October 15th, 2009


Poem: "The Calico Fox"

This poem came out of the October 13, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was prompted by miintikwa and sponsored by dormouse_in_tea. The verses are written in haiku format, with 5-7-5 syllables down the lines, chosen to match the Japanese mythology. You can read about the bake-neko and kitsune on the Obakemono Project.

The funny thing is, I got this from reading the email notification, which had "Bake-neko kitsune" all on one line. If I'd read the LJ version, on two lines, I would have split up the characters. But I love how this wicked little lady turned out, and I think you will too!

The Calico Fox

these are her colors
dappled in random patterns
black and white and red

these are her nine tails
five feline and four vulpine
swishing behind her

these are her nine lives:
cat, fox, poet, wife, geisha,
nun, maid, sage, empress

these are her lovers
displayed in their glass cases
all their bones licked clean

they made the mistake
of remarking, one by one,
“My dear, how you’ve changed.”

Poem: "Building Suspense"

Here is another poem from the October 13, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. This one was prompted by whuffle and sponsored by dormouse_in_tea.

Building Suspense

It was a place
that lay abandoned in the sun,
still smelling faintly of fear and despair.

It was a place
that people preferred to avoid
even before it was abandoned, but now
the old mental hospital was positively repellant.

It was a place
that would have been easier to avoid
if it had stayed in the same space, but no,
it moved – or seemed to move –
and at any rate the fire department was tired
of hearing it had burned down
only to find it lurking on its lot in the morning.

It was a place
that the crazy people had said was alive
but nobody believed them
until it was too late.

It was a place
banished from its own dimension, alone here
except for its food, which sometimes it spoke to.

Poem: "Ghost Mittens"

This poem is from the October 13, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was prompted by nekomata and is about ... a nekomata! You can read about this Japanese creature on the Obakemono Project. At heart, a monster cat is still a cat. This poem was sponsored by dormouse_in_tea.

Ghost Mittens

By day the funeral parlor is a peaceful place.
It smells of lilies, and the lights are low,
and tasteful music plays in the background.
A gray cat with two white paws and a curiously forked tail
sleeps serenely on the rose-printed couch.

By night the funeral parlor is not so quiet
when the cat slips her white mittens onto a man’s corpse
and watches the ghostly tom rise from the dead flesh.
She leads him on a wild romp through the wilting lilies and,
in the morning, pretends innocence.

Poem: "Shadowskin"

This poem came from the October 13, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was prompted by wolfbrotherjoe and sponsored by janetmiles. For this poem I drew on some traditional fairytales, "Donkeyskin" and "Catskin."


She had seen
Her elder sisters flee:
Only she remained
To draw the dark eye
Of their father the king.
So when the black rat
To whom she fed crumbs
Offered her his skin,
The princess declined.
Instead she begged
For his shadow.
She wrapped herself
In its dusky folds
And disappeared
Into the city
Where, unseen,
She spread the plague.

Fat Moon Night

This poem arose from the October 13, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was prompted by jolantru and sponsored by janetmiles. For this poem, I drew on werewolf lore and classic portrayals of the wolf as a dangerous monster, and particularly the French tradition of associating it with masculine sexuality. Natural wolves are actually quite shy, and they're under fire right now so they need our protection.

Fat Moon Night

The garoul hunts in a pack
with his two brothers.

When the moon is thin,
they hunt deer in the dark woods
and drink the red blood that flows.

When the moon fattens,
they shift their shape
to that of buff young men
and they hunt the seedy end of town
for something that runs hotter than blood
and they drink the yellow beer that foams.

The garoul senses prey
and howls to his brothers.

Down the dark alley they race
baying their desire for soft womanflesh
but their prey turns and yells,
“Police! Freeze!”
They do not understand,
and when they keep coming,
she shoots the lead garoul
and her partner shoots the other two.

Flesh flows away.
Fur reforms.
Dead, their true shape shows,
and three limp wolves lie in the alley.

“Well,” says the policewoman, “just how
are we supposed to fit that into a vice report?”

Poem: "The Social Chameleon Speaks"

This poem came from the October 13, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was prompted by siliconshaman and sponsored by janetmiles. This turned into cyberspace theory humor, rather than horror, but it does still involve a sort of shapeshifting effect.

The Social Chameleon Speaks

Here I am on MySpace:
My page plays jungle sounds
and has a background of cool green leaves.
It’s all about saving the rainforest.
I have a hundred Friends. (I had more before the maximum.)

tweet me, dudes
100k Followers & growing

Here I am on Facebook:
There is a photo in my portfolio.
It is not me but nobody knows that.
I am really into networking and nude sunbathing.
I have five thousand Friends.

I am the social chameleon.
I log on from a science station.
It’s not that hard to figure out
once you remember to keep your finger skin
a different color than the keyboard.
I’m telling you, networking is everything.
It’s where the future is headed

and that darn gecko on television
knows nothing about it,

"The Cuckoo's Song" fully funded!

Thanks to the extra people who voted, the tie has been broken, in favor of publishing the rest of "The Cuckoo's Song." Another donation also went into the general fund, so you folks currently have $11 to portion out to other poetry. A subsequent poll will cover that.

Here is the complete text of "The Cuckoo's Song" for your entertainment. This is lyrical poetry in the tradition of many ballads about romances between faery and mortal. This poem came out of the September 8, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from marina_bonomi and sponsored by marina_bonomi, dormouse_in_tea, and janetmiles plus several votes from the audience to cover the last verses out of the general fund. Thank you all for your continued support! I'm glad you're enjoying these verse-by-verse epics.

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Poem: "The Transformations of Terror"

Here is the latest epic in search of cosponsors. This poem came out of the October 13, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles, siege, and wyld_dandelyon (posting for her niece). These folks all got me thinking about what would frighten an inorganic shapeshifter, and why. Ulterior inspirations include Madelaine L'Engle (kudos to janetmiles for correctly clocking that one) and the Cthulhu Mythos. This is pretty intense horror of the ooky kind, but with science fiction motifs included. Donors so far: janetmiles, stonetalker, wolfbrotherjoe

EDIT 10/17/09: The poll voted to fund more verses of this poem out of the general donations. Voters, if you'd like your names added to the donor roll above, please let me know.
EDIT 11/9/09: The poll voted to fund more verses of this poem out of the general donations.
EDIT 11/19/09: This poem has been fully funded by a new donation.
EDIT 12/28/09: This poem has been revised, and the new version is here.

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.

84 lines, Buy It Now = $42
Fully funded 11/19/09

The Transformations of Terror

There was one transformation they all feared.
Nobody wanted to transform into a starship.
Oh, they weren’t afraid of heights –
They all loved to fly.
They weren’t afraid of space –
They would orbit happily in station form.
They weren’t afraid of travel –
They could drive quite gladly around the whole planet.

But they weren’t alone.
And they knew that.

And they knew IT was out there,
High up in the thin aethyr of hyperspace
Where they had to go if they wanted to get out of the system.
They knew IT was there,
Waiting for them.

The transformation itself is quite ordinary:
The shifting of wings and rocket pipes,
Legs tucking up to broaden the base of the body,
Head slipping forward to become the bridge.
Even the delicate internal assembly of the stardrive itself
Comes together as naturally as crystals forming.

But they don’t want to jump in.
It’s worse than the first dive
After learning to become a submarine,
When the water seems to gleam with an evil threat.
This time they know what is waiting for them.

The ones who steel themselves for the journey
Find themselves facing IT at once:
The slick sinuous mass of IT makes them queasy
Right down to their reactor cores.
At first IT just hangs there, folding into and out of itself
Like a tesseract made of meat.
Then IT senses them and surges forward,
Faster than they can imagine,
And they cannot flee although they always try.
They can scan IT undulating as it approaches,
Tentacles uncoiling to reach for them,
Suckers moist and pulsating.

They try not to scream as IT clamps on,
But that’s hard,
Especially when IT covers their sensors
Leaving them deaf and blind
To the whole journey through hyperspace
So that they have to trust the coordinates
Uploaded ever-so-carefully into the pilot-drive.

All they can do is pray
And try not to think of what’s happening
And remind themselves that this will be over eventually.

Finally, finally,
The suckers slop away from the hull
And the scanners are clear of everything except slime
And the awful trip is finished
So that they can dive into the atmosphere
And let the cleansing fire of reentry burn away all traces

Except for the memories they cannot forget
No matter how many times they try to delete the files.

They go about their business, then,
As submarines and shipping vehicles and jet planes,
Reveling in safer forms of motion.
Some of them return to space
And hang content as stations curled up in a comfy LaGrange couch.

But sooner or later,
They have to take downtime,
Have to let their busy minds rest and recover
From the challenges of life.
Then it hits them – then the nightmares come.
There is no escaping them.
Over and over they suffer the same terrifying transformation
Into a starship and the quivering leap into hyperspace.
Over and over they relive the horrible stroking of their sensors,
Their vents, and their tightly latched apertures as IT probes them.
Over and over they suffer blindness, deafness,
And the creeping certainty of something striving to reach them,
Right into the central braindrive where the soul resides.

Telling who’s been a starship is always easy:
They’re the ones
Who wake up screaming.

As far as the records show, IT has never hurt anyone.
But nobody believes that.
Ships do get lost sometimes,
Gone without a trace,
Swallowed by hyperspace.

Everyone who has ever seen IT
Knows who to blame.

In Which You Get to Pick Even MORE Poetry!

Here is the generally sponsored poetry poll for the October 13, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. You have $11 to spend. There is one $5 poem available, "Bugged." There are four $10 poems available: "Olympian Proportions," "Shooting the Werewolf," "True to Form," and "The White Hind." In that case, you will have either $1 or $6 left over, which will go toward "The Transformations of Terror" since that's the epic currently open for microfunding. If you are more interested in revealing fresh verses of the epic, I'll give you an option for putting all $11 there.

Poll #1471860 Generally Sponsored Poetry Poll for October 13, 2009 Fishbowl
This poll is closed.

How would you like to direct the general donation funds this month?

"Olympian Proportions" (+ $1 for "Transformations")
"Shooting the Werewolf" (+ $1 for "Transformations")
"True to Form" (+ $1 for "Transformations")
"The White Hind" (+ $1 for "Transformations")
"Bugged" (+ $6 for "Transformations")
Direct all $11 toward "The Transformations of Terror"