Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Cipherpals"

This poem was inspired by a Tumblr post which, sadly, no longer exists and did not come with a username.  But it gave me some great ideas, and I wanted to share them.  I'm posting it free since it's partly a found poem and partly original.  I stumbled across this while going through this year's poetry in search of other stuff.  It belongs to the series An Army of One.


This is a thing, this cipherspace.
Is this thing on?

The smuggler said
I could send messages this way,
or find out some of
what you say to each other.

Funny little man,
not like me,
but he can hook us up,
so all right then.

I look at your names
and I think,
those are good names.
They are more true
than real names on paperwork.

The Minotaur is true.
Just … true.
Not good or bad but just true.
It matters to me that it is true.

I look at what you are doing
and who you are shows through it.

Shakespeare is like me,
kin to me.
Shakespeare is my cousin.
Not literally.  In spirit.
Words and deeds proclaim
that Shakespeare
is a kind of cousin to me.
What I say and do:
not so far apart.
Kind of the same.

You make things up
but they don't stay made up.
You make them real.

What Operetta said about etiquette.
I said that,
and nobody ever listened
when I said it.
But you’re all making
your own society now.
They’ll listen to you.
They'll have to.
It's your space they're in
when they're in the Lacuna.

You think things up
and they are different
and you are different
and it makes a dance in me
come out of me.

The Lord of Pr0n is real.
Not officially.
His papers must say something else.
Some boring name that is less him.
He just feels real.
He thinks like I do.
I think like he does.
I like that we can be here and there
and still think the same way.

This message isn't real.
Not like the last one.
This is just words in space
so I can't send seeds with it.
But here.  Here.

Have some notes from my garden
for your garden,
notes about what real plants
really do.
They're about as much like virtual plants
as our thoughts are like
what people expect thoughts to be like.
So they'll surprise you.
That's a good thing about plants.
I think you'll love them for it.

Tags: poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing
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