November 5th, 2009


Update: New Verses in "Choralia"

There are now two new verses posted for "Choralia." This is a science fiction poem about the difficulties of first contact between humans and a race of aliens with orchestral voices. You can read the available verses on the original page.

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.

78 lines, Buy It Now = $39
Amount donated = $25
Amount remaining to fund fully = $14
Amount needed to fund next verse = $.50

Possible Vote on Single-Payer Health Care

I would really like to have access to health care. I want everyone to have access to health care. Our representatives, who all enjoy socialized health care at our expense, may soon have the opportunity to vote on a single-payer plan that would grant all Americans access to health care. Please nag them to vote in favor of single-payer health care so that America can join civilized nations like Canada, England, Germany, etc.

We just learned that there is a strong possibility that Speaker Pelosi
WILL allow a vote on single-payer. The vote may happen as early as
tomorrow (Friday) morning. Whether it is offered as a stand-alone bill or
as an amendment to the health care reform package, this will be the FIRST
vote ever held on single-payer health care in the full House of

Urge your representative NOW to stand with you and the American people on
this historic vote. Tell your representative to vote "YES!" to Rep.
Anthony Weiner's (D-N.Y.) single-payer bill! Go to

In the past, many members of Congress have said they would support
single-payer "if it came to a vote" but that a vote just wasn't
politically feasible. Now, a vote is here, and it is our job to urge
lawmakers to do the right thing. They cannot miss this historic
opportunity to cast their votes for real health care for all - a
single-payer system.

Time is short, so please click here to send a quick email to your
representative now at

Among all the reform proposals, a single-payer, Medicare-for-All system is
the only "option" for health care reform that will end the domination of
the insurance industry and ensure that every one of the more than 45
million uninsured will receive quality health care.

Let's not back down now. Continue to stand up for health care for all!

Thank you for all you do!

Rick, Angela and Glenn
Your advocates at Public Citizen

P.S. - Learn more about single-payer health care at

Microfunded Poem: "Warning Sine"

This poem came out of the November 3, 2009 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from flutterbychild. "Warning Sine" contemplates the difficulty of communicating through deep time, when those to come will not understand old words or symbols. As Egypt is ancient, mysterious history to us ... so we will someday be to our descendants. Donors so far: miintikwa, stonetalker, janetmiles

EDIT 12/8/09: stonetalker has funded the remaining verses of this poem as a holiday gift to janetmiles. Happy holidays!

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. My usual rate for microfunded poems is $.50 per line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. In this case, we're dealing with a poem in the flat-fee range. So what I've done to make it fit is give you the first 10 lines and start counting from that point. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements.

50 lines, Buy It Now = $20
Amount donated = $3
Amount remaining to fund fully = $17
Amount needed to fund next verse = $1.50

EDIT 12/8/09: This poem is now FULLY FUNDED. The last portion was covered at half price as part of the 2009 Holiday Poetry Sale.

Warning Sine

Literacy goes up and down like a wave,
bobbing on the surface of civilization,
while time goes out like a tide.

When the pyramids were new,
and their cladding shone like silver
under the fierce desert sun, everyone
who was anyone could understand Egyptian.

The hieroglyphs on the walls were as clear as rain,
as bright as crocodile teeth in the Nile, and
for a time their protection held strong.

But Egypt fell, as all empires do, and
then the grave-robbers came, and plundered,
and died of ignorance and the Pharaoh’s cunning traps.

When the pale strangers came, they found wonderful things,
yes, and the dusty bones of raiders past, mysterious
legends and things they dared not believe.
Faded warnings glared at them
from the pocked walls.
They did not heed.

When they died,
their peers made up
logical explanations and
scoffed at the superstitions,
but history still recorded the plagues
and the sunken ships and flaming houses
and the strange sudden deaths difficult to describe.

Linguists came and studied the painted walls,
deciphering the hieroglyphs and guessing
at the sounds of the mummified tongue.
They told of the curse, reading off
the old warnings, learning
the lost language.

Now we bury our
garbage in pyramids,
wrap it with warnings in
our own language and symbols.
We believe that those who come after
will understand what we have written there:
Danger! Do not enter! Toxic waste dump within!

To our distant descendants, these will be cryptic writings
that no one knows how to read, attracting scholars
to decipher them and archaeologists to dig
through the remnants of the midden.
The cancers that kill them will be
as mysterious as mummy rot,
fragments of a lost science
they do not understand.

Deep time is a
leviathan that swallows
down all languages in the end.

Poetry Fishbowl Report for Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I wound up waking early, so this fishbowl got out of the gate a lot sooner than usual. I worked from 9:30 AM to 11 PM. Allowing for lunch and supper breaks, that means about 13 hours 30 minutes of active working time. I had a steady flow of prompts all morning, which eventually petered out with a few later in the day. I wrote 19 poems, mostly short and medium; there were a couple $5 poems, only one each at $20 and epic levels. Most were free-verse poems; at least a couple of those had verse structures. There was also one sestina.

This month brought strong participation, with 16 people sending prompts. Please welcome new prompter zyngasvryka! You have her to thank for "Storyboard," the second freebie poem posted for having a new participant. There were 47 comments including mine.

EDIT 11/9/09: Added poem.
EDIT 11/11/09: Added final draft of "Space Flight” / “Shumáad Delineha”.

The following fishbowl poems have been posted:
"Carved in Stone"
“A Civil Tongue”
“Dancing with the Beast of Tanagra”
“The Graffiti War”
“The Language of the Birds”
"Space Flight” / “Shumáad Delineha” (final draft)
“Space Flight” / “Shumáad Delineha” (rough draft)*
"Warning Sine"

(* There's a comment about the Láadan needing work; I'll get to that when I can.)

Epic poem report:
This month we're carrying over one microfunded poem and adding two more. If you missed the earlier discussion about handling epic poems, you can read it here. Thanks to all the cosponsors for continuing to support long poetry!

“Choralia” (began microfunding 11/3/09; $14 remaining)
"The Transformations of Terror" (began microfunding 10/15/09; $14.50 remaining)
“Warning Sine” (began microfunding 11/3/09; $17 remaining)

All currently sponsored poems have been posted, and the epics updated with new verses. There is also a snapshot of the poet at work. I still need to write the donor perk-post, send private copies of poems to prompters, and work up a poll for generally sponsored poetry. I will get to these as soon as I can.

November's donors are: ellenmillion, marina_bonomi, jenny_evergreen, miintikwa, minor_architect, janetmiles, nhpeacenik. I really appreciate the enthusiastic turnout for this month's theme, as linguistics is a topic near and dear to my heart. You are all fine people and I'm glad to have you in my audience.

The Poetry Fishbowl Project also has a permanent landing page.