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Like a Blind Man

When I was orange-red and molten
learning was a hammer
shaping me in blows and black metal.
Growing up alone
the hard lessons are elemental.
I learned the ways of the world
like a blind man
feeling with his hands.

17 Apr 07

Rated 8.5 (8.5) by 2 users.
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nice story.
i think this could stand having the crap squeezed out of it.
very wordy, smells too prosy.
good start, however...
 — unknown

Yes, I readily concede it's like a short story with a line of poetry at the end.
 — rocket

I enjoyed reading this, prosaic qualities aside; the finish is very strong.

I'd suggest creating a new poem out of the skeleton of this one: the first stanza, lines 9-10 (My self had twisted and formed/into something cold and hard like steel), 33-34 (I grabbed his shirt collar, pulled him closer/and snarled, "Don't fuck with me, I have enough problems) and the concluding six lines (starting with "I learned that lesson late...") are a really strong framework.  Your whole collection is admirable, and I hope you don't let this one fade.
 — mikkirat

I don't think you need 2 verses about the jock.  One would be sufficient.

I don't get the connection between threatening to beat someone up and having women around.  I am a woman and I have never threatened to beat anyone up.  
 — Isabelle5

To address your question Isabelle, obviously there are differences between the experiences of genders. Growing up, how often were you bullied with the threat of violence by women? I'm writing about growing up without a father.

Your question is insightful into how this needs to be shaped.

mikkirat, good thoughts, I will be revising this soon in that direction.

Thanks for the comments everyone.
 — rocket

I understand being afraid of violence by a woman but only because my mother was a slap and kiss mom and sometimes you didn't know what would set her off.  It didn't make me want to beat up anyone, it made me want to be alone and not put myself in range.

I didn't think about no father for you.  That makes it clearer.  You learned to fluff your fur and look huge, like chimpanzee's doing their leadership dance, is that right?  Or as I tell people, "Wear double shoulder pads and whistle Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf!"  Illusion is everything.

Maybe you could clarify this by adding 'only' in front of women, that would help immensely.

I appreciate the explanation.  
 — Isabelle5

rocket, just so you know, I read lines 40-45 just as, I believe, you intended them.

I haven't put out much of my personal history on the web or PC, but I was raised in an all-female household; my father was continually being rotated in and out of Vietnam, and I was not just the only boy, but the youngest to boot.  I was not taught to respond -- or I was taught to not respond, take your choice -- to violence or intimidation, and yes, "some of these things you have to figure out yourself/like a blind man."  

I don't know how you might reword that section to clarify it for those with different experiences or backgrounds (or if you want to do so), but I just wanted to tell you I got it on first read.
 — mikkirat

Thanks for sharing that mikki, I appreciate your perspective.
 — rocket

after reading the comments, i gathered the impression this used to be a much longer poem? i think it says enough as it is now, simply, yet not outright.

i really like this poem, especially how the first line immediately grabbed my attention.

the only suggestion i have is to add another line to the middle stanza, to keep form.
 — inutile

so i see you've squeezed the crap out of this.
wow. you really squeezed it. it could bee squeezed
even further, without harm, if you're so inclined.
learning a hammer  2
growing alone   4
hard lessons elemental   5
a blind man   7
 — unknown