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About Literature / Artist Member Justin WebbMale/United States Group :iconelocutionists: Elocutionists
Artists of the Spoken Word
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Update (10/31/14): Many thanks for reading!  I am bumping this journal as a way to rekindle the idea, so to speak - I want to do more of this as a way to help people break into the world of critique (in addition to perhaps making some type of workshop). So, please! watchers:

If you have a poem you think should be showcased, please send me the piece in a note and let me know what you think is wonderful/great/unique/worthwhile about it. I would be more than happy to take a look! :)


***


For this week's poem, we have a piece from LiliWrites, "Object."

ObjectI prod the sticky skin
between your ribs,
find air lacking.
there are words for this.
I do not want
to know them.
ten years ago 
you said that a human
was more than an accumulation
of bone and liquid
but here, with a cloth squeezed
between the few fingers
not touching the object
that you've become,
I cannot
agree.


This poem showcases a couple of things I'd like to briefly touch upon, in particular:

1. Effective use of title
On prima facie terms, the word 'object' is meant to relate to the narrator's deceased loved one.
This piece is focused on the metaphysical nature of human beings and whether we are just the sum total of our respective physical parts or if there is something more - some spiritual entity (i.e. the "soul," the "mind," etc.) - that makes us unique and separates us from other things.

The imagery of this scene is so focused, and we can clearly see the narrator drawing her own conclusion, namely that she does not believe we are anything more than physical-only beings, simple objects. Her pain is acting as a catalyst to expedite this discovery; however, there is more happening here than the drawing of philosophical conclusions. There's also an almost-latent type of anger the narrator seems to be feeling, and we see this through the explicit objection to the poetic assertion of the loved one that

ten years ago 
you said that a human
was more than an accumulation
of bone and liquid


So, not only is the narrator making her own metaphysical conclusions about the nature of human beings, but she is also upset with the deceased for misleading her/lying to her, perhaps when she was young and more naive (as signified by a decade's difference in time). In short, she objects with the now-object placed before her, putting herself on a philosophical high-ground of sorts.

2. Effective use of capitalization
Lili, in "Object," uses capitalization with great care, choosing to capitalize only the word 'I.' This, I think, holds great significance, as it seems to directly contradict the initial objection mentioned above. If the 'I,' namely the narrator herself, is on par with the rest of the words (and by extension the rest of the objects), why wouldn't she be referred to as 'i'? It seems as if there is more at work here, another more internal conflict or self-objection the narrator seems to be having with herself - perhaps she is asserting that humans are nothing more than physical objects but doesn't completely believe it (or does not want to believe it).

Thus, we have:
(a) A physical object, the deceased's body, being acted upon
(b) An explicit objection, namely that the narrator does not believe humans are more than physical objects
(c) An internalized objection, namely that the narrator (perhaps partially) believes humans are more than physical objects

The poem peels back one layer at a time, allowing the reader to experience different emotions and draw different conclusions with each reading.

***


Until next time,
J.
Update (10/31/14): Many thanks for reading!  I am bumping this journal as a way to rekindle the idea, so to speak - I want to do more of this as a way to help people break into the world of critique (in addition to perhaps making some type of workshop). So, please! watchers:

If you have a poem you think should be showcased, please send me the piece in a note and let me know what you think is wonderful/great/unique/worthwhile about it. I would be more than happy to take a look! :)


***


For this week's poem, we have a piece from LiliWrites, "Object."

ObjectI prod the sticky skin
between your ribs,
find air lacking.
there are words for this.
I do not want
to know them.
ten years ago 
you said that a human
was more than an accumulation
of bone and liquid
but here, with a cloth squeezed
between the few fingers
not touching the object
that you've become,
I cannot
agree.


This poem showcases a couple of things I'd like to briefly touch upon, in particular:

1. Effective use of title
On prima facie terms, the word 'object' is meant to relate to the narrator's deceased loved one.
This piece is focused on the metaphysical nature of human beings and whether we are just the sum total of our respective physical parts or if there is something more - some spiritual entity (i.e. the "soul," the "mind," etc.) - that makes us unique and separates us from other things.

The imagery of this scene is so focused, and we can clearly see the narrator drawing her own conclusion, namely that she does not believe we are anything more than physical-only beings, simple objects. Her pain is acting as a catalyst to expedite this discovery; however, there is more happening here than the drawing of philosophical conclusions. There's also an almost-latent type of anger the narrator seems to be feeling, and we see this through the explicit objection to the poetic assertion of the loved one that

ten years ago 
you said that a human
was more than an accumulation
of bone and liquid


So, not only is the narrator making her own metaphysical conclusions about the nature of human beings, but she is also upset with the deceased for misleading her/lying to her, perhaps when she was young and more naive (as signified by a decade's difference in time). In short, she objects with the now-object placed before her, putting herself on a philosophical high-ground of sorts.

2. Effective use of capitalization
Lili, in "Object," uses capitalization with great care, choosing to capitalize only the word 'I.' This, I think, holds great significance, as it seems to directly contradict the initial objection mentioned above. If the 'I,' namely the narrator herself, is on par with the rest of the words (and by extension the rest of the objects), why wouldn't she be referred to as 'i'? It seems as if there is more at work here, another more internal conflict or self-objection the narrator seems to be having with herself - perhaps she is asserting that humans are nothing more than physical objects but doesn't completely believe it (or does not want to believe it).

Thus, we have:
(a) A physical object, the deceased's body, being acted upon
(b) An explicit objection, namely that the narrator does not believe humans are more than physical objects
(c) An internalized objection, namely that the narrator (perhaps partially) believes humans are more than physical objects

The poem peels back one layer at a time, allowing the reader to experience different emotions and draw different conclusions with each reading.

***


Until next time,
J.
“Ellie,” I say, “I can’t do this.”

She tugs my arm. “Please, Blithe, please. I can’t anymore. I can’t.”

Her left leg has found its way out from beneath the bedding, and the smells of decaying flesh consume the air in the room. The gangrene has taken every toe. It slowly works its way up her foot. Some of the blisters have reopened, staining the sheet with viscous fluid.

Ellie moans. “I can’t,” she starts. “I can’t, I can’t.”

Killing is difficult. Watching a loved one suffer is killing. It is a slow go. Wondering how the singularity will arrive, waiting for it to arrive, is unbearable. Every muscle in the body contains a memory of time spent with that person. Open wounds.

With Ellie, it is no different. As I sit beside her now, letting her squeeze my hand, all I have are memories. It has been a wonderful life in spite of all the hard things we have to endure here, at the end.

“What about the hospital?” I ask.

“No more,” she says, violently shaking her head. “I can’t.”

I stand and then kneel, reaching for my strongbox underneath the bed. I open the box and grab the revolver resting inside. Its cylinder and body shine. I’ve never used it. I’ve never had the need.

“Honey, I can’t do this. Ellie,” I say. She places her hand on my head. I look up from the gun to her. “I can’t go on without you.”

“Blithe,” she says. “Do it. Please.”

Rising to my feet, I place the gun’s grip in her hand and close her fingers. “I can’t, honey. I will stay with you, though. I promise.”

“Yes, you can, Blithe,” she says. “You’ve always taken care of me.” She loosens her grip on the handle, letting the gun fall on the mattress. “You’ve always taken care of me.”

“You’ll be okay, Ellie,” I cry. I bring her hand to my lips, kissing many times. “We can get help.”

She turns her head away. “I can’t. Take care of me, Blithe.”

I grab my pillow in one hand. “Turn to me, honey.”

She obliges, and I turn my body to face her, and we look upon one another. She blinks more slowly than normal, as if nodding to me. I place the pillow over her forehead and eyes.

She moans again. “Blithe.” She folds her hands atop the blanket, just above her chest. “We’ve had a good life together.”

“The best life,” I say. “The best life.”

Her body lurches. “Please, Blithe.”

I pick up the revolver and place the nose of the barrel onto the pillow’s face, pressing just enough to let Ellie know it is there. This gives her peace. She begins to hum "The Best Is Yet To Come." I know the tune. It is our wedding song.

I start to cry uncontrollably. “Please, Ellie, don’t. Don’t. I can’t.”

“Yes, you can,” she says softly between notes. “You can.” She writhes for a moment, clenching her teeth, tightening her muscles. Then, she is calm.

I click the gun’s hammer into place.

Ellie takes a deep breath. “Is this going to hurt?” she asks.

Without thinking, I quickly lean in and kiss her, wondering where all our kisses have gone. It wasn’t like this in the beginning. Everything had seemed far off, in another time and another world. And yet, here we now are, dangling precariously on one final phrase.

“You won’t feel a thing,” I say, backing my head away from hers. “You won’t feel a thing.”

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Justin Webb
Artist | Literature
United States
Bonjour et bienvenue! Je m'appelle Justin!

I am an editor by day, poet by life, and I am looking to make some friends along the way.

Please check out my gallery. Any comments and/or critiques are welcomed and appreciated.

Thank you for stopping by.

- J.

Visit: My personal orations
Visit: The deviantArt orations

Critiques


Ron, my friend, as per your request, I'd like to offer my thoughts on this piece of yours. As per the usual: If anything in here doesn'...


This piece is exceptional, Nic, and I have been thinking a great deal about it since you posted it. As is the nature of sound poetry, a...


Hello! I noticed that you asked for critique on this piece, so I thought I'd offer some of my thoughts on the reading. I think the best...


This was a really enjoyable read, Lili. There is a serenity that is acting as the poem's thread here, and it leaves the reader with a w...

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:iconstyleoversubstance:
StyleOverSubstance Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  New member Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconei9:
ei9 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014
 awesome poetry Justin my main man and I'm absoluety hooked. Keep doing what you been doing homeboy and Godspeed all the way!
Reply
:iconliliwrites:
LiliWrites Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Are you married yet? :P
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconpomohippie7:
pomohippie7 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014   Writer
You have been selected as one of our Members of the Month at :iconword-smiths:! Congratulations on such great work; keep it up! 
Reply
:iconrlkirkland:
rlkirkland Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Google clued me in fiancée... I had no idea there were two spellings.
Reply
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