ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] technoshaman. It also fills the "drowning" square in my 6-10-13 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It's a sequel to "The Family Business" featuring Coby and Lily, in the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Shit What You Don't Need"


I've always had my eye on Lily
who lives across the alley from us,
and it's always been hard.

Her mother used to work
for my grandmother
as a kid sidekick,
how crazy is that?

But then Grandma met Grandpa
and everything changed.

Lily likes me back, I think,
but she worries a lot, and
I've given her plenty talks about
shit what you don't need.


Family Baggage

Lily's mother Narcissa
wants Lily to go into
the family business,
which is to say,
become a supervillain.

Lily wants to be a famous singer
or maybe an actress in musicals --
she hasn't made up her mind yet.

The talents are there,
but it has to be Lily's choice
what to do with them.

She's wicked, not evil.

Narcissa, well ...
there are stories that
Grandma doesn't tell about her.

She keeps trying to
drive her daughter
down some predestined path.

Let me tell you,
"destiny" is another thing
on the big list of
shit what you don't need.


Guilt Trips

In my family,
we do trial and error,
we do mistakes, we do apologies.

Grandma and Grandpa
are real big on that, since
it's how their relationship started.
(Apparently there was this death trap
that turned out to be no good for anyone.)
So she apologized, and he accepted,
and the rest is history.

In Lily's family ...
not so much.

They're more into
screaming and crying
and threats of epic revenge.
Which can be heard across the alley
on a clear quiet night.

So there was this time in swim class
when Lily and I were both
in the pool at the same time,
and her control slipped a bit,
which happens when you're sixteen
and your superpowers are still growing in,
which led to me drowning a little bit.

Have I mentioned that I don't swim well?
The extra muscle mass makes
it harder to float without stroking.

The next thing I knew,
I was flat on the pavement
with the gym teacher
pounding water out of me,
and Lily bawling apologies
at the top of her superpowered lungs.

In her defense,
she only broke the windows
on the nearest wall.

Still it was weeks
before Lily would
look me in the eye again,
no matter how many times
I told her that I knew it was an accident
and all was forgiven.

So there's self-hate on the heap of
shit what you don't need.


Superpowers

Now I've grown up with
two brothers and a sister,
all of them older than me,
each of them with their own powers,

not to mention mom and dad,
aunts and uncles and cousins,
plus Grandma and Grandpa
who started it all.

I'm the only one without powers.

Okay, so I'm touchy about it,
but in the end it doesn't matter
how you can do what you do,
only that you get the job done.

I've learned a lot of ways
to get around my limitations
and keep up with my family.

They work just as well with Lily.
I may have to paddle harder
to stay on top of the water,
but I can still swim;
I may not be able to break glass
but I can hit the right notes.

She can charm people
into telling her things,
but I can look at them
and figure out just as much.

I don't let my big sister
snoop through my thoughts;
I don't let my middle brother
run rings around me;
I don't let my oldest brother
bench-press me to show off.

I can parry telepathy
and speed-read and wrestle.
I'm a better student
than any of my siblings
and I dress better too.
I don't need superpowers, because
there's more than one way to skin a cat.

So I'm not going to let
the girl I really like
wind me around her finger
with a wisp of siren song.

I'm not going to dance with
every girl who throws herself at me,
just because I look sharp,
unless she asks nicely.

I want to be wanted
for who I really am,
not for being defenseless
or cleaning up nice on a Friday night.

The ones who are worth it
don't need to cheat
to get my attention,
and it's always a thrill
to see someone realize that.

It doesn't take special powers
to be special.

You're good enough just the way you are.

Thinking less of
the ordinary parts of life is
shit what you don't need.

* * *

Notes:

"Siren Song" by Vixy & Tony was part of the prompt for this poem. Sirens are mythical creatures whose powers relate to water, music, and sex. See also Ligeia.

Family baggage and destiny can wreck your life if you let them. You are allowed to have boundaries even with family. Know how to release baggage and make your own destiny.

Mistakes are natural. Understand how to learn from them. Self-hate eats away at you. There are ways to reduce it. Guilt results from doing something wrong. Know how to deal with it. Apologies mend relationships after a problem. Be prepared to say you're sorry after things go awry. Forgiveness should follow a sincere apology. Take steps to forgive someone else and yourself.

Self-acceptance is the awareness that you're good enough just as you are. Learn how to accept yourself. Knowing your limits helps you to avoid disasters and to overcome obstacles.

Teenager who's getting some things right...

Date: 2014-07-16 08:23 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
He's such a great contrast to both Stan and Lawrence, and even to Danso, because while Danso had his heart in the right place, he just didn't have enough support or skills for the tasks he ended up taking on.

Thanks for posting this one-- and before I forget, are there more of this arc already planned?

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-16 11:30 pm (UTC)
silver_gull: (Default)
From: [personal profile] silver_gull
This character is making me think that there are probably quite a few supernaries who would be unhappy if they acquired powers in the line of duty. Not because they then have to learn to control them - if they're operating on a super level without powers, be they hero or villain, it's unlikely they'd balk at practising - but because, for most of them, it wouldn't fit with their self-image, and if they're proud of having worked for their skills, suddenly not needing to keep that up could feel like cheating. For heroes especially there might be a feeling that it makes them less of a role model to 'nary fans, and that could very well be true if the new powers become what people notice first.

Obviously this wouldn't be true for all of them; just as many would probably be relieved at levelling the playing field a bit, or at being able to get the upper hand more easily, and maybe take a little less damage as a result. But that's a significant and visible group of people who actively wouldn't want superpowers, even ones that would be immediately useful in their lives, entirely separate from anti-soup prejudices.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-16 07:11 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (plus)
From: [identity profile] thnidu.livejournal.com
Oh, good advice / example!

Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-17 06:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm glad you approve.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-07-18 04:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] labelleizzy.livejournal.com
sharing out more widely, I hope you do not mind.

this is wonderful.

Thank you!

Date: 2014-07-18 04:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> sharing out more widely, I hope you do not mind. <<

Once a poem is sponsored and published, it is visible to the public and word-of-mouth advertising is greatly appreciated.

>> this is wonderful. <<

I'm glad you like it so much. Given how many relationships are mucked up, I'm happy that Coby has his head on straight.

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