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Unsold Poems from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Unsold Poems from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl
The following poems from the March 18, 2014 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.

There are still some verses left in the linkback poem, "Lawless, Winged, and Unconfined." You can reveal those by linking to this page

"Amateur Night" -- 216 lines, $108 SOLD
From your Halloween prompt came the free-verse poem "Amateur Night." Damask has a whole different experience of this holiday coming to it as a superhero, when ordinary people often dress up as soups just for the hell of it. But there are also a few real ones out tonight ...

Halloween is different
when you have superpowers.

It's the one night of the year
when everyone dresses up --
soups call it Amateur Night for a reason --
and a lot of folks want to dress up
as their favorite superhero or supervillain.

"Collateral Damages" -- 158 lines, $79 SOLD
Your prompt about cleanup inspired the free-verse poem "Collateral Damages." It's a direct sequel to "Buttoned Up" and deals with the aftermath of the fire, which had some unexpected consequences. Damask isn't the only one helping with the mess.

The day after the fire
in the Franklin Lab Building,
a message goes out to all students
that the Curie Library next door
has sustained water damage,
and volunteers are needed
to help rescue the wet books.

"Early Days" -- 42 lines, $20 SOLD
The prompt about gifted children inspired "Early Days," which is actually a free-verse horror poem about the nerve-wracking things that can happen when babies manifest superpowers.

"Everyday Lies and Heroic Revelations" -- 63 lines, $31.50 SOLD
I liked the prompt about other reasons for an alter-ego. "Everyday Lies and Heroic Revelations" is about a transgender person developing superpowers, only to have the soup identity emerge as the real one because the everyday version is the fake.

It was never about secrecy,
or rather, the secrecy was already there,
and the costume was about telling the truth
for the first time ever.

Calvin was (said to be) a man,
but Calliope was (in truth) a woman.

"The Face of a Hero" -- 57 lines, $20 SOLD
The Sculptress discovers a new aspect to her talent when she works with a client who sees himself as a superhero. It doesn't turn out quite the way he wants, though.

"Going Ape" -- 196 lines, $98 (Rated R)   SOLD
Your prompt combined with several offline ones to generate "Going Ape," a free-verse poem about a man who gets bitten by a radioactive bonobo and gains peacemaking powers fueled by sex.

Fred Ehrlichmann works
in primate research, nothing special,
mostly studying how great apes
adapt (or don't) to environmental changes.

There are other people working other projects,
more impressive and more secretive than his,
and he doesn't stick his nose into any of it
until one day he gets bitten by a radioactive bonobo

"Hercules Complex" -- 56 lines, $20 SOLD
This inspired the free-verse poem "Hercules Complex," an exploration of power-seeking behavior within the context of a world that has special abilities.

"Heroes Still Living" -- 24 lines, $10 SOLD
From a Dreamwidth prompt about the drottkvaett form I got "Heroes Still Living," written in praise of both superheroes and supervillains. The form isn't quite perfect, but it's pretty close. I had fun describing the modern concept of superheroes in the classic tradition of heroic poetry which provided part of their inspiration.

"Heroic Physics 101" -- 130 lines, $65 SOLD
A Dreamwidth prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Heroic Physics 101." Granny Whammy explains some differences between intrinsic and extrinsic superpowers -- for example, why someone with super-strength can lift large complex objects safely but a super-gizmo of equivalent strength cannot.

One of the advantages to joining the
Super Power Organizational & Operational Nexus
was the depth of educational opportunity.

Some of the classes were taught
by Granny Whammy herself,
who in her youth was Whammy Lass,
one of the first really famous superheroes.

"A Nice Little Racket" -- 228 lines, $114 SOLD
A prompt about Dr. Infanta inspired the free-verse poem "A Nice Little Racket." Organized crime, extortion, child abuse, targeting people with superpowers ... not really things you want to get caught doing by a supervillain who's been a little girl for several hundred years.

It worked best in suburbs
and in quiet neighborhoods
where everyone aspired
to a normal life.

The gang moved in discreetly --
that was a challenge,
training criminals to be subtle --
and watched for clues.

"Peace Offerings" -- 90 lines, $45 SOLD
I put your "hard on cities" prompt together with my mother's prompt about super-peacemaking abilities, and wrote a sequel to "Valor's Widow." This is the story of how Deirdre came to be a superhera in her own right, as people turned to her for help. "Peace Offerings" is written in free verse.

Valor's Widow did not mean
to become a superhera.
It just sort of happened.

After her husband's death
(after she activated the self-destruct
on Captain Valor's gizmotronic armor
to prevent Haxxor from destroying San Jose)
the other superheroes showered her with sympathy
and even the supervillains gave her wary respect.

"Power Play" -- 47 lines, $20 SOLD
Your last prompt became the free-verse poem "Power Play." Several superpowered children discover each other and play games with their gifts.

"Pulling the Strings" -- 36 lines, $15 SOLD
I seem to have a taste for supervillains with minions, and I've been wanting to do one with a really big batch. I also love supervillains who look innocuous but are potent anyway, or who do major things with minor powers. Here, then, is the Puppetmaster in "Pulling the Strings." This poem is written in unrhymed tercets.

"A Sense of Power" -- 156 lines, $78 SOLD
A Dreamwidth prompt about unusual super-senses inspired the free-verse poem "A Sense of Power," exploring six different soups and the perceptions that come with their gifts. I went with a slightly different version of the insect-vision but that was too cool to leave out.

The world is different for soups,
not just because of their overt abilities,
but also because of the senses
that come along with those.

"Shit What You Don't Need" -- 144 lines, $72 SOLD
From your comment under "The Family Business," I got a sequel, detailing the relationship between Coby and Lily. "Shit What You Don't Need" is Coby's list of things that get in the way of a healthy, happy life. It's written in free verse.

I've always had my eye on Lily
who lives across the alley from us,
and it's always been hard.

Her mother used to work
for my grandmother
as a kid sidekick,
how crazy is that?

"Simple as a Glass of Chocolate" -- 85 lines, $42.50 SOLD
For a quiet power, see Señora Cocoa in the free-verse poem "Simple as a Glass of Chocolate." Not every superpower is about combat or crime-fighting. Hers is about making people feel better.

Valeria Salazar was nobody special,
just a woman with fine taste
who made fair-trade gourmet chocolate.

She worked for a company that produced
chocolate bars and chocolate chips
and chocolate para mesa.

"Singing in the Rain" -- 216 lines, $108 SOLD
Okay, karaoke night with Damask and friends inspired the free-verse poem "Singing in the Rain." Have some flangst as different headmates try to socialize. The price is for my original lines, not counting the name tags or the song quotes.

It's been raining for over a week
and now the Theatre Department
has announced a karaoke night.

I don't have anything to do on Friday night --
it's too hard trying to keep up
with Maisie's old friends --
so I decide to go to the party.
Maybe I can start making
some friends of my own.

"Sink or Swim" -- 222 lines, $111 SOLD
The unknown powers prompt inspired the free-verse poem "Sink or Swim." The President of the Maldives seeks superpowered immigrants to buffer the effects of climate change on the country. Nobody has noticed yet that his skill for diplomacy is more than meets the eye...

Fact: The Republic of the Maldives
has an average ground level elevation
of 1.5 meters above sea level,
and a natural highest point
of 2.4 meters, making it
the lowest country on Earth.

Fact: Global sea level is rising
at a rate of 3.5 millimeters per year,
and the rate is increasing,
with conservative estimates
between 0.8 and 2 meters by 2100
and more catastrophic estimates
of 7 meters or more.

"The Tallest Poppy" -- 150 lines, $75 SOLD
From this I got the free-verse poem "The Tallest Poppy," in which Savoir Faire interrupts a case of bullying based on mistaken identity.

Savoir Faire had just begun his patrol --
it wasn't even full dark yet --
when he heard the screams.

In a cluttered alley behind
the Corner Joint youth center,
he found four large boys
picking on another boy,
who was taller but less burly and
topped with a riot of outrageous red hair.

"'Tis the Season" -- 400 lines, $200 SOLD
A different twist on Murphy's Law appears in the free-verse poem "'Tis the Season." Farce doesn't always have control of her powers, and sometimes her problem spills over to become everybody's problem.

I am so, so glad to be done
with Applied Kinesiology 233.

My shoulder throbs with a deep ache
where somebody's knife left a nasty gouge.
These are only practice blades,
made of wood and none too sharp,
but it turns out they can still hurt
if you fall on one.

"Who Laughs Last" -- 208 lines, $104 SOLD
Murphy's Law naturally brought to mind Farce, who appears in the free-verse poem "Who Laughs Last." A protest on campus turns into a tragicomic scuffle.

The protest against tuition hikes
begins in an orderly manner.
Students wave signs,
and someone passes around
flyers of protest chants.

Nobody feels happy about
paying more for less service,
or working longer for less pay.
"Across the state, across the nation,
stop the war on education,"
students and faculty chant.

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5 comments or Leave a comment
thnidu From: thnidu Date: March 22nd, 2014 10:01 am (UTC) (Link)

(Apparently the Man from A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. has been here.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 22nd, 2014 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)


It's actually a riff on "soup" as a nickname for "people with superpowers," in this setting. But I should probably list the other correlations: "Spoon!" is the battle cry of the Tick, a unit of measuring personal energy, and of course, "There is no spoon" refers to superpowers in The Matrix.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: March 22nd, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: *laugh*

I was thinking of the Tick, although I do know of the others ("soup" mostly from you & other ficcers I've e-met from here).
bbwoof From: bbwoof Date: March 23rd, 2014 05:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Heroic Physics.

Snerk. I am reminded of my own rants about "Smallville", regarding Kryptonian Physics. Clark Kent can stop a runaway automobile, absorbing its entire kinetic energy across a surface of about 30 square inches (his two palms), and somehow not even leave a dent in the hood. Clark Kent can stand in the bottom of an elevator shaft, arrest the motion of a falling elevator car in the space of his arms' reach, and the people inside the car don't even sprain their ankles.

Is this kinda like that?
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 23rd, 2014 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)


That is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Superpowers aren't just a shift in degree; they're often a shift in kind. They may work differently from a similar-seeming ordinary ability. A super-strong character can stop a car without getting knocked flat -- but in Terramagne, a character in battle armor attempting the same thing would just cause a wreck. Basically, super-strength comes with a localized ability to manipulate the laws of physics which govern such things as mass and momentum.

One of the few things I liked about Man of Steel was that you could actually see this effect on camera, for example, pebbles trembling as he prepared to take off and fly. There's a field around him pushing on things.
5 comments or Leave a comment