ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the November 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] lone_cat referring back to the story "Tightrope" by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "time travel" square in my 10-1-15 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo card. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.


"A World That Few Ever Even Dreamed Of"


After meeting the perilous stranger in
his ludicrously conspicuous suit of clothes and
being flung into the future at the end of a tightrope
whose nature she had no knowledge of,
Isabella accommodated the challenges
in the manner she was accustomed
to handling her flashes of Sight.

She listed things.

It was a world that few ever even dreamed of,
but it yet contained people, and thus
some things remained familiar.

The lavatories, oh, if she were only a poet
she could write such odes to them! They had
water that ran hot and cold at all hours
without ever running out, commodes
that flushed perfectly every time,
towels as thick and soft as blankets,
and soap finer than French rosettes.

The food was ... regrettable.
Most of it had been tinned or frozen,
which was no surprise, although she had not
expected the dishes to be as fussy as those
prepared by a fine chef -- but even
the fresh fruits and vegetables had
no savor to them. She might as well
have been eating cardboard.

Although it took some getting used to,
Isabella found herself altogether charmed
by the abrupt lack of concern for her sex or
the color of her skin, a loosening of strictures
precisely as delightful as removing one's corset
at the end of a long day. The boys and girls
who volunteered at the hospital were happy
to fetch magazines from the nurses' parlor
and read them aloud to her at all hours.

And then she encountered the first bigot
who swore at her for being a "soup" --
as if she were canned consommé! --
for which she had to beg an explanation
from someone actually still speaking to her,
and when she heard that it had to do
with her peculiar Sight, she fell into
a fit of hysterical laughter.

It was another wonder to pore over
pages and pages of catalogs in
the glass book, showing ornaments
for hair as nappy as hers -- beads of
gold or silver or glass, something called
plastic that came in every shape and color
that might be imagined, fragrant sandalwood
carved into reddish-brown rosettes. Her friends
among the nurses helped Isabella to purchase
a few and put her hair up in elegant cornrows
whose ends chattered with glass flowers.

The clothing was ... frankly, a horror,
for so many of the women dressed like
fallen ladies that Isabella nearly despaired
of finding anything she might dare to dress in.
Then one of her regular nurses brought in another
from the floor below, with skin the color of cafe-au-lait
and dark hair hidden under a scarf, who showed
Isabella a different catalog of more modest garb
and assured her that not everyone cared
to show their arms and legs on the street.

It was not so unmanageable a world after all,
however unimagined or dreamlike, once it had been
sorted out into advantages and disadvantages
like shopping for something expensive.

* * *

Notes:

"Antigravity, teleportation, time travel, energetic DNA evolution and consciousness transformation could create a world few of us ever even dreamed of."
-- David Wilcock

Time travel has long been popular in science fiction.

Bathrooms have evolved considerably over time.

Food changes also stack up, especially comparing early American cooking with modern. Heirloom fruits and vegetables often tasted better, as modern cultivars were bred for qualities like harvest convenience and shipping durability at the expense of flavor and nutrition.

People with nappy hair need sturdy hair beads and other accessories, because items made for silky European hair usually won't hold stronger strands.

See the evolution of clothing in text or video. Some women prefer Muslim or other modest designs instead of current fashions.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-11-06 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] book-worm5.livejournal.com
I like this. :-) Time travel is often a fun motif, and I learned some things. I'd heard of heirloom tomatoes and apples and such, but I hadn't really considered widespread flavour differences, though now it seems obvious there would be over that length of time.

Thank you!

Date: 2015-11-06 04:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> I like this. :-) <<

Yay!

>> Time travel is often a fun motif, and I learned some things. <<

:D

>> I'd heard of heirloom tomatoes and apples and such, but I hadn't really considered widespread flavour differences, though now it seems obvious there would be over that length of time. <<

The changes have been tremendous. You can get fruits and vegetables almost year-round for any commercial kind, but what you get is often not worth eating. The contrast between a commercial variety and heirloom can be quite dramatic.

In canning or freezing, improvements in technology have salvaged more flavor, but starting with less, it tends to average out.

Where Isabella would really have fun is visiting a farmer's market, which would be familiar and give her a chance to explore a wider range of heirloom varieties. Or freeze-dried things, which is a wonderful way of preserving some foods. I tried out my new freeze-dried garlic recently, and wow. Not as good as fresh, of course, but much better than the ordinary dried kind.

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