Warning: This poem contains some intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. Despite being in a much better situation now than he was recently, Nebuly is stressing out over the changes. There is insomnia, depression, awkward personal history, guilt, fatigue, and other angst. On the whole, though, Nebuly is making great progress and has awesome family-of-choice. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.
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The following epics are available:
"Dinner at Donnie's"
Summary: Danso and family enjoy a culinary adventure.
342 lines, $171
Summary: Buraq receives an astonishing assignment from an unusual source.
249 lines, $125
"Pebbles in the Path"
Directly follows "Ruts in the Road"
Summary: Jules and Mariset get a private lesson in rescue work.
270 lines, $135
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 21
Which of these should be the free epic?
"Dinner at Donnie's"
"Pebbles in the Path"
There are three open epics. "A Hope and a Promise" belongs to Polychrome Heroics and needs $140 to be complete. "Essential for Human Survival" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Cassandra and needs $205.25 to be complete. "The Inner Transition" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Berettaflies and needs $322 to be complete.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 22
How do you want to distribute the $40?
ALL $40 into "A Hope and a Promise"
ALL $40 into "Essential for Human Survival"
ALL $40 into "The Inner Transition"
Divide the $40 about equally among all THREE epics
War warms itself . . . at Surtr's heinous hearth;
ignorant interlopers . . . burn books by the bundle.
Hypatia's handmaids . . . come to keep them safe,
favored of Odin Fathergod . . . praiser of poets.
Liminal libraries . . . house hidden histories
covertly curated . . . by counter-culture custodians.
When Surtr's sending . . . finally falls into ash,
we will be waiting . . . to recover what they cultured.
* * *
Surtr is a fire giant in Norse mythology, a being of creation and destruction.
Hypatia of Alexandria was a Pagan librarian and scholar. In Terramagne, the Order of Hypatia rescues threatened manuscripts during troubled times, and later returns them. This is why they have many volumes that did not survive here. In this poem, a Viking nerd is composing poetry to the act of defiance entailed in smuggling books to safety before they can be destroyed.
Odin is the god of wisdom in Norse Mythology.
Old Norse poetry relies on alliteration. It uses colorful language in kennings (like "Hypatia's handmaids" for "librarians") and heiti (like "liminal" for "edgy"). Lines often feature a caesura, or break, in the middle.
The last of the sun's children
forms so far out on the fringe
that there is no keeping her:
she flies away into the endless night.
The sun thinks of the life inside her
secreted in small green seeds that
may someday, in a better space,
find the resources to sprout
into festoons of cells.
The rogue planet goes her own way,
a pod of celestial dehiscence,
and the sun smiles.
* * *
In botany, dehiscence refers to a method of seed dispersion where the seed pod splits open to release the seeds, or in some cases, catapult them a considerable distance.
Panspermia is a theory which posits that life can be transferred from one solar system to another, therefore meaning the galaxy does not have to reinvent the wheel every time. The fact that we've found algae growing on the outside of the International Space Station lends weight to this possibility.
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WARNING: This poem contains graphic descriptions of violent history and current malfeasance that many readers may find disturbing. It includes references to the Holocaust, Nazism and its sympathizers, trench warfare, rotting flesh, lying about historic facts, and other mayhem. Please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether this is something you want to read.
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"Battles and Wars"
George Armstrong Custer
was a man who told his own tales,
tall ones, inflating his deeds and his ego.
He had a white wife and a Cheyenne mistress,
who shouted and whispered his history.
He did whatever he wanted,
often with criminal intent.
He lost the battle but won the war.
The Lakota honored the Paha Sapa,
the Black Hills, more than they cared for gold,
and fought to protect their sacred lands.
The Cheyenne, too, followed them
off the empty prison of the reservation
to make their stand at Greasy Grass.
Among them, his Cheyenne woman
was left to speak her truth.
They won the battle but lost the war.
* * *
George Armstrong Custer is most famous for his last, fatal mistakes in the Battle of Greasy Grass (Little Bighorn). For a native account, see the illustrations by Red Horse. According to oral tradition, he also had a son by a Cheyenne mistress. You can read more about his shabby reputation here.
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Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open! Today's theme is "history written by the losers." I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.
Click to read the linkback poem "Lead Us in Peace" (18 verses, Clay of Life).
What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?
Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.
In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "history written by the losers." I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.
I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:
1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.
2) Swim, Fishie, Swim! -- A feature in conjunction with fishbowl sponsorship is this progress meter showing the amount donated. There are multiple perks, the top one being a half-price poetry sale on one series when donations reach $300.
3) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).
0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.
4) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here. See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"
5) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network. Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall. Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl. If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published. If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.
Linkback perk: I have a spare series poem available, and each linkback will reveal a verse of the poem. One person can do multiple links if they're on different services, like Dreamwidth or Twitter, rather than all on LiveJournal. Comment with a link to where you posted. "Lead Us in Peace" has 18 verses available and belongs to Clay of Life.
1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."
2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function. (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.) These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.
3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity. While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category. Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those. I've also posted a list of other donor perks there. I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.
4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.
5) If donations total $100 by Friday evening then you get a free $15 poem; $150 gets you a free $20 poem; and $200 gets you a free epic, posted after the Poetry Fishbowl. These will usually be series poems if I have them; otherwise I may offer non-series poems or series poems in a different size. If donations reach $250, you get one step toward a bonus fishbowl; three of these activates the perk, and they don't have to be three months in a row. Everyone will get to vote on which series, and give prompts during the extra fishbowl, although it may be a half-day rather than a whole day. If donations reach $300, there will be a half-price sale in one series.
Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "history written by the losers." I'll be soliciting ideas for historians, other chroniclers, invaders, the oppressed, the misunderstood, ordinary people, outcasts, refugees, fish out of water, abuse survivors, the women that men don't see, QUILTBAG folks, people of color, people with detested superpowers, "evil" races, untouchables, burakumin, former or current criminals, foster children, others on the fringes of society, fighting a holding action, retreating, losing everything, looking in the window, taking people for granted, expecting the unexpected, surviving oppression, hiding, upstanding, speaking truth to power, facing your demons, punching up, protesting, storytelling, battlefields, reservations, cities, slums, classrooms, hideouts, alleys, subways and sewers, liminal zones, government buildings, libraries, oral tradition history, poorskills, unpaid labor, self-sacrifice, emotional labor, disruptions, linchpins and ripplepoints, time travel, the Underground Railroad, unusual vulnerabilities, history books written by the losers, painted hides, minority languages, subversive literacy, subversive education, humility, humiliation, appreciation, social evolution, and poetic forms in particular. But anything is welcome, really. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have The New Book of Forms by Lewis Turco which covers most common and many obscure forms.
I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation, and additional perks at $100-$300 in donations. Linkbacks reveal verses of "Lead us in Peace." The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.