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Poem: "Speaking of Broccoli" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Speaking of Broccoli"
Here is the second freebie for the February 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. You have new prompter [personal profile] alexseanchai to thank for this, who also provided the inspiration for this poem. It fills the "body language" square in my 2-1-14 card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest and my 11-26-13 card in the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest.


"Speaking of Broccoli"


It's all about being
on the same wavelength.

People talk about love
as if it's something that happens
instead of something you do together.

People talk about communication
as if it's a tennis match,
not a three-legged race.

That's why they fail the broccoli test.

It's all about knowing each other
so well that a hint is plenty --
a word, a phrase, a joke
shared between the two of you.

It's all about watching each other,
seeing what you say in body language,
so that a raised eyebrow asks a question
and a head tilt answers it.

There are all kinds of channels
that let us exchange ideas,
from spoken language to gestures,
so that we don't have to yell,
"Buy some broccoli!" down the aisle.

Relationships take time and work
to lay a foundation that can support
clear communication and deep trust.
If you want to pass the broccoli test,
then you have to prepare for it.

It's all about bandwidth,
and whether you have
dial-up or broadband
depends on what you pay for.

* * *

Notes:

The Broccoli Test comes out of fandom, a measurement of a couple's ability to communicate across distance without shouting. The same skill may be used at short range to save time or to communicate privately in front of nosy or hostile observers. It is a test of how well you really know each other.

Real love takes time to build trust and intimacy in a relationship. This is not how it's usually portrayed in mainstream entertainment.

Intellectual foreplay is all about asking questions that tell you who the other person really is. It works just as well for friends as for lovers.

Romantic body language is open and receptive. This is not just emotionally available, it gives you room to move and exchange messages. You can't do that if you're all wadded up.

Telepathy is the far end of the scale, where ordinary methods like body language and innuendo shift into picking ideas right out of thin air. You can practice telepathy exercises if you wish.

 

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Comments
From: technoshaman Date: February 6th, 2014 07:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooooh. This Englishes what we've been living for 117 days (and a lot more if you count the intentional friendship)....
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 6th, 2014 07:54 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>> Oooooh. This Englishes what we've been living for 117 days <<

I'm delighted to hear that.

>> (and a lot more if you count the intentional friendship).... <<

Yes, that counts. Enduring love is often built on a solid foundation of friendship. That includes my primary relationship, if you were wondering.
From: technoshaman Date: February 6th, 2014 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you!

Naah. At this point, I didn't have to wonder. :)

johnpalmer From: johnpalmer Date: February 6th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Real love takes time to build trust and intimacy in a relationship. This is not how it's usually portrayed in mainstream entertainment.

Heh. In The Adjustment Bureau, I actually found that to be one of the creepiest things about the movie. He loved her - why? Because that was The Plan, in a bunch of different incarnations. HE DIDN'T KNOW HER. But he still loved her, wanted her, needed her, was obsessed with her.

That is much creepier to me than the notion of hidden actors making adjustments behind the scenes. That, at least, makes sense to me. If I knew things were going wrong, I could see trying to fix them. But being in love with someone I don't know anything about (except, wow, what an amazing bit of instant chemistry) and then finding that that it's essentially because someone "out there" had decided we were a good fit? Staying obsessed for a long time, rather than just playing it for occasional what-if fantasy fodder? Massive-shudder. With an aftershock shudder. And a memory shudder. And a memory of the aftershock shudder shudder.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 7th, 2014 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)

O_O

>> Heh. In The Adjustment Bureau, I actually found that to be one of the creepiest things about the movie. He loved her - why? Because that was The Plan, in a bunch of different incarnations. HE DIDN'T KNOW HER. But he still loved her, wanted her, needed her, was obsessed with her. <<

I think that's a pretty warped and destructive portrayal of love ... actually, seems to come straight out of fairy tales and mythology. Yeek. No, real people are supposed to get to know each other. If you want someone you don't know, that's just glorified pr0n. Obsession like that can lead to stalking and abuse.

>> That is much creepier to me than the notion of hidden actors making adjustments behind the scenes. That, at least, makes sense to me. If I knew things were going wrong, I could see trying to fix them. <<

It sounds like the adjusters are modeled after assorted fairy godmothers, spirits, gods, ancestors, etc. But on a human level it is reeeaaally hard to do effectively. Heck, it's not easy even a level or few higher with a better perspective.

>> But being in love with someone I don't know anything about (except, wow, what an amazing bit of instant chemistry) and then finding that that it's essentially because someone "out there" had decided we were a good fit? Staying obsessed for a long time, rather than just playing it for occasional what-if fantasy fodder? Massive-shudder. With an aftershock shudder. And a memory shudder. And a memory of the aftershock shudder shudder. <<

Agreed. That is creeptastic rapeculture wank.

Reading and writing speculative fiction as I do, I've often come across the concept of bonding, where people are matched up in some manner. It can be magical, spiritual, biochemical, etc. Sometimes it's from birth, other times people meet and connect later, and sometimes they're put together by someone else. I tend to dislike versions that are too arbitrary, especially like this where the characters don't know or like each other. To me it only makes sense when the bond is either activated by or creates some kind of affinity. I can wrap my mind around the idea that some people are well suited to each other and a way of identifying that might be handy. But a guy is not a key and a girl is not a lock and there are other possibilities anyhow. One-True-Love is rarely presented in anything I'd consider a healthy manner.

I do have a setting currently where I'm running with a bond dynamic, in The Blueshift Troupers. It came from alien biotechnology, and is primarily based on biochemistry, although it may lap over into brain waves. It picks up on compatible genes and personalities, but it doesn't tell you anything about the other party except that you have the potential for a good relationship. And it's not just humans, but the hiveships and some other things like skeleton guns. You still have to do the work yourself. A well-treated bonded gun won't shoot its owner, and will bite the hell out of a stranger who grabs it. But if you abuse your gun, it may misbehave.
natf From: natf Date: February 10th, 2014 01:18 am (UTC) (Link)
A quick aside - I have been meaning to ask you why you chose Blueshift Troupers (a troupe tends to be a group of performers) and not Blueshift Troopers (a group of soldiers or similar) but then again I may just have answered my own question…

Edited at 2014-02-10 01:19 am (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 10th, 2014 01:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

You did indeed answer your own question! "Troupe" is for entertainers or another traveling band. "Troop" is for soldiers. Unlike the standard SF team, this one is not primarily martial in nature. They travel around solving problems. Yes, they can fight, and sometimes they have to; but it's not their first choice as a conflict-resolution technique.
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