Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Ever-Changing Anthem"

This poem is from the July 16, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman, [personal profile] inky_magpie, [personal profile] lone_cat, and [personal profile] readera. It also fills the "Iceman" square in my 7-1-19 card for the Winterfest in July Bingo. This poem belongs to the Kraken thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"The Ever-Changing Anthem"

[Saturday, July 25, 2015]

The summer session of
the Anything Goes Games
kicked off in Kerala.

It was a perfect place
because they could just
hack a playing field out of
the jungle, and when they
were done with it, have
someone with Plant Powers
put it back the way it was.

Nobody would interrupt them here.

Mamlambo rode a wave onto the rocks,
her turquoise tail contrasting with
her warm brown skin and hair.

She used her powers to cast
her sweet voice over the crowd
as she sang the first verse of
"The Ever-Changing Anthem"
and then rolled out the new one:

We start off with some Power Blocking
Then we move on to Something Shocking
Because God knows
Anything goes
Good comics, too, fight with four-letter words
Brains try to spell some better words
Dueling prose
Anything goes!


The crowd burst into
cheers and applause
at the schedule.

After a few more of
the classic verses
just for fun, Mamlambo
announced the first event.

"This morning we open with
a Power Blocking match between
Cherry Red and Icewing," she said.
"Who will score the most goals in
ten minutes? If you guess wrong,
folks, don't blame the bookie!"

Everyone moved to the beach
where two goals had been set
some distance apart in the sand.

In between, a ball sat on the centerline.

At one end, Cherry Red wreathed
her hands in balls of flame.

At the other, Icewing summoned
swirls of frost accompanied
by his signature birds.

Mamlambo called out,
"On your mark, get set, go!"

And the game was on.

* * *

Notes:

Mamlambo (Amahle Muller) -- She has brown skin, brown eyes, and long brown hair with loose nap. She is a mermaid with a turquoise fish tail. Mamlambo is sometimes an entertainer, other times a vengeful protector of girls who don't want to marry. She has a tendency to lure bad men into the water and drown them. She understands both the natural world and human societies, but has little patience with other people's expectations.
Origin: When she refused to marry as her father ordered, he threw her into a river to drown. Instead she turned into a mermaid.
Uniform: Usually just a bikini top or halter. She likes jewelry, though, and often wears earrings, necklaces, or bracelets.
Qualities: Good (+2) Constitution, Good (+2) Entertainer, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Protective
Poor (-2) Following Social Expectations
Powers: Good (+2) Mermaid
Her powers include Mermaid Physiology, Aquatic Adaptation, Sonic Powers, and Siren Song.
Motivation: To be heard.

Cherry Red (Cerise Larue) -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and red-and-purple hair cut to chin length. She is 20 years old. Cherry Red works as a supervillain for hire, either alone or with impromptu teams. She does arson, intimidation, theft, and other types of troublemaking. She is fearless just short of reckless. Cherry Red loves cats, though, and will go out of her way to protect them. She learns better with visual references than text, and struggles to read more than the most basic material.
Origin: She played with fireworks, and an accidental explosion gave her superpowers.
Uniform: On duty, she wears black capery and dexflan. Off duty, she favors the dark colors of urban grunge.
Qualities: Good (+2) Cat Lover, Good (+2) Fearless, Good (+2) Strength, Good (+2) Troublemaker, Good (+2) Visual-Spatial Intelligence
Poor (-2) Reading
Powers: Good (+2) Fire Constructs
Motivation: Light it up!

Icewing (Raben Fernsby) -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short black hair. He has awful acne. He is 18 years old. Icewing loves birds and nature. He works as an environmental activist, or terrorist, depending on who you ask. As an introvert, he enjoys his own company more than anyone else's.
Origin: He ignored instructions during the Christmas Bird Hunt, got lost in the snow, and tried to build an igloo. He almost died. When he recovered, he had superpowers.
Uniform: He favors outdoorsy menswear, most often in shades of black, gray, and white.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Bird Lover, Good (+2) Cold Resistance, Good (+2) Introvert, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence
Poor (-2) Acne
Powers: Good (+2) Ice Constructs
Motivation: To protect the Earth, by force if necessary.

* * *

Earlier appearances of this event include "The Anything Goes Games" and "By Our Limited Human Standards."

The Anything Goes Games use the song "Anything Goes" as inspiration for "The Ever-Changing Anthem," which incorporates some verses from the original plus at least one new verse extolling the games and/or athletes in the current session.

The Olympics have gone from 42 events to 306 events.

The Anything Goes Games have some events that are so popular they always happen, like the Macguffin Marathon, a race in which runners attempt to grab an object and cross the finish line with it by any means necessary; and others based on whatever abilities people have, like Elastic Handball, which requires an elastic masochist to be the ball.

Power Blocking is a two-person ball game played by pairs with opposed powers such as Fire and Ice, the intent being to cancel the opponent's ability so as to get the ball into the far net. If the ball goes out of bounds, it can be returned; but if it gets destroyed, both players lose.

Something Shocking is a type of mud hockey with two teams sliding around on slick wet clay while trying to score goals by knocking a puck into the far net. It is complicated by the fact that everyone on the field has some sort of Electric Powers, Neural Blast, or similar ability with which to disable opponents. This can be innate, a zap gun, or anything else fitting the broad parameters -- and some will travel a short distance along wet surfaces.

The duel of four-letter words requires contestants to say a word, which must have four letters and must be vulgar. Contestants are disqualified if they repeating a word that has already been spoken, speak a word that does not meet the requirements, or fail to speak within five seconds. The contestant who lasts the longest gets the gold medal.

A spelling bee among people with Super-Intellect or another relevant power focuses on long hard words -- and starts by drawing words from any language which the contestant knows. If they go through three rounds without dropping any contestants, the difficulty increases to words from languages that any contestant knows. If that isn't enough, the difficulty increases again to any language whatsoever.

Most of India is warm and wet. July is one of the wet months.

Beach soccer can be played by planting a pair of portable net goals on a sandy stretch of ground. Such nets work for any game that generally aims at putting a ball into a goal area.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, entertainment, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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