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You will find that the story you tell
is very rarely your own. In Lucca,
even the smallest pebbles
breathe in the warm sunlight.
Knotted stones and cobbled roads
beat out a paper-dry heartbeat heat –
my city breathes in and out,
inhales sparrow air.
It's writing a story.
You are the pen.

You will find that in Lucca
the daisy chains forge fire
in side streets and back alleys.
Teenagers intertwine. Tell me,
odd flower, are you still closed?
Here we are colored wax;
the heat of the city melts us.
We run into each other, rhapsody
of pigments. Operas are our specialties.
Open up; feel the reds.

If not, try and see them. There is a place
of deep knife marks, a street
long as midnight –
you may learn something there.

Valentina's voice glimmers like red wine.
You may enjoy intoxications. Still,
know alcohol has no story
and will swallow your own.

Find the sign with the wolf on it.
You'll know the place. Epiphanies ring true as church-bells.
Lucca still guides the wanderers
to well springs or witch dens. Old storybook magic.
We've kept it between our gold teeth.
Still, if you don't feel it,
all spells sometimes fail.

Try the Polleria Volpi – its knives gleam like America,
cleave fat thin as tissue – no recrimination here.
Prosciutto thin as pride. Hams
sway from the ceiling. Thin chains. Sword of Damocles
a pig's bone, half-sharpened. Popped joints
wink and glint. Shiny now, devoid of flesh. I've seen myself
as such before, chopped and trussed,
turned inside-out. You recognize that stripped wing, caught short in panic,
half-extended?

There's an old man smiling
behind his glass counter. Green eyes glimmer coin-bright.  
Ask him to cleave meat
sheer as shadows. Smell the air.

Chicken eyes are old iron,
scratched and worn dull. Lucca is watching you,
writing your story. Tragedy, romance, comedy?
Byzantine saints know.
Tongues painted closed.
They never tell.

Our tongues are rivers
drowning lost stories.
Paper shrivels like autumn
in dark spaces, in damp heat.
Lucca will write your story
for a time. They don't keep.

You'll eat. Feeling guilty
for your hollow teeth?
Lucca will slice us thinner
one day. All stories
end.

Still, the city watches,
blinks shut the great clocks.
Don't live in black ink.
You are the pen.

I write invisible, script out
other's tales. Lucca told me
to tell you
that you are the pen.
We never like to acknowledge that something has died.
-A.A., July 4th, 2012

Hopefully this'll clear up why I haven't been on as much lately ;)
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-07-28
Volpi. by winterkate displays a mastery of language, rolling relentlessly from one powerful and fresh image to the next ( Featured by ShadowedAcolyte )
:iconglossolalias:
The way you weaved your words together, one image after another, was breathtaking and overwhelming: I felt as if I was there, witnessing every sight through your eyes, and the way you transcribed pictures so vividly- you certainly were the pen. The cadence was stunning, every mark of punctuation flawlessly placed, and I found myself completely enamored with your diction: even when I might have struggled to place many unseen things into my head, the language was captivating and so genuine that I couldn't help stepping along your journey. Your vision for this poem was magnificent and accomplished well with application of technique that can only be described as perfect.

I don't think there is such thing as a full mark of originality within certain topics, though I must say, this is one of the best traveler's poems I have come across in that the language was superbly unique. The way you chose to personify the city was executed precisely, and each rhetorical venture you set out on reaped reward-

Now as for impact, while this poem left quite an impression, by the end of it I felt more longing than anything: these are your experiences, and while you did bring them to life, they left me craving the true face of Lucca, and while that is an impact on its own, it wasn't quite what I was looking for out of this.

Overall, this is just a gorgeous and fascinating piece of literature. Vastly enjoyed and I am glad you shared it.
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
16 out of 17 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

Please sign up or login to post a critique.

:iconjade-pandora:
jade-pandora Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014
:faint: . . . . :+fav:
Reply
:iconverity-of-paradise:
Verity-of-Paradise Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This... this is so powerful that I could paint a vivid picture in my imagination of everything described, see them as if I was there. This is truly a well-deserved Daily Deviation :) (Smile) 
Reply
:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Student General Artist
Congratulations on the DD! :love: 

Have a nice day :iconlainloveplz:
Reply
:iconagonizingswordfish:
AgonizingSwordfish Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer

Congratulations on the DD! :hug:

Reply
:iconsycamoresea:
SycamoreSea Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
WOW this is outstanding. The atmosphere was so tangible, it was like being there. Congratulations on a well-deserved DD. <3
Reply
:iconshainaotori:
ShainaOtori Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014   Traditional Artist
Wow, I am Italian and I've been in Lucca several times, and you captured it really well, I thought you were from there at first ^^
Also, I really like the way you use words :clap:
Reply
:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
I’m very happy for you!!! :iconloveloveplz: :tighthug:
Reply
:iconayeaye12:
AyeAye12 Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Student Writer
Holy ship :faint:
Amazing, amazing imagery and general language use. You use mythological and ancient things so beautifully in conjunction with describing the urban :clap:
Reply
:iconshadowedacolyte:
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014
This is maddeningly excellent. There are dozens of superb images, and they don't let up, each crashing on the other's tail like waves. Just...awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Reply
:iconleyghan:
leyghan Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, this is a tour de force. So vivid in description, your word choice lyrical and rich. It feels intimate; like a glimpse of love. Thank you for sharing this.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014  Student Writer
Thank you for commenting! It's greatly appreciated.
Reply
:icontheglassiris:
TheGlassIris Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hello, I will be critiquing your piece on behalf of :iconsuperwritershelp:. I will do my best to help by suggesting improvements that can be made and general feedback on aesthetic appeal.

First Impressions
You will find that the story you tell
is very rarely your own. In Lucca,
even the smallest pebbles
breathe in the warm sunlight.
Knotted stones and cobbled roads
beat out a paper-dry heartbeat heat –
my city breathes in and out,
inhales sparrow air.
It's writing a story.
You are the pen.

If this is only a first draft, you've got yourself a pretty accomplished piece here. Already the introductory stanza draws in attention and brings out the motif of story and pen. Still wondering, however, what is the significance of the city of Lucca? Some of the figurative language here is excellent, yet there is room for some polishing. They stand out very sternly against each other, neither contrasting but also not very connected. The images of heat, of sunlight, stone and cobbled masonry, natural crisp air, a living embodiment of human lives, a city as a living thing, these all tie together once I think about them but you can do it more concisely I think. Squeezing a stanza as good as this one is a little extraneous, but if you want to just improve this beyond belief you could do that by making the words flow like newborn foam. It already sounds great and it's a terrific start, but this is just if you want to get that extra kick of "poetry".

You will find that in Lucca
the daisy chains forge fire
in side streets and back alleys.
Teenagers intertwine. Tell me,
odd flower, are you still closed?
Here we are colored wax;
the heat of the city melts us.
We run into each other, rhapsody
of pigments. Operas are our specialties.
Open up; feel the reds.

Here is where I feel the figurative language and metaphors can begin to feel muddled. "Odd flower, are you still closed?" can come of as an awkward question to the reader and it's definitely not as strong as "Operas are our specialty/Open up; feel the reds". The part of "daisy chains" can also be strangely mismatched. I get the image of either actual daisy chains with macho men bodies forging in tiny cramped streets and in between buildings or iron-wrought gates depicting daisies in chained patterns in small windows and front gates. "Teenagers intertwine" needs more language to be fully fleshed out and I definitely think it is worth delving into.
"Here we are colored wax;/the heat of the city melts us./We run into each other, rhapsody/of pigments." this too, while it stands alone beautifully, should be more connected with the rest of the stanza to really heighten its imaginative effect.


If not, try and see them. There is a place
of deep knife marks, a street
long as midnight -
you may learn something there.

It's fine as it is but I feel that this entire piece will need to be exactly in tune to really become grand. On its own, it's already beautiful.

Valentina's voice glimmers like red wine.
You may enjoy intoxications. Still,
know alcohol has no story
and will swallow your own.

Just perfect. Vividly detailed, magical imagery, filled with a lush, new-sounding language. Simple. Sublime. It's all these things and on its own it couldn't have been done better.

Find the sign with the wolf on it.
You'll know the place. Epiphanies ring true as church-bells.
Lucca still guides the wanderers
to well springs or witch dens. Old storybook magic.
We've kept it between our gold teeth.
Still, if you don't feel it,
all spells sometimes fail.

This is an interesting stanza. Perhaps because it is alluding to something I'm not familiar with but it becomes curiously mysterious because of that. All in all, this is one of the best stanzas in the piece along with the Valentina one.

Try the Polleria Volpi - its knives gleam like America,
cleave fat thin as tissue - no recrimination here.
Prosciutto thin as pride. Hams
sway from the ceiling. Thin chains. Sword of Damocles
a pig's bone, half-sharpened. Popped joints
wink and glint. Shiny now, devoid of flesh. I've seen myself
as such before, chopped and trussed,
turned inside-out. You recognize that stripped wing, caught short in panic,
half-extended?

Everything here just shines. I have issue with the question mark at the end though. It takes me by surprise and seems to go against the wording of the sentence it's a part of.

There's an old man smiling
behind his glass counter. Green eyes glimmer coin-bright.
Ask him to cleave meat
sheer as shadows. Smell the air.

I think this is not as strong or productive for the story as the stanza before it. Try cutting it out, see if you can't replace or spruce it up.

Chicken eyes are old iron,
scratched and worn dull. Lucca is watching you,
writing your story. Tragedy, romance, comedy?
Byzantine saints know.
Tongues painted closed.
They never tell.

I'm beginning to wonder how you're going to end this piece without it sounding trite. Endings on travel poems always seem to differ poet to poet, but all poetry typically ends with reflection. Specifically self-reflection. It can be wide and all-inclusive, spreading to encompass all humanity. Or it can be sheer and small as a simple, "I might never see this again". It just has to be the speaker reflecting on something that is drastically important to them. And it has to be something deeper than a story that hasn't been told.

Our tongues are rivers
drowning lost stories.
Paper shrivels like autumn
in dark spaces, in damp heat.
Lucca will write your story
for a time. They don't keep.

This is getting too wide in its scope and is beginning to lose my interest as a reader. I suggest seeing how you can connect it to the stanzas that have already produced palpable effects. After all, why waste the work that the words have already done?

You'll eat. Feeling guilty
for your hollow teeth?
Lucca will slice us thinner
one day. All stories
end.

I'd apply the same doubts from the prior stanza to this one as well. And the question mark on the second line here really isn't doing it for me.

Still, the city watches,
blinks shut the great clocks.
Don't live in black ink.
You are the pen.

Lost. Don't really think this is important. It falls flat for me as a result.

I write invisible, script out
other's tales. Lucca told me
to tell you
that you are the pen.

Not sure if this is the best way to end the piece. I do figure out the the story being told at the beginning is being told to this "you" person. I'm guessing it could either be a boy character that the speaker is talking to or it could be the reader themselves. It's a good shift but it could be executed more smoothly.

Final Impressions
Amazing imagery, flawless scenes, and immensely detailed. Suffers from minor pacing problems, a smoother execution, and a sense of connected, logical thought. I think that sums up all the first impressions from before. Now, onto suggestions, I couldn't really pinpoint why I disliked certain things and why I felt some things could be fixed.

In my opinion, and I'm just nit-picking here to be thorough, the ending grows too thin, talking only about becoming a story and almost transient to me as a result. I can't seem to see beyond the concrete details in this piece, and I'm having a very hard time connecting it with anything in particular. I love the details, the imagery, and the movement of the language. But the ending to me feels like more could be said, or there is something else that hasn't been revealed.

While the referring to the "you" in the piece is as naturally put together as shifting one's weight from one knee to the other it's a little unclear and I think it doesn't really need to be. The lack of names here doesn't seem to fit, especially with such a specifically-concrete city named Lucca. I have no idea whether it's a real city or a fictional one but the facelessness of the speaker and second character stand in sharp contrast to the very palpable setting your piece creates. In a way, I feel that it is the city speaking to the reader rather than the speaker to a second character.

If that was your intention, it was well hidden. A literary device doesn't cease to work when it's been discovered but it certainly is less charming to see a magic show with all the cogs on display. Nonetheless, you put in an extraordinary volume of effect here, none of which feels wasted as the very atmosphere and diction are enough to evoke mystery, nostalgia, and poetry's famous "movement" (i.e. I felt moved.).

If there were anything to critique at all it would be that ending. It's a little thin compared to the fuller stanzas and to me the contrast isn't so great. I don't really see that as too much of a problem though, this is probably my opinion speaking out.

You've done a great job writing this and I can only hope this critique (and my intrusive nit-picking) can help you continue.
Reply
:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hi there! This is a friendly little note to let you know your piece has been featured!: [link]

Please consider taking a peek at the other pieces and faving the article to support the other artists :)
Reply
:iconflummo:
flummo Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012  Student Writer
I want to go to Lucca now. This is lovely, and has a beautiful message, and I like the quote in your artist's comment because it is so very, very true. :clap:
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! Yeah, that woman was a wise one; she taught me a lot. Thank you so much for the compliments about my writing - all of them. Your work is hugely impressive. I love it. So coming from you this means like +20 super-happy awesome.
Reply
:iconflummo:
flummo Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2012  Student Writer
You saying that my work is impressive makes me giddy. :blush: You yourself are brilliant, miss. :heart: Thank you, and it's my privilege.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Student Writer
Hahah you're really welcome!
Reply
:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Professional Writer
:wave: Hi! Your piece has been featured in #Lit-Visual-Alliance's Fourth Allied Artwork Feature! Please :+fav: the article to bring attention to the feature. :)
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much for this! :) I know it's been a couple of days, and I apologize, but I really appreciate this.
Reply
:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012  Professional Writer
:heart:
Reply
:iconyogateacher:
YogaTeacher Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Wonderful...

"Lucca will write your story for a time. They don't keep"

"You will find that the story you tell is very rarely your own"

These lines alone are worth a fave! This was fleshed out and narrated well, and the ending is magic...
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much! I'm really glad that you liked this poem :)
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012   Writer
:+fav: :iconcongratssignplz: ... on the DLD Pick of the Day! This is terrific writing - so much fantastic imagery. :iconfireworkplz:
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so much! I really like your icon-thingies - I never know how to work that stuff, and it's so cool! Thanks again!
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012   Writer
:iconbowingplz: You're welcome. Hats off to your good writing. Waaaay cooler than 'plz's! lol
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Student Writer
Oh no! I'm sure plz writes really well! Poor guy - please don't go after him on my comment board, even if you do think I write better.
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012   Writer
PS. Like these = Below :icondownarrowplz: I was a :icontypoplz::iconqueenplz:! (Bad edits.)
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Student Writer
:iconthanksplz: :iconbigsmileplz: I figured it out! :iconproudplz:
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012   Writer
I'm glad you did. There are so many of them! :icongrin--plz:
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Student Writer
:iconsmilesplz: Yeah, they're :icongreatplz:
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012   Writer
To make an "icon" each ends them with "plz," unless it's someone's avatar: not mentioned. lol
You made laugh aloud. Thanks.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Student Writer
Oh! OK! Omigosh you nearly gave me a heart attack for a second there...I thought plz may have been someone else who got a DLD and I was like noooo don't be mean to him! Thank you. :iconblushplz:
Reply
:iconxlntwtch:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012   Writer
:iconlaughingplz: :iconlolboxplz: ...No, no. No heart attacks on such fine day.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2012  Student Writer
Haha, there won't be :D
Reply
:iconglossolalias:
glossolalias Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
:heart: well-deserved DLD and Pick of the Day. congrats.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you ever so much!
Reply
:iconsammur-amat:
Sammur-amat Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012   General Artist
Congratulations on the well deserved DLD, lovely person:heart: :happybounce:
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so, so much! :)
Reply
:iconsammur-amat:
Sammur-amat Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012   General Artist
You are most welcome! :squee:
Reply
:iconi-am-a-bridgewalker:
i-am-a-bridgewalker Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
saw that this got a DLD--congrats! still one of my favorites. = )
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you! I'm so glad you like it! :D
Reply
:icontonepainter:
tonepainter Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the DLD!!!! :D:D:D
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks so much! You're the best! :D
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Many congratulations on the DLD and being "Pick of the Day"! As always, greatly deserved ^^ :D
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so, so much! :) Recognition is always totally unexpected and yet completely brilliant.
Reply
:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2012
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DailyLitDeviations and has been selected as our "Pick of the Day". It is featured in a news article here: [link] and on our main page.

Keep writing and keep creating.
Reply
:iconwinterkate:
winterkate Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you so very much! This is such a great honor - I'm overjoyed!
Reply
:iconsigma-echo-seven:
Sigma-Echo-Seven Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Student Writer
Brilliant! I only wish that I could find a place as brimming with latent, undiscovered inspiration as Lucca is to you.
Reply
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