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151
151
Review of Remember When  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, BillieGail,

This poem really left me wanting. Wanting to have a partner, that is, who felt about me as you do about yours. You made me want to fall in love all over again, just so I could relive the happy moments that seem so fresh, and express themselves in both the past and present tense. This is one of the more romantic and loving poems I've read in a while. Nicely done.

In an age of endless divorces, marital problems, infidelity and debauchery in all its forms, this lovely little piece of warmth and cuddly togetherness reminds us how really solid relationships are supposed to look, sound, and feel.

My only criticism, and I'm reluctant to mess with work this delicate, is the somewhat awkward use of "I do..." sort of stuck out there, all by itself. It's a bit redundant and just adds extra words, I think. The fix?

Since the next line says "I remember...", consider replacing "I do..." with "I remember..." This simplifies and keeps it all nice and clean. And the cleaner the better, I always say. Well, not always, but usually *Smile*

While I'm at it, I probably should kvetch about the title, too. Yeah, it's okay. A subjective call, in any event. My choice? I'd've gone with "I Remember..." The poem is present tense, present day, but the title almost makes it sound like reminiscing instead of rejoicing. Think it over for a few seconds and see if you agree. If not, not to worry. An eagle doesn't regret the loss of a single pinfeather *Smile*

Okay, this has been my ultra mushy moment of the day -- back into the harsh glare of reality. In case you couldn't tell, I loved it.
Bob

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152
152
Review of Running away  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Emily,

This is pretty good and doesn't need that much work. Not in my opinion. Okay, a little here and there. Most importantly, I think I get what you're saying, and think it's worth saying. *Smile*

Starting at the bottom first, you used a contraction "runnin" for the word, running, but used the whole word elsewhere. This is just a consistency point that you'll want to change, and I think just a matter of changing runnin' to running. If we make changes for no apparent reason, we make it look like we made the change for some important reason, which is why we want to stay as consistent as possible.

The enemy is adulthood, I think. The loss of the last of our childhood that a sixteenth birthday finally does away with. While many, if not most, want to hurry and grow up, there is a part of us that wants to stay hidden, safe with our secrets, but the desire to be fully responsible, or the need to be, is like its own monster that one can no longer control.

As I read this again, it suddenly occurred to me that this might well be a sci-fi horror story, too. Which I missed at first because I wanted to read it as a teenager's angst about growing up. But...OMG! She really does have a creature possessing her who is about to take over. Hence the "last Earth day". As an earthling *Smile*

Good poems are those that sound smart and make you think. This one did, for me. I hope you'll share with me what you personally had in mind as to the meaning. I think I could pull even another story out of this *Smile* if I tried enough.

I think my only remarks at this point is whether or not you want multiple meanings to be taken away by different readers. If not, you can easily add a few more lines and leave no doubt as to what's happening. So this might be a tough call as to how you want to leave it or change it. It's why poetry is both loved and hated, with little in-between.

My personal opinion? I think two or three more lines would help this. Maybe even four, depending on your exact message, or the sentiment you want expressed. But it's very close to being the perfect piece you want it to be.

Please run this by me again if you make any changes. I really like it, and I'm not even 100% sure why *Smile*
Bob

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153
153
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Megs,

This poem is much too good to be spoiled by some minor glitches. I assume it was inspired by the song from Bastille? These are strong words and lyrics. They're both and they're neither *Smile*

Here's your poem with the essential corrections put into place:


If You Give It a Name
by Megan Brink


Fear, it's just an emotion,

Nothing more than a thought,

Until you give it a name.


Depression, it's just there,

Nothing more than a feeling,

Until you give it a name.


A mistake, is just an event,

Nothing more than an action,

Until you give it a title.


A nightmare, it's just a dream,

Nothing more than imagination,

Until you give it a title.


A problem, it's just a situation,

Nothing more than a different routine,

Until you give it a title.


If you give it a name, then it's already won what you're good for.



So Megs, I noticed, of course, that you changed the one line which originally read:

If you give it a name, then it's already won.

To:

If you give it a name, then it's already won what you're good for.

Although I kind of get what you're after, I think it might be too confusing as to the new meaning you've created. Or the added emphasis which probably isn't needed in any event. The original line pretty much says it all.

If I read you correctly, you expanded on the lyric so that it includes a whole bunch of things we experience in life, and when we give them names, we allow them to have power over us. Instead of the other way around.

Much has been written about people allowing themselves to be defined by "labels" or medical conditions, or ways of looking and talking. Or worse, other people defining who they think we are, based on how we look -- the worst of the worst being our skin color.

I like the idea that you put all of this into your own words. One more little change would make this good poem even better.

You know how you use: "Until you give it a title." over and over again? That's okay with me, but I'd like to see you use a different word than, title, after you use it the first time. Then use it again, as the very last line that has title in it. That can stay the same.

In-between, however, try using synonyms. Here's an example:

A nightmare, it's just a dream,
Nothing more than imagination,
Until you give it an identity.

This is real close to what I'm talking about. I'm looking for words that mean the same as name and title. And allow you to say the same thing, but not have to repeat the same words over and over again. Look how much stronger that stanza is with the word, "identity" in it, instead of "title". If you don't agree, that's fine, too. It's just my opinion, but it's a good one, I think. I got lucky with this one *Smile*

So see what you think, and please let me see this again, if you make any changes. Hope this helps. Thanks for listening.
Bob

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154
154
Review of The Combat Medic  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi, Adrik,

I really liked this. And when I then tell you that I'm a U.S. Army combat veteran, Vietnam 1968-69, you'll know that my words don't come cheap. You did a great job, I thought, of capturing the role, importance, and solitude of the combat medic. How the medics themselves are a kind of mother figure, but in the best sense of the term.

The interesting thing about this work is how it will be read differently by different people. Because of the subject matter, and the experience -- or lack of experience -- one might possess with respect to the violence of war, the poem successfully bridges the gap between sympathy and empathy. Regardless of how familiar or unfamiliar one might be, with the horrors of warfare, the work reads either as a tribute piece, or more of a solemn homage to those whose job is to save lives rather than take them. Well done, my friend. *Smile*

My only concern is that the piece kind of dates itself by references to Normandy and Berlin, rather than Bagdad to Beirut. I'm not sure how you could bridge that gap and don't want to necessarily suggest that you do. But you might want to consider it.

Although most young people will never have military experience, they will have nonetheless seen their share of brutally realistic war movies. From all eras. From the Greeks of "300" to "Saving Private Ryan". I suppose to some, the poem will read as somewhat "tame" (not lame) in terms of the truly terrible circumstances that the work actually speaks to. This is only a concern if you intend to ever rewrite the piece. Which it doesn't require unless you wanted to really update it. As I said, it works very well as is, provided you're aware of the minor limitations that exist.

A "companion" piece might be worth considering. Another poem with similar structure and format, that then transfers the POV to the soldier him or herself. With a brief reference to a medic, perhaps.

Be that as it may, kudos to you, my friend, for an outstanding war piece that doesn't resort to any political judgments of its own, neither pro-war or con. It just is what it is.

Bob

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155
155
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Megs,

I really liked this. In fact I liked it so much, I couldn't resist putting some of myself into it *Smile* Forgive me for doing so. I had fun at your expense, but see if you can spot the method to my madness as they say.

Personally, as part of my review, I like this piece better as I've reconfigured it. But that's just me. Some think I have a pretty good eye for this kind of stuff, but you're the best judge, of course. I also rewrote one line that I didn't like. Which is saying a lot because I totally loved all the rest *Smile*

Here's the line I changed:

If I gave you tears and told you to shed them with the joy and sadness of others,

I felt it was awkward as presently written, and if you don't use my version, try to reword yours so it speaks more to what I'm driving at. Otherwise, I thought this was great as is, and could also be great (or better)*Smile* in my revised version. See what you think.
Bob

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What If I Gave You...?


If I gave you a heart and told you it was yours to love with,
If I gave you an ear and told you it was yours to listen with,
If I gave you a mouth and told you it was yours to voice your thoughts with,
If I gave you an eye and told you it was yours to see everything with,
If I gave you a hand and told you it was yours to hold,
If I gave you a foot and told you it was yours to move with,
If I gave you an imagination and told you it was yours to create with,
If I gave you a mind and told you it was yours to think with,
If I gave you a smile and told you it was yours to spread happiness with,
If I gave you tears and told you to shed them with the joy and sadness of others,
If I gave you faith and told you it was yours to believe in,
If I gave you adventures and told you they were yours to seek,
If I gave you dreams and told you they were yours to make true.
Would you take them?
Would you use them?
Why haven't you started yet?


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156
156
Review of Under Her Wing  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Skybear,

Yours is the eternal prayer. The premise of a thousand tales told by those who look about the world and see the errors of our ways. How humanity has lost its way and our salvation lies in the hands of the proverbial savior, the messiah, a redeemer, the Deliverer -- a Ghandi, Martin Luther King, a great king or politician. Your piece reminds me of the old saying about how the more things change, the more they remain the same.

The Hopi concept of Koyaanisqatsi plays a significant role here as well.

Moses was one such man, one like you describe. Just as one example. And he led his corrupt followers to their salvation. But only to have them once again return to their old ways of sin and depravity. That seems to be the routine, the pattern, which suggests to me that more is needed than the single individual. Maybe the right message with just the right words?

Not to focus on religion, but Jesus, I guess, was the right man with the right message, and still that wasn't enough. I think the answer lies in our willingness to keep asking, and searching for answers and solutions. Some would argue that YOU are the very person you seek. You and all the others like you -- a great collective of like minds, all aware of the problems, and with an inner sense of the answers.

Can such a discussion avoid a pathway that inevitably leads to politics? Is it possible that a politician might come among us, uniting instead of dividing? I don't know. What I do know is what you already know. That people who see the needs, will know when redemption is at hand. And even then, some will say the anti-Christ is upon us *Smile*

As for how you've structured the work, as a whole, I'm put off by the one large block of text look. I almost took this all apart and stacked it vertically in the form of a free verse poem, which is still my thought as to how it should be presented. You might want to give that a try. The nature of the piece is so universal, that a poem might appear less pedantic, less impersonal, warmer and more appealing.

Be sure to do a few more edits that fix the several (but minor) grammar and punctuation errors also present. Otherwise, very nice, I really enjoyed this.
Bob

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157
157
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, DM,

What I liked about this, and what prompted me to review it (speaking of prompts *Smile* was the timelessness of the theme. I could see the words as the expressed sentiments of all warriors who are on their way to battle, where the chances are that they will likely die. Metaphorically, such an idea could be expanded to include anyone who found themselves on an impossible voyage, whose outcome was dubious at best.

The "hunger" strikes me as the will to live, to survive. That others might do so as well. But death or failure seems predetermined and the urge to weep over the losses to come seems overwhelming.

Two critical comments only:

me drifting of to sleep.

Above is the last line to first stanza: you mean "off" to sleep.

me drifting soon to die.

Above is the last line to last stanza: it would be more powerful, I think, to rephrase it as follows:

me drifting off to die.

This is then a nice repeat of the last line of the first stanza, with a single, dramatic change.

To sum up, a poem that is loaded with any number of interesting interpretations and while I don't consider mine to be what you necessarily had in mind, it's how I read it, and that's what was important to me. I've got to move on before I figure out two or three other meanings *Smile*

Bob

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158
158
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Brittany,

This is very, very good. I'm not sure I laughed out loud, but I smiled -- and widely so -- from the beginning until the end. *Smile* Except for my nitpicky remarks below, I would consider this poem almost perfect, with little or no need for revisions of any kind. And that's rare for me to say that. Very rare.

Okay, so this is delightful, fun and funny, and "almost" ready for prime time. First check over my comments, however, and see if you want to follow my sage advice *Smile* I finish with a few more words afterwards.

I could be bold and tell you,
just set aside the coffee pot,
But if I did I could not share with you,
my villainous like plot

In the last line above, "my villainous like plot" is awkwardly stated and doesn't look or read right. Instead of "like", consider another adjective such as "sinful" (as just one example). The line would thus read: "my villainous, sinful plot"

And we’ll keep them awake forever,
to endure this life of ours,
And for once they all will understand,
why we are all such sours.

In the last line above, "sours" is not a word, and you're trying to make it one *Smile* Sometimes that works, but not in this case, in my opinion. It's a "forced" rhyme where you needed something to go with "ours". The rest of the poem is far too good to suddenly lapse into anything less than near perfect. Let me know what you come up with, if you follow my near perfect advice *Smile*

If by chance I do not make,
and to sleep I fall,
Please forget I ever said these words,
forget I made this call.

In the first line above, I get the feeling you left out the word, "it". Thus the line would read: "If by chance I do not make it,"

Okay, that's it. Could I nag you about another word or two, here or there? Probably. But I won't because I believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's your little masterpiece and once you apply my magnificent fixes, this work will awaken all those sleepyheads who're looking for something really good to read *Smile*

I have a feeling that everything you write would make me smile in one way or another. Keep up the nice work.
Bob

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159
159
Review of The Letter  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Websterb,

Since you asked, I can help answer some of your specific questions as they relate to this obviously ongoing story.

As for the dialogue, it all works fine, but there is a pattern to it that you need to be aware of, if you're not already. Or, I should say, a pattern to be avoided. There are a lack of contractions in the dialogue that results in stiff, overly formal speech.

"I'd like to tell you a story Mr. Akazawa. It's a true story, by which I mean I'll narrate a personal experience.

In the line above, I've inserted contractions wherever possible. This doesn't mean I suggest you do it this way, or that this character is the one who should speak like this. But somebody should *Smile* We just don't want all our characters to "sound" alike or speak alike. The "way" a person speaks can identify them as much as any clothing, scars, or other physical artifacts.

In this particular section, Toro has too little to say, I think. He is very quiet, although he does think a great deal. That's okay if it fits the story. I'd like to see something where Toro himself notices, however, that Urawa is doing all the talking.

Secondly, your paragraphs are too dense. Firstly, did I mention how well written I thought this was? If not, let me do so now *Smile* Really. That said, your paragraphs are too dense *Smile* What I mean is that they are too long and contain too much information for being individual paragraphs. What follows are your first two paragraphs that I have broken in places where I think it works better. See what you think.

I was in the kitchen making coffee when the letter finally arrived. I heard the violent clash of the letterbox, a signal for the morning post. From outside a grey light trickled in through somber clouds.

I resisted the urge to go and look immediately and waited until the coffee was freshly brewed and I had poured myself a cup. I couldn’t stop my heart beating in anticipation, just as it did every morning at this time.

It had been a month now and waiting had become a piece of my life. I wonder whether part of me wanted this to continue indefinitely. Waiting has purpose, when the wait was over I knew everything would change. Maybe I wasn't ready for that.

I walked through the small corridor that joined the kitchen to the living room and entrance. I avoided my reflection in the hallway mirror. Seeing an unshaven specter of myself in my frayed dressing gown was not something that was going to lift my spirits.

The post had landed in a chaotic jumble. I crouched down and carefully sifted through (the pile). I pushed away pizza delivery leaflets, bills and various junk mail to find, quietly sitting at the bottom, a small white envelope that had my name and address carefully printed in small blocked letters.

Okay, I'm back and I hope that was helpful. One of the reasons I dislike first person, present tense, is because it limits the amount of description we can write about. Everything has to be seen and experienced from a single POV, which is difficult to express, but especially hard to elaborate with lots of adjectives or "objective" observations about things.

Given the limitations of first person, you appear to be doing a good enough job of it. All you're really left with is dialogue and plot, so it better be good -- really good -- and captivating. I don't know if you achieve that, but it is too early to tell. Depends on what's in the letter and who this Urawa guy is.

In closing, the writers who do well with dialogue understand that it doesn't have to just "sound" real or authentic. It has to be "alive" and exude all those things we normally take for granted. Things like sneezing, coughing, sniffing, hesitating, clearing one's throat, spitting, swallowing, and a hundred other nuances that make the dialogue come to life, instead of just being words on the page. This is something that even in first person, can be described with great effect.

And characters also interrupt each other, sometimes frequently. A lot of authors avoid interrupted speech because it forces them to use what's called an "ellipsis". I've made a science out of the use of this little devil, so let me know if you want to know more *Smile*

I hope this is helpful and seriously, let me know if you have any more questions.
Bob

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160
160
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Hi, Luka,

I think you're on to something here. A somewhat fresh approach to an old theme that's been done many times before in many ways. But there's something about your presentation and execution that caught my attention and was worthy, I felt, of a few observations and comments. Especially given that this genre is one of my personal favorites *Smile*

I like the innovative twist of "serial killer meets overeater" and find it to be an interesting if not a largely original theme. This is particular true as it pertains to a "seven sins" approach. You've set the bar fairly high for yourself because all the other stories will need to be as new and unexpected as this one. A nice challenge if you're up to it *Smile*

Depending on how you "wrap" all these up, a singular theme would make a nice way to tie things all together, despite the stories themselves being different. For example, it would be easy to cover all the sins while "working" out of the same diner, albeit with different characters. It would be fun to focus on a different group of characters each time, but the previous ones, such as Harris and Sandy, are still "glimpsed" in the background, but are ignored as little more than other "patrons" of this "diner from hell". Could be a coffee shop, whatever.

As the author, don't be too skimpy with your descriptions or the horror and gore *Smile* Remember that in writing fiction, your characters and scenes generally need to be larger than life. Exaggerated but still believable. In this context, Harris should be morbidly overweight. Grossly so, if not totally disgusting.

We know what's in it for Harris, but not for Sandy. She gloms onto Harris because he "consumes" the incriminating evidence. It's a match made in heaven. Harris should be skeptical, also, as to why a beautiful gal like Sandy, would have any interest in him. Which we finally figure out. So does he. An added twist would be for Harris to give in, go along, and in order to keep the girl of his dreams, decides that his new taste for meat isn't all that bad *Smile*

Anyway, you get the idea. I also think the headline should read: Decapitated heads identified in Odessa county. Authorities still searching for missing bodies.

And then the rest of it is okay. Don't be too dramatic. The more straight (dull) the newspaper text, the better. Keep in mind also that he may be using a laptop or notebook. Newspapers would date the piece to present day. Even a cell phone type thing can have the same headlines for his local area news.

Remember: Fatter, bloodier, gorier, more descriptive, and prettier. And the same for all the stories. Don't hold back. Make me cringe *Smile*

Bob
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161
161
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (2.5)
Hi, Ben,

In a way, this is not going to be a fair review of your work. What I mean is that I don't have much to say about the actual content, but from what I looked at, the writing itself is actually quite good. And the story is engaging and well described. All the more reason for me to jump into this and ask you what the holy heck are you doing? *Smile*

What you've written here is this big, giant gob of continuous narrative and dialogue all mixed together, all running together, and really preventing others from getting into your story and understanding it. Maybe it's copy and paste error where all your paragraph breaks were lost? I don't know, and in its present condition, it is just too much work to hassle with. But...

If you will take the time and put in all the breaks, and separate out all of the dialogue sections from the narrative parts, I would be happy to take a look at this again and see how and what you did with it *Smile*

Just in case it applies, paragraph breaks are pretty easy to find where they belong, based on the idea that a single paragraph usually begins and ends with a single thought, single character, single piece of action, or small grouping of stuff that is so closely connected, that separating them would seem silly. Many authors struggle with finding these breaks until they get a feel for them. If this applies to you, be patient, you'll get it.

Dialogue is very straightforward, whereby each speaker always gets their own paragraph. Never combine two speakers in the same paragraph. Two or more characters, however, can be combined, if the POV of the action is singular, and that of our main character. But as soon as someone opens their mouth -- separate paragraph *Smile*

I hope this helps, and let me know if and when you "chop" this into the smaller pieces it needs to be. BTW, while I believe this might deserve much more than 2 1/2 stars, it's just not possible in its current condition.
Bob

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162
162
Review of Untitled  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
Hi, Mr. Bean,
(any relation to that other Mr. Bean? *Smile*

The short answer to your question is, no, the story doesn't work as presently written. The short question is why are you mixing the two styles for apparently no reason? The second half, written exclusively in third-person past-tense, works extremely well. As would the top half, if written to match the lower.

Since you seem capable of writing in either style, although your 3rd person is better, just settle it that you'll write the whole thing in 3rd person and be done with it. 1st person is very difficult to keep straight, and allows for a minimum of descriptive details. Most writers who try 1st person, end up drifting into and out of, 3rd person. So it gets very confusing fast, and sooner, rather than later, most readers will just throw up their hands and move to another story.

I will say this much, we've all seen stories where there's a present-day storyteller. And this narrator then takes us back to another time or place. In this sense, you can mix present and past tenses. Especially if you return to the present here and there, and then go back again. That might be kind of fun, and I get the impression that you're doing some of that in this story. Let me know what you decide, do a rewrite, and I'll try to give one more honest read once you're settle on a definite path.

Btw, the work is extremely dense. By this I mean the paragraphs are long and filled with a lot of good stuff. Once you get the tenses worked out, try breaking the paragraphs into thirds of what they are now. I can help with that, also, if we get to that point.

Bob

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163
163
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, S.z.,

I felt this deserved a review that concentrates on only one aspect of your writing. I think it's written well enough, with minor problems here and there, but that is not the focus of my attention.

This is essentially a straight prose piece that you've written in poem format, structurally. I am curious as to why you did this. The story is so interesting and pleasing, that written out in full prose form would make this three times better than it is. Unless there is a reason that I fail to see, to write this as it is, and not do it as 5-10 separate paragraphs that stretch the full width of the page, such as a more typical short story, I hope you will consider a full and complete rearrangement of this work -- as straight prose.

This is an example of what I referred to in my earlier letter to you. Where all your works resemble poems. And none that I could find, resembled prose pieces. Written as prose, you would find that you could add new words and descriptions that may have not occurred to you earlier.

I hope my observation is helpful, and let me know if I'm making any sense with all this *Smile*

Bob

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164
164
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, again, S.z.,

This is an interesting piece because it represents what is called, "prose poetry". The work is literally half poem, half prose, and for the most part, I think you pull it off rather well. Once more, the punctuation and grammar pose aspects which deserve special attention. Especially in a work of this quality which is otherwise outstanding.

The "stanza" formatting, arrangement of lines, line breaks, and words left "dangling" are also somewhat awkward, and detract from the visual imagery and hot, fiery beauty of the piece.

I thought you captured perfectly the whole idea of one's fascination (and mesmerization) with molten, melting elements, and phrases like, "a metallic gold syrup" are pure literary "gold" *Smile*

The ending was good but thrown-in too hurriedly and could be done better if worked on. The whole last 1/2 of the stanza plays really well and leads to a great conclusion.

Overall, I really liked this. It is so full of wonderful qualities, that it is a shame to leave it with so many small problems. Once again, a 4 1/2 to 5-star work that is lessened by weak structure. Even so, it still gets high marks.

Bob

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165
165
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, S.z.,

As lovely as this poem is, and it is indeed gorgeous in its imagery and descriptions, the piece has some problems, or issues, if you like, with which I am concerned. As follows:

The use of punctuation is random, and seemingly utilized without any true purpose or pattern. This is easily fixed, but represents a factor that deserves attention.

Peasants toiling and pheasants scratching
as I spy a cricket somersaulting

In the line above, the author or witness -- "I" -- spies a cricket, but we don't know who this person is and never hear from them again throughout the poem. Either "someone' is telling us what "they" see, or the author should remain out of the poem altogether. No right or wrong, just a matter of consistency and clarity *Smile*

The cactus the desert's prickly femme-fatale
elsewhere a lone leaf floats in the canal

In the line above, it should read The cactus "is" the desert's femme fatale (no hyphen) or:
The cactus -- the desert's femme fatale.

Prairie dogs go popping
while hares go hopping
and ladies go shopping

In the stanza above, "humans" make another unexpected appearance, while all the rest of the poem is entirely focused on nature. While this isn't bad, choosing another form, such as:

Prairie dogs go popping
while hares go hopping
and suitors go shopping

With this change above, we how have a nice chance to imagine "animals" seeking out mates. This leaves only one reference to "peasants" which I think you should replace with another animal reference.

Swans have formed a V-line
The flora too is divine
as bees swarm in bee-line.

In the line above, Swans have formed a "vee-line" is probably a better way to express this.
"beeline" is one word. (I know, I'm so picky *Smile*

Seista is spelled siesta.

What a medley eh of scenery
Murky eve and dawning greenery

In the line above, "eh" is too informal, and used only in dialogue. Has no meaning in regular narrative.

Ah, wherever you go nature's so panoramic
While we make pictures God made what's picturesque!

In the lines above, the concept is beautiful, but awkwardly worded. I like the first line, however. Still too informal, but I can live with it *Smile*

The second line is problematic. Maybe something more like:
While we only make pictures, God makes the whole world picturesque!

This is more akin to what I think you're trying to say. The last lines are always the hardest, but the most meaningful. With corrections made where I single them out, I would give this poem 4 1/2 stars easy.

I felt like I was there. Nicely done.
Bob

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166
166
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Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, Elizabeth,

I must confess that when I saw your moniker, Elizabeth HATE Spiders!, I decided then and there, I had to to see this person's bio. And now I'm glad I did. There's some very inspirational, very personal stuff here that is honest and not sugar-coated for easy consumption.

I've now read many of your poems, all of which are easy on the eyes, but several of which tug at the heart and pull on one's soul. Let alone call to a multitude of spirits both figurative and literal. I chose this one to review because I love the dance and rhythm of the piece, and how it "sings" to one of the great divinities of both ancient and modern times.

I wonder if this poem would work even better if you explained just s smidge more about Isis, and why she is so important not only to you, but to the world at large *Smile* That the "goddess" in every sense of the term, as the Divine Mother, applies to all who might listen, hear the music that welcomes us, and be freed accordingly.

Yeah, right, now put all that in another single line when you get chance *Smile*

I also liked this because it is filled with a joy and optimism that is absent from several of your other poems. So if I was to review one, I felt this was as good (or better) than most.

I also hope it's not true that you hate ALL spiders *Smile* Some of my best friends are arachnids, although we have scorpions here in Arizona, so you may have the right attitude ultimately.

Once again, I enjoy your work because it's a tad more than "just" poems. The words tend to be like lines or tethers direct from your inner being to anyone who's open to truthfulness in its most unvarnished, undisguised trapping.

Before leaving, I will snoop around a bit more and look for a prose piece I can cause some trouble with. Maybe not. Your poetry is likely as good as any prose you've written. I'll let you know if I find something worth commenting on *Smile*
Bob

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Review of Whispering Walls  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Hi, again, Nixie,

You have way too much stuff to look at, read, review, marvel over, and otherwise relish. So I just finally relented and looked for something that might offer a respite from the overwhelming cavalcade of splendiferous offerings that bulge from your near countless folders *Smile*

While this is surely not one of your best stories, nor believable ones, I found it so surreal and intriguing, where I loved the whole "Welcome home," whispered the walls, "Welcome home," scratched the tree branch against the window, "We've been waiting," sighed the wind -- that you won me over despite an illogical (in my opinion) and lackluster ending.

For me, the piece is very visual, and I pictured one of those episodes from a TV (or feature film) anthology of scary stories. It works very well in that context. It would also be wonderful as an audio-only work, narrated with sound effects. As a straight read, I was less than thrilled, however, because I wanted to like the protagonist and things only grew worse for him -- and for the reader. It's certainly not the fault of the writing, at which you excel and leave only the content itself for evaluation.

It's almost like you lost interest in the story about 3/4 of the way through. I don't know. I understand a prompt was involved. I think there's a really good ending still waiting to be told here. One that matches the superb build-up and match-up of Flint with the creepy physical surroundings that confront him. Let alone the spirits of the disgruntled deceased *Smile*

Well, I've said enough, but let me know if I made sense in the process. I look forward, when time permits. to returning to your port and reading more of your totally professional work. It's been my pleasure (and honor) to be picky with it. *Smile* And easy 3 1/2 stars, and an easier 4 1/2 with the right ending.
Bob

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168
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, Marisa,

As you can see, I totally messed with your writing. Much less than you might think, however. What I did essentially, was simply to break the whole thing up into what seemed to be natural splits in both thought and action. While I didn't intend this as the be-all, end-all of how your paragraph breaks ought to go, I did feel this would be a helpful demonstration how busting these things up can reveal what we're saying and doing, and what might be missing or shouldn't necessarily go together. I'm sure you'll further switch things around, but if you use my chopping and slashing approach *Smile* I think you'll figure out sooner and with more clarity, exactly where the pieces fit.

Naturally I don't know where you're going with this, but I feel like you're off to a good start storywise. The main character appears to be somewhat of a lost soul, dissatisfied with life and unsure of what he really wants to do.

There's an old song about "...the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind." In this case, the answer may be in the falling rain *Smile*

Let me know if this was helpful.
Bob

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What follows is my lame attempt to put paragraph breaks into your story. Is nothing sacred? *Smile*

The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that it was raining again. Third time in a week, not that I was complaining. There's a certain quality unique to the sound of falling rain; it has the ability to drown out the thoughts of others, no matter how loud they may be.

On a rainy day, I wouldn't have to dread leaving my house, fearing that the sound would overwhelm me and force me to take refuge in some corner market, while passersby regarded me with something between concern and apprehension.

On a rainy day, there would even be less people on the sidewalk, so the chance of coming across an errant exclaimed thought was much less likely.

I sighed and stretched, disturbing the black furry blob that was Atticus, my most loyal alleycat, who gave off a noise, something between a meow and a chirrup, before prancing off of the edge of the bed and out of the room.

My alarm hadn't yet gone off; the bright blue LEDs read "7:18," leaving me almost a full hour and a half before I had to get to work. Given my condition, I had done everything in my power to procure some sort of occupation that didn't necessarily require me to get out much, and I knew for certain that working in customer service was completely out of the question.

I had played out the scenario several times in my head, running through exactly what would happen every time I was on the phone with a customer. They would think something. I would respond, thinking that they had said it out loud. They would promptly freak out, and no longer want to work with our company. Right?

That may have been a slight overreaction, but I was sure that any customer would surely catch on to something weird going on after oh, say, the sixth or seventh time that it happened in one phone call. I could never be sure, and it was for that reason that I knew I had to get into a very particular line of work. Something that could be done at home, with little to no supervision or human interaction.

Journalism.

The company that hired me was apprehensive, at best, when I told them the stipulations of my employment. I would come to the office when required, but requested that most days I be allowed to work from home. They questioned me mercilessly, but I was able to convince them that I simply had a social disorder that made it difficult for me to work in crowded office areas.

That was three years earlier, when I was fresh out of college, and the editors had agreed to give me a chance, based mainly on my four year degree and a handful of stellar recommendations from my professors in college who had seen just what I could do when I didn't have to be subjected to a classroom.

Now, I had become one of the most sought after writers in the Baltimore area, one who does the most intricate research to get the job done. I sometimes wonder if I would still be so sought after if anyone knew the truth behind my most exquisite research.

Which more or less brought me to today. It was a rare day, a Tuesday, when I was expected to go into the office to attend a once weekly meeting in which we would discuss everyone's assignments, as well as the expectations and goals for the week and month.

I had, in some serious instances, found a way to get out of even these outings, however I had decided that day to take full advantage of the weather and go out, for the first time in about a week.



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Rated: 18+ | N/A (Review only item.)
Hi, Bareliin,

This story is too good, too well written, too strange and scary, to leave me and other readers with what I feel is an awkward and esoteric ending. I had to Google poyo, which I guessed as being one of those Japanese doll-like characters. Then I had to guess who is speaking the final word, which I suppose is the eight-year-old, who recognizes the monster as being something from either her toy box, television, or a video game. My assumption is that had the monster been a block with pegs, the last word might have been "Lego!"

This is actually a fun story and I liked it, but my fear is that the key reference will be too unfamiliar to too many readers. The only other troubling aspect, although not a major issue because I think I understand the intent, is the overall seriousness of the piece, intense and graphic, not so much as a giggle, only to put a quasi-humorous spin on things at the very end.

If the intent was to show how humor, either on purpose or by accident, is sometimes the last gasp before destruction and death, your goal was accomplished, but only half way, I believe. Or rather, the impact could be twice as powerful with an equally outlandish -- but more recognizable -- popular figure that not only might the boy or his sister recognize, but most readers as well.

Maybe just a more familiar character that bears a similar color and shape. I don't know. I like the concept, but don't play video games, so I can't help beyond my griping that the connection isn't strong enough *Smile*

Help me out here and tell me where I've gone astray, or suggest some alternatives that we both could live with *Smile*

Once again, this is very good, and for those who "get" it entirely, I'm sure it works well. Let me know because I want to like this more than I do. Which means going from good to great.
Bob

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170
170
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.5)
Hi, S.Z. Kamoonpuri,

It is my esteemed pleasure to make your acquaintance and to have the opportunity to both say hello, and review some of your writing. Your biography is almost as interesting as any story you may write about, and your name alone is not only fascinating, but would make a wonderful moniker for a character in a story *Smile*

I really liked this insightful monologue on dreams. This would also make a marvelous free verse poem, in the event you should decide to rewrite it. One of the distinctive qualities, among many, that your writing expresses, is a delightful African intonation which is at one and the same time unique, colorful, interesting and international. Your words and the way you write are as much auditory as they are lines of text. I can "hear" you speaking to me, and it is a very pleasant sound.

There are, of course, some (minor) English grammar and punctuation issues with your writing, but these are easily fixed, the reasons learned, and not repeated in the future. I am reluctant, however, to go through each and every one with you, because your work, overall, is so pleasing to both eye and ear. I have a feeling I would very much enjoy reading anything you have written, and henceforth, please consider me as a fan. Seriously.

I like your ideas about dreams, and you successfully combined science with a bit of fantasy in this particular piece. Nicely done. Even in this short work of straight prose, you whisked me away to foreign, exotic lands, themselves dreamlike and mysterious -- and often foreboding and frightening. Do our nightmares reign in the world of dreams? Or do we just remember them more vividly than others? If we are sometimes terrified, so do we also, on occasion, fall in love inside our nighttime reveries.

More than once, I have felt a sense of loss upon awakening, as much as any recovery from something frightful or hideous.

Once again, thank you for reviewing my work, and I hope you went back and read the introduction I added. To which I've now added a short piece at the very end *Smile* It has been my privilege to read some of your work and I look forward to doing so again. Let me know if you have any questions about the grammar stuff, otherwise, I wish you well. Seriously *Smile*
Bob

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Review of Friendship  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi,

I read this as a positive message of healing. Reciprocation, and the lack of same, when it comes to our relationships with others, often trusting and being trusted, sharing a wide variety of experiences, is no doubt a fickly affair. And more often than not, we wind up being disappointed.

The great friend turns out to be less than great, less than good even. The recipient of our good will, our money, time, and caring, is soon departed with not so much as a look back over their shoulder. Worse yet, we are ignored because we're no longer needed. Thus the origin of true and authentic altruism. And the attitude that heals with every breath.

Righteous people do the right thing even when no one is looking. Did you help that friend because there was something in it for you? Did you comfort the stranger so they would like you and speak well of you? Or did you do things because you're a decent, loving person, and not for the purpose of being recognized on the street and being praised for your good deeds.

The good we do is separate from who we are. Or it should be. And in being separate, it lingers with the recipient who will carry with them the added quality of their good fortune in having known us. That is our reward. And it is the most control we can ever have. Where we hope for the best, but never expect predictable outcomes or results.

There are those who will see us and know. As well as those who will remember yet forget. The lasting impact of our effect on someone, be they stranger or friend, and be the impression brief or long, is not our concern. And when we make it so, we will likely be disappointed, both in ourselves and in others.

Isn't the real beauty of a flower found by watering it, but never snipping it for our own use? Or in wishing it was yellow instead of pink. This is a great topic that this review certainly leaves untouched and unresolved. But it is an important topic and this particular monologue gets right to the heart of it.

And comes to exact right conclusion. I loved it. Thanks for letting me ramble on. Oh, and btw, use a larger font size and nothing fancy. Simpler the better *Smile* Once more, I really liked this. You brought out a lot in me, which is what these things should do.

Bob

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Review of Tears  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi,

This is actually pretty damn good. I've read introspective pieces before, but this is one of the better ones. And what's so good about it, in at least one way, is that it represents the ultimate contradiction, the very opposite of what it describes, as is the true reality of the world.

The tone and tenor is that of the solitary man or woman. The island universe. That regardless of social interaction, assimilation, participation, no one truly knows or understands -- me. Yet through my eyes, where the truths of the world are so prevalent and potent, tears go publicly un-shed not because I am unable to weep, but because the sorrows I feel are beyond tears, are a private matter that only I could possibly understand.

The inherent contradiction is that if we, as human beings, have ever learned anything about ourselves as living, emotional entities, it is that we intrinsically, automatically, unavoidably share far more similarities than dissimilarities. We are all far more alike, than different.

And yet a great truth is described, bemoaned, and accurately portrayed in this powerful piece, more poem than prose. I think it should be rewritten as a poem (if possible) and a powerful one it would be. Free verse, of course.

I'm reminded of the yin and yang of all things, and how this work, in describing the isolation of the speaker, acknowledges his or her immersion within the communal human condition simultaneously. The flip side is that almost anyone who reads this, will think, yeah, that's me, that's how I feel. I get everyone else, but no one really gets me.

I got a lot out of this, and I hope you got something out of my evaluation. Keep up the good work. Oh, and use a larger font size, too. At least 12-point, sans serif or Times Roman. Thanks again.
Bob

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173
173
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Rated: E | (4.0)
Well, isn't this little scarefest a nice cross between old-time radio and more current TV anthologies designed to take us, ala Rod Serling and others, into those deep dark places where we may never return -- alive! Poor Stefan sure didn't, or certainly not in his right mind. I suppose an epilogue might have shown him as now being one of the inmates himself -- complete with straitjacket.

I liked this because it set just the right tone and mood before it even got started. I could visualize everything, hear the thunder, feel the wind and the rain. Perfect. As these kind of short stories go, this was one of the better ones, and if anything, was too short. We almost needed a third story, and then the finale. I loved the old woman who got rid of her husband -- that was a classic. Hadn't heard that one before. All in all, the story lives up to the expectations it sets up, takes us to the end and doesn't disappoint.

Although there's plenty of room for some additional editing here, the structure in places is in need of repair almost as much as the Asylum itself *Smile* all the parts are nevertheless in place and solidly so. I read through this quickly, eager to see where things were going, and the easy writing style let me do just that.

Whether as a stand-alone piece, or one that eventually undergoes some final polishing, this was a great read that left me guessing and wanting more. Which is always a good thing. Nice work.
Bob

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Review of Porcelain Mind  
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi, DT21 (please forgive the shortening your moniker)

I chose your poem because we can do a quick overview and see what's weak in it, and how we can make it stronger. I love the whole idea of the metaphor you're using, and if the analogy is made more consistent and uniform, I think you'll not only appreciate the power of this particular piece, but see how the methodology can be applied to many other areas of writing.

Okay, so what am I talking about? Porcelain is both strong and weak. If you use the substance and compare it to our brains (minds) then go all the way with it. Keep the (ceramic) analogy going and don't divert to "everlasting thirst" for example, which is a water metaphor. Mixing metaphors or using them and not ending with the same ones or the same theme, can weaken an otherwise powerful piece, which your poem is -- if we don't critique it too closely. But since they pay me the big bucks to be picky (not really) *Smile* then it's my job to zero in on a work like yours and see if we can make it the best it can be.

The first six lines are terrific. And that's the last we see of the porcelain until the last line, where we need to recall that the person holding our trust is handling something as fragile as our porcelain "heart" one might also presume.

See, if in lines 7, 8, and 9, you can continue the ceramic metaphor in some way. Make the heart as fragile as the rest, yearns to remain unbroken, and instead of a "desperate mind", maybe the mind longs to be whole, without fractures, forever flawless, that sort of thing. I'd look for all the synonyms I can find on porcelain and ceramics.

Then stress the last two lines because I really like them. The idea that trust is like allowing another person to hold our very soul which, in theory, might be dropped and shattered, both on purpose or by accident.

I hope I gave you some stuff to think about. Let me know if this helps.
Bob

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Review of Santa Claws  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi, Cubby,

Me again, and I don't know why I even bother with a review format. I should just send you an email and say, "Here's your five stars, don't look for more -- I'm busy!"

Okay, so this isn't going down as one of the great literary masterpieces of modern times -- but it's close *Smile* I also think there's a hidden and secondary element to this that you may or may not have intended. Although I should know better than underestimate you. I tread lightly as I put forth the following:

His taste for blood
arose desire,
a desperate flood,
a sure vampire.

Remember one of the things that made the Grinch so great? He wasn't the real Santa, of course, but a somewhat convincing faux version that was just good enough to get job done. When I read this, the first thing that popped into my mind was that this wasn't the real Santa, but simply a whacky -- albeit evil -- vampire who found a rather unique way to disguise his true identity.

I believe the poem works well, either way, although you might consider an added "nudge" which would perhaps strengthen the notion that this may not be the actual Santa. Or maybe it is. Aha! *Smile* Let them wonder -- things are rarely what they seem.

Anyway, I scrolled way down to the end, looking for one of your poems that required some effort to find. Geez, you've been one busy lady. And it's my esteemed pleasure to once again be delighted and positively seduced by the quality of your writing.

Surely you are published all over the place, and I've just been too grouchy to notice. And if you're not, then let's get to it. Seriously. Once again congratulations to one of the truly superb writers here at WDC. What a joy it is to read work of this caliber. Thank you.

Bob

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