Friday, May 22, 2009


Here we stand in our room of materialistic acceptance
The beautiful molding is a proclamation of our sophistication
Dressed for a joyous or sorrowful occasion
Embracing each other in the essence of coexistence
The walls that surround us is a testament to that very struggle
The feeling of warmth, as if a red sun were at our side at this very moment
As it desparately trys to shield us from the frost that is forming behind us
Where are we now? What are these walls that surround us?
Is this a cage that is keeping us in place as we try to endure
Or is it merely a boxcar, ferrying us to our final destination
Is there freedom in this place? Do we have a choice?
Maybe we are just horses racing to the finish line with blinders on
I can feel your warmth, yet I am not sure if this is your true nature
I am blind, but there is still room for you to enter, I am willing to invite
I only fear the emptiness that may remain once I am hollowed out
All I want is for you to speak truth, to tell me how you really feel
I try to let out a bellow of my true feelings for you
But I am restrained, this hood feels tight around my neck
As if it were a noose, and my next action could bring it bearing down upon me
Taking away my ability to breathe, to live, I am always cautious
And in being cautious, I will always be alone


Tony Lamb said...

Paul, you do a great job here of of conveying a feeling of perplexed sorrow. Your speaker seems resigned to his (her?) fate and I like the picture of somesone who desires intimacy but seems to know that they are not capable of responding to it. Perhaps it's just my Marxist nature but I would like to see you expand on this idea of "materialistic acceptance". Considering the ways in which we are seperated from each other by things, possesions could be fruitful as you think about "The feeling of warmth". Contradiction and tension between these two concepts (materialism/warmth,acceptance) could be worth exploring.

Tina said...

I kept coming back to this poem because of the sadness. I have the image of a person who is has been hurt many times and afraid to open their heart to more pain. I am not sure if that is what you were getting at since I don't know anything about poetry but I liked it. Good job

JWinn said...

I really likes this poem for capturing the complexity of love. The uncertainty of it all is beautifully complicated and described quite well. I agree with what Tina says about the person who has been scorned and resigning to the fact that they will always be alone because of this. I really liked it!

sallylynn said...

Paul ~

This is a really interesting map of a speaker's mind -- it tracks and follows through the initial metaphors and continually turns and turns them around until they transform into another thing (and so, also shape and reshape the emotional content of the poem). For example, the "room of materialistic acceptance" turns into walls (which are at first safe, then threatening) which turn into a cage or a boxcar, which then turns into the even more enclosed and strangling hood and noose. The whole poem, as it moves through these and other metaphors, gradually closes in on the reader, allowing the reader to participate in, through these metaphors, the experience described in the poem. The other repetitions and returning metaphors (sun, blindness, warmth, frost) also do a nice job of adding to this experience.

As you begin revising, and as you continue writing, I'd like to see you continue to think about word choice and how to make it sing or sear the reader. The first part of this poem does do a good job of using "sophisticated language" in order to mirror the sophistication called for by the speaker, but at the same time, "the essence of coexistence," because it is an abstract and heavy, multi-syllabic phrase, it has perhaps more of a distancing effect on a reader than you might like. Certainly I don't want you to "dumb down" the language -- but how might you convey this elegance and beauty at the beginning of the poem through image, rather than more abstract language?

Great work, Paul -- keep going!