#1


a quiet farm blanketed with pure white snow. the late afternoon shadows loom as cruel as obsidian. the pond is frozen over and the fence posts lean crooked. clusters of trees stand bare, their trunks contorted as if in agony, vermicular patterns sculpted into the bark. i imagine there is a dense wisdom in this wood, like discs of hardened sap that moan in the wind and soften in your hands. primordial compasses to a world lost; a quiet, colorless world.

earlier, i am too young to remember my age. i watch as the hot pavement, coughing refracted waves, is blessed by the ’92 station-wagon carrying my father. he has no intention of returning this time. someday i will think i fully understand his reasons, gripping the same steering column and fearing that ancient male agony shaping itself like a large stone within me, chewed down by moss and age, the quartz exposed like a petrified lung; a thing unmoved, eroding at a pace more patient than the hands of God stirring speech into the throat of the world: black, soundless speech issued from an inverted mouth swallowing light. diameters and horizons drawn from which nothing escapes. of which nothing is made right. the principle of entropy wrapping its torsional muscle around the senses and suffocating. i will fear it all my life.

i will fear it all my life.

i picture him glancing over his shoulder that day, the air conditioner howling at the beating sun and the algae throbbing with full breaths in the cool water. where i stood on the porch, the far hills rushing to meet the pines; the yard where i aimed toy dinosaurs at blue jays, all the cats creeping close in case one of those lilting angels dropped to the ground: it wanes noiselessly into a slender crescent, a thin moon steadied in a cloudless sky, so humble it might be soon forgotten. i draw a long breath and patter upstairs from the porch. now the road is empty, and the aging cedars and fields of low beans wave in the breeze, stretching their lazy arms far- so far i will think this is the whole world for a few more years. a world washed in green and sunlight. the humid room plasters a damp cocoon to my skin, and like the first drops of a dark river seeping up from hell, one massive tear wells up and fattens on my cheek. i push it down hard, mustering all the power this pair of impish fists possess, but it’s not enough: the green outside blurs. i mistake it for envy.


Last edited by hippieboy444 at Dec 30, 2014,
#2
This is a phenomenal piece of writing, it is breathing with so many details. The picturesque frozen farm blends perfectly into the fossilized landscape of "male agony", I love "exposed like a petrified lung", then slowly drifts to the present tense.

I am still interested in a zine btw, I think I PM'd you my address a while back, I'm not sure if you got it?
#3
thanks, i ending up editing this quite a lot and the original post now contains the edited version. i think the transitions are a bit rough now, but i like this presentation more. i expanded a lot and tried to make the events of the piece a bit weightier, perhaps unsuccessfully.

i have your address, the zine is just taking longer to edit and pull together than i anticipated...still, you will get one! hope to have them out before new years.

thanks again.
#4
This was amazing. One of the best, if not the best thing I've read from you.

I'm just going to nitpick over two things, but I think you should consider them.

First one is the repetition of "obsidian", it's a too big of a word and those two words are so close to each other, that I'm sure you could turn it around with some phrasing. But that wasn't the part where I stumbled the most.

The only weak part of this great piece is this "suddenly, it is later. i stand alone on the front porch and it is summer." - it's too.. dry, for a lack of better word. It's too unsubtle for a transition and saying "it is later" and then "it is summer" not only doesn't flow well, but it also makes even more simple, which is not what this piece aims for throughout.

Just my two cents. I really really liked this.
#5
i want to point out (since we posted at the same time!) i edited this piece heavily, which you can read now. as i said, i worry about the transitions, and i tried to expand the events, but now i wonder if the piece is too wordy (i think it is, and in time it will be distilled, but i mean in wordy in a more obvious way). i definitely prefer the longer focus on the farm in the first stanza.

thanks.
Last edited by hippieboy444 at Dec 26, 2014,
#6
as you also pointed out, the wordiness of this piece could be worked on. i like your tendency for striking imagery and unique word choices to describe that imagery, but i feel like a lot of times you attempt to pack in so many details into such tiny spaces. i would like to see you let the images breathe a little bit more by being more selective in the words you choose to paint your portraits, or perhaps rather more selective in how you choose to transition between one idea to the next.

that being said, i really did like the ideas in here. i would like to see you explore the idea of masculinity (or "ancient male agony", as you called it - which was great) even more than you did. you also seemed to use color (or lack thereof) as a key element in here, but it wasn't clear to me what the overall purpose of that was. like i said above, it made for some very vivid and striking moments, but they only hit me at a surface level and not anything deeper.
here, My Dear, here it is
#7
thanks. yeah, i'm never sure how detailed/ornate to be and how plain to be. i always feel that transitions are a weak spot for me for sure. in terms of wordiness, perhaps the first edit was better: it's a bit more streamlined and there are enjambements, which help it breathe. but i prefer the more prose style here, personally.

was it weird to expand "male agony" into the sort of universe/astronomical image i did? i wasn't sure if i loved it but i was thinking of some huge hulking thing that was unmoving and cold.

thanks again.