#1
collecting the moments I lost whilst blinking,
facing a strong light, or simply
not listening -


the funny thing about remembering
is when you remember why
you forgot...


a planned stranger looks at me with
familiar eyes -
it is not that his particular set differed in its kindness
but that my memory had, until now,
excluded the warmth
that I was so drawn to
in the face of the unfolding monster,
whom I've deified now as
the bearer of my tremors.


what mistakes have I made
in my past?

who lured me in &
how?


the stranger speaks with a
familiar curiosity -
this is no forgotten memory, but
a recognition of kinship.

the light hits both our eyes as we pause
on a thought and look at each other -

this is no blinding light,
but one of
clarity
as our pupils
lock &
silently
acknowledge
the voyeur peeking out
over our rimmed irises

or is this the blushing light
of fantasy,
as we discuss who
we never succeeded
to become?


.

I recall an old friend,
a past self.


she could not resist a warm set of words,
a tricky vice -
so susceptible that her whole body became
soft and pink from heat,
like the glowing love spots
we intimately adorn

eventually red &
boiling &
kettlesquealing
when uncurbed.


is this past self that found kinship
in my unfolding monster?
I had once flocked to him with
an imperial pout
(a gaze I now resent),
scoping what resources I could.

resources for what?

for myself.


was I looking to
reap myself
from this man?

we had a mutual acknowledgement &
laughed at each others' jokes &
held hands when
convenient.


.


so what am I looking for
from this stranger?

our eyes flicker and the
silence ends -
I watch his face spark into
a newly formed idea,
but now articulated with
the ease of
a reconnected friend


I was looking for understanding
I am looking for understanding
but I only
had a rubric
of conquer


there is no lunge as the stranger and I reminisce,
comfortable and apart,
as even and pink
as the setting sky
fading into
a dream.
#2
I think there's several kernels of different pieces, or at least tones, here, and they clash. I think the vocabulary as a whole isn't fully coherent together - like, I think an idea presented as thus:

"the funny thing about remembering
is when you remember why
you forgot..."

Belongs in a different piece to a line such as:

"s this past self that found kinship
in my unfolding monster?

but I only
had a rubric
of conquer"

I just think the tone isn't as consistent as it could be, so it loses a little impact. Like it's just too full of ideas. It's the same with the chasms between stances and full stops dotted in the gaps, I think the piece is too focused on, I don't know, grandeur, I guess, than really being a cohesive whole construct. Imagery doesn't flow across the whole piece, and nether is there much sonically that, like the proverbial rug, ties the room together.

I prefer it when you're punchy, because I think you lose your intensity in this more meandering, less effective form.
#3
she could not resist a warm set of words,
a tricky vice -
so susceptible that her whole body became
soft and pink from heat,
like the glowing love spots
we intimately adorn

eventually red &
boiling &
kettlesquealing
when uncurbed.


this was the highlight of the piece excepting the last two lines. the image here and the coherence really caught me.

i agree with JDude that there seem to be a few different strands threading in here that probably deserve (need?) their own pieces to be explored. it's a bit difficult to read through the whole piece without forcing myself to finish, in part because of this, but also the larger line breaks might be too effective: the space they give, to me, becomes too much space, making the parts feel disjointed.

still, i don't necessarily think you should break this piece apart and form new ones. i think editing it down to the most necessary and poignant parts would be effective. there's a lot going on here - it's a big piece, and it does meander a lot; but the high points are nice. this could be a personal preference of mine - i usually prefer shorter forms. the longer the piece gets, the more you have to draw me in.

i especially think you could completely remove the middle stanza that details your friend (the part i quoted with the nice imagery). it doesn't carry the piece in the direction i see you as taking it when i get to the end. that part, though, could definitely be a new piece! (yeah, i know, my critique is meandering now...)

maybe one last thing would be to be aware of certain explicit phrases, like "so what am i looking for in this stranger?" or "who lured me in & how?". sometimes blutness can be very effective but i found some of your questions to be a bit dry - they didn't provoke me the way your images and phrases did, and thus felt out of place.

which is something i like about this piece: a lot of your images and phrases are really nice. it's an interesting read, weighed down by length and some meandering aspects. it's not far from being quite good.

thanks for posting. hopefully this makes sense
#4
the funny thing about remembering
is when you remember why
you forgot...

there are a lot of things to say in response to this. i will come back to you. to this.
#5
thanks for the thoughts

I was wondering whether or not to include some words along with this piece while posting it, but I'm happy I waited.


as writers, we face the inevitable question of why we write. the answer is rarely simple or even consistent. over time I've realized that I often write simply to put words down somewhere that sound beautiful together. sometimes I'm painting a picture. I've seen other writers perform incredibly intricate mechanisms with their words. the motivations vary, not to mention the time spent or state of mind. the context in which a poem is written is as much of the content as the words themselves.

after several different experiences of abuse or assault over the past years, poetry has served as a particularly helpful way to move through my memories. it's taken years to piece together what it is that happened, or what it is that I remember. there is so much that was left unarticulated, and to put down words helps me solidify a scene to work with.

this particular piece was written for that reason. I was sexually harassed by my advisor/professor throughout my undergraduate career and haven't really begun to work through any of it until the past few months. my memory of that time is already quite disjointed (he was a confidant of mine while I was going through therapy and counseling for a rape case, all of which will do funny things to you) and I recently was overcome with a flood of memories about being his student while meeting a new professor. each memory holds certain images that I'm yet to decipher. writing helps with that deciphering - putting down what comes up through the stream of consciousness so that one can work with it.


so, I appreciate the crits, but it may be helpful to have that information in mind. to write something "punchy" would be misleading - nothing about my experience was punchy. it meanders. it isn't cohesive. there is a lot going on at once. that is my brain. I often like to clean up and put on a face and prepare words strategically to pull the most heartstrings (a coping mechanism of a different kind). this isn't one of those poems. there is a lot to unpack because I am unpacking a lot in my head.

that's not to say that this can't be cleaned up. I'd certainly like to clean it up. however, I think some background information may be helpful to guide what kind of cleaning needs to be done for what my intentions are. I'm a bit tired of posting little glimmers of poems here - I know a lot of us are busy and this forum isn't frequented as much as a fraction of what it used to be, so it's unreasonable to expect a huge amount of time to be spent unpacking a poem. I want to get more experience with these kinds of poems, however, especially as I'm moving through some repressed and highly complicated memories.
#6
I enjoyed this, particularly in light of the background have provided as this is an act of therapy for you.

While the particular context of this poem makes it difficult to critique, there are a few feelings I have about it.

The recollection in this is so frank, and the disconnection of that makes this an emotionally difficult read - not as a bad thing, but I sense there is a pain in the things that are not said here, and that is powerful for me. I don't know if I'm interpreting this correctly, or this is just something from my own head, but I feel the distance like when someone retells you a forgotten, old memory and you cannot remember the person you where then, only the physical scene. I think maybe you could play on this more, something around pronouns maybe?

There is a lot of space in this piece, but I'm not sure if the pacing matches it, particularly with regard to line/stanza breaks: I think you could use these to gently suck or tug the reader along with the ebb and flow of this piece, rather than leave them with just the shape of the narrative. This way the reader could become lost among the memories also.
#7
Forgetting is a defense mechanism; I believe that firmly. This feels like the first small ventures into remembering, probably because of all the questions. In that sense it seems successful.

It feels very transitional, maybe just from forgetting to remembering but also in a larger sense. You use space well as always.

"held hands when convenient," is the only part of this that seems to touch all the way down to the ground. I'm not sure how I feel about the line/image but it stands out in its directness. Everything else seems to float. Also not sure how the light theme sneaked in around the middle of the piece (blind light / blushing light).

Sorry to hear what happened. Some of this could be expanded but mostly keep questioning, that seems strongest now.