Paper Doll Plays Dead
#1
Note: This is my first poem I’ve ever written, not counting one I wrote in middle school school a couple of years ago. Looking at the majority of the other work posted here, it’s very obvious to me that I have no sense of how poetry works, and I feel a little embarrassed but oh well. 

Why is it
That I can’t become this haze
Become it, submit
To Solid skies
Liquid air

Still inside my callow lungs
My paper heart is weathered yet,
It knows all too well 
Self-imposed rancor
In a big empty world

Of those who,
When I look upon their face,
I find “love” in their colored pencil eyes,
And a rosy smile on their colored pencil cheeks

But I am drawn
Farther, farther away
Sailing in my paper boat
Down murky streams
For I am meant to be a paper doll
-but I am not

And so my boat sinks

And I find comfort in
Slow, seraphic sadness,
Warmth in silenced sorrow

It seems
Ink and color fades in water
-as do simple pleasantries,
And kind words in a mind adrift
-decidedly
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#2
An intriguing work.  General  critique at the end, comments (in mild critique) interlinear:

(12-01-2019, 03:01 PM)Lavender.snicker Wrote:  Why is it
That I can’t become this haze  absence of punctuation may be hurting you here, combined with traditional capitalization
Become it, submit
To Solid skies
Liquid air

Still inside my callow lungs
My paper heart is weathered yet, interesting placement of the comma here (instead of after "weathered")
It knows all too well 
Self-imposed rancor inversion here (rather than "...knows self-imposed rancor all too well") can be a bit confusing
In a big empty world

Of those who, capitalization works against continuity here, otherwise could read "[i]n a big empty world of those who..."
When I look upon their face, nice use of apparent mismatch (instead of "their faces") implying they have only one face for all
I find “love” in their colored pencil eyes,
And a rosy smile on their colored pencil cheeks

But I am drawn
Farther, farther away
Sailing in my paper boat
Down murky streams
For I am meant to be a paper doll
-but I am not em dash after "doll" could reposition the pause here

And so my boat sinks is "[A]nd" necessary?

And I find comfort in
Slow, seraphic sadness, a nice phrase, though I don't picture seraphs as sad - serious, maybe
Warmth in silenced sorrow

It seems
Ink and color fades in water really should be plural ("ink and color fade") since both fade
-as do simple pleasantries, absence of capitalization here shows why it could work for you, generally applied
And kind words in a mind adrift
-decidedly I take this as a very long inversion (of "...and color fade decidedly in water-- as do simple pleasantries")

This is quite nice, inventive, and expressive.  A little self-centered, but that helps with expression and can create a bond with the reader.

Two general observations/suggestions:

(1) Watch out for inversions (example, "toward the gate he ran").  They're more of a problem in rhymed and metric verse because a lazy author will fall back on them instead of choosing words that fit both the form and normal sentence structure.  In your case, with free verse, you use some inversions that are deep enough to confuse the reader (in the last verse, particularly).  Inversions are not *wrong*, but worth working to reduce in many cases.

(2) Traditional capitalization (start of each line regardless of sentence structure) is discommended by many on this board as archaic.  I''m neutral on the subject, but in a poem like yours (mostly without punctuation) capitalizing almost every line makes the reader work harder to decide where a thought or phrase stops/starts.  Although there's nothing *wrong* with either minimizing punctuation or traditional capitalization, especially in free verse, I suggest that, as an experiment, you add some commas and periods to indicate pauses/phrases, then eliminate capitalization except at the beginning of sentences.  See how you like it, and if you think it makes the work easier to read (aloud, or for sense as well as sound).
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#3
(12-01-2019, 03:01 PM)Lavender.snicker Wrote:  Why is it
That I can’t become this haze
Become it, submit
To Solid skies
Liquid air  This stanza evokes a feeling I'm familiar with, somewhere between "Oh, that this too solid flesh would melt" and "If I could fly, 'neath the wing..."  I think it will start a feeling of camaraderie in kindred spirits. 

Still inside my callow lungs
My paper heart is weathered yet,  These two lines have a nice rhythm.  It's a picturesque introduction to the paper motif.
It knows all too well 
Self-imposed rancor
In a big empty world I'm wondering if "big empty" is a bit too broad a dismissal.  I'm wondering if this line contains an opportunity for a more specific scene-setting?

Of those who, 
When I look upon their face,
I find “love” in their colored pencil eyes,
And a rosy smile on their colored pencil cheeks

But I am drawn
Farther, farther away
Sailing in my paper boat
Down murky streams
For I am meant to be a paper doll I admit to feeling a little lost here. Using "I" in this line feels briefly like you are owning the intention to be a paper doll,
-but I am not  which this line contradicts..   If being a paper doll is thrust on you from the outside (which is how it feels elsewhere) can you save the"I" for only the ultimate line of this stanza?

And so my boat sinks I agree that the word "And" doesn't add much to this line, and it slightly distracts from...

And I find comfort in the much more powerful "And" here, which both surprises us with the comfort in sinking, and then reminds us of your opening statement.
Slow, seraphic sadness,
Warmth in silenced sorrow  Perhaps a period here?  To me, this line feels like the conclusion of the narrative, with the final stanza being a coda of observation.

It seems
Ink and color fades in water
-as do simple pleasantries,  Are both the pleasantries and kind words fading in the mind adrift?  If that's the proper reading, I think taking out the comma would clarify.
And kind words in a mind adrift
-decidedly

Your poem's images conjured up feelings I remember and connect to.  I think that's how poetry works.  Thank you for sharing this.
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