poetry critical

online poetry workshop

to the teacher who first called me a poet

I want to write a poem
that will raise voices like Braille
so even if you can’t hear these words
you can feel them press into your fingers
like lovers goose bumps
beneath your touch,
but I want to write a poem so virgin
that the air feels more holy
to hold it in its hands;
a poem so unique the world pauses
on its axis for a moment
says, “holy shit, man”
before it spins off again.
And I want to write a poem
about a god I can believe in.
A god who would never ask
me to pray on folded knees
with palms pressed tight
in apologies for living.
Especially if living means
inhaling coffee dreams in a city scene
cause then I’ll write a poem so caffeinated
it’ll get caught zigzagging
between the Starbucks that have invaded
every street corner,
a poem that will bounce off
steel and glass skyscrapers
with videogame pong monotony
before it shakes the dot-com babies
off their pipe dream walls on Wall Street
to end up like Humpty Dumpty
with a shattered white shell.
Because I want to start writing poetry
that picks the world up by its toes
like a virtuous blue-eyed bully on the playground
who takes the scrawniest kids
flips them upside down,
shakes the lint out of their jeans
then sets them back on their feet
and fills their pockets with change,
the kind of change that inspires
poets like me to spit poetry laced with gasoline,
strike tongues to teeth in fury
at the way our idealistic society
refuses to live up to its standards
then spit fire at the naiveté
still prevalent in human ideology
because us poets,
are tired of being ignored
just because we write about the beauty
in every body and tree,
so in love of all things aesthetically pleasing
I want to write a poem so organic
that only the plants understand it.
I want to press my lips around clouds
and shout sonnets with such sadness
that the universe cries comets
to distract me from things
like the suicidal tendencies of the geriatric
Because I want to write a poem
for the elderly
subscribed to the Hemlock Society.
expressing my apologies in a eulogy
for the narrow-minded conformity
that forces them to die quietly
aided by plastic bags and arsenic tea
drowning in memories of their youth
under a maple tree,
red with the tender rage
of racist scenes
they never had to see played out
on a big screen
because it was an everyday reality
or flashbacks of their children
turning black
with swollen stomachs full of nothing
but oxygen
so I want to write a poem
that will collapse bellies of air
till they are saturated
with purified water and protein,
eliminate any third world possibility
and sanitize the ozone layer clean
after our polluted chemistry projects
have gone awry, I’m going to paint
new clouds in the sky
and charm the whales into singing to me
at the edge of the sea
where I can finally breathe freely.

5 Jun 06

Rated 8 (8.1) by 25 users.
Active (25): 1, 1, 3, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (37): 1, 1, 1, 2, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

(define the words in this poem)
(41 more poems by this author)

(49 users consider this poem a favorite)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


"But I also" (L7) seems out of place - odd wording.
L14-19 are bloody brilliant - honestly, that's great poetry.
L35 virtuous? Why that?  Confused.
L42 is awesome.
This is quite possibly the best poem I have ever read on PC.  You are guaranteed to shred it up tomorrow - put your heart and soul into it, and the poem will grow wings in front of that audience.  Absolutely amazing, author.  I'm so glad to see in influx of slam onto this site - I love the style myself, though I've just recently started dabbling in it (been reading for years...)  

A 10, a favourite, but more imporantly something I feel means so much to you.  Exceptionally well done.  Loved, emphatically.
 — WordsAndMe

This is really exceptional.

You achieve the very necessary sense of pacing that good slam poetry requires, and a lot of your ideas come through very strongly as well.

Particularly stanzas 2 3 and 6 are excellent.

Thanks and have fun with this tomorrow night.
 — root

Stanza one is quite good too.

I think perhaps you lose focus a little bit in the middle strophes, but the beginning really grabs you.

root again
 — unknown

Line 24 "invade" needs to be changed to "invaded"
 — BreNanaBear

i want to read this aloud
and then do it again

thank you for posting this. !!
 — ruyi

Including Starbucks in a poem is always a bad idea. Good luck with writing that poem, I shall keep an eye on you.
 — unknown

I kind of like the starbucks reference - slam is such a young art, I think including culture is entirely appropriate (note Reggie Gibson or Saul William's works, for examples).

TragicBubble this is still brilliant.
 — WordsAndMe

Good luck tomorrow night
 — unknown

I went through the painful process of logging in through a software security device on a friend's computer just so I could grace my favourites list with a poem of this caliber.

Take that as a compliment, my friend. This is the best motherfucking slam poetry I've ever been exposed to. Kick some poetically-liscenced ass today. (10) + favourite indeed.

 — teo_omega11

this is amazing. there are no other words to describe it. i am absolutely blown away by the imagery. this is hands down both a ten and a favorite. beautiful.

 — missmurder

excellent. can I just ask what "slam" poetry is? Am a little confused!
 — marieF

I'd also like to know what it is...
 — Nostalgia

There is so much covered here it's hard to know where to begin, simpler just to say I love it. Sure there are some areas which could be tweaked a little but what I really feel here is YOUR voice, and that’s something that would be really cool – to hear your actual reading of this. I have heard poems read by many of the contributors to this site such as Rousseau (the ash is falling) and think this piece would really suit the audio format.

Good Luck with the public reading I hope we also get a chance to experience it.

 — unknown

wow its so inspiring. a great poem and yes i would say one of my favourites!
 — jessk

I love it, Favorite.
 — FolleRouge

I like this, but am haunted by its familiarity.  I know I have read or heard a poem based on "I want to write a poem that...".  Have you posted this anywhere else?
Cool poem. Best of luck with your reading.  Er, make that break a leg.
 — unknown

nice poem. thanks. i checked in to just this i guess.
 — hank

L15- god needs to be capitalized
L24- should be invaded*

Great job, I'll sign in and rate this later. (10)
 — unknown

 — atlanticaa

There ya go!
And, by the way, I know you'll kick ass today.
Good luck and such.
 — MEB

this is very good, deserving of the #1 spot.  only one problem:
line 24 should be "invadeD".  you're missing the d.
 — midare

I think you already wrote that poem.  Congratulations on hittin' the #1 spot.
 — starr


Excellent poem, last line- ture story.
 — Cloudless

Once slam poetry is put into print, it's time to pay attention to consistency. Either use grammar, correct punctuation and spelling, or do not. Print is different than speaking. While this is likely excellent spoken, it's a mess in print.
 — DianaTrees

I understand it's slam, but must the title scream?
 — unknown

no, my titles always scream when slam. it distinguishes them from the rest of my pieces. no, god is not supposed to be capitalized both times as it shows the unsteaady nature of my feelings towards him(/her). thank you for pointing out the "invadeD" line, i had not noticed. and yes, i have written this poem before, however i revamped it while only keeping some of the lines. so it is entirely my own, just posted here in a different version once before.

thank you for the comments, they made my week.

 — tragicbubble

whoa. amazing.

 — unknown

capitalize god in line fifteen.
i think someone already said that,but as dt pointed out, you need to be consistent when putting to print slam poetry.
 — unknown

brail or braille?
 — unknown

       Since we are asked to judge this as a slam piece the spelling errors, dull enjambment and lack of trope won't be an issue.  What will be relevant are the sonics, rhythm and performance.  

      In terms of sound, this is a winner.  "More holy to hold it in its hands", "palms pressed tight in apologies", "coffee dreams in a city scene", "cries comets" (which could use some help from the surrounding text) and the rhymes in the penultimate strophe are all noteworthy.  What might hamper the piece is the lack of sustained rhythms.  

      Performance?  This poem's success will rely largely on inflection.  We understand that too much emphasis is no emphasis at all, so you don't want to be just another person shouting into a microphone for five minutes.  Here is where the wordiness, lack of storyline and the plethora of plurals and abstractions may hurt your cause.  I see few places to rest and no obvious sign as to where you can have a credible buildup or pinnacle.

      Insofar as subject matter is concerned, you will run into the admonition not to write about writing.  I think you'll be fine if the judges are poets but if they aren't this work may be regarded as just another a navel-gazing rant.

      In any event (sorry for the pun), good luck with it.
 — drawniloc

I got chills. Favorite.

But Line 49 reads a little awkwardly. Maybe it should be "are all real tired."
 — the_recluse

not bad. last stanza was terribly corny.

i do not believe poetry can change anything really. All writers fall into this trap of not acknowledging the limits of their verbiage.
 — unknown

This is absolutely fantastic - you shoul record it and post it so we can hear. 10 and a fave. amazing stuff.
 — Rousseau

this was amazing. it was very inspiring.  really beautiful. you fit everything in that an amazing poem should have... beautiful balance, images, everything was just great!

10. favorite.
 — topop

reading this made me so happy. there's so much diverse imagery condensed in those 91 lines of glory! ahh!
 — HandsomeHerb

I've read this as a "slam" like 10 times andit get's better each time! There is seriously nothing wrong with it. You are a poet. I love L 42-43...there are so many lines i love tho... I just love this. 10!!!!!!!!
 — Delicatelie

 — soccerangel

Beatniks. "Nothing is new under the sun."

It just all starts over again. This is in reference to the forward of this poem, it just reminds me of a time when beatniks would sit before an audieence and perform in a similar way.
 — rrock

do you wanna make it a bit longer? Poetry does not need to be democratised as what does that term even mean in relation to poetry. Thats like saying trees need to be singers. It makes no sense get a hold of yourself
 — unknown

your desire for expression is beautifully stated.
 — unknown

my dear you are simply amazing.

this is fucking sweet.

(I mean, wow.)

 — unknown

Ah, yes!

Very nice!

I remember when this happened to me!
Cory Campbell of 8th grade Language Arts, he is still one of my greatest friends.

It deserves a 10.

With love,
      The Harlequin
 — TheHarlequin

Superb 10
 — gingerdave

I LOVE this =) =)

I re-read it over and over again.

Good work <3
 — forevergone

 — unknown

to the poet who first called me a teacher
 — unknown

stanza 7 gives me that pleasant twinge you feel when you read something really amazing, especially the "universe cries comets" part
 — unknown

out of curiosity, was this inspired by steve coleman's "i wanna hear a poem"?  

i mean, steve is a slam dynamo, and i don't think the similarity takes away from the integrity of this poem by any means--it's very great--but i was simply wondering.
 — X

no its not actually, but i loooove him
 — tragicbubble

I don't care what anyone else said, this poem was perfect in my eyes. I am going to try and take this piece in and hopefully I can reflect it's brilliance in my own writing. I think this is one of the first poems that ranked top that I would have personally placed there myself if I could have. It seems almost as though I have been sitting here waiting for a poem to speak to me, and then I came accross this piece which makes such a great effort to communicate with almost everyone and everything. This was a favorite and a ten before I finished, and, even more importantly, a true inspiration in life and writing.
 — Poor_Poet

this is an amazing piece.  slam works are so hard to find on sites like this and lemonfingers.

i'd love to hear it spoken outloud the way you meant for it to sound, because i can read it with two or three different rhythms & i'd love to hear where you put your full stops and all.

if you're interested, i've got a slam piece up, too.  (it's called stop, present time)
 — shakeit

There is a huge demand for slam poetry on here going by the scores and favorites. Personally I hope I never experience it. Not a fan. Not scored. I like only about 30%/40% of the content.
 — unknown

Slam poetry is slam poetry, relying more on the character of the recitation rather than the actual content.

In this case, the content is juvenile and weak. Lacking in any cohesion.

It sounds more like one of those wearisome preachers one hears preaching parrot fashion on street corners, a meaningless ramble of incoherency.

Poetry is supposed to be human emotion expressed by the finest words possible.
This is truly an example of the democratization of poetry down to its lowest common denominator, speaking volumes regarding the readership, than the pathetic nature of the content.

 — unknown

Exceptional? Yes.

Exceptionally bad.
 — unknown

This poem constitutes one of the many examples that perfectly illustrate why democracy and democratization are dangerous; everything is brought back down to the lowest common denominator.
 — Fox

Some day maybe you will graduate from slam poetry to 'real writing.'

Don't worry, you have your whole teenage life ahead of you.
 — unknown

who says i don't do both?
 — tragicbubble

slam poetry IS real writing.
 — MEB

This is a powerfully sustained beautiful cry from the heart
 — larrylark

I loved the third stanza, but that was it.  Probalbly because my style differs so much from yours.  I only write in metaphores and about feelings, never events or people.  But for this style, this poem is the shit.  In a good way.
 — nachoman

I have come back to this exercise for no other reason than it appears to be staying at the top rated spot for all the wrong reasons.

However, that is none of my concern.

Several reviewers have referred to the implied voice.

The voice in my opinion is so weak it would not be heard in a silent prayer meeting.

The poem starts in a very ineffectual manner.

“I want to write a poem.”

How could a line like that command attention?

A poem! What a joke in communication?

This  submission is total rubbish; it would not raise an eyebrow at a cocktail party.

Absolute poetic nonsense, parading under a new title.

Braille to the blind is a very serious subject, it is their entry into
a world of literature, it seems sad to me that that such a worthy system is demeaned by such a scurrilous piece of nonsense that this proposed ill thought out exercise relates too.

Even the finest thespian actor would have difficulty bringing this poetic corpse to life.

 — unknown

^Two points.

 — unknown

Poet - your words fly!!! Many thanks
 — philoanon

nice sentiments i think the naivete of human intentions is well displayed here. it is a nice hallmark card.

it will not change anything. i can see the lyrics featured in a "curious george" song.

we are the world
we are the children...
 — unknown

Really great and expressive. I sometimes get the same feeling you do... like you just wish you had something that awesome to offer to the world. To spend your soul wisely.
 — Virgil

You start out SO strongly. From the braille line you had me...

But then you lost me. The poem shifts gears immediately from something enlivening and active, to a stitched together rant about your views on society. I think you had a good head of steam, and you've got the skill, but I'd shift your anger into something more resolute.

I'm a slam poet myself, and I think you've got something here. Work it.
 — unknown

well, first of all, i have to say that i literally gasped out loud, complete with my hand going to my mouth and tears filling my eyes when i read the beginning of this poem.
i think those people who dont like this are those who dont share those same doubts in their work and earnest wish to truly create something brilliant- i think that it speaks to those of us who have that feel, especially about writing (poetry and otherwise) but others it is lost on, because they feel "above" writing about the struggles of writing. (i know personally i wish i could push out of that rut of writing about writing...)

but, i have to agree that some of it is too rambly and too.. "these are my views on society" i lost that whole amazed feeling entirely by the end... kind of disappointing
 — unknown

wow! i love how each part conects to the next so well. its amazing! omg! i love lnes 14-19. i totaly agree! this poem rocks!!!
 — popyelle

Too much i got bord (short attention spand) but as of what i did catch it was great
 — ManaBell

its good

its different


waaaaay  to long
 — Caducus

I have to second all of what Morchuis said without anything to add myself.  :)  Great critique there.  You should listen to it and perhaps attempt to bring this poetic corpse to life and then some.  Best of luck!
 — unknown

really fantastic piece of work! keep on it, wodnerful job!
 — unknown

you have talent, not taste. starbucks = try a nehiborhood coffee place instead.
poetry slams don't democratize poetry, they rob it's essence by reducing it to points. nibody can really ever 'win' at poetry.

but i like the poem!
 — thisway

This is gripping from the start, but it inevitably hangs itself on its own style due to the fact that spoken word is innately meant to be heard, not read. Though your presentation may be stunning in person, we have no perspective of this, and so instead we're forced to trudge through your oft-stated views on society, which sound distinctly like every other discontent poet the slam scene has to offer.

Take it down a notch; try bringing the audience to you, rather than rushing headlong into them. You've got the talent, there are numerous lines in here which support that, but there's too much of the same-old same-old to make this as strong as it could be.
 — WindingRhyme

bravo! all has been said by better critics than myself but I adore verse three...
 — Trish77

Gorgeous and strong. Felt like it should be read slam-style. One suggestion is that the last line seems a little weak. We understand through every stanza that you want to change/affect with your poetry, and I think it says this beautifully without you saying it in the end. Lines #87-88 are great, and perhaps wouldn't be a bad place to end it?
 — unknown

This is a beautiful poem.
 — Stellaella

holy shit, man...


but full of a breathless response at the same time..?

... gorgeous.

 — unknown

somehow yes, i'd forgotten i'd already commented once, but it's still as irritatingly excellent (i wish i would have thought of it....) as whenever i first read it.

 — unknown

i believe u have wrote a poem just as u wished...and this my dear poet,is it.
 — Padraic

This poem is bad...im sorry but it looks like a shitty first draft of a high school english paper...bottom line...this sucks.
 — unknown

 — Roarasaurus

I was sad when I got to the end. I finally found a poem that I could just keep reading and reading and reading.
 — scarlet_muse

To be honest, I just wanted to bump this back onto the recently commented list.

For some reason my accound was de-verified. If it wasn't, I'd renew my rating. Thanks for letting me use this for Forensics.

 — teo_omega11

i love this, i love the rhythm, i love it. at first i wanted it to end after the third stanza (i.e. i thought it was complete) but now that i read it in its entirety it is good the way it is. i like the crying comets, i like how you cover abstract and lofty as well as concrete and specific. it just gets better and better and i like the flow. sorry this is so incoherent.
 — crocophant

he he...im dum. thats supposed to be an "i"
 — unknown

I just had to drop by, reread this and offer up even MORE kudos!  I, too, remember that teacher with the utmost pride and respect.  Bravisimo!
 — starr

god does not need to be capitalized. in this context they are talking about 'a god', not God.
 — unknown

im never let down any time i read any of your work, i really really like your style and wording. This is definitely one of my favorites of yours.

If anyone is interested please read up on my poem (soon to be poems) and give me some criticism so i might make some better stuff in the future, thanks in advance. :)
 — MrFetus

the first portion of the poem was rather hard to read...I almost stopped reading.
 — unknown

i look forward to reading it.
 — unknown

it's over written.
 — unknown

I wanted to like thiis so much, but it is so over written, full of hyperbole and the first 2 lines need revision that i cold nly skim throuh it - I suppose then the problem lies with me.
 — opal

genius. typically.
 — skxe

Love Departs… Lacking Farewell  
A good message, found not in many poems.
The style is a little to familiar.
The poem seems a bit monotonous at points.
Overall, a good expression.
Your indirect style makes people think,
and that’s what the world needs.
Keep writing.
 — ACE

Please ignore the first line of my comment.
It is not a part of the suggestion.
An accident.
It is the name of one of my poems.
It was not meant to be typed.
 — ACE

Top Rated (expand)
Newest (expand)
  • Insmonia
  • as religion
  • Ancestral
  • But 14 Lines
  • //after a friday night at Southport//
  • mermaids
  • Intel Inside
  • Drama School
  • A Fight in Traffic
  • Walking Inside a Cave
  • untitled promise
  • Dead Deer, 100 Degree Night
  • Learning to Walk
  • Professionalism (II)
  • For my own god damn sake just hear me out
Recently Commented (expand)
  • hey baby-OVERHAUL
  • messing with perspective
  • Insmonia
  • as religion
  • finally
  • Perfection/Madness/Death (Now "Condensed Trilogy")
  • //after a friday night at Southport//
  • Digital Craft
  • Learning to Walk
  • Morality
  • Visions
  • //for ivan//
  • //at the drug house on van-buren//
  • Intel Inside
  • Dead Deer, 100 Degree Night
Recent Best (expand)
  • 1. //for ivan//
  • 2. //at the drug house on van-buren//
  • 3. \\ Now The Cat's Got No Whiskers \\
  • 4. Dead Deer, 100 Degree Night
  • 5. mark'd
  • 6. Returning Home
  • 7. hank and i press our hands
  • 8. This Is Your Last Chance
  • 9. the impoetic man
  • 10. You Kissed Like a Prostitute
  • 11. From Worthy to Wanton and Not a Bit of Shame
  • 12. Tantric Loom
  • 13. An open letter to my ancestors, circa 874 A.D.
  • 14. on haiku
  • 15. Burn Down Summer