Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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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.


ChronoPunk

 

 

The social engineer

steals her obnoxious brother's time machine

and goes on a spree.

 

She drapes herself in deerskin

and shows the fuzzy hunter

how to bang two rocks together

to get a sharp edge.

"Good job!" she crows. "Now do it again!"

Behind her, he wonders

at the strange sounds she made.

 

She picks up the ancient artist's mud icon

and tucks it into the coals of the campfire

when no one is looking.

Divine intervention sometimes uses human hands.

 

In Egypt the sun's heat inspires people

to melt sand into glass.

The social engineer leaves them a blowpipe.

It takes a long time for anyone

to figure out what to do with it,

but the sun and the sand are very patient.

 

In the Near East she gives

copper to the women, tin to the men.

Bronze is first forged in the heat of passion

and it is not so easy to subjugate women

in this timeline.

 

In Italy she sneaks into the workshop

of Leonardo da Vinci and pencils a note

in Italian beside his ornithopter sketches:

Try fixed wings with silk and aluminum.
(See instructions for refining aluminum.)

Observe soaring birds.

He invents a hang glider and begins to study engines.

 

Japan grows intrigued by Dutch studies

and builds the wadokei.

The social engineer examines the clockwatches

and suggests measuring more than just time ...

but she leaves her hints

with the eta  and the hinin  in the underclasses.

 

She sails the seven seas with pirates,

teaching meteorology and astronomy.

To Anne Bonny and Mary Read she leaves

notes on the geometry of naval artillery

and a box of condoms.

 

To Nikola Tesla she writes:

1) You are right.

2) But all the men you plan to work with are plagiarists.

3) So try this guy instead ...

followed by Wilhelm Reich's address.

 

The social engineer will always  have Paris

thanks to her brother's time machine.

She encourages the use of chrome and stainless steel,

subtly suggests sustainable forestry to those who inlay wood,

and says of Bakelite, "Never throw this stuff away.

Plastic is forever, and you'll be picking it up forever."

She teaches artists and architects the wonderful things

that can be done with recycled glass and aluminum.

 

After the world ended,

she will walk barefoot over the cooling dust of ground zero,

smile at the cockroaches gazing up at the stars,

hand them the keys to the time machine,

and say: "Your turn.  Have a nice trip."

 

The social engineer leaves graffiti

inside the outline of a monkeywrench:

Punk ALL the eras!



* * *

Notes:

Stonepunk -- Stone Age
~2.5 million years ago to ~4500 BCE Europe etc.

Claypunk -- Early Pottery
29,000 to 25,000 BCE France

Glasspunk -- Early Glassware
3500 BCE Egypt

Bronzepunk -- Bronze Age
3300 BCE Near East

Renaissance-punk -- Renaissance Period (see also flying machines)
~1400 to 1600 CE

Edopunk -- Edo Period
1603-1868 CE Japan

Sailpunk -- The Golden Age of Piracy
1650-1740 CE world oceans

Teslapunk -- Nikola Tesla's life
July 10, 1856 – January 7, 1943 CE Europe and America

Decopunk -- Art Deco Period
1920-1950 CE Europe and America, started in Paris

Post-cyberpunk, how did the world end this time?
Future Earth

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, history, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, writing
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