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Jared Williams was a boy I barely knew. He had
cornstraw-blond hair and a jaw shaped
like a Lego stepped on one too many times.
He listened to bad music during lunch time,
crap electronic that always managed
to clear a six-foot perimeter around his
five-and-seven inches frame, his
rickety legs and broken wire-hanger shoulders and
gray Vans that wrapped around his feet like ghosts and
his green green eyes like grass underneath glass,
thin wire frames that always hung crooked.
He always hung crooked.
Just a little bit.

Jared Williams was a boy I barely knew. He had
six different illnesses by the time he was seven
and even when he was five he could tell you which cancer
had come back by the colors had to swallow every day,
to keep the dragons from burning his weak lungs away.

Four surgeries by nine and he could map you
incisions - even the ones that left no scars,
welled no red, from no scalpels.

The dragon monsters came back
in the back of his head. Oh the things that they whispered.
Oh how their love cut too deep.

Jared Williams was a boy I barely knew.
He drove to spot 611 every day before school,
Never called 911 - maybe everything just flipped
when the dragons hissed softly secrets
he really could hear. In Spanish class,
I heard him mumble in a language that was not ours -
not humans'. The dragons.  

December 9th he drank gasoline. Drove school slowly
and swallowed a lit match. His lungs winged conflagrations.
I barely knew.
You know what? Goddamn this whole watchers and comments thing. I'm going to write and if you want to read, fine.
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:iconflummo:
flummo Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012  Student Writer
Right in the gut. You wielded your words fearlessly in telling this story; this is truly incredible and moving and I'm sorry you had to go through something like this and that you never really knew him and that the dragons got him at all. :( My cousin almost committed suicide about a month ago but thank god we were able to prevent it. She's on the mend and I think things are only going to keep getting better from here.

"he could show you
a timeline of his life from the places
the dragon monsters came back
in the back of his head
the things that they whispered
and all the places their love cut too deep."
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2012  Student Writer
God, I'm so glad that you caught your cousin in time. Thank you for your kindness here. It's still difficult to deal with sometimes, but...I don't want to say it gets less painful, but it gets easier. Does that make sense?
Reply
:iconflummo:
flummo Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Student Writer
It does. The further away you move from that moment makes it easier to, not necessarily accept it, but live with it. :hug:
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Student Writer
Indeed...thank you :hug:
Reply
:iconliliwrites:
LiliWrites Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I am late to this critique, but I hope you'll accept it, and my apologies, anyway. :)

First, I have to say that your description of the boy was fantastic. It drew me in, particularly "He always hung crooked. /Just a little bit." The pacing in that first stanza is great, almost like a beat poem you'd hear in some smokey bar in Chicago. The second stanza follows in the same thread, though some wordiness and line breaks interrupt the flow. For example:

"six different illnesses by the time he was seven
and even when he was five
he could tell you what form of cancer had come back
by the colors of the pills he had to swallow each and every day"

The short second line really throws off the pace here. and "each and every day" is cliche. I know you were trying to match the meter of the next line, but I don't think that's necessary if you combine the second and third lines so you get something like:

six different illness by the time he was seven
and even at five he could tell you which cancer was back
by the color of the pills he swallowed every day
so the dragon monsters wouldn't burn his lungs away


The second half of the poem feels much choppier and loses a lot of the impact and uumph that the first half held. I think this is to do, again, with your sudden varied line length and stanza size. I think if you combined 3rd and 4th stanza into just one, again with revising some lines so they're not quite so stilted in some areas, the flow would be much improved. And then the shorter, last stanza would have a much more pronounced, dramatic feeling that I think you were going for.

The content itself is good. I think just your formatting needs some work. And I am so sorry you had to go through such an experience at all. :hug:
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Student Writer
I changed around the poem based on your critique. I know it's really late, I just....there was stuff going on and I didn't want to look at this poem again, not this particular poem, not when all the other stuff was happening, and thank you for your critique. Thank you :)
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012  Student Writer
Wow. Thank you so much! I'm sorry for the late reply :) I will definitely go through and recheck the formatting. Thank you ever so much!
Reply
:iconlcipher42:
lcipher42 Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Professional General Artist
Tell me this is from actual experience...because I love it and I understand that level of pain and misery (though I have yet to experience that sort of helplessness and hope I never do). I guess some part of me wants others to see it first-hand, not second-hand or whatever. I knew a guy named Jared when I was about your age, actually. I got him drunk after his mother's funeral. I beat the shit out of him when I walked in on him trying to fuck a chick who was passed out cold. I never saw him again.
Don't know why I told you that. Blame it on the bourbon.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Student Writer
This is from actual experience.

And wow.
Just...wow.
I'm sorry about that guy's mom, and for what he was going through, and for what you had to do, and for what that girl went through that night.
Reply
:iconlcipher42:
lcipher42 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Professional General Artist
Good deal - I can't stand fake poetry. Blood, sweat, and tears all over the page - that's what I like. And the...wow...that's just how extreme my life always is. There is no middle ground with me and I always seem to be in the thick of things. His mother blew herself away, he blew the rules away by fucking with that chick. Even if she was a whore, she didn't deserve that.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012  Student Writer
Yeah. Yeah, that kind of thing is never okay.
Reply
:iconsigma-echo-seven:
Sigma-Echo-Seven Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012  Student Writer
Haunting work! Your description of the boy had me captivated from the start.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you.
Reply
:iconfackeltanz:
fackeltanz Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012   Writer
Screw watchers!
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Student Writer
Yeah! Screw watchers!
No, I actually like watchers, I just can't write with getting watchers in mind. That can't be my motivation anymore.
Reply
:iconfackeltanz:
fackeltanz Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012   Writer
After I got a few new watchers back in February, I decided to assert my dominance over my own page by submitting a few ribald poems about farting and pooping. Stickin' it to the man/men/woman/women, DeviantArt-style. =P
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Student Writer
Haha cool. I dunno. I feel like what I've been doing lately is crap, honestly. I wish it wasn't, but it is, and I just want to post it to get it out of my system.
Reply
:iconfackeltanz:
fackeltanz Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012   Writer
Hey, at least you're producing! Poetry is far better than no poetry. =P
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Student Writer
Point taken. I just wish I could hit that level again, you know? I feel like I've slipped and it's driving me crazy.
Oh well. I guess you just take it as it comes. :) Thank you for cheering me up!
Reply
:iconfackeltanz:
fackeltanz Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012   Writer
No problem!

This actually reminds me a lot of some of the problems I was having a while back-- feeling like quality was something I needed to do and that other people were going make assumptions about me based on whether or not the poems I produced were good in some vague, general sense. I fixed this by intentionally writing stupid poems and forcing myself to produce a poem every day for a long period of time. I mean, quality is still something I shoot for, but it's not such a big deal if I make something that other people think is weak on occasion-- it's all a part of learning and getting better.

So I guess I'm trying to say that maybe you should do some writing exercises and post them on here, whether they're good or bad? I'm trying to see if I can talk people into doing a 100 themes marathon at some point, so maybe something like that would help you loosen up a little.
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much for this. You know, I do have a hundred-themes challenge saved in my Favorites folder. I should really break that out and have a go at it. Thank you so much for this. You have really good advice. I'm definitely going to try my best to follow it!
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:iconmortrite:
mortrite Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Hobbyist
This poem makes me cry. I'm not talking sobbing or anything either. Like really cry. Yet I read it over and over again because it is so amazingly beautiful and touching, and it is one of the best poems I have ever had the pleasure to read. I had a good friend who committed suicide almost 2 years ago as well, and I have felt this way myself, so if it is of any help to you, I offer you my sympathy.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Student Writer
Wow. Thank you for that, and for sharing your story. I really sympathize with your loss. It does help, it does mean a lot - thank you for reading and for caring. Your compassion is touching. I hope that it was a healing cry. There are two types of crying, breaking and healing, and I hope that yours was a healing cry.
Reply
:icongardengnomefrenzy:
gardengnomefrenzy Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012
I don't come on deviantART often, but when I do I always try and read a few of your works. This one is incredible. It moved me very close to tears. I can't possibly know how you feel, but I think I do, just a little bit. I'm so sorry for your loss and for everything you and Jared Williams had to go through.

Your words are beautiful. Truly.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much for that. I'm glad I could help you understand a little bit. Thank you again.
Reply
:iconallsparra:
allsparra Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012
This was scary. Not just because of what it said, but also how you said it. I don't know him, and I don't know you, but I don't think I'll forget this piece.
It's interesting, how those people on the edges of one's life, that one never really notices--they've just always been there--they affect you. Some more than others. Some only when they disappear. I don't know the entire backstory of this boy, and although I'm curious, I'm afraid of what might be there. The dragons-- your words or his?
When did this happen? And why do you think you still think of him? Some people forget quickly if something doesn't affect them in a very personal manner. Some people, like you, don't.

I'm sorry. I'm not sure why I wrote that. I-- Yeah. I'm sorry.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Student Writer
No, don't be sorry! Seriously, you can write what you want to write and ask what you want to ask here. It's a safe and open space, and I'm open to questions.
I guess the real reason this affected me so much is that at the point when this kid - my fingertips just fluttered on the keyboard for a second there, but he never really got to be a man - when this kid took his life, I wanted to die.
I wanted to die.
It had been a rough few years for me. I had convinced myself that I was no longer 'actively suicidal' but I do think that without this boy I would have done it in the end.
The bathtub, the closet, the car after school. I didn't fully understand yet what death was.
He taught me that.
And what he doesn't know is that the survivor guilt from that has saved more than one person.
It wasn't just me.

The dragons were my words. If they seem like there's experience behind them it's because there is. I have felt this way.
And I'm willing to talk about it now - I talk to so many people about it now - because when we don't talk about it, that's when kids die. Kids like him. There is no shame in what I did or what I was. It was just something that happened to me, and it doesn't have power over me anymore.

So please, if you or anyone reading this comment ever feels this way, tell somebody. Tell a friend. Tell me. My note box is always open and I don't care if I know you or not if you need help, I will be there. Jared died almost a year and a half ago and I still remember him.

Somebody will miss you.
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:iconallsparra:
allsparra Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012
I-- thanks.
For answering, for writing, for offering to help /anyone./ Your words mean so much.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012  Student Writer
Hey, no problem. I'm always ready to help.
Reply
:iconscruffyreader7:
scruffyreader7 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
Oh, God. I thought that was what this was.
Beautiful, wether you know the 'truth' or not.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks. Yeah... It's stupid, I know. After so much time, I'm supposed to be over it.....
Reply
:iconscruffyreader7:
scruffyreader7 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012
No. You're *not* stupid, and nobody's over it. I'm the queen of denial, I know I'm the queen of denial, I still deny things. The truth is, for a lot of people it's easier to shelve the emotional stuff. Sometimes we have to. I remember this. I remember a poem I've written but not writing it because it was written in a daze. Things weren't real that week. And because grief hits you sideways, it's like a boomerang. It shows up when you least expect it. Like you've got a bruise and somebody keeps coming up while you're sleeping and renewing the bruise. Just...hang in there. It gets better, I guess. I hope. In the meantime, we'll remember him as best we can.
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2012  Student Writer
:heart: Thank you for all of this. Yeah... things weren't real that week. Sometimes they still don't feel real. And yeah, it does get better! Trust me, I know. It really, really does.
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:iconjikivigoig:
jikivigoig Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
This is amazing; you told the story so well, while still keeping it poetic enough. It didn't sound like prose with the sentences entered halfway through. (Not sure that made sense, sorry if it didn't!)
The last verse kind of tripped me up -
"and spit on a match" and "And the last words I heard him say were this poem for Spanish" just didn't seem to flow quite as well as the rest. Maybe reword it a bit?
Other than that, I thought this had a beautiful flow and the words mostly seemed to fit together just right. It's a great piece.
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2012  Student Writer
Hey. You did make sense, and thank you for the compliments and critiques :). You were right - the sections you mentioned were a little weird when I read them over again. I've done my best to reword. Thoughts? Thanks for everything.
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:iconjikivigoig:
jikivigoig Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012
Now that I read it again, it flows much better and made more sense, too. I like how you reworded it.
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012  Student Writer
Awesome! Thank you so much :)
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:iconwillcraft:
willcraft Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I think the use of repitition here works quite well. Repetition is best used in poetry (not that I often dabble in poetry) and when making a point, as with a discursive essay. You used it to good effect with this. Was Jared Williams a real person?
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Student Writer
Yes, though I have changed his name to avoid identification myself. I'm what you would call Internet-paranoid. Also...I would hate to title this with his real name and bring up painful memories for anyone who knew him who just saw this floating around, as unlikely as that may be. Thank you for the compliments - it's always lovely when somebody comments on my work :)

If I seem really uptight and over-formal here...talking about him always makes me a bit brusque.
Reply
:iconmeinesehnsucht:
MeineSehnsucht Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012   Writer
Jeez, that one was hell of a read, Kate. Well done, really.
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you :)
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:iconmeinesehnsucht:
MeineSehnsucht Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012   Writer
You're welcome. :)
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:iconsolaris-vasari:
Solaris-Vasari Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012
here is the link to my work [link]
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Student Writer
Awesome! I read and commented - and thought it was really interesting too. Maybe I'll break my no-new-watch rule :) Here's a link to one of my new pieces: [link] This means a lot, thank you!
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:iconsolaris-vasari:
Solaris-Vasari Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012
Well i can first right off the bat say its very descriptive Spelling seems to be in order and im really liking your style. to be honest there seemsto be nothing wrong at least in my opinion
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Student Writer
Awesome! Thank you so very much :) It means a lot to hear that.
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:iconsolaris-vasari:
Solaris-Vasari Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012
my pleasure hun :)
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:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Student Writer
:)!
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:iconsolaris-vasari:
Solaris-Vasari Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012
;)
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:iconbreezybrutality:
breezybrutality Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ouch. I love that boy
I don't know who he was but he was beautiful ♥
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