Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

Poem: "Sounds as Shapes"

This poem is spillover from the February 2, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] sweet_sparrow and [personal profile] rix_scaedu. It also fills the "sharing a bed" square in my 1-4-16 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest, and the "talk with a friend" square in my 1-23-16 card for the Valentine's Day Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by LJ user Book_worm5. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Sounds as Shapes"

Sintonizao worked with Pax
to expand the range of what
their superpowers could do.

For Sintonizao, senses
were fluid -- she could feel
sounds as shapes pressed
against her skin, perceive
words and music as textures,
hear with her hands.

The words she thought of
shaped the shields that she cast,
and the colors in the names she spoke
helped guide messages to recipients.

For Pax, contact meant connection,
and it had come in sexual at first,
but then he discovered that --
at least for asexual people --
he could make it work on
a sensual level too.

He wanted to learn how
to do that for others as well,
but he could hardly feel what
changed when his superpower
switched tracks like that.

Sintonizao was willing,
because she enjoyed finding
new ways to help people
with her odd ability.

So they talked about what
he wanted to accomplish and
what she could do to make it
easier for Pax to get a grip
on his superpower.

They lay in bed together,
skin whispering to each other
in the blue velvet evening.

She told him about the texture
of his talent as it pressed against her,
shimmering over the surface of
her energy instead of entering.

She gave him the shapes of it as it
moved and changed when he tried
to manipulate it, mental fingers fumbling
over hidden controls that he was
just beginning to comprehend.

Their limbs tangled together as they
tumbled through one exercise after another,
comforting each other through trial and error
and interminable, tedious repetition.

They weren't even making much progress, but
they were both determined to continue, and in time
Sintonizao realized that the soft, nubbly texture like
a massage roller under her fingertips -- what
gave them the traction to keep going --
was the feeling of friendship.

* * *


Sintonizao (Shirley Macalister) -- Shirley is short and plump. Her brown hair falls just below her shoulders. She has green eyes and ruddy skin. She wears thick glasses. Knock said glasses off and she's got a problem. Shirley comes either from the northern Midwestern U.S. or the Canadian parkland; she doesn't like to expressly say which. Her accent when speaking English can weight either way. She's Scotts Irish but bilingual in English and Portuguese, and she knows snippets of a few other languages as well; she loves code-switching and obscure references. "Anybody makes a Shirley McLain reference gets a poke in the eye."-- Sintonizao, jokingly, on her real name
She is panromantic asexual, somewhat kinky, and proud of it. Her superpowers and personality make her very much a square peg, but Shirley is slowly coming to terms with that too. She generally likes people, which shows in her knack for conversation. She is flippant and lighthearted in speech. Her high nerd quotient is sometimes connected to the gab thing, sometimes not. This helps her notice things that other people overlook. Shirley is exuberant, gregarious, and eccentric; a magpie distracted by shiny things. She has one l-o-n-g memory, and holds grudges. She urgently wants people to like her, but she can miss social cues and conventional references, sometimes causing tension. Her dayjob lies in commercial radio; she also does communication work for SPOON, especially relaying emergency messages.
Origin: Her powers started manifesting at an early age, roughly three or four. The perfect pitch came down from her mother's side, the synaesthesia may or may not have done the same, and apparently the genetics were just right. Bingo, a soup in the family. They've gotten progressively stronger with time, and Shirley has grown pretty creative with them. She mainly used them as unique parlor tricks at first: showing people the colors of their names, projecting along with songs, etc. The memory and intent aspects of her powers really started to strengthen when she was in her late teens.
Sintonizao first took on her codename late in college, while working at the campus radio station. It means "tuned in" or "tuning in," and it's apt. To her, musical notes and musical keys have colors, as do letters, numbers, and words. Her powers actively link her synaesthesia, her memories of concepts and ideas, and direct thought, then translate it all into energy she can use in very specific ways. If she thinks the word 'shields,' for instance, connected with the concept or memory of shielding and the color she associates with the word -- then she has a forcefield-type shield directed wherever she (or somebody else) needs one. This may sound like a lot of deliberate mental work, but it's almost instantaneous to her. She has also learned to create highly specialized energy beams powered by intent.
Uniform: This includes a silver mask decorated with musical notes in shades of blue from turquoise to midnight. The matching capery duster also has an embroidered border of staff lines and notes. Usually its colors are blue-lake for the fabric and silver for the embroidery, but capery responds to superpowers. With that amplifier effect, it can perform as chameleon camouflage, provide sound effects, cover scent, and do other synaesthetic tricks. A drawback is that if Sintonizao's power goes out of control, the capery reflects that by going haywire in color and effects. Out of uniform, Shirley looks like somebody's version of a library lady.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Gift of Gab, Good (+2) Bilingual in English and Portuguese, Good (+2) Multi-variety Synaesthesia, Good (+2) Nerd Is the Word for a Word Nerd, Good (+2) Support Network
Poor (-2) A Twitchy Elephant Never Forgets
Powers: Expert (+4) Synaesthetic Energy Manipulation (Signature Stunts: Shielding, Messages Coded to Recipient, Intentional Energy Beam; Spin-Off Stunt: Capery Display), Average (0) Pattern Recognition, Average (0) Perfect Pitch
Limitation: Prolonged use of her powers can leave her giddy, prone to unintentional discharges of energy in some form or other. Alternatively, it can drop her like a rock, similar to sub drop plus nightmare elements. In a worst-case scenario, the backlash knocks her out entirely; this has only happened once.
Motivation: To speak up fairly for those who can't. Everybody deserves to have a signal.

Pax (Fred Ehrlichmann) -- Fred is relatively short and stocky. He has fair skin, brown eyes, and straight dark brown hair with a lot of body hair. Growing up in the middle of a large family, he learned how to smooth over the inevitable disputes. His paternal grandparents came over from Germany to escape the Nazi takeover, but they still take a dim view of soups and haven't spoken to him since the lab accident, a source of quiet personal regret. Fred's superpowers are fueled by sex; each person having sex under his influence gives him a Hero Point for buffing his abilities or other awesome actions. His official code name is Pax. Often people call him Boner Man, or other rude nicknames, and he really hates that.
Origin: While working in a primate research facility, Fred was bitten by a radioactive bonobo, and subsequently developed superpowers. He still has an impressive crescent scar on his left forearm.
Uniform: His birthday suit; Pax does his best work in the nude. Off duty, Fred wears street clothes or lab wear.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Primate Research, Expert (+4) Stamina, Good (+2) Mediation
Poor (-2) Swimmer
Powers: Expert (+4) Make Love Not War, Average (0) Empathy, Average (0) Magical Healing Cock
Limitation: Magical Healing Cock only works during sexual activity.
Vulnerability: Fractious family ties. Sometimes they're good to him, and they're not bad people, but they argue a lot. And of course, most of his superpowers are useless with his relatives.
Motivation: To keep the peace.

* * *

"I would see sounds as shapes, feel words and music, hear with my hands."
-- Synesthesia Psychology

Synaesthesia blends input from multiple senses, which can have benefits as people explore their senses. There are ways to tell if you have synaesthesia and to experience it. Here are some synaesthesia resources.

Nonsexual touch and intimacy are important in human interactions, especially for asexual folks. There are tips on how to get healthy touch, invite someone to cuddle, and learn cuddling skills.

Friendship is about helping each other.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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