We Drink Because We’re Poets, Thursday Poetry Prompt #9

Once again I’ve been inspired by we drink because we’re poets and have written a poem for their Thursday Poetry Prompt #9

Guess what today’s prompt is, people? Today, and for the next few days, your task is to create a “magical recipe” that has unintended consequences…in the form of a poem! There are no constraints on this piece as far as form, so go with a form of your choosing!

And may I *highly* recommend you visit the original entry and read the first submission.  It’s a scream!  (You especially, Evan, will appreciate its… ehem… imagery.)

Watch That Last Step

Boil a pail of rabbit’s blood,
Mix with earth to form a mud,
Then crush and add a nightshade bud
When Autumn’s moon is whole.

Scale of dragon, dried and cured,
A phoenix feather, deftly procured,
One poppy bloom, fully matured,
Ground in a mortar bowl.

The mingled juice of lovers’ play,
Three reddish toadstools, picked today,
One token from a werewolf’s prey,
And one from a fallen soul.

Hair from a satyr’s cloven feet,
A pint of milk from Hathor’s teat,
Tears from a dryad, bottled neat,
One last step to the goal –

All these items must combine,
Then mix it into some sweet wine.
All your wishes can be thine,
But you must pay the toll.

You drink and wait, but are you sure
You gathered only the most pure
To act the part of fortune’s lure?
Read the fine print on the scroll:

The last ingredient, you’ve guessed,
It was the heart within your chest –
As black as pitch, you failed the test –
Weep now, your fate to thole.

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The Ultimate Question

He settled onto the couch to watch the news like he did every night.  I went to the kitchen to make dinner, like I did every night.  I put a pot of water on the stove for the rice and started to chop vegetables for the stir-fry.

“Honey?” he called, “Can you bring me a beer?”

I suppose some people would have had an opinion on that – that I should have told him to get it himself – but it was just how we were.  I never felt like I had to take some kind of indignant stand; and besides, I enjoyed it.   I supposed I’m old fashioned, in my own way.

I made a small tray of sliced meat and cheese and brought it out with his beer to hold him over until dinner was ready.  He gave me a kiss and told me to sit with him for a while but I insisted the rice would burn so I slipped from his needy grasp and went back to the stove; the news was his thing, not mine.  I usually found it too dull or too filled with bad news to be worthwhile.

The vegetables sent up a billow of steam and sizzles as they hit the wok and I stirred quickly before putting the cover on it and checking on the rice.  He had never been much of a rice person before he met me, but I had been raised with it at every meal.  Sometimes the stereotypes are true.  We got the culinary ones out of the way early on; I cooked on our first date.  He teased me about my rice and I said I was fresh out of watermelon.  I asked if he would ever try tofu and he said only if they start making it in fried chicken flavor, and before we knew it we were in love.

My friends said he was too old; his friends said I was a gold digger.  All our friends said we moved way too fast.  I moved into his apartment at four months, and just after a year we found this house.  It was a little more than we had expected to pay, but we took it; he because it was close to work, I because of the kitchen.  The hardwood floors, two bedrooms, and a view of Puget Sound was just the icing on the cake: it was like a dream.  No matter what anyone said, we were happy.  That’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

From the living room I heard a clatter of the plate hitting the floor.  It didn’t sound like it broke, so I just called out to ask if everything was okay.  The answer I got was him rushing into the kitchen and grabbing me around the waist.

He gave me a spin that had me wiggling to get free and protesting his sudden behavior.  Then he knelt down and took my hand and I realized what was going on.  When said those marvelously beautiful words, I knew what had just happened.  “David, will you marry me?”

I confess, I squealed like a six-year-old girl right before I started choking.  Not like a little inhale that catches in your throat, but the kind of choking that makes you double over and gasp for air.  His eyes went wide and he grabbed a glass of water, holding it for me as I tried to take a few sips to wash out whatever had gotten in my throat.

Then he held me close to his chest and repeated his request, words whispered in my ear and sending shivers up my spine.

“Yes, yes of course!” I said, tears streaking down my face which I wiped at in vain.  “Dammit, William!  Yes, I’ll marry you!”

“R74 passed,” he said.

I laughed at that.  “I would have married you any way.”

“I love you,” he said, and I echoed the words back to him before he caught me in a kiss and pressed me back against the counter.  I could tell what was on his mind.  I think mine had already jumped ahead to who I wanted to invite and where it should be held.

The San Juan Islands were beautiful, and how can you beat a ferry ride to kick off the honeymoon?  I was distracted from impromptu wedding plans by his mouth on my neck and I melted into his touch, letting him carry me off.

Twenty minutes later, the fire alarm went off.  I burned the rice.  But of course, I didn’t care.

“There’ll be plenty of rice at the wedding,” he said as we threw opened windows and fanned the smoke from the stove.

“Oh no, that’s bad for the birds,” I said, trying to salvage something of the meal.  “Bubbles.  Let’s have bubbles.”

He came over and closed his hands around mine, drawing them away from the pans.  “Come on.  Let me take you out to dinner.”

I looked into his eyes and said, “Sweetie?  I want kids.”

He laughed and said, “I’m not sure where they serve those.  How about Thai instead?”

“Okay.  But kids, after.”

“Whatever you want for dessert is fine with me,” he said and grabbed our coats.

Some people don’t get us.  But we do, and that’s all that matters.

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Nerdy Girl

From the desk of we drink because we’re poets (love the name), I was inspired to write a Nerdy poem.

Prompt: write a humorous poem, in any form you choose (I’d go with a limerick, though, just as a suggestion) about a day in the life of a nerd! You can be as nerdy as you dare!

I didn’t have to go far to find my inspiration: my desk at work.  Where I was sitting.  When I wrote the poem.  It is a ridiculously silly poem, but then, what did you expect?

And just to prove that everything I wrote in the poem was absolutely true, I took pictures.  😀

 

The things upon my office desk
I think make it abundantly clear
Exactly the type of person you’d expect
To find sitting and working here.

Sticky note origami flowers
Form a paper garden beneath my screen,
And my bag of multi-sided dice is
Behind the Loki figurine.

An XKCD comic strip
Is pinned by my model Serenity,
And sandwiched between file folders are
The soundtracks to Myst I, II and III.

The Halo 3 spartan desktop pic,
Thor and Iron Man cupcake rings,
And Lego hoodie on my chair;
Surely there can be no misunderstandings.

Think you’ve got me figured out?
Just one last detail to fill in,
Think you know whose stuff this is?
Nerdy girl with glasses, FTW!

 

Da proof:

0625030743(1)0625030743b 0625030744 Metington 0625030743a 0625030744aFRO

The Hunted

Two years he had been searching.  Whispered rumours had finally brought him here, a town on the edge of nowhere that most folks called Methelis, but those who lived here called it Hell, and for good reason.  The smell of sulphur was never far away, a dim yellow stain which clung to every surface and left every meal tasting of bad eggs.  It was always strongest when the miners passed by, when it billowed from their clothes and hung thick in the stale air.

It was not the mining of it that burned the lungs and left the landscape around Methelis barren, however, but the refinery five miles away where plumes of the smoke filled the air and rained down acid.  Everyone who lived here wore respirators and goggles.  Everyone who lived here was looking to escape somewhere, though some believed whatever it was you were running from wasn’t nearly as bad as living here.

Running from something, that was the only reasons someone would come here willingly.  That, or a nice, fat bounty.

It was her eyes, gold with brown flecks, which drew his immediate attention, marking her as one of the few remaining GCs, genetic-cyborg hybrids.  He caught sight of them for barely a second when she pushed her goggles up to wipe mud and sweat from her face.  Then she was gone, disappeared into the sea of rags and respirators; miners just getting off shift.

Carin Lan left a few bills on the counter beside his empty plate, calibrated his gun, and slid into the crowded street.  Two years of hunting were going to pay off at last.

He followed from a distance, more because the crowd was too thick than because he wanted to.  He would have to get her alone before he made a move, last thing he needed was to draw too much attention to either of them.

The group of miners split, some heading toward the barracks, some to the best place to get the cheap RED liquor that was as likely to blind you as it was paralyze you, but absolutely guaranteed to get you piss-ass drunk for as little money as possible.  Carin followed those going to the barracks; no GC would touch RED, played hell with their cyborg components.

He eased his gun into his hand as he pushed forward, the crowd thinning once they were on the side street.   A scrap of cloth was tied around her wrist, he had seen it when she wiped her face.   He just needed to find it again and he’d have her.

One of the miners moved away from the others, toward a run-down old shack with a sign outside that read simply “Repairs”.  He caught sight of the fabric at her wrist.  Carin quickened his pace, catching up to her just as she reached the door and pressing the gun to her back.

“You know what this is,” he said, voice muffled by the apparatus covering his mouth.  She nodded once.  “Come with me.”

He put a hand on her arm and steered her toward the alley.  Her body was stiff but she did not resist.  Down between the repair shop and an abandoned warehouse was a door that lead down to a dry cellar.  He pushed her down first in front of him.

“Word is, the going rate for a GC is 20k.”  She wasn’t stupid, that was certain enough, not if she’d managed to live this long.  But she’d gotten careless.  The glimpse of her eyes – she should have known better.  “Man could live easy on a bounty like that; not many would be likely to turn down the opportunity to bag one.”

She had stopped at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for him to descend as well.  When he put a hand on her shoulder to get her moving again, he realized his mistake.

She dropped out from under his touch fast as a bucket full of ore down a mine shaft.  Before he could even put his finger on the trigger, she had brought a leg up, foot catching him full in the groin.

He doubled over, gasping for air that refused to be rushed through the dirty filter of his respirator.  She arched her back up, getting her feet under her again and shoving off the floor.  With no time to dodge, he took the back of her fist full-on to the side of the head as she spun around to face him.  That dropped him to his knees.

With a fist in his hair, she brought his face down to meet her knee twice, cracking his goggles.  He hadn’t realized he had let go of the gun until he saw her pick it up and train it on him.

“Give me one reason,” she said.

He sat back on his feet, panting heavily and bleeding from where the rims had cut above his eye.  With both hands, he slid his goggles up.

“Folk like us,” he said, struggling to raise his eyes enough to be seen, eyes which looked just like hers. “We can’t be too careful.”

She lowered the gun.  “You need to take your own advice.”  A roundhouse kick to the head knocked him out cold.

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Tomorrow’s News Pt III

[previous]

The next morning I had essentially forgotten about the newspaper.  I whipped myself up a nice ‘sore throat’ sounding voice and called into work.  After I had assured them that I would take care of myself and try to be in tomorrow, I took my shower.  When I got out, I saw she had texted me.  I toweled off quickly, and picked up my phone, but the color drained from my face as I read her message.

Her car wouldn’t start and she was waiting for the AAA guy to arrive.  She’d try to be over in an hour or so, but if the car had to be towed to the mechanic, I might have to come get her.

All I could think of was the AAA guy doing something horrible to her, too horrible for words, too horrible to print in the newspaper!  I replied I was coming right over so she wouldn’t have to wait alone.  That didn’t sound paranoid at all, right?

It still took me half an hour to dress and do my hair, and by then the coffee was done.  I grabbed my purse and double-checked that I had my keys before locking the door.

The speed limit through town was twenty-five. I did forty, except along that one stretch where I knew the cop always waited.   I was almost to her house when I realized I hadn’t put any make up on, and it was unthinkable to be found outside the house without a touch of make-up.  I dug the lipstick out of my purse and pulled down the sun visor with the mirror on the back.

My sister used to always criticise me for putting lipstick on while I was driving, but it wasn’t like it took all that much concentration.  I had been doing it for years.  The hint of red made me look more normal again, and I put the visor up and turned into her driveway as I tried to put the lipstick back into my purse.

It missed the pocket and fell to the floor.  I reached down quickly to snatch it before it rolled under the seat, only to sit back up and realize there was no time to stop before I slammed into the back of her stalled car in the middle of the driveway.

Her car lurched forward, and I heard a scream.   I had to fight with my seatbelt before I managed to get out of my car and run to see what had happened.

She was crushed between her front bumper and the edge of the garage.  I pushed with all my might, and her car rolled back, bumping into mine again as her body crumpled to the concrete.  A thousand years passed in that moment, each second longer than the last.  My hands were shaking as I dialed 911, somehow managing to make the person who answered understand through my screams about ‘she needs an ambulance’, and ‘I hadn’t seen her!’

A minute later, the tow truck pulled into the driveway, slammed into the back of my car, pushing hers forward again.  Her bumper clipped me as I fell back out of the way, and all I could think of in that moment was how it wasn’t meant to be me – words which haunted me through the manslaughter trial as I was forced to stare into the face of her fiance and four year old daughter and explain why I was trying to pick my lipstick off the floor.

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The Exodus III

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She hadn’t intended to sleep again, not after the way she had woken up last time, but sleep took her regardless.  When she did open her eyes, light was filtering through the window, bringing vision back to her broken world.

Tanner was gone, but Dean was still curled tight beside her, and much as she didn’t want to disturb him she had to see reality for herself.  Easing herself from the bed, she carefully put her feet on the floor, avoiding as best she could the broken bits that might poke her feet.  Once she was certain she wouldn’t slip in the dust, she worked her way over to the window and looked out.  What she saw was beyond even what her mind could imagine.

The air was heavy with black smoke and red dust.  Though she could not see where the fire was, it was clear something large was still burning.  Being on only the third floor, her field of view was quite narrow, and what she could see was mostly the cars and buses, thrown off their tracks and laying crumpled or tossed in the streets, leaning against buildings, or piled on top of one another.

Tanner had been right about the air, as she could make out some movement below.  The window was too dirty to make out detail, but it was a person, at least.  She didn’t have much optimism for this plan of his to get out of the city.  Even if they were on the planet, that didn’t mean there was anywhere else for them to go, but she reminded herself it was still better than staying here, so she began to search around for a bag or tote or anything she could carry things in.

She opened the closet door with not unwarranted caution, as things began to fall out as she did so.  Trying to think of what would be the most useful things to have, she grabbed her warmest sweatshirt, a light jacket, another pair of pants, and a handful of underwear.  She didn’t think about how she’d clean anything, that was the furthest from her mind.  She put the clothes on the bed until she could find something to put them in, then took the one book she was certain she could not bear to live without.

It was more difficult to make it down the hallway, the light didn’t hit this area as well, but she got a tote bag and a backpack she had forgotten about out of the hall closet, conveniently having fallen off the shelf.  That’s when she realized that no one was in the living room, either.

“Tanner?”  He wouldn’t have left her, surely.  But there was no answer to her repeated calls, and her mind started taunting her with thoughts of being alone, truly alone.  She wondered where he could have gone, or why he wouldn’t have taken her, or whether that blow he took to the head had been worse than he thought and-

She shook her head firmly, refusing to let herself go down that line of thinking, at least voluntarily.  She picked her way into the living room where there was more light and found a dead body on the floor.  A cry of surprise escaped her lips before she could stop it and she turned away quickly, trying to catch her breath that had suddenly gotten away from her.

After a moment, she turned back again and made herself look.  If there was a dead body in her living room she was damn well going to find out who it was and why.  Taking a few steps closer, she saw it was the girl she had invited to stay after the fire.  The floor under her head now had a dark stain, and Ella realized she must have been killed in the crash.

Her hands trembled and she felt a little sick, but she couldn’t just leave her there, so she got a clean sheet and laid it over her, then closed her eyes and took a deep breath before rolling the body over so she could wrap her fully.  There would be no carrying her out to be buried, but she would give her what little dignity she could here.

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