Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile PenUltimate Productions Website Previous Previous Next Next
The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Learning Curves"

This poem came out of the April 5, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from aldersprig and wyld_dandelyon.  It was sponsored by janetmiles.

Learning Curves

They weren't good at publicity,
not at first,
and their people skills were below par,
but mad scientists
are nothing if not fast learners.

So Johnson went to the executives
and offered them market predictions
in exchange for money.
"You're a mad scientist," they said.
"I'm not a scientist, I'm an economist," he said.
"Science is too easy.  Stock markets are much more challenging."
Johnson was the best liar, and they bought it.

Morales went to the advertisers
and she offered them tips on mind control
in exchange for exposure and advice on branding.
"You're a mad scientist," they said.
"I'm not mad," she said, "just off-center of the bell curve."
Then she turned on her PowerPoint display.
The advertisers drooled and gave her everything she wanted.

Feng went to the politicians
and he offered them money in exchange for power.
"You're a mad scientist," they said.
He steepled his fingers and said very calmly,
"I'm not mad, I'm just a victim of bad PR."
Then he began unpacking bundles of cash.
The politicians leaned forward and licked their lips.

They met in a quiet little coffeehouse
where they ordered cappuccino, espresso, and Jolt cola.
"I'm bored," said Johnson.
"Everyone is hitting on me," said Morales.
"I keep wanting to wash my hands," said Feng.

"We could trade targets," said Johnson.
"We could do it blindfolded," said Morales.
"We could randomize the first play in every round," said Feng.

"Let's do all three!" said Johnson.
Morales giggled.  "He's really  bored."
"I'm game if you are," said Feng.

So the three mad scientists
brought out their smartphones
and protractors and compasses,
a pair of scissors,
and a copy of the Wall Street Journal.

Then they began to play.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

12 comments or Leave a comment
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: April 7th, 2011 01:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I really do love this. :-D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2011 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm happy to hear that.
eseme From: eseme Date: April 7th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear. That's *really* scary.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2011 04:28 am (UTC) (Link)


That's what happens when I go from reading political news to writing speculative poetry. Like Joss Whedon, I have a knack for taking bits of reality, embellishing them with mythic additions, and creating something that is plausibly appalling.

When I am reading dark literature, it is the splinters of truth that fascinate me, and the metaphors used to enhance them. It's the art of putting a false horn on a real unicorn so that people can see it -- and will pay attention to it, rather than dismissing it. So that's what I aim for too. That gets them thinking, if I'm lucky and I've done my job right. Whatever insights or questions they glean regarding that issue as it appears in literature will still be there for them the next time some variant of it crosses their path in real life, if they choose to think it over again. That's one reason why I often include links to supporting information: it's fun to explore, but sometimes it gives people a place to move forward if the issue really interests them.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: April 7th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC) (Link)
What eseme said -- Oh *dear*.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2011 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)


Yeah, that way lies trouble.
From: siliconshaman Date: April 7th, 2011 09:31 am (UTC) (Link)
"I'm bored" probably the two most terrifying words to be uttered by a mad scientist, right after [or before] "Uh-oh.."
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: April 7th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC) (Link)
As one of my dear friends once said, "Never trust a wizard who says 'oops'."

Also, the most dangerous things in the universe include a programmer with a soldering iron, a hardware tech who's read a book on Cobol, and a first lieutenant with a map.
siege From: siege Date: April 7th, 2011 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Let's combine them! You get the lieutenant, I'll get the tools, and then we'll unleash it on a politician!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 7th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)


Also terrifying when uttered by a writer or a game master.
ravan From: ravan Date: April 9th, 2011 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Karl Rove, Roger Ailes, and ...?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 9th, 2011 04:39 am (UTC) (Link)


I'm not sure, but it's an amusing thought!
12 comments or Leave a comment