Sunday, January 31, 2010

In Which Shift Work And Ebay Prove A Poor Match

A Yaesu FRG was my first pick --
A proper shortwave radio my need.
A taste for analog tech makes me tick,
And Ebay seemed the best place for to feed
My hunger for a new toy. Oh, alas,
The auction ended while I was at work,
And so this dreadful thing did come to pass:
The Yaesu got snapped up by some rare jerk
While I was earning what I need to live.
Split seconds were the difference. One more
Was snapped up while I toiled. For now I give
Right up. But there are other toys galore.
A Hallicrafter S28 will be
A compensation. Now, just come to me!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In Which A Warning Is Whispered

Be careful, oh, if you ask for your space,
For those who really love you will accede
To your request, e'en though more than a trace
Of pain is theirs. Real love gives what you need
If it trusts in your word. So thus to me
It's happened: earnestly a plea is made,
And earnestly believed and honored, see,
Despite the private tears. And as I'm bade,
I've backed off, promised so to calmly wait,
And, waiting, tried to go about my days
With bravery, then suddenly -- too late --
I find I've lost what most I'd deeply praised.
The accusation's laid down at my door:
Desertion and indifference, the score.

SESTINA SATURDAY: A Superwoman's Farewell

Sestinator's note: I wrote this to enter Hilobrow's flash fiction contest, thinking surely I could squeeze a sestina down to 250 words. I was wrong, wrong, wrong, but couldn't just forget about the thing, so here it is: flash fiction in sestina form on a troubled golden-age-style Superwoman.

A teenager, I first learned that I might
Be more than merely human. How my mind
Did roil with thoughts of power! Then, the weight,
Responsibility was nil. I will
Tell you now, though, of all the cost, the loss
That came with power. Listen, for all love!

My first thought was "I can compel the love
Of Darryl Green!" I wished with all my might,
And he was mine forever. At a loss
I am sometimes - he dogs me still. I mind
This very much, and think I always will.
He's on my conscience daily, a dead weight.

My powers grew. I could lift any weight,
Could bring back from the dead whate'er my love
Could not abide to be without. My will
Was law to all who heard me speak. My might
Could overpower any, and my mind
Retain all knowledge without e'er a loss.

As I outlived them all, each single loss
Piled on my heart with ever greater weight.
I did my best to put them from my mind;
The planet's needs came first, and soon my love
Was like a distant goddess's. You might
Find this a cruelty. I'm sure you will.

I tired of all the strife and with my will
Alone I built a fortress, far from loss
And those who would contend with all their might
With law and order's forces, throw their weight
Around in quest for power. I still love
Humanity in abstract, out of mind.

Now as I beam this story to your mind,
O feeble scribe, let this be my last will
And testament. I cannot die for love
Nor money, but I'll soon pack up my loss
And migrate to some other world, where weight
And mere survival challenges my might.

Plead as you might, you cannot change my mind.
The weight of years you must bear, if you will
All on your own. Please bear this loss with love.

In Which Ray Onativia Hits A Magic Number

Ray Onativia, as poets go,
You're prettier by far in face and verse.
You tear my heart quite often, as you know.
I am your Facebook fan, but it's far worse
That Twitter lets me stalk you. It's too fun
For me to stop; I love to watch you dwell
On matters light and weighty both in one
Small tweet or in a dense poetic knell.
Today you're 40, as I will be soon.
The coffee's sweeter, you tell us who are
Behind you on the calendar. The moon
Shines full this weekend just for you, dear; our
Best wishes for your birthday, dearest friend.
May you and I meet truly ere the end.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sonnet For A Friday Dusk

The cars go back and forth behind the fence.
A stream of traffic flows on past my yard
Unceasing. So it's gone and will go hence:
The white and then the red lights. It's not hard
To get annoyed at this and wonder why
So many people must go rushing past.
Just to and fro, and fro and to. The sky
Is deepening, dark blue, then black at last,
And out comes Venus, Mars and then the Moon
(At full, or nearly so), and still bright lights
In white, then red, zip by. I know that soon
The flow will slow somewhat; it does most nights.
But right now it's a rapid metronome,
The sights and sounds that tell me I'm at home.

Friday Flash: Interstellar Feller: In Which The Hunt Is On

Sonneteer's note: this is the latest installment of an on-going sonnet serial, Pepito Mojito: The Interstellar Feller. New readers can get up to speed by clicking on the "Interstellar Feller" tag below to bring up all installments. Start at the bottom and read your way up to today's...

More flagellations happen as it's learned
Nobody tagged Pepito and he's not
Got any coms equipment. Lo how spurned
Ex-lovers sometimes take revenge. Flow hot
The nano-bot-tinged tears of Pepi's love
As she now orders planetary scans,
Brute searches for Pepito from above.
"What planet is this anyway?" just fans
Yectara's ire, though she knows even less.
In haste to make escape, Maneuver Three's
Effective but it's anybody's guess
Just when and where it takes the ship. Now she's
Got star charts to consult, and more to check,
Ere she can find Pepito. She's a wreck.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Challenger: Twenty Four Years Later

'Twas twenty years and four, this very morn
That Angie walked into our band classroom,
A note in hand, a tearful face to warn
Us that the news she brought was of some doom.
"The Challenger blew up" is what it said,
Her note. Our teacher gravely sent us on:
The library had TVs. All were dead.
That cloud - you know it well - said they were gone
E'en more than any anchorman's sad voice.
I still watch ev'ry launch with a tight chest -
Full knowing I could spare myself. My choice,
Though is to watch. This program's been our best
In my lifetime, though it went up in smoke
That day in Florida, when my heart broke.

Friday Flash: Interstellar Feller: In Which Intoxication (?) Ensues

Sonneteer's note: this is the latest installment of an on-going sonnet serial, Pepito Mojito: The Interstellar Feller. New readers can get up to speed by clicking on the "Interstellar Feller" tag below to bring up all installments. Start at the bottom and read your way up to today's...

As Pepi whips up rounds and rounds of drinks,
He can't but notice no one takes a sip
But all are reaching out for one. He thinks
This somewhat odd, but it's been an odd trip
So far. He keeps on mixing, muddling, smiles
At last when, as he passes the last cup,
His red-skinned hosts assemble now in files.
Their leader stands, then all are bottoms up.
Pepito looks around, and soon is stunned.
They crowd around him close, their eyes awhirl
(All three of them) emitting a strange hum.
Pepito is bewildered. Then the girl,
Their leader, grabs his shoulders. Pepi stares
In to her swirling eyes, forgets his cares.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sonnet For A Speed-Painting: Gonzo the Ghoul

Speedpainting "Gonzo" by IsoBan

Now, Gonzo's long been quite my fav'rite one
Of Henson's brood, the Muppets, the most strange
And poignant, in a way. But now the sun
Hath set on all his cuteness. That such change
Should come upon this poultry fancier!
He's gone from homesick alien to ghoul!
One wonders what exactly did occur
To turn him. Now I fear him. There's a pool
Of chicken blood at his strange feet, and then
Those eyes, so mild and kind, now show the glare
Of madness, or possession! Where's he been?
I fear now for his good friend, poor Big Bird.
He hungers still, our Gonzo. Pass the word!

In Which I Try Not To Fret Over The Constellation Program's Fate

I'm trying hard today not to lose heart,
As rumors fly: a big dream's for the axe
Within the fed'ral budget. Many smart
And plugged-in people say, though, to relax.
The Constellation program's under threat
But it's an empty one, for Congress won't
Choke off that NASA money, not just yet,
That goes into so many districts. Don't
Believe that I'll be sanguine, knowing same,
Although venality's a sure, sure thing
On which to bet. I just think that it's lame
Just as we've found there's water there, we swing
Back to debating what the moon is worth.
Do babies e'er debate the cons of birth?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In Which I Hoist A Robot Vodkatini For @JCHutchins' Birthday

What can I say that's not already come
Forth on this page, how much I love mah Hutch?
His fiction curls my toes and strikes me dumb,
Whene'er a tktktk sounds off, as such.
Hey everybody, though, it's his birthday!
And we all know nobody does it like
Ms. Sara Lee, I mean, our J.C. May
We always be so lucky as to strike
Such gold as he pours out for us -- for free!
Not just in fiction but in clarion calls
To match his efforts, generosity
And sheer inventiveness. I've climbed the walls
Just trying here to properly express
How glad I am to know him. Hutch: success!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Who Are They?

My sister has no children; nor have I.
So where did these twin blonde-haired boys come from
That in my dream did greet me with a cry
And hug my legs until those limbs went numb?
Concerned they were with some fam'ly disease
Of which I'd never heard, and can't name now.
"Oh Auntie Kate," they cried, "Oh, tell us please,
Is this thing going to kill us? When, and how?"
I held them close but simply couldn't tell
What had them so disturbed. The anguish stays.
I still can feel their skinny forms so well
And feel their tears on my face. In such ways
A tired mind pulls something from the soul
Into the waking world. I've no control.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In Which I Am Mugged By An Unpleasant Day

If this day were a person, I would fear
Him like the bullies who betimes would stuff
Me in my locker during freshman year.
He'd have one eye, and, if that weren't enough,
Six fingers on each hand, and fewer teeth
Than he has got tattoos. His reechy breath,
As sharp as that buckknife there in its sheath;
No need to brandish it. I'm scared to death
That he is not done threatening me yet!
I would he went away, left me alone,
Except I don't know just who else would get
A visit in my stead, who might be thrown,
A morsel into his rapacious maw.
But if he looks away I shall withdraw!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In Which I Get A Surprise Visit From The Migraine Fairy

A burst of feedback's surely nothing new.
Hell, I'm a fan of Lou Reed's horrible
Jam, Metal Machine Music, but when too
Much comes at once, unasked for and at full
And too-direct volume, there can be pain.
Such happened yesterday; hold music is
A blot upon this land e'en without gain
Stepped up. Such screeching feedback, lo, as this,
A one-way ticket to migraine land proved.
O'er 30 hours of pain and aura, and
That screeching sound near ev'ry time I moved,
That was my day and night. Quite out of hand.
Thanks, unknown jackass who put me on hold
I hope this is your fate, too, ere you're old.

Friday, January 22, 2010


"The Smoking Chap" - speed painting by Chris Butler, aka Isoban

I watch it all begin with just a line,
Then more, from which will soon emerge a shape.
A face appears! Then as he adds some shade
And fine detail, there bubbles up a word,
Perhaps a name: The Smoking Chap! What verse
Can I create to catch this painting's tone?

An ugly face, say all, which sets the tone
As this chap comes to life. With ev'ry line
More tufts of hair and wrinkles show (in verse:
The flow of time is speeded on). My shade
Is there to follow Chris's hand; the word
I want is "telepresence." More takes shape.

O that a world like ours now holds its shape,
So real, though so much of it has the tone
Of fantasy! The ether bears my word
To he who draws; he answers. A new line
Appears upon his screen and there's a shade
Of character there now to haunt my verse.

We live now in a wholly sci-fi 'verse.
Our daily world has taken on a shape
Which leaves both Verne and Wells off in the shade.
No one imagined one day that his tone
Of voice as he makes ev'ry brand-new line
Could be shared with so many, and each word.

Some still believe it started with a Word,
This world; they quote in turn each Bible verse
As though it had that power. Not my line,
Such thinking, though I watched as Chris did shape
A Fremen next by my request. In tone
It owed much to Leone's cowboy shade...

Now migraine-haunted I lie in the shade
Of my cool room; unbidden comes the word
"Sestina," all-commanding in the tone
Of this, my smoking muse, demanding verse
To celebrate his strange birth, taking shape
From Chris's hand to my uncertain line.

A line and then another, thought and shade
Bring forth a shape and then a hail of word
To form a verse whose tone is veiled in smoke.

Sestinator's note: Today's sestina was largely inspired by a most unusual experience I shared with a few friends earlier this week. The creator of the speed painting which appears above executed it live via his Ustream channel. He -- and we -- enjoyed it so much that we're going to do it all again sometime this weekend. If you would like to join us, keep an eye on Isoban's Twitter feed for the announcement and follow the link. Join our painting peanut gallery!

Sonnet Dare: In Which Blair Enters My Crosshair(s)

From frying pan to fire's quite a trip,
And one that Tony Blair knows very well.
As captain of the Labour Party's ship
In Britain he was often wished to hell
For daring innovations he made, such
As seating legislatures in the realms
Of Wales and Scotland, thank you very much
And Northern Ireland. This overwhelms
The sonnet-form already. Now he thinks
The Middle East should be his new milieu.
As leadership positions go this stinks,
But he had ev'ry chance to say adieu
Retire from the world stage, but instead
He took another burden on his head.

Sonnet Dare: In Which I Summarize Some Follow Fridays

Cruel Nikki dares me rattle off by name
Those Twitter folk I've called as stalkable.
Al Bruno, Oliveri, Cullen - blame
Her that you're abused here. The lovable
Dear BardoRobot, BlazingBetta and
Ms. Jennybeans and Melzer, Ron McD
And Christian Wiehs, Stephan Spiegel, oh man!
O Jason Copland, Tee Monster... let's see...
My Bonfire rescued me from a migraine
(Or at least staved it off). My Lisbeth West
And Oliver T. Earle both make it plain
This world's a wonder. I can't choose the best,
From 'mongst my Twitter friends, mostly eschew
This Follow Friday thing. How about you?

Friday Flash: Interstellar Feller: In Which Pepito Plies His Trade

Sonneteer's note: this is the latest installment of an on-going sonnet serial, Pepito Mojito: The Interstellar Feller. New readers can get up to speed by clicking on the "Interstellar Feller" tag below to bring up all installments. Start at the bottom and read your way up to today's...

Meanwhile, Pepito has been carried off
To points unknown by angry, martial men.
He signals his discomfort with a cough,
But finds himself ignored till at last when
His captors dump him at their lady's feet
(You knew there'd be another), who inquires
As to just who he is. Alas, she speaks
No language Pepi knows. But this inspires
Ideas once his bonds are cut. He seeks
A plant he saw outside the village: mint!
The liquid he sees passed around? It's rum!
With gestures he conveys his earnest hint.
A sort of muddler's brought to him by dumb
But interested handmaidens. Sugar's there,
And soon he's mixing drinks without a care!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

In Which Metamorphic Snack Food Is Discovered

Approximately 3:15 p.m.
(That's Central Time) o'er there in Bowling Green
(Kentucky) - is the milieu from which stems
A mystery that's got us in a keen
Debate over a most disturbing claim.
A paranormal candy bar? Some scoff
And say that CGI is what's to blame.
('Twas my first thought, I must admit), but off
The record, yes, there's something much awry
With that conclusion. This is snack food schist!
Its foliation stuns the keenest eye.
How geologic wonders in our midst
Can manifest in snacks, we've not been told.
Perhaps time travel? Or it's just real old?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Which A Victory Cigar Is About To Get Clipped

I still can't tell you what I've toiled to make
These last ten months, but I've hit a milestone
Just now. And though it's far from done I'll take
A moment soon, reactivate my phone,
And clip the end off something that I've saved
For just this special moment. This Avo
I bought last fall smells lovely! Long I've craved
To light it, taste it, draw it in, then blow
Its smoke back out, to crow and celebrate
Completion of what I once thought would ne'er
Be done. As I said, just one stage won't rate
A party or a prize, but still is there
Occasion to reflect and feel some pride?
Most certainly. And this I shall not hide.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In Which I Have Conserved My Words

A pleasure's there in silence to be had.
A day's gone by and I've not said a word
To anyone. While this might count as sad
Were it a daily truth, not to have heard
A human voice at all, not e'en my own,
For this small space of time feels strangely good.
The world moves at it the pace it's always known
Outside my windows, as I knew it would.
Meanwhile my work continues quietly,
Slow progress upon progress, this thing grows
From what I planted last year inside me
Into something that's new, something that glows
With all the energy I've put there for
First months, then days, now a few hours more.

Monday, January 18, 2010

In Which I Plan A Techvacation Of Sorts -- But Just A Short One

I have a lot of work that I must do
Ere I resume my day gig three days hence.
I'm taking here a breath; I'll plunge into
The final push, and spare me no expense
In time or labor, now, till this is done.
I know that you know not of what I speak,
Dear readers, and I promise it's not fun
To keep these secrets but for now a meek
Apology is all I have to give.
I'm going dark quite soon, because I suck
At working hard when there's this life I live
Online and in my town that bids me chuck
The nitty gritty and go off and play
As I have learned this last many a day.

BONUS SONNET: On The Rare Virtues Of Robot Vodka

'Twas J.C. Hutchins first demanding it
Of his Jane Alpha that did made me think,
"Just what is ROBOT VODKA?" and submit
At first that it's a potent, wicked drink
Made by fermenting farm-fresh robot milk
Before distilling it. This beverage would
Most surely go down smooth as liquid silk,
Before its vapors locked one's brain up good.
But others say the hooch itself contains
Wee nanobots that clean the drinker's teeth!
Or that it's motor oil from robot veins,
Or anything that puts robots beneath
The table. Really, I'm no closer to
The truth than when I started. How 'bout you?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

In Which I Compose A Reluctant Hymn

The Bitch Goddess has found me once again.
Insomnia makes herself right at home
At inconvenient intervals, like when
I need my brain to focus. O please roam
Elsewhere tonight! What kind of sacrifice
Would you accept, maleficence, tonight
To leave me be? I'll pay most any price
To sleep well once this week. You heard me right --
Or would if you were listening to me.
But all you want to hear are helpless moans
From those you hold in thrall. But soon, you'll see
My body will conspire with me. My bones
Shall sink deep in the mattress and I'll drop
Beyond your reach. But really, can't you stop?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In Which I Randomly Summarize My Day

A Babelfish for Boomhauers is my wish,
While CapnMarrrrk craves bacon swizzle sticks
For his hot chocolate. My girlfriends dish
About some guy I've never met. So ticks
A boring Satuesday doing shift work.
The Bonfire can't stop with the choc'late nosh,
While Sarah tries so mightily to shirk
The lure of her new iPhone (with panache,
Though I still bet she checks here). All the while
Dear Oliver plots death for those who pace,
And Christian works so hard to make me smile
Translating from the Deutsch. Oh, ow, my face
I laugh despite a melancholy start
To this, my day. I thank y'all from my heart.

SESTINA SATURDAY: Mac Tonnies: The Alchemy of Time

Like my "new look"? ;-), originally uploaded by Mac Tonnies.

October started fine; dissolved in loss.
My hopes had soared but crashed down into grief.
Mac Tonnies, much adored - surprise - was gone.
In pain I shut down badly, and my friends
Were helpless to console me. In their love
I took some comfort but did not taste joy.

Mac and his blog were sources for rare joy.
I'd read them each day, always at a loss
For words. Always, there, something new to love,
Always surprises. I would say "Good grief!"
And rush to show his finds to all my friends.
I missed him right away when he was gone.

I feared my inspiration, too, had gone
For one great project that had brought us joy,
A project for which many of my friends
Were waiting eagerly. But in my loss
Each time I took it up I felt the grief
Like new, and let it swallow up my love.

Mac's quality's reflected by the love
That poured out at the news that he was gone.
I knew I suffered not alone in grief,
And started swapping stories of the joy
I had in knowing him with those whose loss
Was just as keen as mine; we became friends.

Some of these people already were friends
Of Mac's and mine; through him I'd come to love
A whole new set of people. In this loss
We pulled together, missing what was gone,
Determined though, to keep alive the joy
He'd brought us all, and to assuage our grief.

But more were new, discovered in my grief.
A bittersweet way to acquire new friends,
But nonetheless, I find in them new joy.
There will not be another Mac, but love
Wears many faces; just because one's gone
Does not mean recompense won't come for loss.

Such alchemy! A time of loss and grief
For one now gone, made bearable by friends
Both new and old; their love has brought me joy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Yes, Virginia, There Is An Evil Ray Pointed At Your Skull

'Twas Debbie's Mini-Me, I'm told, at fault,
A-playing with an evil prototype.
On other days, it's with a grain of salt
I'd take such news, but just now as I wipe
The ghosts of tears and wonder just where are
My sunglasses, though I am still indoors,
I wonder if I ought to go so far
As to say, while my eyes drift to the floors
Which bob like waves upon a restless sea,
A headache ray is poppycock! But here
I sit as though one was aimed right at me,
The trigger pulled at point-blank range. The sear
Of pain is real, at any rate. So how
Best to explain it save this one, right now?

Interstellar Feller: In Which Ill News Is An Ill Guest

Sonneteer's note: this is the latest installment of an on-going sonnet serial, Pepito Mojito: The Interstellar Feller. New readers can get up to speed by clicking on the "Interstellar Feller" tag below to bring up all installments. Start at the bottom and read your way up to today's...

We hate to be a fly upon this wall --
Well, bulkhead -- on the Grokulator, as
Yectara learns the landing party, all
Save her Pepito have returned. She has
A legendary temper, this we know.
She activates her module and suggests
That crew men who let her Pepito go
Might flagellate themselves awhile. No guests
Onboard her ship should ever run the risk
Of kidnapping! Now she has got to plan
A rescue mission. All the bridge crew sigh.
She glares and tells them "He's not just a man
Who caught my fancy, and he mustn't die
Or fall into the hands of enemies.
Prepare, then, to retrieve him, if you please."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In Which MsInformation Rocks Another Year

Pull out the stopper; let the glasses clink
(Some gin and dry vermouth, and olives, too)
Champagne and dry martinis are, I think
The best way we can fete we-all-know-who.
MsInfoMugavero, darling, cheers,
On this, your birthday, gorgeous bottle of
Pure vixensauce. So much sass o'er the years
Can be met on this day with naught but love.
Dear Donna, wish I could be there tonight
But I am sure I'll feel the party vibes
From here. The world is a much cooler place
For your strutting across't it. All the tribes:
Podcasters, skeptics, music nerds and we
Who are a bit of each share in your glee.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Which I Suffer To Be Feminine

I feel quite silly talking about this,
Most barbarous thing I did with my day,
But I'm a girl, and I would be remiss
If regularly I did not, some way
Submit myself to standardizing pain.
My eyebrows are a trial to govern. I
Am chicken with the tweezers, but I fain
Will let another get close to my eye
With hot wax, just for pretty's sake. I trust
Just two folk with this task. They both are kind
Though I will not say gentle, for they must
Needs rip those eyebrows all asunder, find
The roots of those hairs, ruthless, pull them out
And promise not to tease me if I shout.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In Which I Finally Visit Pandora And Don't Even Get A Lousy Tee Shirt

Predictability's beside the point
When such as Avatar graces the screen.
The outsider whom they'll come to annoint
Their leader, yawn. But story's not the scene
In films like this. The world is pretty, yes --
Not pretty 'nough to induce suicide
Because I can't live there, though I can guess
How some might feel that way. One's pulled inside
A lovely world, low-gravity and lush,
And luminescent when the day grows dark.
With sexy kittehs gyrating -- I blush.
Three hours of cut scenes, though, is not a lark.
At some point I did want to take control
And play the game that hides within its soul.

Monday, January 11, 2010

In Which A Sea Slug Goes Green

Its kleptomania we knew before,
Elysia chlorotica's, that slug's,
Like other ocean dwellers -- only more
Is going on than just some bugs
Kidnapped and put to work within its gut!
It keeps the chloroplasts it eats intact
And making chlorophyll no matter what.
So like a plant -- and this is no mean act --
It feeds on sunlight as it swims along.
So while it still likes algae for a meal
Its need to do so isn't very strong
As long as there is light it needn't steal
Its energy from other life, although
It still does need to feed somewhat to grow.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In Which I Prepare To Gawk Again At The International Space Station

A flyover so high and bright, fast too,
Our space station, our biggest satellite
Will cross the sky quite soon, 'gainst the deep blue.
I'll go outside and watch once more tonight.
The day I find this dull, just pack me off --
A rest home or a mental ward, no care
As to which one is mine. Just wink and cough
And let the men in clean white coats just bear
Me right away. We've people in the sky,
Experiments ongoing in a grand
Attempt to back up -- and we have to try --
Our biosphere. How could anyone stand
With all that glory passing overhead
And not be moved? My tears I freely shed.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

In Which, In All Seriousness, I Do In Fact Rejoice With Chris Butler At His Creation

At last we reach the day in which SkyNet
First comes to life. Of course it's IsoBan,
Called Valian, who built it. Now we'll get
What's coming to us, once he turns it on.
We can't say we weren't warned; he's shared with us
The IsoCore 9000's ev'ry pang
Towards birthing. Now it's far too late to fuss.
He says it boots up fast; we all can hang
Who trust it not. Just hear his "Muhaha!"
As IsoCore doth reach out for the web.
I hope it won't absorb its master. Ah,
I'm proud with him but how soon pride can ebb,
Warped into fear, misunderstanding, and
A frenzied panic spreading o'er the land...

SESTINA SATURDAY: A Duffer's Grasp Of Chess

Sonneteer's note: just to keep on challenging myself I've gotten the crack-brained idea to attempt a sestina a week in 2010 in addition to continuing with a sonnet a day. I make no promises and have made no firm resolution. We'll just have to see!

An early menace may come from a knight.
The canny player puts a well-placed pawn
Athwart, to drive him off, perhaps a priest
May close to him diagonals. The rook
Stays home most games 'till late and lets the queen
Rampage a bit in defense of the king.

Oh, let not stray your sights, though, from the king.
Yes, gladly you may stalk him with a knight
And subterfuge. Or bully with your queen;
He'll run like a white rabbit. But a pawn,
If kept alive in numbers, with a rook
Or two can make the kill without a priest.

I've one dear friend who ill-esteems the priest,
Dislikes the zigzags, mayhap (and his king
Gets caught betimes 'twixt scissor blades); the rook
He strives to bring out soon. Meanwhile his knight
Sneaks all about. I chase it with a pawn,
Distracted, till at last it rapes my queen.

When starting out I liked to use the queen
More as a bugaboo than threat. The priest
I'd set on outer files; I'd treat a pawn
As cannon-fodder, and castle my king
With haste unseemly, poorly use the knight
To try and seize the center; and the rook?

He'd sit there, fat and ready, my poor rook
To fall before the weakest siege. My queen
I'd tend to swap with his quite soon. His knight --
I've learned to fear his knight. Many a priest
Has fallen to his sneaky ways. My king,
Oft forced to move ere I would, like a pawn.

How best to start a game? To move a pawn
Right up into the center? Free a rook,
A partially cleared file for it? The king
One leaves alone of course; his queen
Close by his side will guard him, sure. The priest?
O fianchetto, take control! The knight?

He's in the way of castling. Knight and pawn
Go forth at first, right? Then the priest and rook
Can take command. No: lose the queen, then king.

In Which Ron Earl Phillips Gets Older In Style!

No small ambition comes from our Ron Earl,
A new year starts for all, and now for him
(His birthday is today). All in a whirl
As we recover and confront the whim
To make dumb resolutions, he brings one
That would be a delight to honor: read
A book a week in 2010. Fun --
But also he'll continue with his screed,
His own dear novel, which, judged from his taste
In others' works is something I shall like
And proudly shill when it sees print. No waste
Of time and energy shall I brook. Strike
Now while you have the will, this special day!
Don't let that will and power fade away!

Friday, January 8, 2010

In Which I Wish It Were February Already

Anticipation grips already for
Release of dear Mac Tonnies' latest book
(I still can't say his last; that's still a sore
Spot in my heart) next month. Now take a look:
Mike Clelland, whose cartoons e'er made him smile,
Will illustrate the tome! So now I'll read
And pore over the drawings deeply, while
I marvel at them both as they do feed
My curiosity and yours as well
About what peoples may live by our side
Unnoticed, sharing what, we cannot tell.
I write of this with a great deal of pride:
It's title ain't iambic but I'll cheat:
Cryptoterrestrials will sure be neat!

Friday Flash: Interstellar Feller: In Which Pepito Makes Exciting New Friends!

Sonneteer's note: this is the latest installment of an on-going sonnet serial, Pepito Mojito: The Interstellar Feller. New readers can get up to speed by clicking on the "Interstellar Feller" tag below to bring up all installments. Start at the bottom and read your way up to today's.....

Despite the threat of imminent attack,
Yectara's crew goes on about their jobs.
Pepito gestures mutely, his jaw slack,
His breath emerging audibly in sobs.
The red men ford the stream, their eyes ablaze
(And more so than the norm, for they have three!),
And ere our man can stir from out his daze
He finds himself a prisoner, on one knee,
Soon bound up hand and foot. He gives a cry
To his crewmates, who look up from their toil
And nod, and one of them waves his good-bye;
They clearly don't intend to let this spoil
Their outing. And with that, Yectara's toy
Is hustled off for 'nother to enjoy.

In Which Is Celebrated The Birthday Of A Legend

Know ye not it is Zzyzx's birthday now?
He goes, it's true, by other, common names,
Like David Steinberg, though I don't see how
That tells you more! Oh, how I miss our games,
The saying of the "Qwok," the strange road trips
To go watch Phish or other bands at play.
When'er the Muppet Show comes on, how skips
My heart - 'tis how we met on one fine day!
We had the greatest indoor soccer team,
And Plumb Awful the best band e'er at Bard.
When Spandex gave him knowledge in a dream
Of how mankind might be saved, though 'twas hard,
Did Zzyzx falter? No; the gospel spread!
The goldfish angel never shall be dead!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

In Which Humans Are Sometimes Cool: Together We Are Mighty!

There's limits to how cynical I'll be
(Remem'bring, too, its roots, that word's, in stuff
Dog-like and pure and poor and largely free
Of selfishness). Sure, there's reason enough
To think the worst of projects folks put forth,
But then sometimes such thoughts turn inside-out.
Ms. Ballantine reached out in all her warmth,
A chorus rose, first murmurs, now a shout:
"Together we are mighty!" Sonic Boom
And Tee need love, but tangible support
Will help more than your words as vast costs loom,
And they two face a future one Mom short.
Six thousand bucks and change already fills
That coffer, and I trade my sneers for chills.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In Which I Try, Just Try, To Make It Easier, But Probably Don't

A life can change so quickly, in one's sleep.
Someone we've always counted on can go
Away without a warning, leaving deep
And lasting wounds that may not always show
Once they're not fresh. As my dear Donna told
Us all today, take time to hug someone
You love or at least tell them. New or old,
A friend, a spouse, a lover, or a fun
Playfellow can be taken. Oh, dear Tee,
And Sonic Boom, sweet, too, you're in my thoughts,
As little as that really proves to be.
All I can do is send my love -- and lots.
And hope that you and yours find strength and wish
That we all could do more than simply this.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Which I Have Had To Keep My Wits About Me On My Way

Night driving is a challenge at its best,
When elements do merge, as Whitman said.
Less horrid than at sunset, when it's west
To which one has to drive into the red
And blue and grey, directly into glare.
But I was driving east; 'twas just delay
And indolence that forced me to beware
Of darkness, eighteen-wheelers, and the play
Of wind and snow and ice across the road.
At least no white-outs threatened, but snow plows
And unskilled winter drivers, these bestowed
An extra need for caution and for vows
To tarry not so long 'midst the delights
Of coffee, chess and wine, on future nights.

Monday, January 4, 2010

In Which Distance Becomes Even More Meaningless

Most of my friends don't live here in Cheyenne,
But I still may pass entire days with them.
The internet is chiefly why I can,
That and a cell phone (what I have's a gem!).
In Saratoga Erin, graciously
Engaged in conversation, geeking out
And, of course, playing games with silly me
On Facebook. We are even on our bout
As these scant lines emerge, but we're mid-game
On number three, is all. How wonderful
That she has this free time, and she will spend
So much with me, in telepresence. Pull
Me from my dreary day? Well, I'll say yes!
And give all thanks that I've found Facebook chess!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

In Which Sleep Deprivation Alters My States, Or Something

I do shift work, as everybody knows,
Which means I am obliged, times, to fill in
For someone with a boo-boo, runny nose,
Or something much more grave, to our chagrin.
That's how I found myself at work five hours
Before my normal starting time, at One
A.M. with little sleep and with my pow'rs
At near their nadir. I'm sure it's been fun
For friends and colleagues to watch all my flubs,
And cognitive backfires -- I cannot find
The home row on a keyboard; more like clubs
Than fingers are these digits. Where's my mind?
I only managed victory at chess
By taking on a fellow victim, yes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

In Which I Go Back And Forth A Bit

Today's a palindromic date, the first
Since October 2 in 2001.
Eleven more will come, somewhat dispersed
Throughout this century. It's only fun
For number nerds like me, I might suppose,
But there are more of those than I once thought
As Twitter daily proves. Just one of those
Fun quirks, it is, the calendar has got.
And only by American format
Comes this: 01022010.
Go back and forth until your brain goes splat
If you've a mind -- you haven't far to go
If you're like me, distracted, somewhat tired,
Yet nontheless charmed and somewhat inspired.

Interstellar Feller: In Which A Party Is Caught Red-Handed

Sonneteer's note: this is the latest installment of an on-going sonnet serial, Pepito Mojito: The Interstellar Feller. New readers can get up to speed by clicking on the "Interstellar Feller" tag below to bring up all installments. Start at the bottom and read your way up to today's.....

A swiftly flowing stream meets Pepi's gaze,
Its course through red sands straight and finely cut --
So much so that, we say, though it amaze
Us fully, it just can't be natural. What
We see is a canal! The cacogens
Move quickly to connect to it a pump
And hoses and a tank. Pepito's friends
Replenish thus the ship's reserves. Then thump!
Some dense projectile's impact sounds upon
The tank's side! Pepi hears a battle cry
And sees a squad of angry red men on
The far side of the water. Do or die,
Their fierce expressions seem to say. "Um, hey..."
Is all Pepito seems able to say.

Friday, January 1, 2010

On New Year's Day

Now, really it is just another day.
The sun came up, we woke, we ate, we washed,
We greeted those we saw - that is to say
'Tis arbitrary, New Year's Day, b'gosh.
It has to happen sometime, lest our brains
Be overwhelmed with keeping track of time,
That piles up endlessly, that ever gains
Until we all are lost amidst the climb
Towards a summit none of us will see.
So, yearly we declare "let's start again,
Let's clean the slate, let's say today will be
An origin, and not just more, again,
Of what we've had a-going for so long."
But not forget the old stuff, per the song.