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.
It was perhaps a poor idea
on the part of the authorities
to place Nikola Tesla and Wilhelm Reich
in the same prison cell.
It was certainly alarming
when the warden found the two men
sitting naked on the floor
surrounded by a contraption
made primarily of bedsprings
and flickering blue light.
The warden made a dutiful attempt
to break up the collaboration but
neither genius was impressed by his yells
and he was afraid to touch the metal bars
of the cell now sheathed in dancing sparks.
Instead he watched, bewildered,
as Tesla and Reich abruptly
blinked between here and there
and were gone.
The warden reported
that they had escaped.
He was unspecific as to how.
The two men rented a miserable attic flat
and continued their work,
trying to discern how Tesla's electricity
and Reich's orgone were related.
They funded their experiments
by constructing another electri-gone cage
and using it to transport famous men
to their mistress' quarters discreetly,
for a reasonable fee.
They built their generators and transmitters
and receivers and so forth,
but this time,
they did it all very quietly,
and a few years later
presented the world with a fait accompli:
Screw a copper spiral into the ground,
and you could tap into a power source.
Free. Functionally limitless,
given available technology.
It's the second coming of fire.
You're all very welcome.
Tesla and Reich moved into
a comfortable little country house
and told nobody the address.
They went to work on unified field theory.
They very nearly had it completed
when people went and started World War II.
Grumbling, the two men
dragged the Deadly Orgone Generator
out of the garage and aimed it.
They swept the rays over
Germany, Italy, and Japan
leaving all three countries without power
for several days.
Then they posted anonymous notices in the news:
Stop this war nonsense at once.
Next time, the blackout will be longer.
The war nonsense stopped at once,
although there was rather a lot of whining.
Not long after, they completed their project.
"Do you think we should tell Einstein
about the universal field theorem?"
Tesla asked Reich.
"No," said Reich with a snicker.
"Let him read it in the papers,
the way Edison did with the power!"