Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Full House Of Despair

All hope was lost in a poker game.
Despair was a full house, hope was a flush.
It was then that god abandoned me, and I turned to the devil I knew.
At least I knew that devil threw one hell of a party.
Wherever he went, happiness followed.

I tracked that devil's path through my veins again and again...
Anything to feel again.

To feel anything.

Even to worry about my hopeless state would be a welcome reprieve from apathy's grasp.
Relieving my problems with a needle became my problem. But why give a fuck?

Hope died long ago. I killed her myself.
Then Joy.
Then Honour, Virtue, Pride.
Killing, numbing, dying until nothing but me remained. An empty husk waiting to dissolve into dust. Dead inside, waiting for actual death.

HAHAHA! Just kidding! Drugs are awesome!


  1. I like where this began, because of the strong imagery you had from the get-go, in your title. The idea of likening a game of cards (poker or otherwise) to themes like death and despair is one that is something of a classic. The Devil in poetry plays chess in Greece, and he plays poker in Louisiana, so it feels allusive already, in a classy way, just by the title (which is nice, because then you deal with drug use, a gritty topic to juxtapose with the class of intertextuality).

    The first line was striking, and effective, but with the second, I felt unsure whether "Despair" was a named-character, or just a feeling that "full-house" is a metaphor for. Because you stated that second line so succinctly, but then didn't go into how or why despair and hope were (or were like) those emotions, I felt left hanging and immediately isolated from the experience of the narrator in the poem. Once I reached the lack of grammatical soundness in the fourth line, and then the uncertain character/metaphor problem again with god and the devil, I just couldn't tell whether this was meant to be an allegory, or just an emotional comparison piece. There were initial stirrings of both, but a sound follow-through for neither.

    The second stanza is excellent. Just excellent. Though you lack any kind of metric in this poem, I don't feel like that's a problem, because contemporary poetry so often ignores meter and rhyme for profound language and emotional quality, and that's what this stanza had. The play on words with "tracked," and the evolution from placing blame onto the devil instead of the narrator to the narrator being the active part of this (especially once he reveals his having killed hope later) was great.

    The third stanza feels like it was trying to do something unclear, and feels bland after the second stanza's success.

    The devolution from metaphor and figurative language to literal language seems a shame, but I can see how that could be a layered representation of a devolution cause by addiction...however, I don't think that was a purposeful choice, and I would advise against strengthening that idea. It's too much. Consistency would be your friend in this piece, and the thing I would most ask you to edit into it.

    In the last stanza, again, I'm unsure whether hope is a thing or a capital-H character, especially since you assign it a feminine quality so easily.

    Like I said, I think this started really well, and has an initial idea behind it that's really promising. I'd encourage you to take a second pass, and go for it with a bit more critical thought. It really could be very nice, with some careful crafting of the latter half, especially.

    (Also, I lol-ed pretty hard at "Just kidding! Drugs are awesome!")

  2. Hey, you ever gonna man up and admit that Obama's a war criminal?