This Poem was Submitted By: Eddie S. Iris On Date: 2003-10-19 15:01:00 . . . Click Here To Mail this Poem to a Friend!

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A Thousand Vacant Bodies

  the stars weren't out tonight  they were sick  they left us too  the sky was jet-black and beautiful  calling out to us  telling us to find peace through the bullet  pull that trigger  tighten that noose  swallow the whole bottle  douse yourself in kerosene  and light that fucking match  mass suicide in suburbia  no one notices the dead bodies piling up on the edge of town  how can you ignore that smell  how can you disregard the screaming  how can you not notice a thousand vacant bodies marching past  why can't you just look into the face of your child  and ask if he's okay  why do you let your friends slit their wrists and  why do you hand out the guns?     

Copyright © October 2003 Eddie S. Iris

This Poem was Critiqued By: Jennifer j Hill On Date: 2003-11-06 09:35:48
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.65789
Wow Eddie, if this doesn't shake at least a few people awake, I don't know what would. Very guttsy, compelling and thought provoking piece. "A Thousand Vacant Bodies" is a name that grabs our attention and doesn't let go. And the poem just keeps a tight grip on my arm, holding me there to the end. Even the stars are sick of us for the incredably thoughtless way we live our lives. Since the beauty of the stars can't hypnotize us into acting like we care about our own the completely blackened sky suggests plenty of ideas on how to take care of the problem! Nicely done, poet!This has a huge impact for this reader! And why would we think anyone would notice we were stinking up the place? They never noticed before, did they? Thank you for a very profound work. I hope to see more of your poetry, Eddie my best, jennifer

This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne Duval Morgan On Date: 2003-10-31 17:41:52
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.87500
Hello Eddie, Welcome aboard, sure glad Rick talked to you about RhePoeticLink, and that you've joined us. As I read the poem I was struck how vital and true your title speaks, for you have managed to encapsulate the whole scenario of societies woes. We sit back and don't take action, are we unaware of the slaughter to groups, and suicide of individuals? You poem is strongly worded, but it is very potent, and your linguist bent is current that anyone reading your intent would have to be effected by the projection. Thousand vacant bodies, literally piling up, and continuing to mass like sticks of discarged corded word, never to serve a useful purpose, because weaponary, and thrust in todays society is more violent in that it takes in cultures with a complete disregard for life, groups, and creates despair in individuals. The poem is simply worded, in a running format that makes it easy for the reader to follow, but more so then the stle or linguists, is the intent you protray, for you encapsulate the ills of humankind, no regard for human life. I like the poem, it causes reflection and an admiration that a writer could compose so powerful a thrust. So it's a great start here, and I hope you continue on. You couldn't have a better mentor the Rick, he's becoming one heralded writer here, all of us look foreward to his submissions, I think because he shows us ourselves, and cites circumstances that are such human traits, that he makes us aware, as this poem from you does also. Wonderful start Eddie, it's all a learning process, and I've found I've learned more about writing and understanding poetry from the learned membership here on TPL. Good luck and write more, really enjoyed the poem. Best regards, Jo Morgan
This Poem was Critiqued By: Joanne M Uppendahl On Date: 2003-10-20 14:19:31
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.93333
Dear Eddie: The impact of this poem is such that I was unable to respond on first reading. You touch upon a very personal issue for me, and an important topic (to say the least) in our day. On a personal note, I lost my own son to suicide - the anniversary date is next Wednesday. If your poem awakens one reader, stimulates conversation, encourages a parent to talk more with a child, it is more than worth the effort. You aptly define the hopelessness, the alienation and the anger that often precedes this self-destructive act. It is impossible to read the poem and have no emotions about it. In my opinion, this is the work of poetry - to leave the reader feeling something different than when they began to read. I think that this poem definitely deserves a wider audience, and is certainly one I feel would be well presented at a poetry reading. the stars weren't out tonight they were sick they left us too the sky was jet-black and beautiful calling out to us telling us to find peace through the bullet That there is little peace in the world places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the reader. The often-accepted solution to conflict is violence. You've used the absence of stars to depict the absence of light, of hope. The void beckons; self-annihiliation seems the only solution to the seeming purposelessness of life in a world of no-hope. Roger Moore in "Bowling for Columbine" commented on the pervasiveness of violence and guns in our (American) society. A society which fails to acknowledge the effect on youth of the culture of violence is one which, in effect, turns its back on them. Bringing these thoughts into the open is the best way to change what is happening. pull that trigger tighten that noose swallow the whole bottle douse yourself in kerosene and light that fucking match mass suicide in suburbia Here we are reminded of Columbine, other school shootings, other individual acts of desperation! no one notices the dead bodies piling up on the edge of town how can you ignore that smell how can you disregard the screaming how can you not notice a thousand vacant bodies marching past - excellent! why can't you just look into the face of your child and ask if he's okay why do you let your friends slit their wrists and why do you hand out the guns? I read somewhere in a book about writing poetry that we should never write about "the dead dog lying in the road" - that is, never offend our reader's sensibilities. I think that *breaking* that so-called rule is key here in this poem, which may serve as a wake-up call to the complacent. To the neighbor, parent, teacher, friend of someone who may be prevented from taking an irretrievable step. Perhaps we are not so much complacent as fearful. To turn away from that fear and denial and to look directly at the situation is what you ask us to do in this poem. I think that your title is stunning, and that the line - "how can you not notice a thousand vacant bodies marching past" is incredible use of the power of poetry to stir and to awaken. Keep speaking out, and I, for one, shall be listening. Brava! All my best, Joanne
This Poem was Critiqued By: Turner Lee Williams On Date: 2003-10-19 18:49:01
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.12500
Eddie--This is my first time seeing your work. It certainly got my attention. This could easily be call "Dark Poetry", but it's good. It definitely has a certain shock value which is labeled through the use of some troubling topics. Again good, because although morbid, these issues are daily occurrences. However, in this mist of it all your line, "why can't you just look into the face of your child and ask if he's okay", Whew!! Powerful reality. Throughout the piece only a single punctuation--at the very end. This allows the reader to go at his or her pace, pausing and or stopping (or not), making their own tempo. The varying lenghts of the lines also added a choppy staccato (excellent effect combination). The totality of the piece moved me. Thanks for sharing on TPL. TLW
This Poem was Critiqued By: Claire H. Currier On Date: 2003-10-19 17:49:07
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.60000
Poet: First of all, welcome to TPL....this piece is gut wrenching to say the least.... It asks so many questions for which we have no answers......Your opening lines concerning the stars "they were sick, they left us too." Why after a million or so years of appearing nightly in the sky would they want to leave us? Suicide is also described in many different ways "Pull that trigger...tighten that noose...swallow the whole bottle... douse yourself in karosene and light that...match" all very effective ways to do yourself in. All very sad thoughts for one to think about as well. "why do you hand out guns?" God only knows why. The world is a frightening place and we read of tragedy on a daily basis of one kind or another......Just the other day there were shootings in the school again and two students died at the hands of a friend......sadness which shall hold forever within the lives of the families, friends and even the young man that pulled the trigger...... This poem is well written and well structured with good word flow allowing the reader to feel, see, her, and become a part of the emotions contained within. It seeks answers to many questions which never get answered as well. Thanks for posting and sharing this with us. Be safe and God Bless, Claire
This Poem was Critiqued By: marilyn terwilleger On Date: 2003-10-19 17:13:01
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.12500
Dear Eddie, welcome to TPL and I must compliment you on this gut wrenching piece. It asks so many questions that are on the minds of many and none of us know who has the answers and perhaps no human soul does. The manner in which you begin this poem using the stars as the last straw..."they were sick, they left us too." This is a line of resignation...why not leave us after millions of years...everyone else has. Then you make use of some very powerful words to describe the many ways to commit suicide... "Pull that trigger...tighten that noose...swallow the whole bottle... douse yourself in karosene and light that...match" all very effective ways to do yourself in. I live in the Rockies in a town of about 55,000 and just last week two high school boys committed suicide. such a useless way to die...when my husband died he fought death every step of the way. "Why can't you just look into the face of a child and ask if he is ok?"...and "why do you hand out guns?" God only knows why. The whole world is so scarey now and sometimes when I get out of bed in the morning I wonder what awful thing has happened while I slept as I have stopped expecting good news. I have a grandson in Iraq and live in a state of fear as do his parents and his wife. This poem is well written and has a lot of merit, asking questions that so many just think but never ask out loud. Thanks for posting to TPL and I hope to read more of your work in the future. Peace...Marilyn
This Poem was Critiqued By: Rick Barnes On Date: 2003-10-19 16:27:14
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 10.00000
Eddie, You already have my review, but I thought I would post this so that I can access the review of others. R.
This Poem was Critiqued By: Jordan Brendez Bandojo On Date: 2003-10-19 16:02:35
Critiquer Rating During Critique: 9.76471
Oh, Eddie, the impact you created in this piece is in its maximum gravity! I see how significan this piece is! It awakens your reader to for deep reflection. Guns here...guns there... your theme is great and it should be taken seriously. This is not a news but it is more than a news depicting the harsh and gruesome events that suffer a lot of bodies. We are in the world of war today, crimes are everywhere. The earth is no longer a safe place to live in. The war in Iraq just subsided and it is giving us the warning that was is a mass destruction. Terrorism, too, is casting out blood even the most innocent suffers. Anyway, the presentation is very well done. The title alone is intriguing that can stir the readers' mind. The association of stars and sky seem to reinforce the idea of vacant bodies. It is very effective that way. It brings me the imagery of the heavenly bodies and it creates a thrill to the readers until they know in the end that it is concerned on the vacant bodies on earth that are suffering. It is dramatic that way. It has an astrological effect that would bring the mind of the readers to the outerspace. Therefore, it is not disclosing immediately right to the theme and could make it boring. The mentioning that the stars are "sick" and they left is an appropriate reinforcement of the theme. It projects the idea of pain and suffering and loneliness. It enhances the tone in a dramatic way. The keywords that put the readers right to the theme are "jet-black", "bullet", "gun", etc....telling us to find peace through the bullet pull that trigger.... a very effective line of awakening! The inclusion of the questions are effective that really serves to awaken and open the mind of the heedless: how can you ignore that smell how can you disregard the screaming how can you not notice a thousand vacant bodies marching past It is depicting a bloody scene. It is sad to note. It suggests that violence is never a way to peacefulness. If only all of us are against violence, peace would be all around us. ....why can't you just look into the face of your child and ask if he's okay....this is very poignant! It is realy sad to picture this out. Just look into the eyes of a child, and you will be in tears if you feel what the child feels and needs. This is so great! I almost to tear! Perfect presentation, the absence of uppercases is effective to enhance the tone of the poem. Thank you so much for sharing, Eddie! I think this is your first submission, you hit so high! Peace, Jordan
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