Peer Review by ashleykirantan (Singapore)

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What's Happened?

By: AudienceOfOne


what's happened 
to chivalry
to holding open doors
and helping old women carry their groceries
what's happened
to kindness
a smile that lights up a face
and a hand to help another up
what's happened 
to selflessness
to letting another go ahead
and giving up a seat on the bus
what's happened 
to the world we once knew
where people
were people
not zombies
staring into screens
tiny little glass rectangles
they say have all the answers
doors are slammed in people's faces
old women struggle on their own
no one smiles
unless they pass another level
there are no helping hands
only the gift of opposing thumbs
helping take out the bad guys
on the controller
everyone stands in line
oblivious to one another
not letting those most desperate to go ahead
and everyone is too busy
walking into streets 
and narrowly missing buses
to find their next Pokemon
to offer up their seat
what's happened to the world
to us
what have we become
everyone's too worried about global warming
and incoming asteroids
or world wars
to understand the real problem
the real problem is us
we're losing what it means to be human
what it means to have relationships
we're losing
i don't know what's happened 
to the world
i don't know how to fix it
and that scares me more
than any temperature rise
any asteroid
any war



Peer Review

This piece was really engaging and illuminated the speaker's observations of problems pertaining to humanity and basic human courtesy/decency, which are not necessarily issues that we would think about on a daily basis. You also managed to capture the speaker's vexations with the world at large without sounding overly didactic or completely moralistic, which is something that not many writers are able to do. Kudos to you for that!

I'm really curious about why, apart from the very last section of the poem, you refrained from using line breaks or stanzas. Though I understand that this may be a stylistic choice, I feel that the message of the poem could be conveyed more effectively by separating its parts into various stanzas, which would allow the reader to pause for a moment to really consider what you're saying, rather than feeling breathless by the end of the poem. As you might have noticed in my comments on specific parts of this piece, I would also recommend using punctuation (more specifically question marks) to further emphasise the rhetorical element of the speaker's queries about human behaviour. However, I would like to emphasise that these are just personal opinions, and that the freedom to decide how exactly you want to craft your poem still lies in your hands!

Reviewer Comments

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this piece! I would love to see an updated version of it, and I can't wait to read your other literary works. Keep striving and happy writing!