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9/11/2006 c1 7The Breakdancing Ninja
The Breakdancing Ninja gives this awesomely sad piece a WHOPPING 5 out of 5 for breadth, scope, mobility and poetic prose. Refer to the criticism below for more details.

I will not assume that the slippers stand for a person, but rather, slippers. The piece has done a remarkable job with endowing them with a spirit of their own, and they're not exactly anthropomorphized or even sympathized with directly-so in a sense, they are not even pseudo-human. But they possess a different kind of presence that is still alive.

The word "parade" afer the second paragraph seems to be a much more paradoxical word. It expresses irony, a dual sense of exhaustion and cheer (that usually accompanies self-denial) and sense of wish-fulfillment.

[They run down the sidewalk and down the gutters, down the sewers and into the lake outside of town.] The slippers show a network. We go from the town, to the sewers, to a remote lake. They reveal, inadvertently and probably not with any intent whatsoever, this subtle geographical connection between all places. This pair of slippers then slips "under a bridge", just like how things (like quarrels or past disputes) that are long gone are "under the bridge". The lovers who are smoking are a small feature of the slippers' lives.

This hick sitting next to me just called me uneducated. Call me sensitive, but that just put me in a bad mood. I hiccup, he says: "Bless me, or is it... bless you? Bless you." And I smile and say: "Thank you." And he's like: "No, no, no. I'm supposed to say, 'Bless you' and you say 'Excuse me'." And I'm sort of annoyed at his tone of voice and his facial expression, so I ask "Why?" with a smile. And he says with a grave face: "Because saying 'Thank you' makes you look uneducated."

He continued to try and make conversation, but I'm just really annoyed, so I didn't respond.

It really just dampened my reviewing experience of such a wonderful piece.

This story shows three phases before the slippers "disappear" or die: 1) Couple, 2) Parenthood, 3) The Childhood that comes from parenthood.

I like the attention to detail, where the slippers travel "under" and "over".

[invite the sharks and the eels.] *invites.

I like how everything in this story runs in groups. "down gutters... sewers... into the lake", "where a car... rusts and stains... and scares the fish... and invites the sharks...", ect.

The car is a noir device, a lot like the lovers smoking. Something might have happened that the piece doesn't explain, and doesn't need to explain. It provides wonderful undertones for the story. The image of a car under the sea, interacting with the sea expresses the implicit nature of the piece, how everything is... under the surface.

And unlike the car, "stuck in neutral", the slippers are constantly on "parade".

I love the first sentence of the second paragraph. So much background is provided for the story and the fisherman. "somebody's net who is too poor and out of luck to feel happy or sad about his catch." He must have been in a dry spell for a very long time. He looks older, as opposed to a younger, more hopeful fisherman venturing the seas for the first time. "a couple of tuna" is a bleak catch, next to the tire and tennis ball.

The sea is very polluted. It has cars in it, tires and tennis balls. All these things are underneath the sea that we don't know are under there. A lot like the human inner state.

The fact that this fisherman rides over these things (obliviously) and happens to pick up things and throw them back INTO the sea reads a little into the type of people who exist in the story. He probably treats his problems like bad catches. He just throws them back out and promptly ignores them. Like his daughter.

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The slippers are much too small for this Fisherman. It's like a modern-day Cinderella. His daughter would understand the inner turmoil. She works hard even when she is poor and under-priveleged. It seems, almost, as if these slippers grant her a wish. I won't assume that, but it seems that way. And though her father experiences misfortune (it's what he gets for constantly throwing his problems down into the depths of him for all this time), she herself is rewarded for her hopefulness and tenacity.

[the feet with the highest scores in class and a smile on her face and a scar under her eye and the stitches on her clothes and the thin toes.] God, this is beautiful. "smile", "scar under her eye", "stitches on her clothes". God, perfect descriptions. I'm amazed at the subtlety, effectiveness of the descriptions, the breadth, the limitless of the piece.

"thin toes" is something I would want to look up, but I'm a little dizzy and I want to get away from this hick as quick as possible. for realz. (

[The slippers are on parade, stomping on dirty carpet and rotting wood. Stomping around ash blackened walls and misty windows. Stomping into broken glass and alcohol puddles.] God, this is her atmosphere, her environment, her setting. It's depressing, and rendered so well. I couldn't even belief how much life and sensitivity is breathed into this piece.

[The slippers are on parade when the daughter plays with dolls and pretends that they’re her parents even though she pretends she has the dolls too and that she has real parents.] Dolls and parents are wishful thinking for this girl, even when both should be a given for such a young girl. She SHOULD have parents, and she SHOULD have little dolls to play with.

The only question I really WANTED to know was if she was adopted, or if the Fisherman is her real father, but not a very good one.

Oh, and also? The keyboard I'm using is kind of stiff, and I have to pound hard to get the keys out, so if "t's" or "i's" are missing, just... try and ignore them. XD;;

[The slippers are on parade outside the window, on top of a pile of garbage in a dumpster, kicked off the daughter’s feet when the men in uniforms picked her up and put the father in handcuffs and made him know that he was worthless and gave her a pair of shoes and new clothes without stitches and dolls that were dolls and parents that were parents and a life that was a life.] The scene here is devastating. Again, it's rendered so flawlessly, but it's very disturbing and it makes me worried. It laps on old details onto new ones, like waves constantly slapping on top of one another. It creates a devastating, real, montage-like effect. Cinematic.

And here's the end of the slipper's journey. To the dump. Along with "bottles and banana peels and pregnancy tests and newspapers". Bottles and peels = indulgence, pregnancy tests = tentative new life, newspapers = the world's affairs.

[The slippers are dumped with other slippers, worm out,] *worn.

The slippers join fallen comrades.

[The slippers are quiet and disappear and become trash and become nothing.] The sad part is that the piece says they are "quiet", as if they must have had the capability to speak or HAVE been speaking this whole time, without being listened to. They die used and broken and unfulfilled. They become nothing, the way Buddhists believe all people should end up. You could just see these slippers shriveling.

The last sentence seems to be a resonance of a very exhausting journey. It has a ghost-like quality. The ellipses suggest that the journey hasn't ended just quite yet, or might not ever end.

The slippers seem to be indicative of an abusive, exhausting, excrucatingly painful journey, much like the journey of a battered and sensitive spouse, or a very in-tune child. Life can be this painful if one has no voice, and no control.

These slippers seem to be on "parade", but the real truth is, they've been led on. By nature, by people, by everything around them. An unseen wind pushes them to their Destiny-or more adequately, their Fate. It's sad how inevitable their journey is.

Whenever I think of slippers or articles of clothing, I know that no matter how much they're cherished, their owner will grow out of them and throw them away or give them away. If I were those slippers, I'd want to off myself. Like, jump in a fire or something.

It's weird how the story mentions that some slippers no longer have a pair.

It's sort of comforting that this story is the "slippers" are on parade instead of the "slipper". At least they're not alone. They have each other, and even if the world is devastating and painful, they can be together and rest together.

It doesn't make me feel all much better, but it's better than being truly alone. It kind of makes me reevaluate normal items I usually take for granted.

But I'm wearing the same shoes I've been wearing since Sophomore Year of high school. My track schools. My father gave them to me, and I always feel good when I walk in them. My mom wants me to throw them away every time she sees me with them, but I beg her to keep them, that I'll wash them.

I really do love these cheap shoes that my dad got on discount and short notice.

This was an awesome piece, that, yet again is going in my favorites. I can't believe how well you capture my attention with your writing style. I'm growing a long list of pieces I've dabbled into, but none have been as amazing as the pieces featured on this Site.

Rock on, Monochrome Lovers.

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