August 5th, 2011


Poem: "Contagion"

This poem came out of the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired and sponsored by laffingkat.  There are, in fact, some studies of memes that reveal similar spread patterns between ideas and germs.


Memes are
subtle, insidious things.

They are not alive,
but they can co-opt life
to manufacture their own transmission.

They are viruses of the mind,
spreading not by an infected bite
but with a whisper, with the click of a key.

Ideas multiply and divide;
moods gather like clouds, bright or dark;
behaviors leap from body to body, swift as sparks.

Memes are invisible, implacable.
You must muster all your defenses:
logic is the immune system of the mind.

It's up to you to distinguish
between parasites and symbiotes.


Poem: "Hag-Ridden"

This poem came out of the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from whuffle, who wished to read about those who don't WANT redemption because they are at peace with their role.  It was sponsored by the_vulture, who shares our love of folklore.


The Hag is the boss of the Forest Wild,
a boss' boss who rules over all within:
the troll under the bridge,
the ogre in his den,
the dragon in his gilded cave.

The ravens are her eyes by day,
and the silent owls by night.
The sword-tailed bees bring her sugar
to frost the gingerbread walls of her house.
It is the wolves, not the deer,
who make the path to her doorstep
with their patient passing.

Her garden blooms with foxglove and belladonna,
nightshade, hemlock, wolfsbane,
and a dozen other poisonous plants
all neatly tended within a fence of bones.

The Hag has her place in the plot,
her own page in the tome of fairytales
where the scholars map out the hero's journey.
She must  appear,
as surely as the wooded path
and the magic weapon,
the poison and the pit trap
and the insurmountable obstacle of the glass mountain.

She is the means of the lack
and its liquidation.
She can be defeated,
but never dispelled.
After the hero has thrust her into the oven
and gone on to the next step of his journey,
the Hag reconstitutes herself from the ashes,
opens the iron door, and climbs out
to reset her house for the next hero.

This is her purpose and her pride,
her place in the fairytale.
For it is the monsters who make the heroes:
there is no greatness without great challenge,
no advancement without facing the archetypes.

Fly Free

Poll: Pick Your Free Epic

Donations for the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl are currently at $317, past the impromptu $300 goal.  I am awed by your generosity.  Thank you all. 

Below are your choices for the free epic.  Everyone may vote in this poll.  I will check it Friday evening, and if there's a clear winner, post the poem.  Otherwise I may leave it open a bit longer.

"An Arm and a Leg" -- 84 lines, $42
A sniper and runner strive to work together after losing major body parts, so that they can continue fighting. This is the second poem in the Clockwork War series, after "A Turning Point in the Clockwork War."

"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.

"The Canticle of Days" -- 106 lines, $53
Ari learns what it means to follow a paladin, and Shahana shares some of her history. This poem is mostly free verse but includes the couplet-rhymed Canticle of the Traveler within it. It falls after "The Ones They Leave Behind" in the Path of the Paladins series.

Poll #1767234 Free Epic for August 2011 Poetry Fishbowl
This poll is closed.

Which of these epics would you most like to see published?

"An Arm and a Leg"
"As Tenuous as Mist"
"The Canticle of Days"

Torn World Stories

If you're a supporter, you can now read two more of my stories over on Torn World.  Both of these are reprinted from the anthology Family Ties & Torn Skies.

"One-Tick Literature"
Rai and Bai do a writing assignment for class.

"The Ties We Twine"
The Elders and raisers of Itrelir seek to establish a new age-set.
This story features Karavai, Tekura, and Ularki.

If you like these stories and want to see more like them, please consider sending me credits or karma through Torn World's crowdfunding options.  Not a Torn World member, but still want to support the work? I have a permanent PayPal button on my LJ profile page.

Poem: "The Canticle of Days"

This poem came out of the July 2011 donor perk prompts; that month met the $150 threshold for a free series poem, and I wound up with some extras.  It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles who wondered how Shahana became a paladin, laffingkat who wanted to know about paladin training, and angela_n_hunt who was curious about day-to-day life for paladins.  "The Canticle of Days" takes place shortly after "Shine On" and "The Ones They Leave Behind," when Shahana and Ari set off together.  It gives an early look at how their relationship begins to develop, and sketches in some background about the followers of Gailah in general.  You can read more about the Path of the Paladins series on the serial poetry page of my website.

"The Canticle of Days" is presented here as a free epic, selected by the audience in a poll, as an impromptu perk for the August 2, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl reaching the unprecedented $300 threshold.  Thank you all.  I am deeply grateful for your support.

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monster house

Poll Results

Both polls had a clear popular choice, and are now closed.

Based on the series poll, Monster House will be the featured series in the extra fishbowl on Tuesday, August 16.  This is your perk for reaching the $200 threshold.

Based on the epic poll, the poem "The Canticle of Days" has been posted.  This is your impromptu perk for reaching the $300 threshold.

*bow*  Thank you all for your support, inspiration, and participation.  I couldn't ask for a better audience.