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Bereft of infantile chatter
and the ever-present demand
of "Daddy, look at me."
this house seems nothing more
than a collection of walls
that has forgotten how to breathe.

In the absence of the rattle clang
of pots, the smell of fresh bread
and the subtle happy gurgling
of water set to boil,
it's no wonder I'm growing thin.

Sleeping single in this double bed
curled around a memory of her warmth,
her shampoo smell a pillow whisper
tickling my nose, it's no suprise
to greet bloodstained eyes
in my morning mirror.

I'm adrift,
with nothing to hang
about my neck
but a weightless name,
while I long for the
comforting gravity of words
husband, father
to bind my feet
to familiar earth once more.



------
Smile if you're stupid,
laugh if you understand.


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Comments

The following comments are for "Without"
by Bartleby

wow
I loved this piece. I got completely caught up in the imagery.

"...a collection of walls
that has forgotten how to breathe."

Bravo!

it really bows the strings of the heart with perfection.

( Posted by: the Co.konspirator [Member] On: March 10, 2004 )

Without
Excellent work immense

( Posted by: Gordon [Member] On: March 10, 2004 )

Beginning
Not so sure about the beginning. "Bereft"? Perhaps it's just a personal thing. The fourth verse sold it for me though.

"husband, father
to bind my feet
to familiar earth once more."


Brilliance personified. Great job, as per usual, Bart.

( Posted by: False Dawn [Member] On: March 10, 2004 )

lovely, bart

great, imagery-rich take on a subject we all know and resonate with, i'm sure. superb work, really.

a couple things:

1) first stanza: ever present demand

i'd hyphenate ever-present.

2) In the abscence of the rattle clang

is that first c in abs(c)ence s'posedta be there? looks wrong.

3) about my neck
but my weightless name,

the repetition of 'my' here is a bit clunky, for me. maybe 'a weightless name'? i wonder...

4) comforting gravity of words
husband, father

what about putting husband, father in italics, as though it's being spoken? i think it would give it a bit more weight.

5) i also think you could cut the last line... it seems a bit much, somehow. also, cutting it leaves the possibility open to the reader that this could be a different sort of loss than a temporary separation from family... yes, it could be that, or else a permanent split, or a death. there's more room to relate to it if the nature of the experienced loss isn't clear, you know? my tendency is to allow for a little mystery and not spell it all out... just my two yen. ;)

all in all, it flows along effortlessly and beautifully; i can tell you put a lot into this one. well done!

( Posted by: ark [Member] On: March 11, 2004 )

not just platitudes
Bart,

I don't ever know how to comment on poetry, but as this tell a familiar story (familiar to me, anyway) I just wanted to gush on for a moment about your sincerity. I feel like I'm sitting in Linus's pumpkin patch and that the promise of the Great Pumpkin has finally been realized. Silly analogy, I know, but I hope you'll forgive me.

I also hope she comes home soon.

This is beautiful to me, and I think I see your heart.

Safiyah

( Posted by: Safiyah [Member] On: March 11, 2004 )

weighty
This one's riveting. The imagery is vivid and striking. There's conviction in these lines:

while I long for the
comforting gravity of words
husband, father

( Posted by: Idomis [Member] On: March 11, 2004 )

thanks and revisions
First of I'd like to thanks everyone who commented on this poem. It sort of crept up on me while the wife and kids were a way. Sometimes I wonder if she has any idea how much I miss them while they are away. It's easier somehow, to put it like this than to try and explain.

Secondly, special thanks to ark for her spot on suggestions, all of which I've taken. The piece does indeed read smoother now. Thanks. Now go proof all my old junk Just kidding of course.

Bart

( Posted by: Bartleby [Member] On: March 12, 2004 )

bart!
wow, i'm honoured that you used all of my suggestions... thanks! i'm just having an overwhelmed moment with the SIZE of everything all of a sudden... this new format makes me feel like i'm exactly one centimeter away from the friggin' monitor...

back on track. good work. publishable, for sure!

( Posted by: ark [Member] On: March 12, 2004 )

without
Just wanted to let you know I liked this very much.Knowing this comes from your heart makes it even more beautiful. You must have a very special wife if her absence inspires such wonderful words.

( Posted by: josey [Member] On: March 13, 2004 )

sweet
"Curled around a memory of her warmth..."

Oh, Bart, that's nice, really nice. This whole poem is wonderful. Thanks for writing it. Guess it's not just me lonesome in the night when my truck driver husband's on the road again.

( Posted by: cybele [Member] On: March 23, 2004 )

wow
i love this piece. it does a great job of invoking a great mixture of emotion. the imagery is superb. well done! keep it up!

( Posted by: ochimusha [Member] On: April 15, 2004 )





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