It's got some good stuff, ti's got some bad stuff, as a whole, it's quite a solid piece. Some of the rhyming and line breaks really worked against this though. I'll come back later when I have more time and hit you up properly
#3
Second page already? alright. I might not go into much detail, as I have high regards to your writing.
Quote by spike_8bkp
While in a bit of a careless slump, this is my world.

--

A third grader spouting out the words
"I will protect you" on the walk to school.
there's a dude behind us -
he looks like the convict with the tats
we weren't allowed to ask about
I feel like you're missing an action verb in the first sentence. it just reads awkward as it is. The two close "the"s slightly disrupted the flow. also, after reading the whole piece, the tone here (dude, tats) just doesn't carry on, and seems out of place.

A few weeks ago, the East San José assembly
featured an old gangster serving fifteen to
life in jail, and he stood in front of all of us
with his shame inside the orange jumpsuit,
cuffs and leather shackles.
for some reason, I would say "with shame inside his orange [...]". with "the" now, it feels really detached from him when really I think they should be strongly tied together. Given that he accepts his condition and everything. Like, it's a part of him. Not just a dress code for criminals. That might or might not make sense to you.

He couldn't talk about the gangs he represented
or the faded ink up his arms and legs
but he told us not to get involved,
that drugs were bad, and not to **** with guns
(he got in trouble with the guards with that last one)

His name was some Latino name that he
wasn't proud of, and I think he was
the only one that hadn't had enough yet.
Maybe he knew what I knew then -
The first line here doesn't work. "he had some latino name" or something. get rid of the double.

embarrassed but sincere,
he knew that by doing this,
he could get off a couple years
and return to what he did before.
That was kind of implied, wasn't it? I mean, by the time I was getting there, I already understood all that. I believe that many people would.

Following kids on their way to school,
maybe this was him - he was getting back
at me for knowing what he knew then.

Right before the school, he turned and
crossed the street, and I thought my dad
would kill him at the corner store.
That's where he worked and where he yelled
at me when I was bad.
did you use before here referring to time or to space? If it's time, then "the" disturbed me slightly. If it's referring to place, maybe add something else, like "Standing" or "waiting" to make it a little more obvious? It might be just the way I read it though. I thought you had some flow issues here. The line break with and/crossed and yelled/at (especially) were a little off.

One day after classes, I took another route;
the other kids refusing to take a little chance.
But all I really wanted was just to run away,
maybe to the northeast heights, maybe just downtown.
Having been betrayed, I said - how could
you rat me out? I hate you.
ending up in his room, my dad,
with the leather belt that bore his name
that's he's had since I was born.
took/take feels a little week. "all that I really wanted" and "just" was redundant, too. "all I really wanted was to run away" or "I just wanted to run away". no need to use both. could/you line breaks is awkward again. The last 3 lines here felt like they should have been on a different stanza. Like, earlier you broke same settings into different stanzas, but now you have two different places within the same.

I was scared, but I think he needed me to
understand that he didn't know what to do.
His confusion, leading mine, was his way
onto the airwaves. He demanded that I dig,
and sent me on my way.
hated the first line break again, sadly. I loved the confusion line. Pretty good.

He would take me to the dinosaurs
and out for pancakes some Saturday after that.
Bought me this toy tiger with the seven
eleven on his sleeve.
I suggest you introduce the time change at the beginning of the stanza. "some saturday after that, he would take me [...]" if not, it's a little confusing. Like he sends you on your way, takes you out to the dinosaurs... you get it.

I kept that thing for years, even when he left
my stuff on the broken steps of my mother's house
on december tenth, ninety four, after
my friend's birthday candles had hardly been blown out.
nothing to flaw here. good ending.


Okay after all, I have a lot more to say. First off, I think this is way too long for what you have to say. Sometimes, your lines were unnecessary. Some other times, it was a whole stanza. You really need to chop it down. You're usually pretty good at lengthy pieces but that fell short for me, ah, if that makes sense.

The format is a total mess. Some probably would say that this should be split in two different pieces. If you don't want to, you definitely need to work out the transition(s). Transitioning between the gangster's conference (more than he knew what i knew- ) and you running away, and transitioning between place and time lapses. I won't develop any more on that because to me it's obvious. I think it really is. If you fail to see my point, note it out to me and I'll develop further ahead.

This has huge potential, knowing your abilities as a writer. But this needs tons of work, imo. Hope i was helpful.

If you don,t mind, I'd really appreciate you having a look at either one of the first 2 in my sig. (on a willow's branch or winter route)

Good luck with the piece

mat
#4
No one will relate to this the way I do.

By default I can't hate on this at all.

This is a shadow.
マリ「しあわっせはーあるいってこないだーからあるいってゆっくんだねーん 
いっちにっちいっぽみーかでさんぽ
 さーんぽすすんでにっほさっがるー 
じーんせいはっわんつー!ぱんち・・・


"Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear." - from Tao Te Ching

#5
I could tell this was a very personal poem, and I presume somewhat hard for you to write, so I'm impressed that you kept a juvenile, innocent sort of tone throughout the whole thing. I'm glad to see, also, that you're continuing down a more emotional, less detached path with your writing. I agree with some of the criticisms in Mat's post, but by and large, this is a great premise executed effectively. Excellent job, my friend.
#6
Thanks for your help, guys. Always appreciated.

I intend to chop this up a bit, following many of your recommendations, and edit it to be rather concise, but still display the emotion that I feel is very prominent in it (perhaps because it's mine, aha!) but really, my true intention is to give it to my dad when I see him again this summer (it's been some time) and hopefully, because he's been through a hell of a lot lately, it can spark up some **** that has needed to be said for say, fourteen years. thanks again.