The Persistance of Death
#1
I have sent this poem to other forums and they say it is interesting but it is bad, so I need opinions how to fix this poem, does anyone know? And please feel free to tear this apart.

In the house where the furniture disappeared.
Where, oh where, are my furniture?
The house isn’t going to fix itself you know.
The house is able-bodied to fix time itself,
I feel my bones slowly rotting inside out every-time
I clean this house. Where oh where, are my furniture?
The room is quiet, filthy, and my what a sight!
A neighbour walks in and tells me I have died.
In spirit I have trekked miles to get to my home.
So where, oh where, are my homes?
The home is struck with rolling thunder; I die again.
Resurrected and brought back to life in my home again.
Tell me how I am going to be able to fix this home.
I sense that I have got to get my act together.
So where, oh where, is my furniture?
 
I am slowly getting mad.
From the fact that you have wasted my time.
The furniture has to be here somewhere.
With my mind being rotten with the smell of flesh.
Where is my furniture?
I feel there must be someone to blame.
Life isn’t one to blame though, I feel betrayed.
My neighbour is counting my blessings and I feel in rage.
Sometimes I think I am blaming myself.
I feel my life is depleting and full of misery.
Where oh where are my furniture?
My home is in shambles, pieces scattered like debris.
I feel like dying again, there needs to be hope.
For the unblessed, like me I will fix this mess.
Until then! My home will be better than ever!
 
Where is my neighbour? He will help me with this!
I need him to fix this mess! He will repair my home.
From the ground up, right now it looks like ground zero.
However I know things will look up soon though.
I will find out how to untangle these problems soon.
It looks as if I have found the help I need!
My neighbour grimaces at me like I have found god.
Not really, but better, there is life on this earth.
And that is my home, what a day! What a life!
The house resembles itself, I am feeling spry.
The house is fixed! But where is my furniture?
Oh home, oh how I dread this day! Where is it?
The neighbour, waxed and thin, finds my materials.
In his trash-bag, broken up and dead as day itself.
What an hour! I have found it, I will celebrate!
 
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#2
What those other forums may be telling you is that this poem is long (by contemporary standards) and difficult.  Its difficulty has the effect of jerking the reader around, thinking he understands and then dashing that belief.  This may be why they tell you it's good, because it *does* move the reader, though not in a clear direction.  In moderate critique, I'll do my best.

(05-23-2020, 05:45 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  (The Persistence of Death)  excellent title... and can it be beaten with even greater persistence?

In the house where the furniture disappeared. 
Where, oh where, are my furniture?  To state the obvious, "furniture" is singular; you correct this later.  I interpret this as the narrative voice being, at first, somewhat crude and unmoored from standard grammar.  "Where, oh where" is similarly immature but also cliche; it also fits the addled voice.
The house isn’t going to fix itself you know.
The house is able-bodied to fix time itself, striking, if not particularly comprehensible at this point.
I feel my bones slowly rotting inside out every-time strictly speaking, "inside-out every time" - the naive voice extends to typography
I clean this house. Where oh where, are my furniture?
The room is quiet, filthy, and my what a sight!
A neighbour walks in and tells me I have died. OK, preliminary interpretation - the furniture is the soul (or spirit).
In spirit I have trekked miles to get to my home. spirit arrives at the empty house, making it a home.
So where, oh where, are my homes?
The home is struck with rolling thunder; I die again.
Resurrected and brought back to life in my home again.
Tell me how I am going to be able to fix this home.
I sense that I have got to get my act together.
So where, oh where, is my furniture? With the spirit present, the voice becomes grammatical - almost a different voice.

I am slowly getting mad. Nice potential dual meaning anger/madness
From the fact that you have wasted my time. Bitten-off, angry, breathless sentence fragment.  Good effect.
The furniture has to be here somewhere.
With my mind being rotten with the smell of flesh.
Where is my furniture?
I feel there must be someone to blame.
Life isn’t one to blame though, I feel betrayed. wish the comma were after "blame"
My neighbour is counting my blessings and I feel in rage. who is my neighbo[u]r?  Christ answered this one with the parable of the Good Samaritan, as I recall.
Sometimes I think I am blaming myself.
I feel my life is depleting and full of misery.
Where oh where are my furniture? If the spirit is the furniture, and the spirit is the refined voice, the furniture's problem is that it can't find itself.
My home is in shambles, pieces scattered like debris. "like debris" is weak and (changing voice) naive
I feel like dying again, there needs to be hope.
For the unblessed, like me I will fix this mess. subtlety of the misplaced comma (might be after "me")
Until then! My home will be better than ever! playing with time, as mentioned above

Where is my neighbour? He will help me with this!
I need him to fix this mess! He will repair my home. So who is the neighbour - God to restore soul to body?
From the ground up, right now it looks like ground zero. reasonably subtle interplay of two cliches (ground up/ground zero)
However I know things will look up soon though.
I will find out how to untangle these problems soon.
It looks as if I have found the help I need!
My neighbour grimaces at me like I have found god. confirmation! or just that the neighbour is a bit testy
Not really, but better, there is life on this earth.
And that is my home, what a day! What a life! OK, house = body, home = world
The house resembles itself, I am feeling spry.
The house is fixed! But where is my furniture?
Oh home, oh how I dread this day! Where is it?
The neighbour, waxed and thin, finds my materials. 
In his trash-bag, broken up and dead as day itself.  resolution, for those willing to struggle through to it...
What an hour! I have found it, I will celebrate! "It" is the furniture, found in God's trash, and he speaker is resurrected in glorious body

Mine is not, of course, the only possible interpretation and surely not the "right" one.  Perhaps  your other critics were put off by the religious aspects?  That's not uncommon these days.

Or, they were put off by the difficulty (and length).  Thinking of one of April's challenges, it's a beautiful story told in an ugly (or at least not altogether beautiful) way.

So, how to make it better - or just more acceptable to modern tastes?  You'd have to make it shorter and clearer, labeling things so they can't be mistaken.  But the whole theme (as I see it) is the confusion of the disembodied spirit awaiting resurrection, and that confusion infects the reader.. as, I might say, it should.

So my only advice, aside from clarity and length, is to make the subtleties such as the ungrammatical initial voice even more obviously brutish and simple-minded, grinding out cliches, and transition to the more fluid and well-spoken re-assembling voice even more refined.

It's a challenging work, and it will be more challenging still to make it more acceptable without losing its most interesting aspects.

So, a balance:  smoother, but not too smooth; clearer, but not crystal clear.  Thanks for posting; hope that helps.
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#3
(05-23-2020, 08:04 AM)dukealien Wrote:  What those other forums may be telling you is that this poem is long (by contemporary standards) and difficult.  Its difficulty has the effect of jerking the reader around, thinking he understands and then dashing that belief.  This may be why they tell you it's good, because it *does* move the reader, though not in a clear direction.  In moderate critique, I'll do my best.

(05-23-2020, 05:45 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  (The Persistence of Death)  excellent title... and can it be beaten with even greater persistence?

In the house where the furniture disappeared. 
Where, oh where, are my furniture?  To state the obvious, "furniture" is singular; you correct this later.  I interpret this as the narrative voice being, at first, somewhat crude and unmoored from standard grammar.  "Where, oh where" is similarly immature but also cliche; it also fits the addled voice.
The house isn’t going to fix itself you know.
The house is able-bodied to fix time itself, striking, if not particularly comprehensible at this point.
I feel my bones slowly rotting inside out every-time strictly speaking, "inside-out every time" - the naive voice extends to typography
I clean this house. Where oh where, are my furniture?
The room is quiet, filthy, and my what a sight!
A neighbour walks in and tells me I have died. OK, preliminary interpretation - the furniture is the soul (or spirit).
In spirit I have trekked miles to get to my home. spirit arrives at the empty house, making it a home.
So where, oh where, are my homes?
The home is struck with rolling thunder; I die again.
Resurrected and brought back to life in my home again.
Tell me how I am going to be able to fix this home.
I sense that I have got to get my act together.
So where, oh where, is my furniture? With the spirit present, the voice becomes grammatical - almost a different voice.

I am slowly getting mad. Nice potential dual meaning anger/madness
From the fact that you have wasted my time. Bitten-off, angry, breathless sentence fragment.  Good effect.
The furniture has to be here somewhere.
With my mind being rotten with the smell of flesh.
Where is my furniture?
I feel there must be someone to blame.
Life isn’t one to blame though, I feel betrayed. wish the comma were after "blame"
My neighbour is counting my blessings and I feel in rage. who is my neighbo[u]r?  Christ answered this one with the parable of the Good Samaritan, as I recall.
Sometimes I think I am blaming myself.
I feel my life is depleting and full of misery.
Where oh where are my furniture? If the spirit is the furniture, and the spirit is the refined voice, the furniture's problem is that it can't find itself.
My home is in shambles, pieces scattered like debris. "like debris" is weak and (changing voice) naive
I feel like dying again, there needs to be hope.
For the unblessed, like me I will fix this mess. subtlety of the misplaced comma (might be after "me")
Until then! My home will be better than ever! playing with time, as mentioned above

Where is my neighbour? He will help me with this!
I need him to fix this mess! He will repair my home. So who is the neighbour - God to restore soul to body?
From the ground up, right now it looks like ground zero. reasonably subtle interplay of two cliches (ground up/ground zero)
However I know things will look up soon though.
I will find out how to untangle these problems soon.
It looks as if I have found the help I need!
My neighbour grimaces at me like I have found god. confirmation! or just that the neighbour is a bit testy
Not really, but better, there is life on this earth.
And that is my home, what a day! What a life! OK, house = body, home = world
The house resembles itself, I am feeling spry.
The house is fixed! But where is my furniture?
Oh home, oh how I dread this day! Where is it?
The neighbour, waxed and thin, finds my materials. 
In his trash-bag, broken up and dead as day itself.  resolution, for those willing to struggle through to it...
What an hour! I have found it, I will celebrate! "It" is the furniture, found in God's trash, and he speaker is resurrected in glorious body

Mine is not, of course, the only possible interpretation and surely not the "right" one.  Perhaps  your other critics were put off by the religious aspects?  That's not uncommon these days.

Or, they were put off by the difficulty (and length).  Thinking of one of April's challenges, it's a beautiful story told in an ugly (or at least not altogether beautiful) way.

So, how to make it better - or just more acceptable to modern tastes?  You'd have to make it shorter and clearer, labeling things so they can't be mistaken.  But the whole theme (as I see it) is the confusion of the disembodied spirit awaiting resurrection, and that confusion infects the reader.. as, I might say, it should.

So my only advice, aside from clarity and length, is to make the subtleties such as the ungrammatical initial voice even more obviously brutish and simple-minded, grinding out cliches, and transition to the more fluid and well-spoken re-assembling voice even more refined.

It's a challenging work, and it will be more challenging still to make it more acceptable without losing its most interesting aspects.

So, a balance:  smoother, but not too smooth; clearer, but not crystal clear.  Thanks for posting; hope that helps.
Thanks Duke, so how much should it be shortened? You got any suggestions on much it should be shortened? I am willing to make it shorter but how much? Also this poem isn't really that confusing. Also I want to change the title to Furniture & Death, A Persistence.
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#4
I have a question though? What would happen if I make the poem smoother? Would it ruin the poem itself? And what would happen if I make the poem clearer? Would it ruin the poem too? Thanks in advance.
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#5
(05-23-2020, 09:18 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  Thanks Duke, so how much should it be shortened? You got any suggestions on much it should be shortened? I am willing to make it shorter but how much? Also this poem isn't really that confusing. Also I want to change the title to Furniture & Death, A Persistence.

The three stanzas work as a structure - could the business of each be done in half the lines? Two-thirds?

As to the title, I like "The Persistence of Death" very much and would hate to see it changed. Even before reading the work, that title leads the reader's speculative mind off in all directions. Do what you think is best, though.
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#6
(05-24-2020, 02:46 AM)dukealien Wrote:  
(05-23-2020, 09:18 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  Thanks Duke, so how much should it be shortened? You got any suggestions on much it should be shortened? I am willing to make it shorter but how much? Also this poem isn't really that confusing. Also I want to change the title to Furniture & Death, A Persistence.

The three stanzas work as a structure - could the business of each be done in half the lines?  Two-thirds?

As to the title, I like "The Persistence of Death" very much and would hate to see it changed.  Even before reading the work, that title leads the reader's speculative mind off in all directions.  Do what you think is best, though.
Sure thing!

(05-24-2020, 02:46 AM)dukealien Wrote:  
(05-23-2020, 09:18 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  Thanks Duke, so how much should it be shortened? You got any suggestions on much it should be shortened? I am willing to make it shorter but how much? Also this poem isn't really that confusing. Also I want to change the title to Furniture & Death, A Persistence.

The three stanzas work as a structure - could the business of each be done in half the lines?  Two-thirds?

As to the title, I like "The Persistence of Death" very much and would hate to see it changed.  Even before reading the work, that title leads the reader's speculative mind off in all directions.  Do what you think is best, though.
What do you mean by half the lines two thirds? Can you give me an example of how to do it?

(05-24-2020, 02:46 AM)dukealien Wrote:  
(05-23-2020, 09:18 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  Thanks Duke, so how much should it be shortened? You got any suggestions on much it should be shortened? I am willing to make it shorter but how much? Also this poem isn't really that confusing. Also I want to change the title to Furniture & Death, A Persistence.

The three stanzas work as a structure - could the business of each be done in half the lines?  Two-thirds?

As to the title, I like "The Persistence of Death" very much and would hate to see it changed.  Even before reading the work, that title leads the reader's speculative mind off in all directions.  Do what you think is best, though.
So are you saying I should remove the last stanza? I like it the way it is, I might even sent it out to a contest, but it needs some heavy revising and perhaps some re-writing.
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#7
(05-24-2020, 03:43 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  So are you saying I should remove the last stanza? I like it the way it is, I might even sent it out to a contest, but it needs some heavy revising and perhaps some re-writing.

My thought was to retain the format of three stanzas, but reduce the line count in each of the three.  Would prefer not to give examples - too close to rewriting, which is always problematic in critique.

Re-writing, yes!  And keep all interim versions, you'll be amazed by the improvements... or be able to backtrack in case you find you've made a wrong turn.
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#8
(05-24-2020, 09:01 AM)dukealien Wrote:  
(05-24-2020, 03:43 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  So are you saying I should remove the last stanza? I like it the way it is, I might even sent it out to a contest, but it needs some heavy revising and perhaps some re-writing.

My thought was to retain the format of three stanzas, but reduce the line count in each of the three.  Would prefer not to give examples - too close to rewriting, which is always problematic in critique.

Re-writing, yes!  And keep all interim versions, you'll be amazed by the improvements... or be able to backtrack in case you find you've made a wrong turn.
Ok I will do that thank you!

(05-24-2020, 09:01 AM)dukealien Wrote:  
(05-24-2020, 03:43 AM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  So are you saying I should remove the last stanza? I like it the way it is, I might even sent it out to a contest, but it needs some heavy revising and perhaps some re-writing.

My thought was to retain the format of three stanzas, but reduce the line count in each of the three.  Would prefer not to give examples - too close to rewriting, which is always problematic in critique.

Re-writing, yes!  And keep all interim versions, you'll be amazed by the improvements... or be able to backtrack in case you find you've made a wrong turn.

What do you think of this Duke, this is my re-write of The Persistence of Death, for now I will work on it again behind the scenes though.

In my home the furniture is disappearing.
Where oh where is my furniture?
I must track them down and rearrange them.
Where oh where is my furniture?
God, my neighbour has told me I have died.
Why oh why is this happening?
 
He must be around the bend somewhere.
I must also find him tonight and after that.
Where oh where is my furniture?
I think there is something about god that.
Makes me feel I can reach out and touch materials.
But please tell me where is my furniture.
 
I think god is joking around and I feel angry.
I wish there was a way to use my nose like a dog.
And smell my materials outside all these trees.
And shrubs to get to my furniture.
But please tell me where is my furniture?
God bursts into butterflies and I have become confused.
 
I have been confused for the last day or so.
As I can only touch the forest and lumber of stumps.
But please tell me where is my furniture.
I have to find a way to fix this mess my friends.
Now where is my furniture my friends.
I can smell the rotting flesh being burned, decaying.
 
So tell me where is my furniture my friends.
My neighbour tells me I have lived a lifetime.
But that isn’t important right now.
All I care about is my home, yet death is calling.
I must find my furniture immediately!
Can someone tell where my furniture is?
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#9
This revision has, to me, made he poem more accessible, so less difficult for readers.  But I'm missing the progression of the original version from bafflement to knowledge (on the part of the viewpoint voice), it seems more circular now.  Also missing the distinction between "house" and "home" that you made previously.

There's still a little problem with referring back to "furniture" in line 3 as plural.  You could, for example, say "it" instead of "them" or change "furniture" to "furnishings" elsewhere.  The mismatch worked better when the initial voice was naive.

Also, I'd suggest also posting your revision by prepending it into the original post, and enclosing the original version of the poem in "pre verse" brackets so readers can easily view it by clicking on a "Previous Versions" button but don't see it as the current version.

(05-24-2020, 12:22 PM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  What do you think of this Duke, this is my re-write of The Persistence of Death, for now I will work on it again behind the scenes though.

In my home the furniture is disappearing.
Where oh where is my furniture?
I must track them down and rearrange them.
Where oh where is my furniture?
God, my neighbour has told me I have died.
Why oh why is this happening?

He must be around the bend somewhere.
I must also find him tonight and after that.
Where oh where is my furniture?
I think there is something about god that.
Makes me feel I can reach out and touch materials.
But please tell me where is my furniture.

I think god is joking around and I feel angry.
I wish there was a way to use my nose like a dog.
And smell my materials outside all these trees.
And shrubs to get to my furniture.
But please tell me where is my furniture?
God bursts into butterflies and I have become confused.

I have been confused for the last day or so.
As I can only touch the forest and lumber of stumps.
But please tell me where is my furniture.
I have to find a way to fix this mess my friends.
Now where is my furniture my friends.
I can smell the rotting flesh being burned, decaying.

So tell me where is my furniture my friends.
My neighbour tells me I have lived a lifetime.
But that isn’t important right now.
All I care about is my home, yet death is calling.
I must find my furniture immediately!
Can someone tell where my furniture is?
feedback award Non-practicing atheist
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#10
(05-25-2020, 05:55 AM)dukealien Wrote:  This revision has, to me, made he poem more accessible, so less difficult for readers.  But I'm missing the progression of the original version from bafflement to knowledge (on the part of the viewpoint voice), it seems more circular now.  Also missing the distinction between "house" and "home" that you made previously.

There's still a little problem with referring back to "furniture" in line 3 as plural.  You could, for example, say "it" instead of "them" or change "furniture" to "furnishings" elsewhere.  The mismatch worked better when the initial voice was naive.

Also, I'd suggest also posting your revision by prepending it into the original post, and enclosing the original version of the poem in "pre verse" brackets so readers can easily view it by clicking on a "Previous Versions" button but don't see it as the current version.

(05-24-2020, 12:22 PM)JaggedEdge Wrote:  What do you think of this Duke, this is my re-write of The Persistence of Death, for now I will work on it again behind the scenes though.

In my home the furniture is disappearing.
Where oh where is my furniture?
I must track them down and rearrange them.
Where oh where is my furniture?
God, my neighbour has told me I have died.
Why oh why is this happening?

He must be around the bend somewhere.
I must also find him tonight and after that.
Where oh where is my furniture?
I think there is something about god that.
Makes me feel I can reach out and touch materials.
But please tell me where is my furniture.

I think god is joking around and I feel angry.
I wish there was a way to use my nose like a dog.
And smell my materials outside all these trees.
And shrubs to get to my furniture.
But please tell me where is my furniture?
God bursts into butterflies and I have become confused.

I have been confused for the last day or so.
As I can only touch the forest and lumber of stumps.
But please tell me where is my furniture.
I have to find a way to fix this mess my friends.
Now where is my furniture my friends.
I can smell the rotting flesh being burned, decaying.

So tell me where is my furniture my friends.
My neighbour tells me I have lived a lifetime.
But that isn’t important right now.
All I care about is my home, yet death is calling.
I must find my furniture immediately!
Can someone tell where my furniture is?
Thanks for your opinion on this poem Duke, appreciate it! I always love your comments.
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