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Dr-Worm's Short Stuff

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Dr-Worm
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Dr-Worm's Short Stuff 2010-10-19 01:55:32 Reply

I thought it might be nice to keep any shorter poems and stories that I might post here in one convenient thread. Comments and critiques will be much appreciated. Uh...and away we go!

"Nighttime at Alcatraz"

Looking out over the railing
Off the edge of the crumbling island
There is no light
No sign of people, or any life
Just darkest blue, mixing with sky
Stretching as far as I could see
Swishing in the wind

We zip up our sweatshirts to ward off the cold
My friends seek out land
I alone search the void
But I feel no solemnity, only gentle calm
Looking out over the railing
I have never seen such freedom
As that enjoyed by a speck of darkness on the swaying ocean


NG Cinema Club Movie of the Week: If... (Anderson, 1968, UK) | Letterboxd | Last.fm

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DeftAndEvil
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Response to Dr-Worm's Short Stuff 2010-10-19 02:51:33 Reply

i like the topic. i always thought alcatraz was an interesting place.

there is no end punctuation, which in some parts keeps the flow, but in other parts (lines 2-3, 3-4, 4-5, 7-8) feels awkward. i like the caesura (woo, cool poetry-talk!) in lines 4 and 5. this creates superb oceanic, wave-like rhythm. bravo. also, good use of onomatopoeia.

wow, good ending. at first it feels like a hopeful ending, but you magnificently continue the theme of cosmic insignificance, integrating good visual imagery. although, you say a speck of darkness in the ocean, but that the ocean was discernible from the sky. the inconsistency feels off. the last line is in passive voice. i don't really care for passive voice but i am just saying.

good imagery, good flow at parts. needs work in making sure the flow stays intact (or breaks correctly, i don't know).


Despite the name, I'm actually good--Deft, and good!

Giving out reviews to anyone who wants them (exception: poems. I'll find you).

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Dr-Worm
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Response to Dr-Worm's Short Stuff 2010-10-19 04:56:07 Reply

At 10/19/10 02:51 AM, DeftAndEvil wrote: although, you say a speck of darkness in the ocean, but that the ocean was discernible from the sky.

Hmmm...I thought the word "mixing" was enough to indicate that the two were blending in with each other, but I dunno, I should probably look into this some more. You may be right about this, but still, I like the idea that the speck of darkness is riding the waves.

good imagery, good flow at parts. needs work in making sure the flow stays intact (or breaks correctly, i don't know).

Thanks for all the constructive criticism. I can already see a few places where a little punctuation can make a big difference in the flow. Sometimes an abrasive, fragmented flow can make sense for a poem (as you might see with the next one I post), but that's probably not the case when the subject is the ocean. So obviously I've got a little more tinkering to do.


NG Cinema Club Movie of the Week: If... (Anderson, 1968, UK) | Letterboxd | Last.fm

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Response to Dr-Worm's Short Stuff 2013-02-04 08:11:25 Reply

Eh, fuck it, I might as well dump a couple pieces of quick microfiction I did for a fiction writing class last year. Uh, enjoy!

The collective vibration of the congregantsâEUTM low singing voices rumbled through every seat packed into the synagogueâEUTMs sanctuary. Hannah was part of the melodic thumping of the ancient heartbeat of her people, on its holiest of holy days, and it bored the shit out of her. She winced with a mild, automatic pang of guilt for cursing in Temple, even if it was only in her head. Her stomach growled. âEUoeHow much time is left?âEU she murmured. Her mother mouthed âEUoenot much longerâEU and turned back to her prayer book. Hannah slumped back in her seat and tried to think of what else she could do to pass the time. She had already spent what seemed like countless hours playing with the veins on the back of her motherâEUTMs hand, drumming on the arms of her chair, counting the panels on the floor, pretending to go to the bathroom and wandering around the buildingâEUTMs perimeters, staring at the fascinating and grotesque flapping jowls of the old man sitting in the row in front of her, and listening to several teenagers receive sharp whispers for trying and failing to stealthily peek at their phones. In a moment of true desperation, she had even briefly tried to follow along with the service. But now, with âEUoenot much longerâEU to go, Hannah was out of ideas. All she could do was look up at the sunlight coming in through the high windows, wondering what all the Christian kids were doing on their day off from school and what they were eating for lunch.

- - - - - - - -

The early afternoon sun cast a tired, half-hearted trickle of light through the blinds of PeteâEUTMs bedroom window, almost as though it, too, were hung over. After mentally steeling himself for several seconds, he managed to slide out of bed and stumble over to the closet, where he groggily put on the first t-shirt and pair of jeans he saw. PeteâEUTMs mind, still weighed down by sleepiness, went into a sort of tunnel vision where all ideas and plans for the day evaporated the second he thought of them, leaving only a single word that pounded at the back of his skull: âEUoecoffee.âEU He threw on a coat and plodded out into the street.

As he rounded the final corner on his arduous journey, PeteâEUTMs awareness of the world around him was so muted and his head drooped so low that he barely even noticed the young woman eagerly bouncing back and forth between dispassionate passersby, waving a clipboard in their faces. A permanent smile was plastered onto her face, the kind that teeters uneasily between fake and genuine. Not a single person she approached so much as made eye contact with her, but her enthusiasm and energy never seemed to waver. She had been out there for hours. When Pete suddenly noticed her zipping towards him, he became so overwhelmed by this new obstacle to his mission that he made the deadly mistake of stopping in the middle of the sidewalk.

âEUoeHi, would you like to sign a petition to-âEUoe The rest of her spiel trailed off into unintelligible noise as Pete desperately searched for an avenue of escape. Wherever he turned, she appeared, rattling off her chirpy gibberish at a constant clip.

âEUoeUh, I-âEUoe

âEUoePlease. ItâEUTMll only take a second of your time, plus-âEUoe Pete could see the coffee shop down the street behind her head. He could give her an emphatic yet polite âEUoeno thank youâEU and walk away, but he couldnâEUTMt muster up the will for that, and she would never let him finish a sentence anyway. He could try to sneak around her, but she was faster than him. With a heavy sigh of resignation, Pete took the pen out of her hand and scribbled his name on the clipboard without even looking. Despite this being her first success on a long and unforgiving day, her expression and demeanor did not change one bit.

âEUoeThank you so much, you have no idea how much youâEUTMre helping.âEU

âEUoeThatâEUTMs true,âEU he mumbled, and shuffled past her, defeated yet relieved.


NG Cinema Club Movie of the Week: If... (Anderson, 1968, UK) | Letterboxd | Last.fm

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Dr-Worm
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Response to Dr-Worm's Short Stuff 2013-02-04 08:16:52 Reply

Ugh, I should have known better than to copy and paste directly from Word. Second attempt:

The collective vibration of the congregants' low singing voices rumbled through every seat packed into the synagogue's sanctuary. Hannah was part of the melodic thumping of the ancient heartbeat of her people, on its holiest of holy days, and it bored the shit out of her. She winced with a mild, automatic pang of guilt for cursing in Temple, even if it was only in her head. Her stomach growled. "How much time is left?" she murmured. Her mother mouthed "not much longer" and turned back to her prayer book. Hannah slumped back in her seat and tried to think of what else she could do to pass the time. She had already spent what seemed like countless hours playing with the veins on the back of her mother's hand, drumming on the arms of her chair, counting the panels on the floor, pretending to go to the bathroom and wandering around the building's perimeters, staring at the fascinating and grotesque flapping jowls of the old man sitting in the row in front of her, and listening to several teenagers receive sharp whispers for trying and failing to stealthily peek at their phones. In a moment of true desperation, she had even briefly tried to follow along with the service. But now, with "not much longer" to go, Hannah was out of ideas. All she could do was look up at the sunlight coming in through the high windows, wondering what all the Christian kids were doing on their day off from school and what they were eating for lunch.

- - - - - - - -

The early afternoon sun cast a tired, half-hearted trickle of light through the blinds of Pete's bedroom window, almost as though it, too, were hung over. After mentally steeling himself for several seconds, he managed to slide out of bed and stumble over to the closet, where he groggily put on the first t-shirt and pair of jeans he saw. Pete's mind, still weighed down by sleepiness, went into a sort of tunnel vision where all ideas and plans for the day evaporated the second he thought of them, leaving only a single word that pounded at the back of his skull:"coffee." He threw on a coat and plodded out into the street.

As he rounded the final corner on his arduous journey, Pete's awareness of the world around him was so muted and his head drooped so low that he barely even noticed the young woman eagerly bouncing back and forth between dispassionate passersby, waving a clipboard in their faces. A permanent smile was plastered onto her face, the kind that teeters uneasily between fake and genuine. Not a single person she approached so much as made eye contact with her, but her enthusiasm and energy never seemed to waver. She had been out there for hours. When Pete suddenly noticed her zipping towards him, he became so overwhelmed by this new obstacle to his mission that he made the deadly mistake of stopping in the middle of the sidewalk.

"Hi, would you like to sign a petition to-" The rest of her spiel trailed off into unintelligible noise as Pete desperately searched for an avenue of escape. Wherever he turned, she appeared, rattling off her chirpy gibberish at a constant clip.

"Uh, I-"

"Please. It'll only take a second of your time, plus-" Pete could see the coffee shop down the street behind her head. He could give her an emphatic yet polite "no thank you" and walk away, but he couldn't muster up the will for that, and she would never let him finish a sentence anyway. He could try to sneak around her, but she was faster than him. With a heavy sigh of resignation, Pete took the pen out of her hand and scribbled his name on the clipboard without even looking. Despite this being her first success on a long and unforgiving day, her expression and demeanor did not change one bit.

"Thank you so much, you have no idea how much you're helping."

"That's true," he mumbled, and shuffled past her, defeated yet relieved.


NG Cinema Club Movie of the Week: If... (Anderson, 1968, UK) | Letterboxd | Last.fm

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