Pencil Pusher

Pencil Pusher

I work pencil over paper
trying to find words
that will ease my pain.

If I get them down,
and in the right order
I will be released.

The pain flows down my left arm
and out my hand,
a hand my father was ashamed of
for not being the right one.

I attempt to transfer pain to paper
but the words come out jumbled
and my heart is tired from trying.

I am not thrilled with the title but I couldn’t come up with anything else that fit.

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8 thoughts on “Pencil Pusher

  1. Well I felt emotion here. The emotion of frustration of trying to please someone who cannot be pleased (if I’m reading this right). Perhaps you could expound on that feeling and make it “bigger”–like it really is… I’ve heard of others who went through this too–with parents trying to change predominate hands. Not a good message to get when you’re a young child!

    I like your title too.

    • Thank you for the comment. It does need some work and I thank you for the help. I have some thoughts and I will make “bigger” as you say. I think that was what was missing, it is too “small” as it is. Thanks again.

  2. The title is fine and I think it gives you a way into some images 🙂 Like Brian, I liked the opening stanza – the idea of ‘working a pencil over paper to find words’ creates associations. Finding words to ease a pain is a really interesting idea to explore. I think it could be interesting to unpack the idea that to ease a pain, words need to be in a particular order …. The third stanza jumped out at me with its reference to shame… but I didn’t get a sense of whose shame – yours of your fathers. But that is only my opinion 🙂 You have some interesting ideas to play with here

    • Thank you so much for taking a look at this. I was going for a sense of numbness that comes after so much pain. I guess I missed, but that is why I asked for critique on this one. I have gotten some good suggestions and will work on this to make it better. Any suggestions on how to better illustrate that the shame was my father’s (a hand my father was ashamed of for not being the right one). He litteraly tried to force me to write with my right hand instead of my left because he didn’t want me to be thought of as “odd” (that didn’t work out so well for him LOL). Thanks again for the help.

  3. I agree with Brian. The title works and you have the skeleton for a great poem here. I suggest beefing this up with a good metaphor. You have the pencil as pain relief. Now you need to develop the supposedly wrong hand. Fill in with some emotion.

    I wish I could think of a metaphor for you to use that would compliment the pencil metaphor yet express the frustration that I suspect lies under the father’s contempt for the hand of choice. Without emotion to build on, I can’t seem to bring one to mind.

    Oh! Instead of focusing on the hand, focus on the blank page, use that as a metaphor for not feeling anything other than the pain.

    I’d love to see this develop into the “oh wow” category. It has the beginnings. I hope you let me know if you develop it further. I’d love to see what you can do with it.

    Thank you for the opportunity to read and crit your poem. It has been my pleasure.

    Beth

    • Thank you for taking a look at this. As I told Brian this is supposed to be a melancholy piece that is more numb than emotional. The last line is the important one, for me anyway (my heart is tired from trying). Would you have any suggestions on how I might go about making this point stronger. I seem to have missed here, though this in all honesty is a work in progress and I was looking for help. I appreciate your help and I will definitely take what you have said and work with it. I hope I don’t sound like I am complaining, I am just trying to get better. Thanks again.

  4. actually the title is not bad…this is written rather melancholy in voice…i dont get any emotion from it…with something about feeling ashamed i think i would like to see more how it made you feel…opening stanza is good…make me feel the pain…make it come alive from there…i think you have the base of something good…

    • Thanks for the critique. I appreciate what you are saying here and you have some great thoughts that I will explore. However let me pose this to you. The poem is supposed to be melancholy. The shame is my father’s not mine and the point, which I d\id not express well enough, was the last line, my heart is tired from trying. It is one of those things where you are so numb that you feel nothing even though you know the pain is there. That being said, I am not saying your critique is invalid. What I am asking now is if you might have any ideas as to how I might better express those feelings? This is how we get better right? Thank you so much for looking at this and taking the time to help out. And just between you and I, this is from my “Poems to be worked on” folder so I agree that it could be better.

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