ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the January 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] stardreamer and [personal profile] siliconshaman. It also fills the "accepting responsibility" square in my 12-30-14 card for the Rites of Passage fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics, and is a direct sequel to "In Dublin's Fair City."

"The Responsibility That Comes"

It was Friday night, which was Planning Night
at the Merry Wren, where some boys from the IRA
typically met to discuss what to do for the weekend.

With Irish Reunification just passed, however,
their former goal no longer guided them.
Instead they sat around drinking and
stuffing themselves with salted peanuts
and looking like a bunch of lost sheep.

Dylan poured out the drinks
and listened to the fractured gossip.
Backdraft had been right, the bloody git,
predicting how the lads would be
cast adrift in the wake of Reunification.

Ticker was fizzing with so much nervous energy
that Dylan doubted there were two watches
left in the room keeping the same time.

Catseye huddled in a corner booth
with a platter of fish-and-chips,
so hidden in the shadows that
only his glowing green eyes showed.

Professor O'Cuinn had confined himself
to a single glass of whisky, dark with peat,
as he transferred notes from Saol na Gaeilge
to a notebook page. He didn't even own
a vidwatch, let alone a computer tablet.
Somehow he kept up with the news anyway; he had
a whole page about a place called the Maldives.

If they wanted a future,
Dylan realized as he filled glasses,
they'd have to build one brick by brick.

The other lads -- and a few lasses --
clung to each other in little clusters
as they talked about the Reunification
and what it could mean for them,
though nobody seemed to know.

They looked at Ticker when he flitted past,
following him with their eyes
as much as they had followed him
to this action or that one in recent years.

He needed a nudge, is what.

"Looks like someone better hero up soon,
or we won't need the Sassenachs
to be giving us the headache," Dylan said
when Ticker came for a refill on his drink.

"What do you mean by that?" Ticker asked,
his eyes so wide that the whites showed.

"A hero's just a man who accepts
the responsibility that comes with freedom,"
Dylan said as he polished the bar.

"I'm not a hero!" Ticker protested. "In case
you hadn't noticed, I'm a soddin' terrorist."

"You were a terrorist, because that is what
Ireland needed at the time," Dylan said.
"She still needs you, mate, but we've won.
It's not terrorism that's needed now, but diplomacy.
Question is, are you man enough to step up?"

Ticker gave a panicky laugh. "A diplomat?
Me? You're out of your bloomin' mind."

"I'm not telling you what to do," Dylan said.
"I'm just asking you to consider it. You can't
deny that Ireland is in want of leadership,
especially in terms of improving status
for people with superpowers.
It's up to you whether to accept."

"I don't know how to do that sort of thing,"
Ticker said. "I wouldn't even know where to start."

"Are ye willin' to learn?"
Professor O'Cuinn asked,
without looking up from his whiskey.

"I -- I guess so," Ticker stammered,
"but I got no money for university,
even if they'd let me in."

"Leave that to me, lad," the professor said.
"If ye're willin' to learn, I'm willin' to teach,
and where there's a will there's a way."

"We could, maybe, help somehow,"
Catseye offered, and the others nodded.
"There's got to be stuff we could do
to get folks more motivated about
the Reunification and soups and all.
We're still with you, mate."

"Bleedin' hell, what've I got meself into now?"
Ticker whispered. The ice in his glass
rattled against the sides.

"And mind yer mouth, ye're a leader,
not some punk in a street gang,"
the professor said sharply.

"Yes, sir," Ticker said
as he finally lifted his chin
to look the older man in the eye.

* * *


Catseye (Ardan Clooney) -- He has fair skin, wavy brown hair, and green eyes. He has a lot of body hair and usually a short scruff of beard. His Cat Eyes have slitted pupils and glow green. They allow him to see in very dim light, and occasionally he can see through Invisibility or Illusions too. Some of his relatives are policemen. Ardan has been agitating for Irish reunification for years, although he dislikes open violence. He's more of a hanger-on than IRA proper. He is a friend of Ticker.
Origin: He was born with his superpower.
Uniform: Street clothes.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activist, Good (+2) Agility, Good (+2) Extended Family, Good (+2) Friends on the Force, Good (+2) Passionate
Poor (-2) Dealing with Dogs
Powers: Average (0) Cat Eyes
Motivation: Peaceful Irish reunification.

Bradan O'Cuinn -- He has ruddy skin, white hair, and blue eyes. He is short and stocky. Professor O'Cuinn teaches history, politics, and sociology.  He is a follower of Demosthenes.  He is fluent in Irish Gaelic as well as English. He likes whisky with a strong peat flavour.
Qualities: Master (+6) College Professor, Good (+2) Fisherman, Good (+2) Patience
Poor (-2) Prejudiced Against the British

* * *

"A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom."
-- Bob Dylan

The Irish Republican Army has been many different things. This branch seems to be moving away from terrorism and gaining more interest in soup rights.

Nervous energy can have harmful effects. There are ways to cope with it.

Fish-and-chips is a popular comfort food often served in pubs. Yes, that recipe is how Dylan makes his, with hard apple cider. He offers apple cider or malt vinegar alongside.

Peat conveys a dark, rich flavor to whisky. I actually like both kinds. However, the water used to make the whiskey doesinfluence its flavor.

Saol na Gaeilge (Life of the Gael) is an Irish language newspaper based in Dublin.

The Republic of the Maldives is an island nation. In Terramagne it leads the development of soup rights.

Activist principles include "be the change you want to see in the world" and "build the world you want to live in." Here are some practical methods for change.

Sassenach is a rude word for the British.

Volunteering helps make the world a better place. Know how to volunteer yourself and how to organize other volunteers.

I know--

Date: 2015-01-15 10:46 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
My Finn family has been following this breathlessly. I just realized that the older two may KNOW some of these principal players! Why does that matter?

Because when I read the nudge from Professor O'Cuinn to the Ticker, I started chanting, "More, more, more!" in my head.

I think the prof is my favorite character. He's not taking center stage, far from it, but he is PIVOTAL. He's stepping up as a mentor at the same moment. The difference is, he knows it.

Re: I know--

Date: 2015-01-16 02:32 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
I'll bet the Prof is a student of Demosthenes, considered to be the mightiest speech-giver in Athens (and possibly Greece). But I wouldn't be stuffing anyone's mouth full of rocks, just helping them understand their own ability to lead others. After all, if you already have a sense of how people tick and what makes them go, a bit of study to the art will give you the ability to make fire where you only had a spark.

Re: I know--

Date: 2015-01-16 04:55 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Graham Finn is interested in people. In what they like, what they value, what they want to create-- or think they have to tear down before they have ROOM to create.

He's the guy who is curious about why a fellow learns to pick locks, or hotwire cars, and even how to do those things, with no interest in using that knowledge himself.

Which is an awful lot like Dylan's own approach to his patrons, isn't it?

G. The ideas are bubbling.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-01-17 06:53 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: (taliesin)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
I'd be willing to give fish with the cider in a go, but that's nae a proper chip, lass... ye cannae get the proper crispy outside, soft inside without the double frying treatment. You fry them once to get them *done*, at low temp (350F or so), then when you're ready to eat - and no sooner! - you flash fry them with the oil smoking hot, and *crunch* out comes a proper chip. The finished product needs nae other than vinegar (and maybe extra salt if you like).

Someday when we're within hug range of each other, I hope to introduce you to the Corryvreckan.... I was a die-hard Highland fan until I got the first clean, smooth explosion of smoke on my tongue... I was hooked. Is nae cheap - which goes hard for a Scot... but is worth it.

Ticker's reaction reminds me of Inigo's... "There's not a lot of money in the revenge business." Inigo, of course, turns gentleman pirate... but there's not a lot of money in piracy these days either... it will be fun to see Ticker try to go legit.

Did I ever point you at Up a Long Ladder? It's MacGyver fanfic, novella length, set in 1985, the somewhat sanguine tail end of the Troubles.... my mum read that one, and her only complaint was all the colourful language... "But, mum! They really do talk like that!" The professor's remark about language reminded me... :)

"Please, sir, I want some more?"
Edited Date: 2015-01-17 06:54 pm (UTC)


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