Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Waves of Emotion"

Here is the freebie for the January 22, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, [personal profile] daisiesrockalot, [personal profile] gingicat, [personal profile] fuzzyred, and [personal profile] mama_kestrel. It also fills the "music" square in my 8-7-18 card for the Fairy Tales Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Waves of Emotion"

[Thursday, January 29, 2015]

Boss White was up to his elbows
in paperwork for Blues Moon when
Nassor slapped a hand urgently
against the door of his office.

As soon as Dymin opened the door
for him, Nassor loped in and panted,
"Shiv zoned and we can't get him back."

Instantly Boss White cast his mind
around the club to check on Shiv.

happy ... calm ... happy ... calm ...
pensive ... HAPPY ... calm ...

It was a soft surf of pure emotion,
without any words at all, and it was
a lot more positive than most of
what Boss White had felt from
Shiv since the end of December.

"Zoned on what?" Boss White said
as he came out from behind his desk.

"Some funny drum from the band
for Thursday night," Nassor said.
"I don't know, they let Shiv try it
and he was just ... gone."

Boss White hustled upstairs
as fast as he could. He found
Shiv sitting on the stage, rolling
something round in his hands.

Manda sat beside him on the right,
looking worried, and the trumpeter
from What's That Sound? sat on
the left looking just as alarmed.

"What happened?" Boss White said.

Eubie looked up and winced.
"I'm sorry," she said. "We invited
Nassor to jam with us because we don't
have a bassist, so then Manda and Shiv
joined in. I let Shiv play with my sea drum
because it's so easy -- I play trumpet, I'm
no good on most percussion -- and then
he just kinda stopped doing anything else."

"Not your fault," Boss White said kindly.
"Manda, how long has he been like that?"

"Almost twenty minutes," she said.
"We let him go for ten, because well ...
how long has it been since he smiled?
But the band has to head out for dinner,
and when Shiv wouldn't wake up, we worried."

Boss White looked at Shiv, who was still
smiling, and yeah, he hadn't done that much
all month. "What have you already tried
to snap him out of it?" he asked her.

"We stopped the music, thumped
on the call drum -- Louis there has
a bigger version of the same kind --
hollered Shiv's name, and stomped
on the stage beside him," Manda said.
"We didn't want to try touching him
because ... well, you know why."

"That I do," Boss White said.
"Don't worry, I can get him back."

He almost hated to, because
this close, Shiv's mind was a sea of

Boss White reached out with his power
and his hand together. "Come on,
Shiv, it's time to wake up now."

The boy blinked, looked up,
and said, "Hi, boss. Did
you see the sea drum?
Isn't it awesome?"

"It sure is awesome,"
Boss White agreed.

Shiv turned back to
Eubie. "Where did you
get it? How much was it?
Could I get one like it?"

"Well, ah, mine is actually
just a kiddie drum, I got it
for forty bucks," Eubie said.
"Louis has a professional one
if you want something more --"

"Nah nah nah, I like this one
'cause I can see the balls
moving around," Shiv said,
tilting it -- and there he went.

Boss White chucked him under
the chin and said, "Eyes up, Shiv,
and pass that thing back to Eubie."

With a sigh, Shiv obeyed. "Thanks
for loaning it to me," he said. "I love
how all the little balls roll around,
the way they feel inside my head."

Well, no wonder he zoned on it.
Shiv's ability let him feel metal, glass,
anything hard enough to hold an edge.
Usually he went for sharp things though.

"You didn't give yourself a headache?"
Boss White said. He knew that could
happen when Shiv tried to track
too many pieces at once.

"No, because I'm not counting
the bits," Shiv said. "That's what
makes it so cool! It's, it's like a mass
of metal all rolling around in there,
flowing like water almost."

"All right then, no harm done,"
Boss White said. "I'm glad you
found something that you like."

"It works as a fidget too," Shiv said.
"I don't know why it makes me feel
so calm and happy, but it does.
Like the bismuth, only better."

"That's good to hear, Shiv,"
said Boss White. "You need
to find things that work for you."

Shiv gave a happy wiggle. "I
can't wait to have one of my own.
This is just such a great coping skill.
It's like I can see the waves of emotion
and that makes them easier to control."

"Like biofeedback?" Manda said.
"I've tried that at college, but
usually it takes a machine."

"Nah, anything that tells what's
going on can work," Shiv said.
"I seen somebody do that
kinda thing with a crystal ball."

"So we'll get you one of your own,"
Boss White said. "I can spare
forty bucks to make you happy."
He pulled out his phone and
brought up Mapuche Mail, who
fortunately had a sea drum.

Shiv promptly leaned over
and said, "Thanks, boss, that's
great. What level are you?"

"What do you mean, what level?"
Boss White said, tilting his head.

"That's a zero then," Shiv snickered.
"Use my account, I'm Level 1 -- almost
up to Level 2 -- so I get a 5% discount
because I learned a little Mapuche."

"Go ahead," Boss White said,
holding out the phone so Shiv
could key in his information.

"Huh, they call it a waterfall drum
in Mapuche," Shiv said, pausing
to answer a quick quiz. Then he
yipped in glee. "Whoo, I leveled up!
Now I get a ten percent discount."

"Which is how much out of forty?"
Boss White asked just to test him.

"Uh ... ten percent of forty is four, so
that leaves thirty-six," Shiv said. "Please
don't ask me to do the tax, I can't do it."

"No need to go that far," Boss White said,
and paid extra for the teleport delivery.

"Can I jam some more?" Shiv asked.
"Now that you're here, you can
pull me out if I zone again."

Boss White shook his head.
"No, the band needs to get dinner,
so they have to put away the gear first."

"Just one round?" Shiv begged. "Please?"

The tuba player gave a booming laugh.
"Aw, let him jam," Claude said. "It's not like
I'm gonna starve!" He patted his big belly.

Boss White raised his eyebrows at
the other musicians. "Who's in?"

They all murmured agreement.

"Cool!" Manda said, bounding
to her feet. She went to stand
by Marie, the singer and pianist.
"That means I can sing again."

The box containing Shiv's drum
popped into existence on the table.

Shiv pounced on it, carefully opening
the box so he could reuse it later to store
the drum. A soft swish-shush sound filled
the air as he pulled out the instrument.

"Let's do a round of natural jazz,"
Marie suggested. "Shiv hasn't
heard that before, and it'll be
easier to play for a novice."

"Watch me, Shiv," said Eubie.
"We're going to make some waves --
soft surf, rising and falling, not too loud."

"Okay," Shiv said, following her.

The sea drums sighed and whispered,
like the sound of water over sand.

Shiv's attention wavered and
began to slip inward again.

"Careful, don't fall in,"
Boss White murmured
as he pulled Shiv back.

Shiv looked up, and that
seemed to help a little.

Marie and Manda added
their voices in lilting vocables
that sounded like the wind.

Louis picked up a harmonica
and somehow made the thing
cry like a flock of seagulls.

Boss White loved natural jazz.
It was music, with the improvisation
that made jazz so special, yet it
drew from the sounds of nature
more than human influence.

Feeling the jam was even better,
as everyone's thoughts lulled
into wordless emotional surf.

Happy ... calm ... happy ... calm ...

"Wow," Shiv said when they
paused. "We made an ocean!"

"One more for the road," Claude said,
and the tuba rumbled like thunder.
"Nassor, join us if you want to."

Shiv's eyes went big and round.
"A storm over the ocean?" he said.

"No, over land," Eubie said.
"Tilt your drum very slowly,
so it makes a steady sound,
not rhythmic like the waves."

When they got that going,
Marie motioned for Manda
to sing the wind, and set
her hands to the piano in
a high tinkling tune that
echoed the raining drums.

The tuba boomed thunder again,
and Nassor joined it on his bass.

Then Louis took up his washboard
to make the rattle of hail on a roof.

Shiv got so excited that he almost
fell in again, but this time Boss White
tapped him with a finger and the boy
managed to pull himself up in time.

The music sighed over the stage,
cool and soothing. Shiv was
grinning like a loon again.

When it finally wound down,
Shiv put his drum back in its box.

"Thanks a lot, guys, I loved
jamming with you!" he said.

"You're welcome," Louis said.
"I'm glad we could introduce you
to a new instrument -- jazz
needs more variety."

"Can't argue with that,"
Boss White said with a nod.

"I can't believe you learned
how to play a sea drum in
less than an hour," Eubie said,
sticking her tongue out at Shiv.
"It took me weeks to learn!"

"It's not that hard," Louis said.
"I learned how to do it that fast."

"Yeah, but you're a percussionist,"
Eubie grumbled. "I'm a trumpeter, and
Shiv -- you said you play sax, right?"

"I said I'm learning to play sax,"
Shiv corrected. "I'm nowhere near
ready to get on stage with that."

"Well, you got some advantages with
that sea drum that not everyone has,"
Boss White pointed out. "That helps."

"Yeah, it really does," Shiv said.
"You folks want me to pitch in
with the cleanup, since you
delayed dinner for me?"

"Sure, grab the chairs,"
Louis said. "Thank you."

Shiv hurried to move the chairs,
and Boss White got out of the way.
Soon everything was packed up and
the band members could head out.
They were in the mood for Mexican.

After they left, Shiv turned to Boss White
and said, "I'm sorry I dragged you up here
because my head is a fucking mess again."

Boss White could catch brittle edges of
too busy and too important and don't
want you to see me as a walking wreck.

He reached out to cup a hand around
the back of Shiv's neck. "I'm so glad
that I could help," Boss White said.
"You're not a wreck, you're just
dealing with some serious shit."

"Yeah, but I should be over it
by now," Shiv said. "This sucks."

"It's only been a month, Shiv,"
said Boss White. "You can't
expect yourself to be able to
shake it off like it was nothing."

"I used to be," Shiv protested.
"Dunno why I'm so damn weak now."

"You're not weak either," Boss White said.
"I think you're learning how to put things
in perspective, and you got a lot of shit
to sort through -- I oughta know, I've
seen some of it up close and personal."

He'd had to tack up that wall in Shiv's head,
is what, and that was never any fun.

"But you had to quit working and
come deal with me," Shiv whispered.
"I know you were doing important papers.
You don't have time for my personal shit."

Boss White shook his head. "Nope, you
got that exactly backwards," he said.
"A good boss puts his people first.
If I don't got time for you-all, then
what's the point of running a joint?
So when you need my help, Shiv,
I will make time for you."

Under his hand, Shiv trembled,
but did not try to pull away.
"Okay," he whispered.

It wasn't okay yet, not quite --
but it would be, soon enough.

Shiv was finding his own ways
to cope with the waves of emotion,
and that was the most important thing of all.

* * *


Nassor Asada -- He has mahogany skin, black eyes, and short nappy black hair. He is tall and thin. Nassor lives in Omaha, Nebraska where he works as a waiter at Blues Moon. Boss White is teaching him to play the upright bass. Nassor has a quiet personality, but he's well over six feet tall, which makes people think of him as a thug. That bothers him a lot.
Qualities: Good (+2) Courage, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Quiet, Good (+2) Tall
Poor (-2) Black Trauma

Upright bass is among the more common jazz instruments, popular with taller musicians.

Manda Nash -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and long brown hair streaked with blonde. She is petite with slight curves. Manda comes from Lincoln, Nebraska where she did chorus and trumpet in high school. She currently lives in Omaha where she works as a waitress at Blues Moon. Manda is a music major at the University of Nebraska - Omaha with a concentration in Music Entrepreneurial Studies and an interest in world music. She has participated in the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music (in the summer between high school and college), the Great Plains Jazz Festival (where she got the job at Blues Moon), the International Concert Series, and the International Touring Program. She has a minor in International Studies. Manda loves people and handles them well. However, she tends to flit from one subject to another instead of sticking with one specialty.
Qualities: Good (+2) Balance, Good (+2) Musical Intelligence, Good (+2) People Skills, Good (+2) Waitress
Poor (-2) Flighty

Undergraduate Classes
1 cr. Keyboard Skills I
1 cr. Keyboard Skills II
3 cr. Voice Pedagogy
3 cr. Voice Literature
2 cr. Class Applied Jazz Improv I
2 cr. Class Applied Jazz Improv II

World Music Classes
Music of the People: Rock and Pop
Music of the People: The World
Pedagogy of Multicultural Music

International Studies Minor

Claude Friedman -- He has brown skin, brown eyes, and short nappy black hair with a mustache and beard. He is big and tall. He plays tuba for the jazz band What's That Sound? They live in Easy City, Louisiana. Happy and responsive, Claude gets along well with other people. However, that makes him a bit of a pushover.
Qualities: Good (+2) Big and Tall, Good (+2) Happy, Good (+2) Interpersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Responsive, Good (+2) Tuba Player
Poor (-2) Pushover

Louis Hampton -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short curly brown hair that is starting to recede. He plays mixed percussion for the jazz band What's That Sound? In the picture, he's playing the washboard. They live in Easy City, Louisiana. His stamina and energy make him an asset to the band, and Louis the one who got them into playing a lot of quirky percussion instruments as part of their schtick. A lively extrovert, he works well on a team. He's restless, though.
Qualities: Good (+2) Extrovert, Good (+2) Musical Intelligence, Good (+2) Percussion Player, Good (+2) Stamina, Good (+2) Teamwork
Poor (-2) Restless

Marie Baptista -- She has fair skin, hazel eyes, and curly brown hair to her shoulders. She wears glasses. Marie plays piano and sings for the jazz band What's That Sound? In the picture, she is standing near the piano. They live in Easy City, Louisiana. Marie is thoughtful and careful, with a rich velvety voice.
Qualities: Good (+2) Analytical, Good (+2) Conscientious, Good (+2) Limber, Good (+2) Pianist, Good (+2) Singer
Poor (-2) Nitpicking

Rale Symonds -- He has fair skin, blue eyes, and short curly hair of light brown. He wears glasses. He plays mixed percussion for the jazz band What's That Sound? They live in Easy City, Louisiana. Rale is a quirky geek, but he usually stays patient with other people. He can get possessive, though.
Qualities: Good (+2) Durable, Good (+2) Geek, Good (+2) Guitarist, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Patient
Poor (-2) Possessive

Eubie Babalola -- She has light brown skin, brown eyes, and short nappy brown hair. She plays trumpet for the jazz band What's That Sound? They live in Easy City, Louisiana. Eubie's strong hand-eye coordination make her good at video games as well as trumpet, and she enjoys challenging people. That can make her unpopular, though.
Qualities: Good (+2) Extrovert, Good (+2) Hand-Eye Coordination, Good (+2) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Good (+2) Trumpeter, Good (+2) Video Gamer
Poor (-2) Brash

* * *

A jazz band can consist of various instruments. Learn how to start a jazz band and how to jam.

Nino makes sea drums in several sizes. I got the 12" version for about $40. Learn how to play one or watch a video for a simple demonstration.

Meinl makes sea drums in various sizes, including a 20" version with one clear synthetic head and one goatskin head. This video demonstrates different ways to play it.

Mapuche Mail is a corporation similar to Amazon.com. It was launched out of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araucan%C3%ADa_Region">Araucanía</a>, which lies between North Chile, South Chile, and Argentina. What began as a fair trade initiative to give local crafters wider reach has grown into a global sales and shipping business. Later on, it added the teleportation-based VORP Mail service. That one can't ship live or volatile products, but does well with stable items. Customers who learn to speak Mapuche get a discount, 5% at Level 1 up to 25% at Level 5. Mapuche tribe members and other native speakers get 30% off.

Commonly used descriptions for language proficiency and CEFR descriptions:
native speaker (–)
near native / fluent proficient user (C2)
excellent command / highly proficient in spoken and written English proficient user (C1)
very good command independent user (B2)
good command / good working knowledge independent user (B1)
basic communication skills / working knowledge basic user (A1 to A2)

Natural jazz is a Terramagne subgenre inspired by nature and aimed at emulating those sounds as closely as possible. The album "Inspired by Nature" in our world has some similarity and you can listen to a sample in "The White Birds of Qizilagac."

Vocables are not words, but are sounds used to make music with the human voice, which have their own meaning. Scat singing is a jazz version. Learn how to scat.
Tags: community, cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, life lessons, music, poem, poetry, reading, safety, weblit, writing

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