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he was not a stranger once
just someone I sat with sometimes
drinking coffee
talking about cars
mobile phones and rust

dull conversations about nothing much

but sometimes darker
thoughts would tumble in a torrent
from his mouth

like flies watching death

fear of madness

I had nothing much to say
understanding the spaces
in anguish

until he hit me

one semi-perfect day

near where boats pull and buck against their ropes
tethered in the chop and plash of water
a day of clouds and wind
but warm enough

until he hit me

and shambled through streets unanchored
some clotted blood from childhood
freshly moistened by some evil
leaking through his mummified subsistence

his bandaged dangerous persona

weight of ghosts splintering his brain
fibres of tongue wild with pain
reaching for his fists

and I should have pity for him
they say
but he became the stranger then
an unbreathable presence
kakodaimon shaitan grotesquerie

and yes
I wished him dead and I still do

but I liked him once and that’s the pity of it

when he photographed camp fires
and the setting sun on deserts
where the silence of sand suited him
a place without others

where kakodaimons sleep and no-one else can hear them
so he could stare inside-out
into the great void

the howling
empty room of self

when he hit me

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
What did you think of the rhythm or pattern or pacing?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
Edited: So after Geezer's comments (see below) which mirrored my own grumbling dissatisfaction with the first edition punctuation (CAN WE HAVE A WORKSHOP PLEASE?), I have experimented just leaving spaces and changing a few words and lines to see how that reads/feels. I am not sure about using capitals to draw the reader's attention to a new thought, as it breaks it up a bit too much for me - in this poem anyway... open to thoughts, suggestions... really appreciate them This was based on an assault, a real event. I have been working hard to make sense of it but this is NOT therapy, but a genuine attempt to write a strong poem, authentic poem, about something hard to explain, and hard to understand in a small community where we all look after one another. 'Kakodaimon' is an evil spirit of ancient origin, from Ancient Greece. It should have a line above the second 'o', but I couldn't work out how to do that. It is also spelled 'Cacodemon' in modern parlance. Finally, the punctuation: I have chosen NOT to add fullstops, but to use commas for flow, while a lack of fullstops, hopefully, allow the lines to just hang there without completion. Be very pleased to get feedback as this has been hard and emotional, to write... but I want it to be good.
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content


and trying hard to make the new rules of punctuation work for me.
I have adopted the way of not using a fullstop at the end of a line and begining a new line with a capital,
as a way of showing the beginning of a new line/idea.
I feel that if you are going to leave commas at the end of a line, you should start the next line without a capital,
it just seems easier to read, and keeps the flow.
Be that as it may, you have told an interesting story here. It is a strong poem, as you have said you wanted.
You have given a good description of the day, and the sudden change of all that was good about it,
to show your bewilderment of what had happened. Your portrayal of his dark side is very evident in the line
"Thoughts would tumble in a torrent from his mouth, like flies watching death". I know that is not the way you wrote it.
[That is the way that I would read it]. I see now, what you mean by the commas; personally, I would leave them out anyway.
The spaces you have allowed, do the job nicely. The very descriptive language makes for scenes easily seen and readily understood.
A strong, personal poem that resonates with the reader, who is also trying to figure out what happened. ~ Geezer.

There is value to commenting and critique, tell us how you feel about our work.
This must be the place, 'cause there ain't no place like this place anywhere near this place.

So I've re-jigged this (see the post poem pre-amble) to listen to your comments, but have tried to incorporate more spaces into the poem to make reading easier. I am not sure about capitals at the beginning of a new thread of thought or description, as it made the poem - in this format- look jagged (if that makes sense).
What do you think?

Jenifer Jaspa James

author comment

the new write has taken care of my concerns. I like the spacing, which does the job of the missing punctuation. Very nice, ~ Geezer.

There is value to commenting and critique, tell us how you feel about our work.
This must be the place, 'cause there ain't no place like this place anywhere near this place.

Again, thank you - such good suggestions have made this poem much better. Really appreciate it..

Jenifer Jaspa James

author comment

When I read this, it made me think and ask lots of questions which is a good thing in poetry.

Your use of the words some, someone, sometimes, creates a sense of ambiguity and leaves the reader to fill in the gaps for themself but I noticed them in particular because I do not like using these words myself but by using them, you have allowed the reader to experience your introspection, solitude and alienation as told in this tale.

I liked the way you ended it with the opening, "when he hit me" bringing a harsh conclusion to your words.

The lack of full stops in this poem adds to the subject matter in its violence and yet you delivered it with an atmosphere of intensity by leaving each statement not fully closed. It is a piece of writing I will visit again, thank you.

Ruby :)

Give and grow - let's raise our verses together. I'm happy to comment on your work and appreciate a comment on mine.

As you can see, I have re-written it a little to sort out the punctuation, and see if it helps the flow and meaning by the use of more spaces between lines. Please let me know what you think? And thank you, very much, for noting the introspection, solitude and alienation - very, very true. Few things hurt more than the unexpected horror of the unsolicited and unwanted.

Jenifer Jaspa James

author comment

this poem stunned me...emotionally brought me up short to a full-stop! it makes me want to know more about him, you, the situation, everything! the lack of capitals and the running of lower case is impactful. it reads very smoothly. "until he hit me" sucker-punched me! I lived with someone like this. he broke bones, my foot, ribs and jaw. I felt like a prisoner, an emotional hostage, for sure. he was highly intelligent, and perverse. he was a cat-burglar. and was shot dead by an officer of the law, while performing a heist. that is what bought me my freedom.

as far as I am concerned, this is a most impactful piece!

*hugs, Cat

When someone reads your work
And responds, please be courteous
And reply in kind, thanks.

Dear Cat,

I cannot begin to understand how that lived experience must have felt and existed for you. My heart feels very sad and full after reading your comments.

Your poetry is so very beautiful. I reflect the other day how I wished I could write poetry THAT beautiful. Now, hearing of your experience, your poetry stuns me: it says so much about you, to live those horrors and find the beauty to write with such a deep, 'golden' pen.
Thank you very much for your comments, they warm me.

Hugs back, Jenifer

Jenifer Jaspa James

author comment

I was fairly young when that stage of my life occurred (21) so fairly resilient and strong. when I was 12 through 16 I was sexually abused by my brother-in-law. my family refused to believe me...until he started molesting his daughter. now I have a husband whom I love and respect (and deeply admire, as he does me)

thank you for the fine compliments on my poetry, I am honored and humbled by your words of praise. your poetry is the kind that makes one pause to think and is easily relatable. I enjoy it very much.

*hugs & love, Cat

When someone reads your work
And responds, please be courteous
And reply in kind, thanks.

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