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for Rocket Festival

9/25/2006 c1 10aesahattyr
first of all i would like to thank you for such an incredible review! you got everything right. i was trying to metaphorize a person's ability to revisit their thoughts and memories. and second i would like to gush about this amazing poem you have here!

[Crawling through the grassHeads turn clockwise then forwardSaying “Goodbye Innocence,It’s my time”]

this gives such a clear picture in my head-i don't know how to describe it, but it just brings to mind the fourth of july and growing up all at once.

[The world stands stillEngulfed in a bright light]

simply the most poetic line of a poem ever. engulfed was the perfect word here.
8/18/2006 c1 7The Breakdancing Ninja
The Breakdancing Ninja gives this poem a WHOPPING 4 ¾ out of 5 for its imagery, duality—and lastly, for the Robotech ending where the planet is exploding. The Breakdancing Ninja wants to be a part of the rocket festival, so he could blow up the Lebanese people. He thinks they are a confusing ethnicity that aren’t sure if they are Slavic, Russian, Jewish, Polish or Armenian and he advocates genocide of the Lebanese for this reason. Refer to the criticism below for more details.

XD!

The title is ebullient even if the actual content is off-kilter. I think it’s meant to be sarcastic, but a “rocket festival”, unlike a “fireworks festival” is a lot more intense and somewhat violent. This poem’s duality is disconcerting, but effective.

[The world stands still/ Engulfed in a bright light] Whoa. This seems a lot like an atomic bomb explosion. When I think of the world engulfed in a bright light, I think of a big robot anime, where the aliens are destroying the world, and all you see are tiny explosions that look like lighted polka dots. The image is sort of scary.

The reason why I put that line first is that the poem is separated into two parts. The Celebration and something less wholesome, as described in chapter two. I see a ritual, but the poem makes me feel as if this ritual isn’t meant to be a nice thing. I, at first, saw Independence Day, but then I saw something else. I will address this “something else” as I go stanza by stanza.

[Tonight is filled with children and rockets/ Exploding into tiny needles/ The stars are covered in smoke] What’s really disturbing about this image is that it’s not just the rockets that can be “exploding into tiny needles”, but the children as well. The way the stanza is written doesn’t seem to separate the children from the rockets. And the fact that children are near dangerous rockets in the first place is disturbing enough. I think of only two kinds of rockets: The recreational kind and the kind used in warfare. The trick is trying to figure out if the poem means one or the other, or means both. “The stars are covered in smoke” is a strange image. Usually, when rockets flare, the sky is lighted up and the sky is sort of outdone by the stars—so these rockets can’t be the recreational kind. They don’t go up in smoke THAT bad. The rockets must have exploded and lit everything on fire, and that’s why the ominous, overcast image of the stars is being presented. Everything is being engulfed in flames and smoke—what is this? A celebration of death? D:?

[Crawling through the grass/ Heads turn clockwise then forward/ Saying “Goodbye Innocence,/ It’s my time”] The people who are crawling through the grass aren’t specified in age, so I automatically think of the children. The image seems wholesome at first, until the third and fourth line come—there seems to be a duality in the message. A loss of innocence (“Goodbye Innocence”—capitalized) and then, maybe… Death (“It’s my time”). The only time when a loss of innocence and death are presented are on a battlefield. The title serves to show some kind of ritual that goes on—the line where it says “Heads turn clockwise and forward”, depending on the orientation of “clockwise” could mean “to the left and to the right” or it could mean “up”, looking forward shows confrontation. The line suggests paranoia, or an intent-filled gazing, coupled with “crawling through the grass” shows something that the “Heads” should avoid or stay away from.

[More and more like yesterday/ Never-ending and consistent/ The festival only gets louder] The festival being talked about sounds both bothersome and exhausting. “Never-ending and consistent” show something unyielding and powerful. “More and more like yesterday” coupled with “louder” reminds me of a relationship that is falling apart, or rituals that have lost all their luster. This relates to the “celebration” taking place here, how it looks more and more like the past—or shall I say, like History (which repeats itself)—and is as constant and never-ending as linear time, except that it gets louder and louder. What I think the “louder” refers to is the explosions that smoke up all the stars.

Here’s the darkest stanza that expresses both paranoia and a reckless cynicism: [“Sometimes the best way out/ Is to lock yourself inside”] This could mean that in order to escape the nightmare of this celebration (of death hahaha) is to stay indoors. But it could ALSO mean that the best escape is INSIDE the actual ritual of death itself, or war—and depending on who it is, both the peaceful cynic as well as the cynic looking for trouble would both say: [Whoever thought of something/ So boring?] A person who wants peace will say to others, ‘I hate staying indoors; I wish the war would end.’ A trouble-maker with nothing to live for would say: ‘I hate staying indoors; I’m going to fight.’ But the “So boring” could also mean for both the peaceful person and the trouble-maker: ‘We’ve been doing the same old shit for centuries.’ As in, “So boring” leads back into something “More and more like yesterday/ Never-ending and consistent”.

[Long ago, we forgot something/ The rockets help us remember] This is what reminded me a lot of Independence Day. We have this celebration of fireworks to remember all the explosions of that one point and time we fought for freedom. But “we forgot something/ The rockets help us remember” could be the repetition of the cycle; how war and peace-time are just like the cycles of the church, except only irregular in duration. It’s as if we can’t stop fighting and we need pain and death to remind us of the ordeal we were trying to get over.

I think the last lines, though, and on the global scale they are written, can’t possibly just be referring to Independence Day, since it only applies to America, but to suffering in general.

The poem’s underlying theme is of how the cycle transforms the youth century by century, and how it’s no longer something scary, but a celebration and ritual that has even become… quite boring. I imagine someone who can’t feel pain or emotions. They keep killing and maiming others because it’s what they know. Children lose innocence in this way, when they discover something that they haven’t yet assigned a meaning to. Innocence’s loss is just another way of saying that the magic of something is over—things lose their meaning and their brightness to the point where even the sky is dark and overcast from all the dying explosions.

My main problem with the poem is trying to figure what the poem’s tone was. The words are ominous, but the message is kind of jovial—maybe it means to show irony.

I think my preconceived notions made such a good read difficult. The imagery is really vivid and stands out, and the layers of war and a fireworks festival are hard to pull apart from one another. I saw them layered over the way montages sometimes overlap images, and there was no separating the two. I find this to be a great accomplishment, image-wise. The writing is very tasteful and subtle; I enjoyed reviewing the piece and experiencing the strange, off-kilter duality the poem represents. It was really, really effective!

Rock on, Monochrome Lovers.

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