April 5th, 2012

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Plans and Goals

Sometimes it helps to talk out the things you want to do and the projects you want to work on, and get cheers for stuff you've finished.

*  What are some of your upcoming plans and goals?
*  Are any of them things you'll need help with, and if so, what kind of help?
*  What are some plans/goals that you have recently completed?
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Poem: "lacquerware"

This poem came out of the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by siliconshaman who wanted Edopunk.  I hunted around in the Edo period and its technology, eventually turning up some interesting tidbits about lacquer.  The poem has been sponsored by laffingkat.


lacquerware


an accident in
the chemistry of lacquer
would change everything

urushi lacquer
is quite sensitive to light,
easily damaged

how short a step from
"damage" to "a photoprint"
that was the first change

Edo artisans
developed technology
based upon layers

they traced circuitry
with singular strands of silk
pressed between lacquer

chemical changes --
static electricity
no longer stayed put

they wrote whole programs
with silk and water and char
layered into chips

the first computers
resembled tea bowls and trays:
polished perfection

their meticulous
nature became as famous
as their courtesy

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Poem: "Making the Man"

This poem is from the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by wyld_dandelyon and aldersprig.  It has been sponsored by laffingkat.


Making the Man
-- a sonnet


He walks through streets aglow with neon light
Where televisions flicker through the glass
And misses all the gaslamps soft and bright,
The hush of lords and ladies as they pass.

He wears the polyester of his time
And goes about in public with no hat,
But wishes for a pocketwatch's chime,
The brush of silk, and boot soles smooth and flat.

It is no wonder that he takes a chance
To don historic dress whene'er he can,
For he recalls that era's song and dance
And how the proper clothes can make a man.

Victoria is gone, but not her ways:
Some gentlemen still dream of bygone days.

monster house

Poem: "Family Ways"

This is the linkback perk poem from the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It came out of the October 18, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl with prompts from fayanora and moonwolf1988, along with further ideas from various "House Rules" lists.  All verses are now posted.  You can reveal further verses by linking to the unsold poetry list or a specific poem you like.  This poem belongs to the Monster House series; you can find out more about that on the Serial Poetry page.



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steamsmith

Poem: "Along the Streets of London"

This poem came out of the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from Stephen Laird, rix_scaedu, and thesilentpoet.  It has been sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette.  It belongs to The Steamsmith series, although it's a background piece rather than a character narrative; you can find out more about the series on the Serial Poetry page.  I also looked up historic London neighborhoods in the East End (the poor side of town) and found some references to the West Side (where respectable people lived).  There are many references in this poem to features of poorer and richer lifestyles and occupations, some historic and some particular to nether-Earth. 

Furthermore, this is written in traditional ballad style.  There's a meter variation in the last verse, which is something I almost never do, but it just refused to go away no matter how I arranged the pieces.  So.  That actually is historically valid; meter was often quite casual in ballads, but even the more regular ones would sometimes fiddle with the syllable count and/or tune in the last verse as a way of signalling the end.  Similarly the language is common rather than sophisticated, because ballads were aimed for popular appeal.  Compare the vocabulary in this poem to the other Steamsmith ones and you can see the difference between Maryam's precise alchemical terms and what the man-on-the-street would typically call things.

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Poem: "To Hear the Falling of the Trees"

This poem came out of the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by morrigans_eve who wondered about environmentalists in a steampunk setting.  I liked the punk aspect of looking at the gritty underside of all that shining progress, which in this case, means the damage done by acquiring and using the fuels that enables the steam revolution.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette.

To Hear the Falling of the Trees
-- a villanelle


The winter comes, but does not freeze.
It does not take an engineer
To hear the falling of the trees.

The steam is hot; the engines wheeze
And bring the future huffing here.
The winter comes, but does not freeze.

The future swings a long trapeze;
We worry for the forests dear,
Who hear the falling of the trees.

The coal is black, and burns with ease.
The miners cough, but who will hear?
The winter comes, but does not freeze.

The gaslights shine, the bellows squeeze;
No engineer will pause for fear,
Nor hear the falling of the trees.

We try to tell them, beg them, please --
They turn away with deafened ear.
The winter comes, but does not freeze.
We hear the falling of the trees.

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Poem: "Acid Reign"

This poem came from the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from siege, morrigans_eve, and lb_lee.  The challenge was to describe a world in which materials such as clay and glass would be the most natural choices for technology to develop.  So here it is, claypunk as fairly hard science fiction.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette.


Acid Reign


The seas boiled and fumed
beneath a lucent sun,
oceans of acid foaming at the sky.

All that was metal or reactive stone
the acid seas tore asunder;
all that might have become
the soft flesh of organic matter
was dissolved into its component atoms.

Only acid there was, and air,
and the silken dust of clay
that lay in supple folds upon the crust.

Yet life always finds a way;
not carbon but silicon
coiled itself into quickened spirals.
Life spawned and flourished and grew,
became curious and desired tools.

Silt there was, and sand:
the makings of ceramic,
the makings of glass.
Life made kilns and forges,
patted and pulled at the wet clay,
spun crystal to harness
the burning power of the sun.

When the human starship soared past,
it detected no organic compounds,
no intricate dance of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen.
There were no straight lines to be noticed,
only sleek curving slopes of ceramic and crystal.
They saw only the acid, the air, the inorganic materials
and so they went their way, describing the planet
as having "rigorous chemical conditions"
and nothing of particular interest.

Far below, life looked up and saw
a star moving as no star had ever  moved,
quick and brilliant as a spark flitting in the night,

and began to wonder.

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Poem: "The Second Coming of Fire"

This poem came out of the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from Stephen Laird, my_partner_doug, and siege.  It was sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette.  You may also enjoy reading about Nikola Tesla and his quarrels with Thomas Edison, Wilhelm Reich and his quarrels with Albert Einstein.  All of them are fascinating historic figures.

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Poem: "ChronoPunk"

This poem came out of the April 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was primarily inspired by siliconshaman but then I added all the other erapunk requests listed at that time, with input from ellenmillion, lb_lee, morrigans_eve, thesilentpoet, marina_bonomi, the_vulture, and my_partner_doug.  See timeline notes below the poem for further entertainment.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony and Shirley Barrette.

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steamsmith

New Verses in "Tunnel Vision"

Thanks to a donation from marina_bonomi for The Steamsmith series, there are 4 new verses in "Tunnel Vision."  I was going to give folks a choice between that and "Along the Streets of London," but happily someone else sponsored that poem in full so I just put the funds toward extra verses in the open epic.

Also, the $300 goal has been MET so you have lots of perks coming; and there's a nice bundle in the general fund to put toward epic poetry.  (All the shorter ones from this session have sold.)