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    Let's Dream Again

    play with my bra strap when we’re in the dark

    lay me down and touch me so sweetly

    I wonder if everything else is a dream

    when your green eyes catch on my face

    I wonder if you’re the dream

     

    when your dad gets home you push me into the closet

    slam the door in my face

    tug your tiny tank top down again

    covering up miles of your skin and my sweet, sweet kisses

    and don’t let me out for hours and hours

    when your dad falls asleep you sneak me out

    say tomorrow is when everything will change

    What we love about it

    What a stunning poem! Beautiful use of concrete details and vivid language! "Miles of your skin"--holy smokes!!

    Suggestions to strengthen

    This poem just needs a little nudge. You might consider making familiar phrases like "sweet kisses" and "I wonder if you're a dream" new with fresh language, perhaps alluding to the fugitive nature of the relationship.

    The problem solver

    On a sunny spring day

    as we sat to decorate

    our little patch of green

    my baby crawled away

    to select a pinwheel.

     

    She carefully crawled

    all the way to me.

    I painfully adjusted

    the glittering pink wheel

    to the current of air

    filling the space

    with joy and color.

    What we love about it

    This poem describes a beautifully sweet moment of parenthood and will have broad appeal.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    Although the situation the poem describes is sweet, what is at stake in this poem? You might further explore the relationship between a child's blooming agency and her parent's authority.

    One in Eight

    Then there was the quiet 

    The silence after you left

    The emptiness of you gone 

     

    Wishing that I’d looked closer 

    Wishing I’d noticed 

    Wishing forever

     

    It’s so different now

    Forever foggy 

    Forever missing you

    What we love about it

    This poem walks heart forward, and the speaker's pain is beautifully evident.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    I'd love to have something concrete to hold onto--an image, a description, a metaphor. What, for example, does the speaker wish they had looked closer at, noticed, or wished for?

    Long time ago I was born onto this world

    Long time ago I was born onto this world,

    Spitted out of my mother’s womb unquestionably, without a mercy putted on earth,

    Cursed to walk on the broken glass, smile to monsters and dance with the dragons,

    Weep inside, die and die all over again

    Than there was something else I don’t quite remember name of the word, but I remember the feeling, it was euphoric, sad but lifegiving, thing that kept me going through the fire, what made me enjoy all the flames and burns.

    No it was not love, I never tasted love nor did I understood the foolish victims of it,

    But I feared them, those people would destroy there whole life, set the sky on fire only if it meant keeping the one there loved one safe and happy.

    What we love about it

    This poem employs several beautiful turns of phrase, like "spit out of my mother's womb unquestionably" and "cursed to walk on the broken glass." These are specific and tellingly concrete.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    Much of the poem centers on generalities and abstract ideas. You might consider using more concrete details to bring the poem "down to earth" and to allow the reader to hold the poem's ideas in the imagination.

    wind and grace

    nature feeling like an escape to the moon

    while i hold onto your hands til noon

    as tears run down my face

    and i’m wondering, will you ever be replaced?

     

    the wind and dirt bring the chase

    as if they separate us from this place

    while i hope that you’ll be blessed with grace

    once you’re somewhere in the space

    What we love about it

    This poem's sonics are stunning. The rhythm and rhyme pull the reader pleasingly along.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    That said, the "wind" and abstract airiness in this poem make it difficult to hold in the imagination. You might try adding some concrete details and images--where are these people sitting? where is the other person going? what does grace look like?--to bring the poem down to earth and to the reader's eye level.

    Charlie

    I long for your company to fill the void,

    Brutish actions and silent debate.

    Our memories are pictures from a polaroid,

    But your ink was becoming desolate.

    What we love about it

    This poem's use of similes in the second half of the poem is stunning and vivid!

    Suggestions to strengthen

    It feels like you might have more to explore in this poem! You've introduced a complex relationship on earth, but then you jump to the stars. I'm curious what happens in between!

    The Feelings of Orange

    Orange is the feeling you get

    When looking out into the distance

    Feeling the warmth of the sun,

    The comfort of others.

     

    Orange is the feeling of

    Biting into a fresh piece of fruit

    Under the comforting shade

    Of a tree in summer.

    What we love about it

    This poem pays thoughtful homage to a single color, and the meditative attention on the hue is beautiful.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    The poem might benefit from the inclusion of more visual elements and concrete details. Where is orange felt in the body? What is its temperature? How does the fruit feel on the tongue? Including more details like these will help the poem pop.

    I keep your secret

    I keep your secret

    I keep it locked away

    I let it out with friends and family and strangers, wrapped in a blanket of humor

    A laugh about a man and a lie

    They laugh, I laugh, I hide

    I let it out to my therapist

    I may never trust men again

    That wasn’t all you

    You’re just the most recent one.

     

    I keep your secret from the only person who really matters

    I scroll through her page and see the photos

    You’re happy with her

    Happy.

    With her.

    I never really existed to you.

    I can handle that.

    Can she handle that I did exist?

    What we love about it

    This poem's honesty is electrifying and brave!

    Suggestions to strengthen

    Part of poetry's power comes from its ability to compare unlike things, and, in this comparison, to discover something new about each "half" of the metaphor. You might consider adding more metaphoric language to reveal something unique about secrets--keeping them, being one, etc. What does it feel like in the body? To what other thing/situation in the world could you compare it to?

    The Affair(s)

    i silently search your eyes

    Climb into your brain

    Try to gauge your thoughts

    Try to see if you know im in pain

    Pain you discovered and fostered as your own

    Pain that rains down

    Showering

    Covering

    Smothering

    Cascading through my hair

    Splashing against sagging shoulders

    Rolling down a withered, weathered spine

    Half the force it used to be.

     

    Broken backs need more than just a Brace

    What we love about it

    The poem's pacing and phrasing mimic the spiraling feelings of heartbreak in a gorgeous way. And the second half of the poem does excellent work of showing rather than telling.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    While the second half of the poem includes very specific, visual details, the first half doesn't exhibit the same concreteness. What, for example, is this pain the other figure discovered in the speaker? What is it made of? Does it have a color or scent? How can you make the first half of the poem as clear and vivid and the second?

    I try again

    I try again

    Forgetting the pain

    I try to stand

    Dusting off imaginary sand

    Try to move forward

    Knowing I’m a coward

    I try to run

    Instead I burn

    Fall back down like an asteroid

    I crash, I’m paranoid

    What we love about it

    The near-rhymes at the end of each line mimic the rising and falling motion I imagine the speaker undertakes in this poem, but without the cloying sound of perfect rhyme. Excellent work!

    Suggestions to strengthen

    The inclusion of some concrete details (where are these figures? what is the quality of the light on them? what time of day is it?) would help ground the reader in a poem that, at the moment, feels a bit abstract.

    Sleeping with You

    The best part about sleeping with you

    Not sleeping like having sex

    Sleeping like two kids laying innocently in a bed together

    When we are both in our claimed corners

    Our bodies completely separate

    Somehow you reach your arm over

    It finds the shape of my waist perfectly

    What we love about it

    This poem pays beautiful homage to an intimate moment in time and does an excellent job of employing concrete details to show how these two bodies exist in relationship.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    How might you push this poem a little further to dig a little deeper into the idea you present here? Give the reader some more details about this situation and the dynamic. When you push past your area of comfort in a poem, you open yourself up to ideas that truly resonate.

    Orchestrated Silence

    It’s that point.

    That numbing silence…

    When all else fades,

    And there is nothing.

     

    It is that.. Orchestrated silence.

    That low ambient hum.

    What we love about it

    The phrase "orchestrated silence" is dazzling, and I love how the poem enlarges silence's seemingly small presence.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    I would actually love to "hear" more in this poem. You might bring in some imagery from orchestras or bands, or you might even let the words themselves make some noise--you could play with "sh" and "s" sounds or "m" and "o" sounds . . . I think bringing more texture and sound into the poem will allow the reader to "hear" this profound silence even more clearly!

    One of THOSE days

    It’s one of those days 

    Those days where you’re thinking I’m ignoring you

    Those days where I can’t find it in me to put on a smile for you 

    For you it’s one of “those days” but what do you think it means for me

    I lay there still

    I lay there with meaningless tears in my eyes 

    I lay there and I think about you

    How you’re thriving and being good to you FOR you

    I lay there and think about how to you I’m nothing but lazy 

    how unattractive it might seem for someone to have no motivation, no drive.

    I’m proud of you for doing so much, but I’m also proud of me for doing so little.

    You’re right, it is “one of those days”

    What we love about it

    This poem approaches difficult feelings with beautiful focus and will have broad appeal.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    You might experiment with adding some color, texture, sound, and image to help anchor the reader in this scene. Where are the figures in this poem? What do the speaker's tears feel like in their eyes? The inclusion of specific, sensory details will help the poem jump off the page.

    Red Sky at Night

    Red sky at night, sailors delight; red sky in the morning, sailors warning

    I wish I could hate him, she said

    Or I wish he could say he is sorry, she said, and like a fish could come swimming as soon as that bait hit the water.

    I wish I could hate him, she said;

    Or I wish I would have told somebody sooner, and instead like a sailor; I would be watching the lunar landscape in the night with the red sky and feeling delight.

    Instead I chose warnings that turned into endless nights of mourning

    I wish I could see the forewarnings my twelve year old self would encounter,

    I wish I could hate him, she said;

    What we love about it

    This poem courageously tackles trauma, employs stunning metaphors, and makes brilliant use of a nautical aphorism.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    In some stanzas, the speaker takes on more of a "telling/explaining" tone rather than the "showing" tone that would lend more power to a poem. For example, when the speaker says, "Knowing, I will get better and that although I did not speak up sooner I helped a lot of people along the way. I healed the wrong way, but I learned to forgive and feel pride of who I am," what if instead, you replaced this explanation of healing with symbols or images of healing? How could you show pride? What does speaking up look like? You might think about which sensory details and concrete images might show the reader what these thoughts and feelings look like.

    Unexpected

    The house you love. Imagine that. The one you love filled with people who terrify. If you create the tether, you must want it. All things we want we gamble for. Heat snarls around my back while I read about The Temple of lightness. Pain is a flower, I know because I read it. When did I become so desperate? The man I turned to in the kitchen, the one who kissed like he was giving me things back.

    What we love about it

    I was shocked by some of the language in here, particularly the use of the word "snarls"! Great work.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    I wonder about the form here. Is the prose form the best possible option for a poem like this? What would happen if you attempted to work with couplets? I also wonder about where the poem stops. Is it possible there's more to this poem than we can see?

    Rainbow

    Me and my friend are not friendly

    because she does not talk to me

    and I have not seen her in 5 years.

    What if she hates me?

    What we love about it

    The opening surprised us!

    Suggestions to strengthen

    The poems seems a bit undone. What if you worked on expanding the poem by writing 5 or 6 more stanzas?

    Blue Man

    Alone he walks in the dark blue streets.
    In the coldness and fear of the dark blue nights.
    The blue man alone always reaches,
    The old blue river where he will be affright.

    He stands there and think about all the old nights,
    When he thought of ending things for the final time.
    He always knew it would end by the river,
    But he never thought it will end tonight.

    What we love about it

    This poem does a great job of creating a moody atmosphere, and the language pairs well with the dark vision that's created.

    Suggestions to strengthen

    What were those lonely nights? Could the title do a bit more of the heavy lifting by providing more context to what this blue man's life was like?

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