Reviews for The Tree
Jessie chapter 1 . 9/21/2008
Ash, can I post this on my blog? I love it so much I would love to share it with the few people who read it.
bubbletrap chapter 1 . 8/28/2008
WOW...you are officially becoming one of my favorites.

Amazing imagery, Amazing metaphors. All of it flowing perfectly. Truly a very strange, graphic, and in my opinion, beautiful poem. Keep up the great work :)

The only problem I had with it was in the line" Like some orgasm cry for mercy"...now, I dont know if its me but...shouldn't it be "Like some orgasmic cry for mercy"? Its the only line that threw me a little off.

Truly, wonderfully done.

Thank you for sharing your talent :)
Counting Petals chapter 1 . 8/26/2008
I think I'm going to have to read through this one a few more times to try to figure it out, but that's one of its greatest strengths. I love it when poetry grabs me and makes me think like this. I loved the images throughout the poem, too - they were so nightmarish that they grabbed my attention. I agree with one of your other reviewers, though, that it was hard to pin down some sort of flow.
Rose of Truth chapter 1 . 8/6/2008
Your right this poem is sort of difficult to follow. But, I really liked the part in the first stanza about 'too fragile for the roots, too rough for the fruits'. I think the poem lacks any real sort of flow though.
Shasta Valentine chapter 1 . 8/5/2008
breathtaking.
SirScott chapter 1 . 8/2/2008
That is a strange poem. Keep on writing.

SirScott
Durak chapter 1 . 8/1/2008
I read this awhile ago, but I'm coming back now to review it. This is one tough animal to pin down.

Contrary to what a previous reviewer said, the very /fact/ the reader suddenly "wants out" around the puking point is one of its greatest strengths. It - correct me if I'm wrong - is not /meant/ to be any sort of "pretty surrealism"; surreal, yes, but nightmarish. What good is the nightmare if the dreamer wants to stay?

Your metaphors are scattered, yes, but that is a tendency of yours and I don't think you have a problem with it; nor should you. I dislike how obtuse they are: I wish I knew what the plates were, or could at least inflect some understanding of my own. I'm stuck clawing at ideas like the plates represent the 10 Commandments and the Tree the one in the garden... but later on the Tree doesn't seem that way. So I'm stuck.

Nevertheless, these images still work for you because they are so bitingly raw. Biting through glass is grotesquely violent and painful - especially when your teeth /crack/ - and that, more than any metaphor, communicates the idea you're trying to get through.

Generalities aside:

"Too fragile... too rough" was very nice. For a minute I thought it might be better said if it were chiastic, but the repetition is really where the strength lines. Nevertheless, the double contrast is startling: roots at the very bottom, fruits at the top, fragile versus rough... very well said.

However, the narrative shifts you make after "uncertain" and after "fruit" require a certain amount of mental gymnastics that I'm not sure unnecessary. You're throwing the reader around on a river raft so they can't really see it all the first time around, but have to come back, pause, and focus before they can move on. Whether this is just me, I can't say; and I still can't decide whether that's good or bad. It's certainly more honest, and that I have to praise.

"They're", not "their" in the second line of the second stanza.

Also, this scene where the "mother" (I assume the same as the Tree) is beaming, and the birds start to evolve is startling morbid, and where I really wanted to jump ship. But it's so vivid and lucid - while simultaneously surreal - that I think it's one of the best images I've ever seen you write. Even the verbs you choose - the hair dissolving, for example, and the beaks eating themselves (fantastic irony) - make this disturbing scene engrossing.

Strangely, the retrogressive change into a vacuum didn't disturb me, but seeing it as a whole - evolution from bird to mammal to man and then return into "non-reality" - bespoke a lot of truth. That second stanza alone was - and I hate to use this word, for fear of exaggerating - brilliant.

The idea that the "Babes are safe again" as a result of this twisted evolutionary cycle made me wonder if that change into a vacuum was punitive on part of the Tree. If so, again, I think you're all but shouting things about the human saga in a way I've never heard it put before.

I think you meant "growing", not "glowing" in the third stanza.

Also, the third stanza is disgusting. But, again, don't misunderstand me: it's disgusting not in the sense of being in bad taste, but in the sense of being nightmarish. Vomiting out good, having it be corrupted, the tree moving like a living thing and then being covered in waste?

I love "I'd asked for it." It puts a whole new spin on the narrator.

The use of naked and peephole in the same stanza was also disturbing, but again, a completely different kind of disturbing than before. But it's also not so obvious: it's more an implied corruption, a deeper one, hidden beneath some meretricious facade of attraction. The flowers are courting, but they "have no egg and no seeds", nothing to care for, nothing to suffer (not listening to children scream, and metaphorically, "colorless"). Of course, you loving their lust makes the corruption more apparent, but still, it's a whole new specie of "wrong" here.

The fifth stanza (discounting the one-line break) is, while still disturbing, more horrifying than anything else, I think. It's not just "gross", but it's about betrayal and death and hatred. The fact that the "little ones are worth more" - and therefore more worth hating and betraying - made me feel viscerally... dirty. "Sacs tear.. zombie fingers move" would be phrasing worthy of horror movie about hell. Still using ideas connected with birth (babies, [birth] sac, mother), but juxtaposed with death and evil (betrayal, zombies, blindness, cannibalism).

I like the metaphor beggining with "I'm not a ghost", but "Not a soul/No longer a body/Just meat" was great in the worst of ways. Terrifying, gross, and unsympathetic, but screaming of raw emotion and... well, I'm sure many, many things I can't even see, but very, very well put.

"Orgasm cry for mercy" I did not like. Even "orgasmic" I don't think would have worked. Maybe it would have. I'm not sure. Something like... there is definitely a contrast needed hear. Maybe go further and say "pornographic orgasm"? Contrasting that which is supposed to be pleasurable and holy and good (even a Rite [as an extension of Marriage] in the Catholic church) with something dirty, nasty, mass-produced and evil? "Orgasm cry for mercy" just didn't sit well with me.

"They call to her and sing/ Devil" I found weirdly inspirational. You bring spiritual darkness in now, where before you didn't touch on it as much, except perhaps with the reference to ghost. Very, very dark.

The call back to the tree having your teeth went a long way in giving this poem coherency, something many of your other poems, I feel, lack. As with the children having your body. Good, good, good.

But, at the very end, you lost me. The roots have nothing, sure, because they're apathetic, which you established earlier with their blooms being colorless and passion-less... but I don't know if this is the best way to end. With the roots as the final image, that is. This would be a drastic shift in meaning, but I think something like "And the roots don't have anything/But they didn't care in the first place/And neither did I." would have a much stronger "BAM!" to it than it does now where you just feel... "Ugh." And dirty. Et cetera. Maybe some call back to the question, something like "And I shouldn't've [cared, or maybe asked]"? You know?

I'm adding it to my favorites. Very good, just... tweaks. It needs some tweaks.

But singing "Devil" was very good.
sunscraped chapter 1 . 8/1/2008
Your choice of metaphors are... all over the place. Be it to reflect the confusion of identity or otherwise, it's still pretty scattered.

As I read over it, I can't really understand the specific breaks at each line, but the lack of end stops make for better flow of your piece, I guess. That's kind of an awkward sentence... Oh wait, I got it. Enjambment reinforces your concept. Sweet, I can write something coherent...

Anyway.

At points it seems to be a little clumsy in its delivery, but overall it's a good piece. As for the summary... Either mankind is shit or you're being pretentious. :)

Don't take it too seriously.

-ss.
Ernest Bloom chapter 1 . 7/31/2008
I'm a fan of surrealism so I appreciate the attempt automatically. What we've got here is a dynamic universe in flux, perpetual inversion, temporal regression, prey consuming predators, cycles of life melting into themselves, etc.

I like the babies trapped inside the skins. I imagine: seeds in fruit? Boschian pod-people? I'm okay with birds becoming mammals, but I'm unprepared when it breaks to a man turning to vaccum, for suddenly I think "The Tree" is turning into some kind of message about a person, which I don't really want it to do.

The puking is off-putting, like putting a big STOP sign in the middle of something beautiful. Interrupts the reader from submerging him/herself fully. Suddenly one _wants out_. I think you might have achieved the same result with better effect had you simply been absorbed by the soil and taken up by the roots. And then we have children screaming, which again detracts from the lovely surreal vision you'd achieved early on.

I wish finally the pretty parts and the ugly parts were two separate poems; I could like all of it better that way.

Luck.
deefective chapter 1 . 7/31/2008
Oh wow. Now this is what I call real poetry. This poem has so many levels and such deepness to it that even I don't fully understand it. I absolutely LOVE the imagery you create with your words. Every sentence was just BAM, BAM, BAM, I could see it in my head. And not only that but the words you used were completely perfect for this piece. There wasn't a single thing that was out of place. Now, I don't usually give such high praise like this but DAYUM,this was good.