#1
I wrote this yesterday... and I was seeking other opinions so i read it to my mom, my dad, and my girlfriend but as you can imagine they just thought it was amazing and stuff...but I'm not convinced myself. So i was seeking some fellow writer's opinions! Show me no mercy, because I will certainly show you none!

this is my first piece here, btw.


Bullets and Ballasts (probably the fourth-ish version)
haunted_engines

Gather up the hatred where the vengeance is fresh
takes form on the wall in the shape of a splash,
there’s anger manifesting on the Capitol’s steps
where policy hangs in limbo

There’s sixty grams of coke in the back of the van
with sixteen sullen refugees who get no respect
if poverty’s the question then there is no response
if religion’s on the mind, war might slip the tongue

The hollow-hearted driver makes few demands
reading symbols and vectors in the shifting sands
en español they ask him if they’ll be there soon
his mouth is closed up tightly like a sutured wound

smoke spills from places where there is no day
its thick and sweet and sulfurous: a chemical haze
there’s dungeons in the bedrock his malevolence keeps
it’s an archetypal vision of a dismal king.

His presence is formidable but he seldom speaks
breathing air in hell is smoking eighty packs a week
his throat hurts, his mouth burns, his eyes are red
so he’s got politicians giving all his sermons instead.

Filigrees forming in sky-wide sensations
testing out that potion of an older generation
demons slip into view where reality’s weak
lives are spent confronting those calloused beasts

Ezekiel says that someday we’ll hear undead moans
there’s a boy in the basement swears he sees their bones
the nights are full of dry heaves and preternatural spooks
trying to make peace with Jesus as we tie Judas’ noose

So numerous and so unable to forgive
In wastelands of war, in medicinal miasmas
fighting words are written in toilet stalls everywhere
and apparently also in the holiest of books.
what comes up comes out
Last edited by haunted_engines at Nov 14, 2007,
#3
First off, let me agree with Jarrod316 in saying that It did sound a little forced in places. Nothing to worry about though.

As for the overall piece, I think that it is very good. Good subject matter, and I love the use of a large vocabulary. It's nice to see that are a few people on here with something beyond a rudimentary control of the English language.

I really didn't pick up anything bad, the only phrase I didn't care for was "Breathing air in hell is smoking eighty packs a week." Just sounded kind of corny to me. No offense though.

On a scale of ten I'd say around 8.4

So keep up the good work. Hopefully you keep churning out the good stuff for years to come.
#4
where does it seem forced? jw. it would be helpful to know where you think it's forced so i could fix it?

also...i use slant rhyme in some places. A piece that has only true rhyme I think becomes .... monotonous.

thanks for the responses.
what comes up comes out
Last edited by haunted_engines at Nov 13, 2007,
#5
Quote by haunted_engines
I wrote this yesterday... and I was seeking other opinions so i read it to my mom, my dad, and my girlfriend but as you can imagine they just thought it was amazing and stuff...but I'm not convinced myself. So i was seeking some fellow writer's opinions! Show me no mercy, because I will certainly show you none!

this is my first piece here, btw.


Bullets and Ballasts
haunted_engines

Gather up the hatred where the vengeance is fresh
takes form on the wall in the shape of a splash,
there’s anger manifesting on the Capitol’s steps
where policy hangs in limbo

this stanza is the only one where the last line is significantly shorter. i like that kind of structure, but when its the only stanza structured this way, i think it makes it stand out in a way it shouldnt. i love the first line, though.

There’s sixty grams of cocaine in the back of this van
with sixteen sullen refugees that get no respect
if poverty’s the question then there is no response
if religion’s on the mind, war might slip the tongue

the first line is a bit clumsy to me. i think there's one too many syllables. i think changing cocaine to coke would make it flow better. and saying cocaine makes me think of someone really naive and innocent and shocked. thats not a bad thing, but i dont get that vibe anywhere else in this.

The hollow-hearted driver makes few demands
reading symbols and vectors in the shifting sands
en español they ask him if they’ll be there soon
his mouth is closed up tightly like a sutured wound

i hate the image in the last line. thats totally a personal aversion, though. nothing constructive to say here...

there’s smoke that spills from places where there is no day
its thick and sweet and sulfurous: a chemical haze
there’s dungeons in the bedrock his malevolence keeps
it’s an archetypal vision of a dismal king.

the first line is a little awkward and wordy. maybe cut out the 'there's' and the 'that'...so, smoke spills from places where there is no day. i think that flows a lot better. the flow and the phonetics of the last line are absolutely beautiful.

His presence is formidable but he seldom speaks
breathing air in hell is smoking eighty packs a week
his throat hurts, his mouth burns, his eyes are red
so he’s got politicians that give all his sermons instead.

i would take out the 'all' in the last line. and i think i agree about the second line. not so much that its cheesy, i just dont really like it. i'm not sure why...sorry, thats not very helpful.

Filigrees forming in sky-wide sensations
testing out that potion of an older generation
demons slip into view where reality’s weak
lives are spent confronting that calloused beast

i think you use 'that' too much. in the second line it could be changed to the and still preserve the meaning. it just gets a little repetitive.

Ezekiel had visions but he was crazy and old
there’s a boy in the basement swears he sees their bones
the nights are full of dry heaves and preternatural freaks
I need to confront my phantoms and make my peace

the first line seems so common compared to the rest of this piece. its too conversational wheras the rest is very poetic. the second line i think there should be a comma between basement and swears. and the last line is a bit cheesy for me.

So numerous and so unable to forgive
in swamps and in wastelands, amongst chemical spills
there’s fighting words written in toilet stalls around the world
and apparently also in the holiest of books.

i dont like this as an ending. its not as strong as some of the other stanzas in this piece. the third line killed the flow here. its has so many more syllables, it really sticks out to me.



i liked this piece. there's just a few places that get wordy, and dont quite fit with the rest of the mood of the piece, but nothing major. and i dont really have a problem with the rhyming. i agree, straight rhymes get really old, really fast.

peace and love
ray
when birds flap their wings do the make believe they're really arms?
#6
THANKS so much for the really helpful critique!

I'm going to do a revision of it right now!

EDIT: The revision is below the original.
what comes up comes out
Last edited by haunted_engines at Nov 13, 2007,
#7
Gather up the hatred where the vengeance is fresh
takes form on the wall in the shape of a splash,
there’s anger manifesting on the Capitol’s steps
where policy hangs in limbo

This makes me believe that the narrator is wishing to kill someone, consciously/unconsciously knowing his life is at stake if done.

There’s sixty grams of cocaine in the back of this van
with sixteen sullen refugees that get no respect
if poverty’s the question then there is no response
if religion’s on the mind, war might slip the tongue

I love this stanza, IMO this really challenges the whole view of Monks and Nuns. don't forget to punctuate.

The hollow-hearted driver makes few demands
reading symbols and vectors in the shifting sands
en español they ask him if they’ll be there soon
his mouth is closed up tightly like a sutured wound

this makes me imagine that those refugees have been assulted, while the driver adopts them somewhere.


there’s smoke that spills from places where there is no day
its thick and sweet and sulfurous: a chemical haze
there’s dungeons in the bedrock his malevolence keeps
it’s an archetypal vision of a dismal king.

A great stanza here nothing to add, excellently done.

His presence is formidable but he seldom speaks
breathing air in hell is smoking eighty packs a week
his throat hurts, his mouth burns, his eyes are red
so he’s got politicians that give all his sermons instead.

Great rhythm, flow and nothing feels forced. Well done.

Filigrees forming in sky-wide sensations
testing out that potion of an older generation
demons slip into view where reality’s weak
lives are spent confronting that calloused beast

I've nothing to add here either, again very vell done.

Ezekiel had visions but he was crazy and old
there’s a boy in the basement swears he sees their bones
the nights are full of dry heaves and preternatural freaks
I need to confront my phantoms and make my peace

This is good, not quite as flawless as your previous two but still wonderful nonetheless and i'm happy with the result. Don't forget to add punctuation.

So numerous and so unable to forgive
in swamps and in wastelands, amongst chemical spills
there’s fighting words written in toilet stalls around the world
and apparently also in the holiest of books.

I'm not quite sure i understand what you're trying to say with this stanza, but i will not let that undermine your work.

Overall i liked this piece very much and i think you've got great talent and i hope we see more of that in the future.9.5/10
Last edited by Bleed Away at Nov 14, 2007,
#8
Quote by haunted_engines


Gather up the hatred where the vengeance is fresh
takes form on the wall in the shape of a splash,
there’s anger manifesting on the Capitol’s steps
where policy hangs in limbo

Good intro... I like the the rhyme in the first two lines... feels fresh... good bounce throughout until the last line... which kills me. I get what you were going for, however the flow at the last line just dies, rolls over and dies again. I think you need a few more syllables.

There’s sixty grams of cocaine in the back of this van
with sixteen sullen refugees that get no respect
if poverty’s the question then there is no response
if religion’s on the mind, war might slip the tongue

Good. I like the message, and the fact that you made it while still keeping it vague enough to leave for interpretation. You've really got me hooked at this point... The flow is still good. And honestly, I'm glad you didn't stick to 'true rhymes' or really rhymes at all here, it really frees the piece up.

The hollow-hearted driver makes few demands
reading symbols and vectors in the shifting sands
en español they ask him if they’ll be there soon
his mouth is closed up tightly like a sutured wound

The rhyme here feels forced. Not saying its a bad imagery with sutured wound... but it seems like you would have described it another way if you weren't going for a rhyme. Also, demands and sands feels a little forced as well. Not as much as the other one in this stanza... but it just feels like you got locked into rhyme and had to settle on your description, instead of really letting it go and saying what you wanted. However, you got your point across, and I like the fact that you used 'en espanol' instead of 'in Spanish.' Leaves a much better flow.


there’s smoke that spills from places where there is no day
its thick and sweet and sulfurous: a chemical haze
there’s dungeons in the bedrock his malevolence keeps
it’s an archetypal vision of a dismal king.

First line = run'd on. You need to shorten it up... it just trips over itself. While the rhyme between day and haze is nice... it wouldn't be a sin to lose day and end with something else (assuming it flows) because the rhyme is so indirect its not going ot be a huge difference if you drop it. The description in your second line made me need to change under-garments... well done.

As far as content, as a reader, I'm launched into a second scenario here, and I'm not sure that I like the fact that I just got thrown about. On my first read through, I was almost pissed off that there was no resolution to the Van scene and now I'm left in a dungeon?


His presence is formidable but he seldom speaks
breathing air in hell is smoking eighty packs a week
his throat hurts, his mouth burns, his eyes are red
so he’s got politicians that give all his sermons instead.

you need a comma after hell, or something to make it read better... as it is, it's confusing to read. The last line needs to be re-examined... it doesn't read well. MAybe something like "so he gets politicians to give his sermons instead." Same message, just reads smoother.

Filigrees forming in sky-wide sensations
testing out that potion of an older generation
demons slip into view where reality’s weak
lives are spent confronting that calloused beast

Good. Not much to say here. Good diction, good imagery... kinda hard to follow what you are getting at, but written well and I do get it.

Ezekiel had visions but he was crazy and old
there’s a boy in the basement swears he sees their bones
the nights are full of dry heaves and preternatural freaks
I need to confront my phantoms and make my peace

"crazy and old" is the best you can do? After all of the beautiful descriptors you've used throughout and the deep picture you've painted you are going to stick me with 'crazy and old.' I'm insulted.

The rest of it is good though... however the last line is a tad cliche... I mean confronting phantoms and making peace doesn't sound to original after the line before it... but its only a weak point because the rest of your piece has been very strong and original.


So numerous and so unable to forgive
in swamps and in wastelands, amongst chemical spills
there’s fighting words written in toilet stalls around the world
and apparently also in the holiest of books


Your flow dies again with the last line... its like pre-ejaculation almost... you're building, building, building... disappointment. It's a decent punchline it just doesn't do much for me when it brings your piece to a screeching halt. I really like your build-up here... you just need to make the last line close it down better... and not make me feel like I just hit a stop sign.


Overall, damn good piece. A few touch-up here and there. And honestly, I didn't feel like it was all that forced (which means you may have already edited it). You had a few spots where your flow drizzled... but with content you more than made up for it... your descriptions were truly lovely. Good work, my friend.


peace and coconuts,

-zC

*Edit: Typos*
#9
Its funny that you should think that i forced the rhyme of "soon" with "sutured wounds" because sutured wounds is EXACTLY the way i meant to describe the mouth, the way he isn't talking, and I actually wrote that line first. But i see what you're saying... nobody liked that image, i guess, so i might consider changing it. I just thought it was an intense way to end the stanza.

thanks for your help! both critiques were very thoughtful and very helpful!
what comes up comes out
#10
i like the revisions. just one thing i saw:

Ezekiel says that someday we’ll hear the undead moans


this line is better than the old one, but its really wordy. i think this would flow better:

Ezekiel says someday we’ll hear undead moans


it reads much more smoothly that way.
when birds flap their wings do the make believe they're really arms?
#11
Ezekiel says that someday we’ll hear the undead moans
there’s a boy in the basement swears he sees their bones
the nights are full of dry heaves and preternatural spooks
trying to make peace with Jesus as we tie Judas’ noose


I love it now.. Very well done. Almost brings a tear to my eye.
#12
thanks I'm way more happier with this piece now that i was before, thanks so much for looking at the revision!
what comes up comes out
#13
Quote by haunted_engines
thanks I'm way more happier with this piece now that i was before, thanks so much for looking at the revision!


Me too. Not that my happiness really matters since I didn't write it... but it really is a lot smoother now. It was great to begin with... but now its great and its smooth, the essence of poetic perfection.

Also... I just noticed you are in the Newbie comp... *snaps fingers in dejected way* there went my chances...
Last edited by ZanasCross at Nov 14, 2007,
#14
don't think of it that way. Just think of it as good competition. There's no telling how the judges will judge, its very possible the poem you submit will be better than the one I do. and who knows maybe there's some supterstar stud poet in that competition who will blow everyone away. It happens.
what comes up comes out
#15
i thought it was very good, and I can't add much becausef the other crits hit the main points. I would advise you to make it a little shorter though. I hope to see more of your work in the future.