Skeleton On The Sea Floor -- revision
#1
[font=Gentium Book Basic][font=Gentium Book Basic]Original
[font=Gentium Book Basic]It just appeared there one day, fused to the seabed
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress
or decomposes into couch cushions. Weight fell
like a thick blanket over their face as they slept,
convincing the mind to keep dreaming and the lungs to surrender.
It just appeared there one day, like a woman
of thirty-five suddenly seeing her feet wearing sensible heels,
sitting behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids,
unable to breathe.



Option 2
Her bones appeared one day, fused to the seabed,
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress
or decomposes into couch cushions. The weight 
of the water fell over her face like a blanket as she slept, 
convincing her mind to keep dreaming 
and lungs to surrender.

She just appeared there one day,
a woman of thirty-five, feet strapped
into sensible heels, and settled
behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids,
unable to breathe. [/font]


Option 3
Her skeleton just appeared there one day, [/font]fused to the seabed, [/font]
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress
or decomposes into couch cushions.
Half her bones already lay concealed in the silt,
like puzzle pieces disappear down the sides of a chair
or underneath a love seat. Her breastbone shattered
from the ocean's pressure, leaving her ribs to reach up
in wonderment at its absence. The weight
of the water fell over her face like a thick blanket
as she slept, convincing her mind to keep dreaming
and her lungs to surrender.

She just appeared there one day,
a woman of thirty-five, feet strapped
into sensible heels, and settled
behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids,
[font=Gentium Book Basic]unable to breathe.[/font]
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#2
(08-11-2016, 12:26 PM)lizziep Wrote:  It just appeared there one day, fused to the seabed
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress
or decomposes into couch cushions. Weight fell
like a thick blanket over their face as they slept,
convincing the mind to keep dreaming and the lungs to surrender.
It just appeared there one day, like a woman
of thirty-five suddenly seeing her feet wearing sensible heels,
sitting behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids,
unable to breathe.

I like the poem especially the repetition of logic through different images. it reads like a spiral which captures the mind of the speaker. might I suggest the blanket Suffocation come later? it would fit a more  sequential narrative structure to my reading if so Wink
Thanks to this Forum
feedback award
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#3
(08-11-2016, 12:26 PM)lizziep Wrote:  It just appeared there one day, fused to the seabed ...I presume the 'it' is a reference to the 'skeleton on the sea floor'
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress ...love 'merges with their mattress'
or decomposes into couch cushions. Weight fell .....a skeleton is not an image associated with decomposition. The flesh has already fallen away.
like a thick blanket over their face as they slept, ...I'm not clear now what is being talked about. Weight fell 'like a thick blanket' - so it's not actually the weight of the blanket. So what is it 'the weight' of and who are they? Can't be 'skeleton and seabed' since a seabed doesn't have a face...
convincing the mind to keep dreaming and the lungs to surrender.  .....a great image but the ambiguity above spoils it for me
It just appeared there one day, like a woman
of thirty-five suddenly seeing her feet wearing sensible heels, .....beautiful line. I'm confused about what the 'It' is now, though.
sitting behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids,
unable to breathe. ...lovely

I like the original images and similes you've used throughout the poem. 
I also like 'fused to the seabed', 'merges with their mattress', 'convincing the mind...surrender', and everything from 'like a woman' onwards.
By the end of the poem, however, I am not sure what the 'It' is.
~ I think I just quoted myself - Achebe
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#4
Hi there! Thanks for your great feedback, I'm here to reciprocate:

This was a rather short but complete, and very intriguing read. 
(08-11-2016, 12:26 PM)lizziep Wrote:  It just appeared there one day, fused to the seabed - the "seabed" bit was eloquently interwoven into a rather intriguing "beginning". I kind of like the balance you employed here, between a directness and slight abstractness (which the "it" highly contributes to). 
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress - the "merges with the mattress" is also a highlight to me, and this is taking a very interesting direction overall. 
or decomposes into couch cushions. Weight fell - I like the alliteration here, it's a nice and consistent scheme you employed (along with the "mattress" one). But I do agree with what's been said already, the decomposing process is a bit misleading here. 
like a thick blanket over their face as they slept, - combining this with the "weight fell" bit from the previous sentence, the initial meaning hereby appears to be rather vague. It might be a reference to the (now non-existent) burden, but I might be far fetching here. 
convincing the mind to keep dreaming and the lungs to surrender. - I love the contrasting stream here, "lungs to surrender" is a thoroughly intriguing imagery. 
It just appeared there one day, like a woman
of thirty-five suddenly seeing her feet wearing sensible heels, - another highlight. Very well worded. 
sitting behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids, - again, the directness prevails hereby and I appreciate that. 
unable to breathe. - a straightforward and impactful closure. 

Great work here. Thanks for sharing!
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#5
Hi Lizzie - For me the repeated line works well, and the images make me think of a person who's lost track of their 'flesh' or identity . The only hiccups for me were the change from 'it' to 'they' and the change in tenses between 2nd and 3rd line. Minor. I like the use of the 'ee' sound rhymes in the last 4 lines, because your mouth is in a smile shape when you say 'ee' so for me this added a layer of narrator saying 'this isn't all that serious'. Great concluding image.
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#6
It just appeared there one day, fused to the seabed - like the suddenness of the beginning though I might drop the "just" and the "there" as it reads more smoothly to me without those. Though this depends on the vibe you're going for. Leaving those words make it seem like more of a surprise to the storyteller. Taking them out makes the fact of the appearance feel more solemnly accepted.
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress - love this line
or decomposes into couch cushions. Weight fell
like a thick blanket over their face as they slept,
convincing the mind to keep dreaming and the lungs to surrender. - this is nice but also makes me want more.
It just appeared there one day, like a woman
of thirty-five suddenly seeing her feet wearing sensible heels,
sitting behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids,
unable to breathe. - woah. great ending.


Overall, I love what you're trying to say and the metaphor of the skeleton is interesting. I found myself wanting more imagery and comparison to the emotion of the woman and the fact of the skeleton. It tickled my imagination and made me wonder what might live within a skeleton at the bottom of the ocean and how that could be compared metaphorically to the things the woman is carrying around with her in life. Looking forward to reading more.
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#7
I like the briefness of the poem but it could have used more detail. The metaphor of the skeleton is good but if it didn't have a title the reader might not get the metaphor. I really like the continuation of "It just appeared there one day," it makes the poem flow much better than if it was worded differently.
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#8
I like the poem, but I don't understand why it's about a skeleton (reader wouldn't even know that without the title).

Further, what I like about this is that all of the examples of things "appearing" were really there all along, but went unnoticed. This poem seems to have a thread about depression or anxiety (maybe reading too much into it), which is cool. But again, I don't understand what a skeleton on the seabed has to do with that. Is it a metaphor? Is it literally a skeleton on the seabed? If the former, you need to be more direct with explaining it. If the latter, why is it interesting to me, or how does it connect to the other examples in the poem?

I'm also uncertain of the form/metre. It appeared that at times you were constricting it to 12 syllables, but that doesn't hold true for each line/stanza. Not that concerning, particularly in this thread though.

Overall, again, I enjoyed it, and am curious as to how the title relates to the content (if at all...?).

-BW
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#9
Hey, I appreciate all the comments and everyone taking the time. big hug

Yeah, I see now that there are lots of logical inconsistencies. Ha! I have persistent problems with that, in life as well as in poetry. Wink 

But, great thoughts and I'll certainly utilize them in the revision.
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#10
I can't wait to read your revision, because I think you have hit on the kernel of something quite good here. Do you mind explaining the title? I couldn't quite put together where it intersected with the poem itself. Like others have commented, your images are great; they are just a little inconsistent. The idea conveyed in the ending was brilliant, I thought. I like how it ends with "unable to breathe". That's strong. Some thought on the lines below:

(08-11-2016, 12:26 PM)lizziep Wrote:  It just appeared there one day, fused to the seabed - So, the "it" is the skeleton, right? After reading this a few times my mind settles on suicide as the explanation for the skeleton.
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress - "merges with their mattress" makes such a nice sound. The image is great.
or decomposes into couch cushions. Weight fell I like "decomposes into couch cushions" too. You did an excellent job of preserving the hard "c" sound which adds to the flow of the writing.
like a thick blanket over their face as they slept, I got a little lost here - the weight thing threw me, and I also don't know who "they" are.
convincing the mind to keep dreaming and the lungs to surrender. I am still lost. There is a disconnect between "their" (plural) and "the mind" and "the lungs" which seem to refer to a singular individual.
It just appeared there one day, like a woman Back to the skeleton - and again I think about suicide.
of thirty-five suddenly seeing her feet wearing sensible heels, I like that you give an age with the woman. It instantly colors in the image for me. I wonder if you might want to use a different verb than "wearing"? You might try "cinched" or "strapped" - something a bit more interesting, but also thematic to being fused.
sitting behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids,
unable to breathe. Love this
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#11
(08-17-2016, 02:34 PM)cvanshelton Wrote:  I can't wait to read your revision, because I think you have hit on the kernel of something quite good here. Do you mind explaining the title? I couldn't quite put together where it intersected with the poem itself. Like others have commented, your images are great; they are just a little inconsistent. The idea conveyed in the ending was brilliant, I thought. I like how it ends with "unable to breathe". That's strong. Some thought on the lines below:

(08-11-2016, 12:26 PM)lizziep Wrote:  It just appeared there one day, fused to the seabed - So, the "it" is the skeleton, right? After reading this a few times my mind settles on suicide as the explanation for the skeleton.
as one clinically depressed merges with their mattress - "merges with their mattress" makes such a nice sound. The image is great.
or decomposes into couch cushions. Weight fell I like "decomposes into couch cushions" too. You did an excellent job of preserving the hard "c" sound which adds to the flow of the writing.
like a thick blanket over their face as they slept, I got a little lost here - the weight thing threw me, and I also don't know who "they" are.
convincing the mind to keep dreaming and the lungs to surrender. I am still lost. There is a disconnect between "their" (plural) and "the mind" and "the lungs" which seem to refer to a singular individual.
It just appeared there one day, like a woman Back to the skeleton - and again I think about suicide.
of thirty-five suddenly seeing her feet wearing sensible heels, I like that you give an age with the woman. It instantly colors in the image for me. I wonder if you might want to use a different verb than "wearing"? You might try "cinched" or "strapped" - something a bit more interesting, but also thematic to being fused.
sitting behind a desk with a picture of a husband and two kids,
unable to breathe. Love this

Yes, the "it" is the skeleton. In a rewrite, I'll try to talk more directly about the skeleton to make it clearer that that's what I'm talking about. I love that you're filling in details of the storyline! That's exactly what I wanted, for the reader to make the story their own. Yup, I lost my way in the middle, and I need to get it sorted. And I will absolutely steal your idea for 'strapping her feet into sensible heels' -- great call out Big Grin
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#12
I guess I will disagree with others about the line merges with the mattress.  I don't think it's severe enough if I'm interpreting correctly.  Just curious: Can you clarify why you selected that word?
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#13
(08-26-2016, 03:42 PM)stampede331 Wrote:  I guess I will disagree with others about the line merges with the mattress.  I don't think it's severe enough if I'm interpreting correctly.  Just curious: Can you clarify why you selected that word?

Hi Stampede. You're talking about the word merged? It certainly could be deduced that something violent has happened to the person, something terrible or tragic. Maybe. In my mind, the slow descent into the ocean's silt feels more like a giving in, or letting go. Like with depression, it's not usually something that comes on suddenly and immediately levels someone, but more like a light slowly dimming. That's what I had in mind is a slow surrender to the elements.

I understand what you're saying though, and it's true that the storyline is perhaps too open to interpretation. It just seemed like the thing to do at the time. Smile
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#14
I love the use of metaphors, but I'm not getting the skeleton part either or how it fits, but enjoy the part of the woman. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but seems the roles need to be reversed between the skeleton and the woman
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#15
(09-01-2016, 09:33 AM)maximuswolf Wrote:  I love the use of metaphors, but I'm not getting the skeleton part either or how it fits, but enjoy the part of the woman. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but seems the roles need to be reversed between the skeleton and the woman

Can you say a little more about the role reversal, I'm not quite getting it. Do you mean starting out the poem with the bit about the woman?

Sorry if I'm just being dense Confused
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#16
Beautiful!  This poem very eloquently related the feelings of depression and the sudden feeling of being lost.  Also, the metaphors and similes were so artfully written.  They were stunning.  The only critique that I have is possibly when repeating that first line of "it just appeared", perhaps you could emphasize that a bit more possibly by either making that a separate paragraph or maybe indenting a bit?  Either way, very well written poem.
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#17
(09-17-2016, 06:29 AM)loboflo Wrote:  Beautiful!  This poem very eloquently related the feelings of depression and the sudden feeling of being lost.  Also, the metaphors and similes were so artfully written.  They were stunning.  The only critique that I have is possibly when repeating that first line of "it just appeared", perhaps you could emphasize that a bit more possibly by either making that a separate paragraph or maybe indenting a bit?  Either way, very well written poem.

You're right, I think some kind of break there would be nice. Thanks for the tip! Thumbsup
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#18
This poem flows absolutely perfectly and beautifully, using somewhat idiosyncratic grammar to tell a specific yet universal story of a woman realising how far she's come, and shocked by the life that is now hers. The narrative voice is sharp and solid; we can hear a real human being in it. At first the poem looks a bit squat and dense, with its long lines and lack of more than one verse, but I wouldn't for the world suggest any edits, because I'd be terrified that any tinkering would destroy or at least hinder that crystal flow. Thank you for the read. - Jack xxx
"We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges." - Gene Wolfe
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#19
(09-20-2016, 10:13 AM)Heslopian Wrote:  This poem flows absolutely perfectly and beautifully, using somewhat idiosyncratic grammar to tell a specific yet universal story of a woman realising how far she's come, and shocked by the life that is now hers. The narrative voice is sharp and solid; we can hear a real human being in it. At first the poem looks a bit squat and dense, with its long lines and lack of more than one verse, but I wouldn't for the world suggest any edits, because I'd be terrified that any tinkering would destroy or at least hinder that crystal flow. Thank you for the read. - Jack xxx

Hi Jack, nice to meet you big hug

I understand what you're saying about the flow. I hesitate to go back in and revise for fear that the tone of the revisions won't be the same and they'll stick out. Sometimes I feel like I need to just get it right on the first go.

I will play around with the look of the poem and see if I can get it to look a little more "poem-y."

Thanks for the kind words. Blush

lizziep
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#20
At the risk of sounding ignorant...

Yes, there a natural flow to the poem, yes the words you've chosen work well from an acoustic standpoint...

But When I think skeletons... I'm thinking skeletons in the closets, or something like that. The pictures you paint in the poem are of decay... but I don't think your poem makes the connection between the decay and the skeleton.... some have said (reading the crit) that the poem is about a woman realizing how far she has come but.... I don't get that... the poem is filled with negative connotation. This is, at best, the onset of a midlife crisis... I just can't quite make the significance of the skeleton....

the seabed works as in being underwater, unable to breath... ties in nicely... but..
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