August 4th, 2011


Poem: "Knifewalking"

This poem came out of the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user ailelie, who wanted a version of the fairytale in which the Little Mermaid leaves the sea not for love, but for reasons of her own.  I love subverting fairytales like that.  The poem is cosponsored by ailelie and laffingkat.

Note: "Knifewalking" is a poem about pain and healing and personal growth, containing some dark and graphic imagery.  Sensitive readers may want to skip this one.

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List of Unsold Poems from August 2, 2011

The following poems from the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. They may be sponsored via PayPal, or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

"As Tenuous as Mist" -- 87 lines, $43.50
From this I got "As Tenuous as Mist," a free-verse poem about an artifact created to bestow magic, which sometimes steals the power or even the life from people who try to use it.

"Breakdown" -- 73 lines, $36.50
Corruption and related words mentioned in this prompt are connected by the root "rup" meaning "to break." So "Breakdown" is a free-verse poem that turns linguistics into liturature: the wordplay requested in the thread's title.

"Contagion" -- 16 lines, $10 SOLD
From the prompt about memes came the free-verse poem "Contagion." It compares memes to viruses.

"Falling Up" -- 51 lines, $20 SOLD
From the prompt about the villain's perspective on redemption, I got the free-verse poem "Falling Up." It's a haunting look at the insidious, creeping nature of Good. This poem belongs to the Sort Of Heroes series.

"friendship and enmity" -- 50 lines, $20 SOLD
Your prompt about enemies becoming friends connected firmly with marina_bonomi's prompt about the Origami Mage and Kirigami Mage. Written in tanka verses, "friendship and enmity" explores their feelings as they come together on a moonlit beach. This poem falls very near the end of the story arc, so it's not ready to get published yet. marina_bonomi has sponsored it; this will be published later.

"Hag-Ridden" -- 38 lines, $15 SOLD
I'm a fan of fairytales, both in terms of the storytelling charm and the scholarly stuff right down to the Aarne-Thompson Index. So "Hag-Ridden" is a poem about the importance of adversaries on the hero's journey. This poem is free verse.

"Nettled" -- 12 lines, $10
From your prompt about the Judas Goat I got "Nettled." This free-verse poem covers the goat's perspective and where the goat ends up afterwards.

"No Vacancy" -- 13 lines, $10 SOLD
From your prompt about witch hunters visiting Monster House, and another from [info]janetmiles about doing evil in the name of good, I got the free-verse poem "No Vacancy." It's also somewhat inspired by what happened here, once, when an unwelcome and incompatible visitor arrived on our doorstep.

"Of Gold and Fishes" -- 20 lines, $10 SOLD
From your prompt about money and politicians, I got the free-verse poem "Of Gold and Fishes." It tells about a political scandal from my science fiction colony Common Ground.

"Reduction" -- 14 lines, $10
"Reduction" is a science fiction sonnet about a human starship crashing into a planet with a reducing atmosphere. Much mayhem is had by all.

"Scales" -- 28 lines, $15
From the "Lucifer was framed!" prompt came the free-verse poem "Scales." It plays on how good and evil can be worldviews rather than absolutes, and based entirely too much on who is more popular or has the better propaganda.

Series Fishbowl Perk Poll

Okay, we met the $200 goal (and went past it, woohoo!) so you get an extra fishbowl focused on a poetic series.  Path of the Paladins is out of the running since it just got featured last month.  Earlier winners Monster House and the Origami Mage are eligible again. Everyone is welcome to vote in this poll. I'll check it Friday evening and close it then if there's a clear winner. If not, I may let it run longer.

Poll #1767077 Perk Poll for Series Fishbowl in August 2011
This poll is closed.

Which poetic series would you like to see in the extra fishbowl?

Fiorenza, the Italian Herbalist
Monster House
The Ocracies
The Origami Mage
Sort Of Heroes

I'm planning to run this extra fishbowl on Tuesday, August 16. That way it's halfway between the main fishbowls for August and September, which should help with budgeting in case folks want to sponsor extra poems beyond the freebie you get. It will probably run for about half a day, although there is really no telling what my muse will decide to do. Everyone will be invited to participate in the extra fishbowl, although I'm not planning to promote it outside my own blog.

New Verses in "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son"

Thanks to a donation from eseme, you can now see two new verses in "Fiorenza and the Witch-Son." This poem takes a leisurely stroll through Fiorenza's life when there is NOT a major crisis going on, for the sake of exploring different people's roles and some ways in which gender roles can be bent without breaking altogether.
monster house

Poem: "No Vacancy"

This poem came out of the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from aldersprig and janetmiles, then sponsored by janetmiles.  It belongs to the Monster House series.  Not everyone thinks of "monster" the same way...

No Vacancy

It was my wife who opened the door
when the witch hunters came to our house.

The lurking shadow leaned around the door
and glared at the witch hunters.
The monsters under-the-bed and in-the-closet
formed a furry wall behind my wife.
Then the bogeyman arrived, lean and pale,
causing their jaws to drop as they stared up at him.
They did not even notice our daughter's seeing-eye gremlin
urinating on their shiny black shoes.

"Sorry, we're full up on monsters right now,"
my wife said evenly.
"Try the house across the street."


Poem: "Of Gold and Fishes"

This poem came out of the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from wyld_dandelyon and sponsored by janetmiles.  The setting is a colony world in my main science fiction universe; Common Ground was founded on the premise of common sense and its government is an odd blend of meritocracy, chaocracy, and what I would now call crowdfunding.  Early on, politicians aiming for elected offices started keeping fish -- the more challenging, the better -- to show their environmental fluency.  Sometimes, that's not quite enough ...

Of Gold and Fishes

Cecil Bailey thought it would be harmless
to accept a few gifts from the Corporate Bodies council --
little things, really, and ones without sticker prices
so their value was difficult to calculate
and surely there was no point in recording them.

Then some reporter from The Whistle
got wind of it and wrote an article,
which was reprinted in The Watchdog
over in the Freedom System,
and before long journalists from a dozen colonies
all showed up to the party waving their muck rakes.

Cecil Bailey learned the hard way
that the voters of Common Ground
take a dim view of kickbacks

and even if you're keeping Golden Angelfish
in a reef tank with live rock and assorted corals,
thus demonstrating your ability to tend an ecosystem
and your trustworthiness for a planet-sized one,

you will not be entrusted with a planet
when people doubt your bookkeeping.


Poem: "Falling Up"

This poem came out of the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from westrider and jenny_evergreen, then sponsored by janetmiles.  It belongs to the Sort Of Heroes series.  Unlike the gritty humor of the other poems, this one is a haunting look at the insidious power of Good.

Falling Up

The Myrklord crouched in his tower
of glossy black tourmaline
and gazed at the stone table
with its sculptured map of the world.
One trembling fingertip
touched the ruined mountain
where once a staunch ally had stood.

He turned again to the whisper-sifter,
subtle artifact woven of stygian silk.
He had only to press his palm
against the taut sable veil,
and then he could hear  the sword
murmuring its advice into the henchmen's ears.

What made it all the more horrible
was that he knew  them both
and would have named them dutiful
if anyone had asked his opinion.
How many times had the Myrklord
gone to visit the Master
and drink duskwine in the Basalt Tower?
Nib had been there, his bland peasant face
always calm as they sent him on this errand or that.
Brod had been there, his stony trollish muscles
making short work of opening the heavy iron gates.

Now they were gone,
run off down the glory road
where only fools and heroes go.
The Basalt Tower was gone too,
crumbled into rubble and carted away by gleaners.
The Myrklord had seen it all in the gloomglass
with which he scried current events.
This left an uncomfortable gap in the balance of power
between good and evil, whose intricate web
kept the world steady and strong.
He could feel  it in his head,
missing piece making a worrisome wobble
so like a loose tooth that he kept wanting
to prod it with his tongue.

The Myrklord ran a hand over the roster,
marking his own minions in his mind
and wondering which of them would abandon him,
lured away from his worthy service
by some artifact's shining promises.
This one?  That one?
He could only hope not,
and hope was a feeble thing indeed,
laid against the weight of a man's own advantage.

With a sigh, the Myrklord opened his war chest
and the slim leatherbound ledger,
and began figuring how much he could afford
to offer by way of a raise.


Impromptu Perk

Wow, look at that fishie go!

$317 raised, first goal MET, second goal MET, THIRD GOAL MET

We've spurted past the $200 goal and last month's $244 record. Right now the total is just $10.50 short of $300. I was not expecting to need a new perk this soon, but you folks are beyond awesome. As it happens, I have several epic poems already written -- "Breakdown" and "As Tenuous as Mist" from this month, plus "The Canticle of Days" (Path of the Paladins) and "An Arm and a Leg" (The Clockwork War). If donations reach $300, I will give you one of those epics free, and you'll get to vote on which.

EDIT 8/5/11: And done. One free epic, coming up.