Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Not My Responsibility"

This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls. It fills the "Abuse" square in my 6-18-19 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Not My Responsibility"

[Tuesday, November 18, 2014]

A month after the Reunification,
Bobbie Irish came to Patchwork Manor.

She was dressed in black leather
except for an acid-green top
under the studded jacket,
her hair likewise a tumble
of black and acid green.

"I'm sixteen," she grumbled.
"I don't need looking after. I've
been passed around family and
friends like a sodding party favor
for years, I can look after myself."

"Yeah, but you don't have to,"
Ticker said. "Why waste the money
when you can kip here for free?"

Bobbie huffed at him. "Guess it
couldn't hurt to have a gander."

They gave her a room in
the second-floor dormitory,
beside the stairs and angled
across from the nurse's station.

"Never had a room all to
my ownself before,"
Bobbie admitted.

"That's one thing we
have here, lashings
of space," said Ticker.
"So, want to talk about
why you're here?"

"I was singing for
my supper in the pub.
Some git grabbed my arse,
so I turned into a porcupine,"
Bobbie said. "Better here than jail."

The git in question had gotten
quilled badly enough that he
wound up in hospital, and
someone had brought Bobbie
here rather than risk her
losing her temper again.

"That it is," Ticker agreed.
"We have a dance hall in
the basement and a piano
here on the second floor."

For the first time, she looked
at him with something other
than disdain. "I could sing?"

"Sure, Gormlaith will be
happy to have someone
to sing with," said Ticker.
"Don't worry about scaring
her, because you really can't."

He walked to the music room, and
Bobbie trailed him like a shadow.

She ghosted a hand over the piano,
though, touching the keys silently.

"I scare everyone," Bobbie said.
"I turn into monsters. I sing about
creepy things. My fans just
like me because I'm scary."

"Well, we get all kinds here,"
said Ticker. "You'll fit right in."

"You're only saying that because
you don't know me," said Bobbie.

"I don't know you, but I've seen
your videos on V'you," said Ticker.
"Sure, it's dark as a kettle's bum,
but some of us need that."

"China put a price on my head,"
Bobbie said. "They called me evil."

"And what did you do about that?"
Ticker asked, leaning on the wall.

"Told 'em to look me up if they
want to see Nirvana sooner,"
Bobbie said, popping her gum.

Ticker laughed. "Good on you."

From what he'd heard, Bobbie
had been abused enough, and
if anyone came after her, they
would wind up regretting it.

Especially now that she
lived in Patchwork Manor.

"You really don't mind the way
I sing, or look, or dress, or ...?"
She waved at her whole body.

"I really don't," Ticker said.
"Nobody else in the household
will mind either. We're every shade
from irfind to dubh here. Of course,
outsiders are a different story."

"Not my responsibility,"
Bobbie said with a shrug.

"That's the spirit," Ticker said.
"You do you, and let the others
mind their own business."

Bobbie petted the piano again,
then gave him an eerie smile.
"I think I'm going to like it here."

* * *

Notes:

Ticker (Alroy Collins) -- He has fair skin with freckles, amber eyes, and short wavy red hair. He is tall and slim. He has numerous tattoos, including a melted clock over the back of his left hand, inspired by his Time Control gift. Ticker belongs to the branch of the IRA that is more-or-less precise in its use of terrorism to protest British dominion and bring justice where the courts won't. He is an ally of the Marionettes.
Origin: When Alroy was seventeen, his mother fell ill suddenly and was dying. There was no way to save her, and the family was scattered far and wide. His superpower manifested, buying enough time for the family to gather and say goodbye. Which was great until he passed out on the floor from overexertion, making everyone think they were about to lose another relative. They've never really relied on him knowing his own limits since then.
Uniform: Street clothes.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Revolutionary, Good (+2) Dexterity, Good (+2) Drinking Buddies, Good (+2) Spirited, Good (+2) Storyteller
Poor (-2) Nervous
Powers: Expert (+4) Time Control
Motivation: Irish freedom and reunification.


Bobbie Irish -- She typically has fair skin and pale blue eyes. Her hair often changes color; it has been brown, black, ash-white, acid-green, blue, and various combinations. She is short and slim. Her heritage is Irish; she speaks English, Esperanto, and Irish. She is 16 in 2014. Bobbie is genderqueer, blending aspects of masculine, feminine, and other. As a shapeshifter, she just doesn't feel that sex/gender roles developed by and for static forms have any relevance for her. A healer friend says that Bobbie could probably reproduce asexually by division, although she hasn't chosen to do so. She isn't quite asexual, but is probably graysexual, having low interest in sex or romance due to repeated negative experiences with intimacy in the past. When it does activate, though, it often takes inappropriate forms.
Thinking of herself as a bad guy, Bobbie identifies as a supervillain. She has no close ties with any organization but knows several of them, particularly Ticker's gang. However, her interest in taking down known abusers has led her to work with Kraken and the Marionettes a few times. She doesn't bother being subtle about it.
Bobbie spends a lot of time on introspection, studies her body intensely, and encourages other people to do the same -- which makes most soups very uncomfortable. Her interest in gizmology spans chemistry and mechanics. She is brutally, ruthlessly honest. Her inconvenient truths often scare or embarass people. She is also deeply distrustful of most other people. Her temper is volatile, and her mood can swing abruptly and unpredictably. She comes off as creepy more often than not.
As a hobby, Bobbie enjoys golf, although she's not particularly good at it. She loves the colorful clothes -- the louder the better -- and she revels in irritating the rich, stuffy people who frequent golf courses. She is an accomplished singer, and has become quite popular on V'you, but that also attracts attention to her body that makes her uncomfortable and therefore aggressive. Whether that qualifies as famous or infamous is a matter of debate. People say that Bobbie is a bad role model, which she revels in, and sometimes they try to get her music banned. Its popularity makes this impossible. Some of the more repressive governments have even issued warrants for her. She really doesn't care.
Origin: Growing up, Bobbie moved around among a variety of relatives, family friends, and other homes on an informal basis. Some of those were loving and supportive. Others were neglectful. Some abused her physically, sexually, or spiritually. This has left her family dynamics a mess. At 13, Bobbie turned into a pool of molten tar, leaving her sexually abusive uncle with severe burns.
Uniform: Bobbie dresses in grunge or punk outfits, often mixing masculine and feminine motifts, bright and drab colors, tight and baggy garments. She rarely wears skirts, dresses, or other sexy clothes. The result is chaotic yet distinctive.
Qualities: Good (+2) Bold, Good (+2) Gizmologist, Good (+2) In/famous, Good (+2) Intrapersonal Intelligence, Good (+2) Singer
Poor (-2) Abuse Survivor
Powers: Expert (+4) Polymorph
Bobbie is unusual in that she can take on any shape, mimic people or animals, even inanimate objects. Sometimes she takes on only the appearance, but other times she takes on additional qualities, such as molten tar being actually hot enough to burn.
Motivation: "Bad people only deserve bad things."
(From The Emotional Wound Thesaurus, "Childhood Sexual Abuse by a Known Person" p. 182-183)

Watch the videos "Not My Responsibility" and "Bad Guy."


Gormlaith (Muireann Mulryan) -- She has tinted skin, glas eyes, and long straight hair of pale blue. She is 22 years old. She lives in Patchwork Manor on the outskirts of Dublin, in the room on the upper right of the second floor which overlooks the indoor swimming pool below. A talented singer, Gormlaith often performs at taverns, where she is quite popular. In her personal life, however, most people feel uneasy in her presence, which makes it difficult to have friends and family. She is arovague abrosexual, with attractions varying by mood. Among the more dramatic swings is a taste for rough heterosexual sex sometimes straying into hatesex when she's in a stormy mood, through aromantic queerplatonic interests when calm, into strongly woman-identified romance and soft erotic activity when she feels dreamy.
Origin: She grew up traveling with her father, and one day a storm swept their yacht out to sea. Her father and their crew died of exposure, and she almost did too, but then her superpowers saved her, washing the ship up on shore. She didn't exactly appreciate that at the time. It left her with cianalas, a melancholy sadness, the Gaelic term form traumatic grief; and that influenced her superpowers.
Uniform: On duty, Gormlaith wears a dexflan jumpsuit in shades of gray, green scaled boots, blue krevel gloves, a black-and-silver utility belt, and a cape of veil-thin capery in watercolor shades of blue and green. Off duty, her wardrobe is quite eclectic, but she loves cool colors, aquatic motifs, diaphanous or sparkly fabric, and big dangly earrings.
Qualities: Good (+2) Fan of French Literature, Good (+2) Glas, Good (+2) Going with the Flow, Good (+2) Musical Intelligence, Good (+2) Singer, Good (+2) Wealth
Poor (-2) Uncanny Aura
Powers: Average (0) Water Powers
Motivation: When you're going through hell, keep going.

cianalas (Scottish Gaelic)
Noun: cianalas m, gen cianalais
1. homesickness, sadness, melancholy, longing, nostalgia
-- Wordsense

Arovague - Is someone whose status as an aromantic is uncertain or affected by mood.
-- A List of Romantic Orientations

Abrosexual: having an orientation or feelings about it that constantly change and cannot be pinned down for this reason
-- A Complete List of All Tumblr Sexualities So Far

In this picture, Gormlaith is the woman in the middle with blue hair.

* * *

This belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics. It follows a month after "In Dublin's Fair City."

Kip, to have a (n): short sleep, nap

Gander (n): a nosey look

Lashings (n): a lot i.e. lashings of food

Git (n): rotten person

Arse (n): backside

Sexual harassment has a variety of unpleasant causes and effects. People can take steps to prevent harassment in public and at work. Know how to deal with someone who is harassing you in various contexts. Local-America offers little in the way of effective treatment for harassers who want to stop mistreating people. A problem I often see is that the advice is topically relevant but harsh to the point of off-putting, and also socially tone-deaf. What's worse, urging everyone to stop touching each other just feeds into touch starvation, which undermines health and may increase the risk of victimization by making people desperate for any contact, even if it's bad. Better advice teaches how to respect boundaries.

Child sexual abuse includes a variety of forms. Frotteurism is unwelcome rubbing which therefore constitutes sexual assault.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing
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