link anything you'd like me to critique

that december, after each fight,
I'd find g. in that house you both lived in.
it was too big for the both of you:
meant to be filled with many frat boys,
now almost empty.
we would take a right at the glowing red exit sign,
peel up the broken staircase and out the
door onto the open porch.

the wind would bite me as I
blocked it from my lighter,
tightening my grip on each
extra-long cigarette once it was lit.

each time, I swore
I would love you forever.

each time, you made me
wash my mouth before
I kissed you -
like you knew
it was in vain.
I would smile
(sometimes sincerely,
sometimes not)
and pull up the covers
to my face.

each time, in your eyes,
I saw my father.
Quote by Arthur Curry
it's official, vintage x metal is the saving grace of this board and/or the antichrist

e-married to
& alaskan_ninja

I'll respond more thoroughly tomorrow sometime, but idk it's late here and it's time for me to go to bed and dream about teeth falling out or summat.

I liked it in my fatigue The second stanza in particular has pricked my ears.
Quote by Skibolky
No one can really fuck with the power of empathy.
I've read it a few times now - I like this a lot. Like AH says, the second verse is wonderful, painting a perfect image.

I hate admitting when I don't get something/understand it - but what is the 'g.' reference?
I love the washing of the mouth - i used to have a partner who smoked and I was particularly righteous about it and make them chew gum before I'd kiss them (ah, youth).

The last line is disturbing and shocking, ties in with the title - but it works well - it doesn't feel sensationalist or there for no reason, it's a key to the piece.

I really enjoyed this, both style and execution.


In terms of critique - there's no piece specifically, any that you can contribute to is always good!
'....even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked...."

Do me a favour, pop into Songwriting & Lyrics and add a comment to one thread, any thread, but contribute.


‘Kay, so I’ve had some rest (), reread it, and now have a series of general comments that might ramble around a bit. All in all it’s given me many points to think about and I’m drawn to reread it repeatedly, so there’s that, and I’ll probably write a metric fuck-tonne of stuff here.

There’s a notable economy of language in this piece that I’ve not seen much in S&L, probably because the typical post is more geared toward songwriting. I am picking up a natural, unforced precision in word choice (e.g. broken staircase). While having specific denotative meanings, they are highly connotative, hinting at a contextual background readers can be aware of exists but not actually engage in. For example, what has gone on in the life of this location that the staircase can be described as broken? Similarly, very brief details--the opening line indicates the season is winter, which connotes certain mental images that needn’t be described (and aren’t here, of course), but rather left to the reader. It’s efficient.

On the other hand, I feel as though some of the descriptions could be more creative. For example, the exit sign is noted as “glowing red,” which, while a precisely given image, could be indicated differently for a more pronounced effect. It’s kind of a persnickety criticism to make, but I think there’s an opportunity to describe the image more evocatively.

As I mentioned yesterday, I especially enjoyed the second stanza for its technical qualities. Repeated assonant ī sounds (bite, I, lighter, tightening) propel the reader’s attention through the first two lines, then consonant t (tightening, cigarette, it, lit) and g (tightening, grip, long, cigarette) dominate and change the tone very slightly to bring those four lines to a conclusion. I’m partial to these techniques in writing and, even in poetry without strict meter, they make my overall experience much better.

I also like the visual arrangement of the piece. The multiple spaces between the third and fourth stanzas emphasize the break in time and content without wholly disconnecting the sections.

So, given, the piece’s title, I figure I’d have a turn at it wearing psychodynamic-symbolist “golly-there’s-a-phallus” goggles. So yeah, bear with me. Cigarette usage is a fairly common oral fixation. Oral fixations typically derive from overprotection, concomitant resistance to maturing, and then dependence on others to sustain ego integrity (David the psych major via Freud, 2016).

More succinctly, the narrator’s conflict stems from dependence on a paternal figure (as noted in the closing lines), whether a father figure or dominating intimate partner. Such a reading follows also from the fourth stanza, in which the narrator--speaking directly to another--is directed to “wash my mouth before/I kissed you –”. Affection and libidinal impulses are reciprocated only when dependence is subconsciously and symbolically acknowledged via mouth-washing.

The final two lines are fascinating to me for their ambiguity. In one way, the father-image is associated with the partner in what is a straightforward reference to an oedipal complex. However, the act of looking directly in the eyes produces a reflection of the looker’s self (i.e., the narrator seeing the father-image as representative of the self).

So yeah, there’s a little essay.
Quote by Skibolky
No one can really fuck with the power of empathy.
^ wow what a comprehensive crit, thanks

I wouldn't pay much attention to any cigarette -> oral fixation cues. the oedipal reference has to do with a re-evaluation of the oedipal imaginary, developed in the last two stanzas. as you caught, the last two lines show a dual relationship - I am reminded of my father by a previous lover, one with which I couldn't communicate, and I am also reminded of my father by myself, my image reflected back in my previous lover's eyes. what does an oedipal complex look like when your father and your partner are both abusive? what about when you yourself are like your father? or, perhaps worse, a reflection of his actions?
Quote by Arthur Curry
it's official, vintage x metal is the saving grace of this board and/or the antichrist

e-married to
& alaskan_ninja

You're welcome. I enjoyed reading it and having something to think and write about as an exercise.

The dual aspect of the oedipal relationship played around with here becomes more interesting the more I think about it. Schlomo Freud suggested that the resolution of the oedipal conflict involved identification with the same-sex parent. In this piece, that resolution is demonstrated as one rooted in abuse and power imbalances (demonstrated via the mouthwashing thing). It's like an incomplete resolution of the oedipal conflict--ambivalently antagonistic toward and identifying with an abusive father and intimate partner.

Also, there's another point here that it's titled oedipus complex rather than electra complex (the Jungian addendum), which would indicate that the narrator/protagonist is male with a male partner (given the line about house full of frat boys). All of that kinda stomps on your authorial intent, but it brings some very interesting subtexts if considered in relation to Schlomo's heteronormative sex-and-violence theories. I cba to think about it much further without typing out another 500 words, and you probably get the drift
Quote by Skibolky
No one can really fuck with the power of empathy.
Last edited by Aeolian Harmony at May 2, 2016,
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