poetry critical

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the backhand of love

There was nothing to stop me from disappearing
into a trail of bread crumbs
until you flung out a dragnet of knuckle bones.
A snowflake’s down settled over the bone meadow
beneath my skin. I was never looked at like I was moon,
merely tossed over left shoulder
that lucked into being a star, into dying
in the backhand wishes.
Your kisses flipped copper pennies
against rough baseboard of tongue till I blushed
an orchid’s frail bruise. But lover, my heart is hard;
I fear its vessels have toughened into gravel streams,
and there is no space for you. Stake your claim
on my freckled landscape and call it discovery,
call it conquered, fight your way in.
For you are the first man to leave your footprints behind
on my bedspread like you really meant to return.

19 Jan 07

Rated 9.2 (9.2) by 8 users.
Active (8): 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (0):

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Yow, this is really well-crafted.  The use of slant rhyme, and the particular scheme, are very subtle.  The voice is haunting, and even with the long line-length, there is very little filler in the poem, good work with the economy of words.

While I love this already, I do, of course, have a few suggestions, two minor, two substantial.  Minor: I think drag net (3) should be a single word, dragnet, and I'd repunctuate line 11 to read "But lover, my heart is heavy; I fear its vessels..."  to smooth the abrupt feel of "But lover".

More problematic for me is "Your belief" in line 9.  While it works perfectly as far as sound is concerned (belief/wing/beneath), "belief" seems too abstract to be a snowflake's down wing.  I don't have any suggestion for substitution now, but do consider options.  Lastly, while I really like the thought of the last two lines (and conquered/return), "like you really meant..." feels weak.  Again I haven't any other ideas for you, but will mull it over.

Excellent work here, "stake your claim on my freckled landscape" alone is worth the price of admission.

 — mikkirat

I agree, although things still escape me, this is really a well-witten poem, narrating a very intense experience...

The last two stanzas are outstanding I would say... I'm really moved by them.
 — greenmantle

Ooh, look at this!  Very nicely done, wit and creativity throughout without anything jarring.  I think you could remove the comma end of line 12 since you already have the 'and' in line 13 as a join.
 — Isabelle5

A crumb is not much different than a piece, I wonder if simply "bread crumbs" would serve you better on L2.

Absolutely amazing language. This is probably the best poem I've read on PC.
 — rocket

beautiful, I will be back to comment on this later
excellent work, thank you for it
 — slancho

Luscious and lovelorn.  "10."  
 — starr

wow.  !
 — sarahjoie

Great ending! I only wish the beginning of the end was a bit more powerful. Line 14 is a bit weak. I really love the image in lines 9 and 10, good stuff!
 — bbucsis

come round onto
very nicely.
nifty words
 — chuckles

if four users love it...then it must be good! I didn't even read it! 7/10!
 — Henry

i wonder if you've lived this. i can't quite tell.  it doesn't matter if you did or not. but it seems like your struggling to make this so real, so lived - until lines 16-17, where i see what you are really getting at.  these images are hard for me to hold on to. the visuals are tough to imagine but that may be b/c your use of language in general is odd to me.  but that's just me (i'll read more of your poems to get a better grasp of you. perhaps i'll change my opinon .) overall i love the words you choose and each word has a place , which i value.  i have no suggestions for improvement. it's not my place to do that for any poet. i'm merely telling you what the poem says to me.  
 — mult209