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Poem: "RUT?" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "RUT?"

This poem came out of the July 6, 2010 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from rhodielady_47.  She gave me the beginning of a story and its mood:

An old man takes an old long-obsolete cell phone out of his desk drawer and remembers what his life was like back when he and the cell phone were both young and the "top of the line". Should be quite sentimental.

... well, it got a little racier in places, but it's definitely still sentimental, and it gave me a chance to play with some favorite motifs.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. The rate is $.50 per line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. So far sponsors include: the_vulture, janetmiles.

FULLY FUNDED!
102 lines, Buy It Now = $51 
Amount donated = $45.50
Amount remaining to fund fully = $5.50
Amount needed to fund next verse = $.50



RUT?


John packed the last pair of socks
into the battered suitcase,
sat on the case,
and snapped the latches.
He could only take one suitcase with him.
The room at the nursing home wasn't very big.
With a sigh, he closed the sock drawer.

Something rattled.

John pulled the drawer open again.
There in the back corner lay a cell phone --
a huge old thing half the size of his hand.
John fingered the new one in his hearing aid.
His daughter had promised to call him.
Hadn't yet, though.
He picked up the old phone.

Dust smeared on his fingertips,
revealing the metallic blue plastic.
The battery was long gone,
along with its cover, leaving only
a great big gaping hole in the back.
The buttons were soft rubber,
hard to push with his tired fingers.
He remembered that they used to glow
when the phone was on.

He also remembered the girl.
Her name had faded over the years
but the brightness of her smile had not.
She looked like a preacher's daughter
but didn't think like one --
she'd introduced him to sexting
and a few other things
and they'd had some good years together before --
well.

It was just an old phone anyway.
No point hanging onto it now.
John made to toss it
but then a ringing sound distracted him.

He fiddled with the cell phone in his hearing aid.
Nobody was on the line.
He fiddled with his hearing aid.
Nothing changed.

The phone in his hand vibrated.
John almost dropped it.
He had forgotten that phones used to do that.
Darn thing sounded like a vibrator,
and wasn't that fun when your mother heard it.

He glanced down at the phone.
Its buttons were glowing.
John flipped it over,
dug his thumb into the empty hole,
muttering under his breath.

When he turned it back over,
the tiny screen lit up:
RUT

John rummaged through his rusty memory
then laboriously pecked out:
DIKU

The screen blanked, then said:
JENNY

That was her name!
How could he have forgotten it?
She had it tattooed on her backside,
on a little red ribbon --
she'd sent him a picture of it once.

And there it was on the screen.

John's fingers typed
WTF
before he even thought about it.

and when
IMU
lit up,

he just as automatically replied
IMU2.

PIX PLZ
made him wince, though.

He rubbed a thumb over the tiny camera lens.
Hadn't it broken before the phone went dead?
He couldn't recall. Likely wouldn't matter anyway.
John aimed the camera at himself.

U R SO HAWT
came the reply.

RUKM
he rapped out.

Not a message, but another picture,
filled the screen.
Had he ever really looked like that?
John wasn't sure,
but he remembered the stars-and-stripes boxers.
Jenny had liked those, right enough.

KMTTP
was accompanied by a closeup
of Jenny's lips.

John kissed the phone
and then typed
FMNKML.

The screen flashed
CUS
and then the phone went dead.

When they found him,
John's body was sprawled across his suitcase
with an antique cell phone clutched in his cooling hand
and a smile on his face.






The text messages are mostly abbreviations, and a lot of them came from No Slang Dictionary.

RUT -- Are you there?
DIKU -- Do I know you?
WTF -- What the fuck?!
IMU -- I miss you.
IMU2 -- I miss you too.
PIX PLZ -- Picture, please.
U R SO HAWT -- You are so hot!
RUKM -- Are you kidding me?
KMTTP -- Kiss me through the phone.
FMNKML -- Fuck me now, kiss me later!
CUS -- See you soon.

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Current Mood: busy busy

12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: November 4th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Overall, I really liked the sentimentality of this poem, but, somehow 'FMNKML' kinda clashes with it. It somewhat turns the end of the poem into a punch line ('died with a smile on his face'). ('Course, maybe I'm just too ace to appreciate the line. XD ).

Edit: Of course, it does put a spin on the meaning of the title. ;)

Edited at 2010-11-04 03:46 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 4th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> Overall, I really liked the sentimentality of this poem,<<

I'm glad to hear that.

>> but, somehow 'FMNKML' kinda clashes with it. It somewhat turns the end of the poem into a punch line ('died with a smile on his face').<<

I can see what you mean. It's there for a reason, though -- they are in 'teenager mode' for this part of the poem. And while he did die with a smile, the FMN part of the activity wasn't possible until he got to where she was, hence the CUS line.

>> ('Course, maybe I'm just too ace to appreciate the line. XD ).<<

For that, see "The Underground Gardens." Hope is canonically asexual.

>>Edit: Of course, it does put a spin on the meaning of the title. ;) <<

That is deliberate, yes.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: November 4th, 2010 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Ya know, I didn't quite catch the 'teenager mode'. Maybe I'm just too old. XD
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 4th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

It may come through more clearly for someone who has personally used cell phones for lewd purposes. *ponder* That is, if I did it right. I haven't actually used cell phones for that myself. It was just the direction the poem seemed to take, so I did some research of the details, then extrapolated based on general knowledge of sex, teenagers, romance, and death/afterlife legends.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: November 4th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Reading through again, I'm pretty sure it was just a matter of me having an 'ace moment.' Or maybe I just didn't see it as it built up piece by piece, possibly. It looks pretty obvious... now. XD
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 4th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Okay, thanks for the update. (Sometimes I have to read things a second time to get the full effect, for various reasons.) I am pleased that one of my canonically ace characters has made it into publication, now that "The Underground Gardens" is up.
dichroic From: dichroic Date: November 4th, 2010 07:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Awwww.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 5th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked this.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: November 4th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nifty!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 4th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like this piece.
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: November 5th, 2010 12:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
This makes me tear up.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 5th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Aww...

That is so sweet! I'm glad this poem worked for you.
12 comments or Leave a comment