?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile PenUltimate Productions Website Previous Previous Next Next
Poem: "Foursquare" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Foursquare"
This poem is from the December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by ng_moonmoth, rix_scaedu, DW user Rosieknight, and DW user Chanter_greenie.  It belongs to the Danso's family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: ng_moonmoth, starcat_jewel

FULLY FUNDED!
138 lines, Buy It Now = $69
Amount donated = $27.50
Verses posted = 15 of 39

Amount remaining to fund fully = $41.50
Amount needed to fund next verse = $2.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $1



Foursquare


SPOON offered classes
in how to use superpowers,
but also provided a place
where soups could play with
their powers as a way to learn
what they could do.

One of the favorite games was foursquare,
because the court kept everyone separated
while requiring them to play together,
and that lowered the chance of anyone
getting hurt by accident.

Hannah brought Lakia,
since her regular school
could be frustrating when
she always got picked last
because of her tail.

The twins came from Thylacine House,
dark Laylan and light Luke,
both with Telekinesis although
Laylan was better at pushing
while Luke was better at pulling.

There were three friends
from the same neighborhood:
Variel, a Hispanic girl with Adaptation;
Erion, a boy who could Phase; and
Ansel, a pale boy with Natural Armor.

Granny Whammy watched them with
a tolerant gaze through her office window.

It was Hannah who supervised the play
and got them organized into the squares,
with the two extra kids waiting their turn --
which worked quite well because foursquare
was a ranking game in which a player bumped out
could go to the end of the line while the next
player moved into a vacant square.

"This is dumb. I never get to play,
and besides I'm the littlest!" Lakia grumbled.

"Then we'll just start you in the Crown square,"
Hannah said, pushing her gently into place.
"Variel, Erion, you're the biggest so
you can wait your turn."

"I don't mind waiting, it gives me time to think,"
said Erion. "Can we make our own rules?"

"When you're in the Crown square," Hannah said.
"Now, you all know the basic rules.
Beyond that, you can use your powers
but only inside your own square,
and make sure nobody gets hurt."

Laylan and Luke grinned at each other;
their power had obvious uses in this game.

"But what can we do with it?" Variel asked.

"Whatever you can think of that's safe,"
Hannah said. "Why don't you try
some different things and see what works?"

With that, she tossed the ball into play.

Luke yanked it toward himself
with his power and then used his hands
to serve it to his brother. Laylan
gave the ball an extra push toward Ansel,
who barely managed to touch it
before it went spinning out of bounds.

That left Ansel out and brought Erion in,
while Lakia got to the hit the ball next.

It took a while for the children to learn that
they really needed to split up Laylan and Luke,
whose teamwork skills were more developed,
plus Variel, Erion, and Ansel knew each other
and that gave them an advantage too.

Lakia and Variel make a fast-developing team,
though, and quickly faced off against the twins.

Ansel learned that he could armor up
and bounce the ball harder off his hands,
but also that he could tumble across the asphalt
without scraping himself and thus make great dives.

Lakia's tail was no help for hitting the ball --
it was too heavy -- but the more she moved,
the better she learned to balance
and to make quick turns.

Erion had to be solid to hit the ball,
but discovered that he could move faster
if he phased while chasing it.

Variel moved a little faster with each minute,
gradually adapting to the demands of the game.

Laylan and Luke practiced with their telekinesis,
swatting the ball back and forth without hands,
or tweaking it in midair while it was in their squares.

Erion waved his hand wildly in the air.
"Can I make a new game for this pattern?"
he asked. "I've got an idea but it's different
from the foursquare rules."

"We're listening," Hannah said.

"Only the person in the Crown square
can use their superpowers," Erion said,
"but the other three can work as a team,
catching and passing like in basketball.
Then they try to put the Crown person out,
using foursquare rules for bouncing the ball."

"Ooo, I like that idea," Hannah said.
"Let's try it out, and if people like it,
we can write it down for others to play."

So they tried Erion's new rules, and
discovered that playing three-on-one
worked great against either of the twins,
whose powers were ideal for playing ball.
Laylan and Luke both loved it.

Watching closely, Erion decided
that the game was too uneven
against the powers less suited
to manipulating a ball, and
dropped it to two-on-one,
which balanced better.

"You seem to have quite a knack
for statistics, Erion," said Hannah.

"Naw, my teacher says that's big kid math,"
Erion said, scraping his toe across the pavement.

Hannah frowned. "I'm pretty sure that
you're already doing some of it in your head,"
she said. "I'll write you a note, and if your
school teacher still won't help, then maybe
your parents can find you a tutor."

She also wrote down Erion's rules,
as promised, including his name and the date.

"It's a nice game," Lakia said.
"I like all the versions, but mostly
I'm just glad I get to play."

"Everyone gets to play, Lakia,
it's not nice to leave people out,"
Hannah said, hugging her close.
The girl's previous fosters hadn't done
much for her, and the schools were erratic.

"I'm glad you like the game," said Erion.
The other children liked it too.

Afterwards Hannah said to Granny Whammy,
"You should send a copy of the new game to Alicia.
You know she collects rule sets, and I'm sure
that you have her contact information."

"Mmm," Granny Whammy said noncommittally,
but her dark eyes crinkled at the corners.

* * *

Notes:

Laylan -- He has light brown skin, dark hair in tight spirals, and brown eyes.  He is the older twin brother of Luke, currently seven years old.  They live in a sharehouse owned by their parents.  Laylan likes to run and find out, which means that he learns faster and is more open to trying new things, but also gets into trouble more often.
Origin: The twins were born with their powers, which became active when they were a few months old.  Laylan is learning control of his faster, and teaching Luke.
Uniform: Play clothes.  He likes bright colors and patterns.
Qualities: Good (+2) Fast, Good (+2) Gizmology, Good (+2) Leadership
Poor (-2) Waiting
Powers: Average (0) Telekinesis
Limitation: His telekinesis works better in projective mode, pushing things away from himself.  When pulling things toward himself, it works at a downshift.
Motivation: To explore.

Luke -- He has light brown skin, blond hair in tight spirals, and blue eyes.  He is the younger twin brother of Laylan, currently seven years old.  They live in a sharehouse owned by their parents.  Luke learns slowly and methodically, so he has a better safety record than his brother, but he hesitates to try new things.
Origin: The twins were born with their powers, which became active when they were a few months old.  Laylan is learning control of his faster, and teaching Luke.
Uniform: Play clothes.  He likes dark, solid colors.
Qualities: Good (+2) Agility, Good (+2) Followship, Good (+2) History
Poor (-2) Trying New Things
Powers: Average (0) Telekinesis
Limitation: His telekinesis works better in receptive mode, pulling things toward himself.  When pushing things away from himself, it works at a downshift.
Motivation: To be secure.

* * *

Foursquare is played on a grid with four people and a ball.  Some places have stencils you can borrow or buy to make the grid.

"You can't say you can't play" is a school rule intended to prevent ostracism.  In order to be safe, however, it needs to come with corresponding rules about no hitting, etc. to avoid the kind of problems that often make kids want to avoid each other.  Adults need to manage interactions at school to make sure that everyone gets to participate and nobody is getting hurt.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: December 8th, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember playing foursquare in grade school; it was one of the few games I was halfway decent at. I don't remember a "crown square," although that might just be a different name for "first square."
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 8th, 2014 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

The names vary, but a consistent feature of the game seems to be that the squares are ranked in order. Either the 1 or the 4 square may be considered the best-ranked square. It may be called by its number or by another name; King and Queen are common. I figured that Terramagne folks would favor a nongendered title, hence Crown -- which also has the advantage of not locking that to a specific number.

A common variation is that the person in the best-ranked square can do extra things, like calling for a change in minor rules (frex, no hitbacks).
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 9th, 2014 07:20 am (UTC) (Link)

Wow!

That was an awesome issue, thanks everso for sharing! I had never even heard of that comic. Happily my storyline is quite different.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 9th, 2014 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wow!

Yes, basing stories on real experiences can make for excellent material.
thnidu From: thnidu Date: January 27th, 2015 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)
As in U238?
starcat_jewel From: starcat_jewel Date: January 27th, 2015 02:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I looked at the gallery of faces from the article that Laylan and Luke's pictures link to, and realized that I wouldn't give any of them a second glance -- none of those combinations of features register as "unusual" for me. But then, Houston is the most ethnically-diverse city in America (yes, even more than NYC or San Francisco), and I've been living here for 16 years, so I've gotten used to it.

It now feels strange to me not to be in a racially-diverse area. Tulsa is so de facto segregated that I keep looking at the sea of white faces and thinking, "Where IS everybody?", while Atlanta has a much higher percentage of blacks (and lower Hispanic/Asian/subcontinental/Middle Eastern) in the mix than I'm used to, and that feels odd as well.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 27th, 2015 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> I looked at the gallery of faces from the article that Laylan and Luke's pictures link to, and realized that I wouldn't give any of them a second glance -- none of those combinations of features register as "unusual" for me. But then, Houston is the most ethnically-diverse city in America (yes, even more than NYC or San Francisco), and I've been living here for 16 years, so I've gotten used to it. <<

Most of them look unremarkable -- if appealing -- to me too. It's the ones with distinctly African or Asian features but very different coloration that snag my attention: nappy blonde hair, or ginger Asian, are things that only pop out after a lot of mixing because they're recessive, so they're still rare. Blended features and skin tones are a lot more common.

I use more mixed-race images for Terramagne because the culture is more mixed there.

>> It now feels strange to me not to be in a racially-diverse area. Tulsa is so de facto segregated that I keep looking at the sea of white faces and thinking, "Where IS everybody?", while Atlanta has a much higher percentage of blacks (and lower Hispanic/Asian/subcontinental/Middle Eastern) in the mix than I'm used to, and that feels odd as well. <<

Yeah, I know the feeling. The Midwest has some variety but you see it one here, one there, usually not a bunch of things all mixed together more-or-less evenly.
From: technoshaman Date: January 27th, 2015 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

*nods* In Seattle, you see a lot of folks of various Asian descent, from Persia all the way 'round to Hawai'i (my chemist is Chinese-Polynesian and groks Hawaiian :) ), but those of African descent you don't see many of, and mostly over in one neighbourhood... It's also a wash as to whether a given Asian face will have the accent you expect, or a neutral one having grown up here... the accents *in general*, no matter what the background, are softer here... including mine, unless I start talkin' 'bout Southron thangs, and then.... you see what it does. :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 27th, 2015 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

My mama's people come from Tennessee. Thickens up right like molasses for particular topics, like fishin'. People think it's a joke. Ain't.
From: technoshaman Date: January 27th, 2015 05:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Which end? I grew up within sight of the Smokies...

There's a definite *range* of accents when the state's 450 miles long. Appalachia ("Paints is them thaings you put on yer laigs!"); Tennessee Valley, which is mine (mostly) but is definitely flatter the closer you get to Knoxville, just like the land; and then West Tennessee, which is Elvis and Johnny Cash and such like, softer and not as much twang. West Tennessee also gets elements of Upper Class Southern, which tends towards the Queen's English, i.e. non-rhotic and formal. (Foghorn Leghorn, only more refined than that.)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 27th, 2015 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

Sort of middle to southeast-ish.
From: technoshaman Date: January 28th, 2015 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thoughts

*nods* I know the area, though not as well as further east than that. I spent a lot of time back and forth to Nashville when I was a lad...
12 comments or Leave a comment