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Unsold Poetry from the January 8, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Unsold Poetry from the January 8, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl

The following poems from the January 7, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl are currently available. Poems may be sponsored via PayPal -- there's a permanent donation button on my LiveJournal profile page -- or you can write to me and discuss other methods.

Fair warning: some of these poems have a higher rate of crudity and/or gore than average for my writing.  This is typical when you invite a bunch of soldiers to a party.

"ARG" -- 24 lines, $10 SOLD
I combined the space concerns with futuristic armor to get the poem "ARG."  This poem is written in rhymed, metered sestets and it describes the qualities of armor needed for space battles.

"Conduct Unbecoming an Officer" -- 186 lines, $93
From a comment by Dreamwidth user Wytchcroft came this poem ... The phrase "med tests" stuck in my mind and turned into the free-verse poem "Conduct Unbecoming an Officer."  An alien attack leaves two men under pressure to have sex with each other.  This has complications.

At first it was flattering,
the increased size and stamina
of his intimate equipment,
and hey, he'd always wondered
about multiple orgasms.
He wasn't wondering anymore.

"Cybernetic Plowshares" -- 62 lines $32 SOLD
I combined cyborg veterans and rescue missions to get the free-verse poem "Cybernetic Plowshares."  After the war, cyborgs strive to find peacetime applications for the bioenhancements that cannot be removed.

They were soldiers first,
the cyborgs -- they had been made
to serve in battle, designed to withstand
such stress, armored and equipped
for combat and not much else.

"Disembattled" -- 78 lines, $39
The prompt about a territory tired of being fought over led to the free-verse poem "Disembattled."  Space battles, infantry battles, a very pissed-off planet, and creative interpretation of what constitutes collateral damage.

It was a war of possession,
of expansion and occupation,
both sides obsessed with taking and holding
the strange landscapes of the galaxy.

They laid mines and set snares.
They dug foxholes between the dimensions
of hyperspace, normspace, and subspace.
They built bunkers around black holes
to hide from each other's spies.
They ambushed entire fleets and
lit nebulas with solar flamethrowers.
They carpet-bombed space.

"full moon in a western sky" -- 27 lines $15 SOLD
The prompts about an unexpected weapon and origami remaining origami inspired my poem "full moon in a western sky."  A scientists folds spacetime as a defense against enemy attack.  This poem is written in haiku verses.

"The Integrity Engagement" -- 267 lines, $133.50
I put this together with Ravan's prompt a just war over on Dreamwidth.  The result is the free-verse poem "The Integrity Engagement."  A messy war finally grinds to a halt and the participants discover information so outrageous that they decide to work together in defiance of it.

It was a just war,
and there were few of those
to be had in these latter days.

The war was fought primarily
by genners on the Posthumanist side --
genetically modified warriors bred for such work --
and by volunteers on the Antigenist side,
rough men ready to do violence
that others might sleep in peace.

"Jumpship" -- 182 lines $91 (An Army of One) SOLD
Over on Dreamwidth, Jjhunter's prompt about battling bots combined with one from Paka about anthropomophizing AIs and led to the free-verse poem "Jumpship."  These artificial intelligences are not programmed like ordinary humans ... but they get along really well with some autistic separatists.

The ones without pilots
were the fortunate ones,
if any of the AYES
could be considered fortunate.

They had to fight each other
in a war the humans started
but at least they were safe
from direct interaction.

"The Law Was" -- 34 lines $15 SOLD
Your prompt about a world leader's child finding an alien hitched up with recent discussions of Judaism and older discussions of why Israel is so violently protective of its turf.  The result is the free-verse poem "The Law Was," a very brief first-contact encounter about how human behavior is so often an expression of human history.

"The Lord of Pr0n" -- 37 lines $15 (An Army of One) SOLD
Inspired by a comment from Dreamwidth user Chordatesrock ... "The Lord of Pr0n" is a free-verse poem about the development of an alternative currency in the Lacuna.  This poem belongs to the series An Army of One.

"The Mule Patrol" -- 46 lines, $20 SOLD
From the prompt about strange latrines and military police came the free-verse poem "The Mule Patrol." Some soldiers really are capable of learning from other people's mistakes; we'll assume you're one of them.

"A One-Way Trip" -- 87 lines $43.50 (Tripping into the Future) SOLD
I combined your prompts about death and danger with one from DW user Primeideal on time travel.  "A One-Way Trip" is free-verse about how death can be a surrounding circumstance rather than a personal experience, and the horrors of four-dimensional combat.

Death is a given:
not the enemy's death or your own
but the death of everyone and everything
that you ever knew.

It is better to become death
than to become a destroyer of worlds
like those on the battleships slaying innocent biospheres,
better to become entropy's airman
than to become another sad cripple on the streets
like those who survive the infantry battles.

"Oxidizing Agents, Reducing Agents" -- 75 lines, $37.50
I liked the idea of not being able to talk with the enemy; it matched neatly with an eternal war prompt from Cadenzamuse on Dreamwidth.  The result is "Oxydizing Agents, Reducing Agents" and it covers a galactic conflict over resources between oxygen-breathers and methane-breathers.  Everything is geopolitics ...

At first glance,
it seemed like a ridiculous war
in terms of territorial conflict --

the oxygen-breathers could not live
on planets with a methane atmosphere
while the methane-breathers
could not survive an oxygen atmosphere.

"The Sweet Sound of Signaling Loreleis" -- 186 lines, $93
Okay, I've got your pilots, space mermaids, and an excerpt of The Odyssey right here.  "The Sweet Sound of Signalling Loreleis" is part space combat and part mythology, written in free verse.

The thing about space,
the thing that really go to you,
was its silence.

Planetside there was always sound,
the rumble of distant thunder or gunfire,
the snap of branches or bones breaking,
all the little insects that fluttered or bit or sang.

"Widow's Walk" -- 54 lines, $20 (Monster House) SOLD
From your prompt about lost soldiers came the Monster House poem "Widow's Walk."  The son of the little old lady ghost returns, but it's not exactly the happy reunion that might have been wished for.

"Xenotransvestism" -- 42 lines, $20 SOLD
I couldn't resist revisiting the idea of silly latrines. "Xenotransvestism" is a free-verse poem about several species of mercentaries relaxing on a shore leave planet, and the hijinks they get up to thereupon.

* * *


"Backup, Try Again" -- 184 lines, $92 (An Army of One) SOLD
On a Carinan supply base, the secession raises some tense issues: who will go, who will stay, and what will happen next?

Supply Base Bounty 3D3N was quiet that shift,
except for the stuttering sound of the newsfeed
playing across the screen that Backup was trying to fix.
He was an adequate maintenance man,
if he had someone to assign tasks and get him started.

Router was usually available for that, and if not,
then Case or Port would take of it.
They all had younger brothers, so that helped.
This was not quite as good as having his own
older brothers to watch out for him,
but it was better than Backup had expected
when his father General Fallon had gotten him into service.
He was very glad to have Router and Case and Port.

"Cricket and the Magic Kung Fu Water" -- 108 lines, $54  (Kung Fu Robots) SOLD
Based on a prompt about wuxia abilities and the robots, I wrote the free-verse poem "Cricket and the Magic Kung Fu Water." The old master teaches Cricket how to leap through the air.

The old master took Cricket
up a winding, dusty trail
to visit the mountain shrines.
They walked through many square gates
along the way, leaving an offering coin at each.

By the time they reached the shrine
for which they were headed,
Cricket was very thirsty.
"I need to refill my radiator," he said.

"Invisible Lines" --   62 lines, $31 (An Army of One) SOLD
The man who manages the dump of derelict spaceships has a very mixed view of himself and of mainstream people.  His passion is for mythology, so he often expresses himself in those terms.

The one who called himself the Minotaur
had a passion for mythology.

He understood the ones who were called monsters,
the offspring of gods and mortals and other beings,
always a blend of disparate things, never whole;
always different, never belonging.

"Language Bodies" -- 76 lines, $38 (An Army of One) SOLD
The secessionists begin as a loose group of people with a similar psychological structure in common.  Gradually they evolve into a society, developing their own etiquette and customs based on what works for them.  This isn't always optimum for outsiders, but this is their  society now, so the secessionists get to set the expectations for polite behavior in the Lacuna.

It was not that they did not feel,
but that they did not speak.
Many of the secessionists found that
trying to articulate their emotions was like
trying to carry a bouquet of balloons through a thorny forest:
you were lucky to get anything across intact.

"One Acquainted with the Night" -- 83 lines, $41.50
An explorer relates her experiences of an alien world to the guards who keep her safe while she analyzes all the input.

The Hesh were growing more active,
sneaking in like the jackals they resembled,
so Fleet sent out troops to scout around their movements.
Tonight's drop fell on a planet newly named Scylla,
where the Hesh had destroyed a nascent alien colony.
Fleet wanted a more detailed report on the place than what
the hastily-summoned soldiers had been able to relay.

Alonzia's guard formed up around her
as she adjusted the minimalist armor designed to
protect her core while leaving her senses free.
She wore a chestplate but no helmet,
heavy boots but legs and arms left bare.

"One Man's Army" -- 134 lines, $67 (An Army of One) SOLD
When demobilization creates chaos, Hootowl decides to try fixing it, even though he doesn't think of himself as leader material.

His world was coming apart at the seams,
and Hootowl didn't know how to stop it.
With peace breaking out between
the Orion-Cygnus Arm and the Carina–Sagittarius Arm,
the surveillance bases in no-man's-land
were being decommissioned and evacuated.

That really ... wasn't going so well, for some people.
Folks who thrived in the quiet, predictable environment
and the meticulous work of decoding secret messages
didn't always readjust well to planetary life.
There had been some suicides,
among a rash of other disasters.

"tanegashima" -- 3 lines, $5 (Lacquerware) SOLD
Edopunk guns have something better than sights. This is a haiku.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: January 10th, 2013 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I just sent Paypal for "Cybernetic Plowshares" and "The Law Was".
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 10th, 2013 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Your poems have been posted, and the list updated accordingly. I appreciate the support!
2 comments or Leave a comment