dreamwriters: a brunette girl with glasses with her hair pulled back wearing a blue and black checked shirt (Default)
This is the linkback poem for ysabetwordsmith's January 8th Poetry Fishbowl with the theme "military science fiction". The fishbowl is open here on LJ (and on Dreamwidth). Go leave some prompts and crosstalk with other prompters.
"No Secrets" was prompted from a comment by [livejournal.com profile] siege on "Hit or Missile". It belongs to the series One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis.

Trobby has a nightmare. Shaeth finds out more about Trobby's past and personality than is necessarily comfortable.


It has 23 verses.

Comment here to say where you've linked the fishbowl open post, and I'll add your verse(s) accordingly, one verse per service (LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

So far, sponsors include: [livejournal.com profile] brides_koneko, [livejournal.com profile] janetmiles, [livejournal.com profile] siliconshaman, [livejournal.com profile] rix_scaedu, [livejournal.com profile] thesilentpoet, [livejournal.com profile] the_vulture, and [livejournal.com profile] wyld_dandelyon, [livejournal.com profile] technoshaman

verses remaining: 3

No Secrets

Gods did not sleep
in the same way that mortals slept,
but in the mortal world they meditated
to refresh their minds and power.

Snuffling groans from Trobby's bed
pulled Shaeth out of his contemplations.
Shaeth wandered over to check on his priest and,
without really thinking about it, brushed a hand
through the cobweb imagery of his dreams.

Tired woman nursing a beer instead of her son.
Big man with a belt and a bottle of rum in his beefy hands.
Little Trobby with not enough clothes and a growl in his belly,
red on one shoulder leaking through his thin shirt.
Older Trobby scuffling from village to village,
taking odd jobs or begging to make his way.
Feelings that cut like broken glass.

Shaeth yanked his hand back,
rubbing thumb and fingers together
as if expecting to find blood.

Trobby snuffled again in his sleep,
shifting against the cheap mattress.
His nightshirt tangled around him, then loosened,
baring the base of his neck.
Shaeth wondered if the images
had been real, or merely nightmares,
dragging Trobby through sleep
as soothing as a thornbrake.

Shaeth tugged the nightshirt down a bit,
and there was the same mark
twisting over Trobby's collarbone,
faded to a smear of cream
against the weathered tan of his skin.
Trobby gave a hiccupping whimper.

Well this obviously wasn't restful.
"Trobby, wake up," Shaeth said,
giving the nearest shoulder a brisk shake.
Perhaps he could teach the priest to meditate.

Trobby woke, jolting under Shaeth's grasp.
He scrubbed a hand over his face,
then said blearily, "Why're we up?
S'not even false dawn yet."

"You had a nightmare," Shaeth said.
"You were making noises, so I woke you up."
"Oh," said Trobby. "Thanks, I guess.
Usually folks just throw boots."

Shaeth's brows snapped down
over his dark eyes.
"I can't imagine that helping,"
he said sharply.
"Wakes me up," Trobby said.

Shaeth sighed then.
"Considering the content of your dreams,
I suppose even a boot to the head
might be welcome," he said.

Trobby looked at him.
"How would you know?"
he asked.

"When I touched you earlier,
I saw what you saw," Shaeth admitted,
hiding a wince because he was sure
that there would be accusations and complaints.
"Sorry," Trobby said. "Next time, use a boot."

"You are not angry at me
for stealing your secrets?"
Shaeth asked him.
"People so often are, you know,
and I rarely remember that until after."

Trobby laughed, a little wild,
then shook his head.
"I got no secrets," he said.
"Everybody up and down this road
knows how much mischief my family got into.
Hard to miss the stories."

Shaeth knew what it was like
to have no secrets,
for everyone knew what he had been.
God of Evil or no, Trobby's past
still pricked at him like splinters.

Belt and bottle and yelling.
Bare feet in the yellow dust of the streets.

Shaeth wondered how hard it would be
to track down Trobby's parents in the nether hells
and have a little chat with them.

It would almost have been easier,
Shaeth realized with a shock,
if Trobby had snapped at him
for reading dreams uninvited.
Shaeth wanted to be accepted
for having learned to be Good,
not just because someone
couldn't be bothered to scold him.

Shaeth thought back to the easy acceptance
that Trobby had offered when they first met,
rolling with whatever came their way.
But it wasn't really acceptance, was it?
It was resignation, born of lifelong experience
that nothing better was likely to come along
and escape was impossible.


dreamwriters: a brunette girl with glasses with her hair pulled back wearing a blue and black checked shirt (Default)
This is the linkback perk poem for ysabetwordsmith's November 6, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl with the theme: influential women. The fishbowl is open here on LJ (and on Dreamwidth). Go feed the fish and leave some prompts and crosstalk with other prompters.

"The Four Maras" belongs to the series Kung Fu Robots, which you can explore further on the Serial Poetry page.

It was prompted by [livejournal.com profile] marina_bonomi.

Beggar So explains to Caper that there are demons of wrongful thinking.


It has 16 verses.

Comment here to say where you've linked the fishbowl open post, and I'll add your verse(s) accordingly, one verse per service (LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

So far, sponsors include: [livejournal.com profile] brides_koneko, [livejournal.com profile] siliconshaman, [livejournal.com profile] janetmiles, [livejournal.com profile] siege, [livejournal.com profile] the_vulture, [livejournal.com profile] technoshaman, [livejournal.com profile] mdlbear

verses remaining: 0

The Four Maras


After the incident at the tavern,
Caper became timid for a time.
The robot did not wish to go out,
even though it needed sorghum brandy
to keep its engine running.

Beggar So noticed this.
"What is wrong, Caper?" he asked.
"It is not good to sit and go nowhere."

"I am afraid to go anywhere,"
Caper confessed.
"The last time I went to a tavern,
the men there almost destroyed me."

"Ah, you are plagued by demons,"
Beggar So said with a sage nod.
"You must not allow them to defeat you."
"I do not understand," said Caper.
"I see no demons here.
I thought they were superstitions."

"Demons are false beliefs,"
Beggar So said to Caper.
"There are four maras
that lead the mind astray."

"Then a mara is like ...
a virus?" Caper said,
trying to grasp the concept.

"Yes," said Beggar So.
"There is the mara of death
which troubles you now.
It makes you fear loss of life.
There is no point in fearing
what is certain to occur!
You must not let that stop you
from living a mindful life."

Caper considered that
sitting on a bench was boring
compared to the excitement of a tavern.
"You are very wise," it said to Beggar So.

"Perhaps," said Beggar So.
"Next there is the mara of emotion.
This demon rouses desire, anger,
and other restless feelings.
It attacks peace and drags the victim
away from the Dharma path."

Caper recalled how tempting
it had been to kill the commander
of the robots in the military,
instead of merely leaving him
unconscious in his bunk.
"These are fearsome demons,"
it said to Beggar So.

"They can be," he agreed.
"The mara of aggregates
follows the mara of emotion,
creating all kinds of suffering
through tainted phenomena.
If you give in to one,
the other then attacks with
the consequences of your actions."


"I am alarmed," said Caper,
"that demons use flanking movements."
"They are, as you said,
very fearsome demons,"
Beggar So pointed out.
"Yes," said Caper.

"The fourth demon is
the mara of unawareness,"
said Beggar So.
"This one obscures energy
and makes the mind oblivious.
Only when we see
by the clear light can we
find our way on the right path."

"That sounds much like
a sensor malfunction," said Caper.
"It is very harmful because
good decisions require good data."

Beggar So clapped a hand
on Caper's metal shoulder and said,
"Now you too are becoming wise!
Come, let us leave these demons behind.
There is a tavern waiting for us,
and sorghum brandy that needs to be drunk."

So Caper put its feet on the path
and walked away from the four maras
to find the tavern promised by its master.
dreamwriters: a brunette girl with glasses with her hair pulled back wearing a blue and black checked shirt (Default)
This is the linkback perk poem for [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith's October 2, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl with the topic: horror: demons. The fishbowl is open here on LJ (and on Dreamwidth). Go feed the fish and leave some prompts and crosstalk with other prompters.

"To Attend a Ball" belongs to the series The Steamsmith, which you can explore further on the Serial Poetry page.

It has 20 verses.

Comment here to say where you've linked the fishbowl open post, and I'll add your verse(s) accordingly, one verse per service (LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

So far, sponsors include: [livejournal.com profile] brides_koneko, [livejournal.com profile] aldersprig, [livejournal.com profile] marina_bonomi, [livejournal.com profile] rix_scaedu, [personal profile] jjhunter, [livejournal.com profile] janetmiles

verses remaining: 6

To Attend a Ball


Maryam was sitting in the lounge of the Steamsmith Guild,
her brown fingers curled over the bowl of an ivory pipe,
as Old Henry twiddled with the gears on his own
until it produced a wavery rhomboid smoke ring.
"That's progress," she declared. "It'll come square someday."

George Cavendish and William Percy
huddled together in a nearby nook,
poring over plans for tunneling and earthworks.
Someone else had a watch partially disassembled on the table,
showing an eager apprentice how to repair a minor flaw --
typical for an afternoon at the Steamsmith Guild.

Then the ornate walnut doors opened
and the Duke of Devonshire swept into the lounge.
Cavendish immediately abandoned his papers
to complain, "Father! You promised not to come here!"
"Except as a last resort, which this is," the Duke replied.

"If there's a problem with the steamworks at Devonshire House,
I'm sure we can figure it out," Maryam offered.
"Ah, no, not the steamworks -- it's about this ball we had planned,"
the Duke explained. "We invited many young ladies and gentlemen,
but some quarrel started up on the Continent, and the Army
decided to stage maneuvers. So there went half of our gentlemen."

"Father, this is where I come to get away from Society,"
Cavendish protested. He was rather drowned out
by the enthusiastic response of other young men who would,
under ordinary circumstances, never rate such an invitation.

"A gentleman does not disappoint a lady
who wishes to dance or to attend an event,"
Maryam said smoothly. "Of course those of us
with space in our calendars will be delighted to come."
The Duke glanced down at Maryam's sleek trousers;
his eyebrows climbed, but he nodded his acceptance.

"I don't pursue the height of the London season these days,"
Old Henry said. "I'm sure that I have time for your fine ball."
So Cavendish was forced to capitulate at last,
and retreated to his nook with Percy, while the Duke
plied the room with invitation cards and handshakes all around.

Maryam consulted with her valet Ned,
who was tall and thin with ebony skin and a solemn manner,
deciding the best outfit for a spring ball on rather short notice.
So Ned dressed Maryam in a black frock coat over a white shirt
with a silver waistcoat embroidered with peacocks
and peacock-green gloves over her long clever hands.
Not for her the fanciful dresses of the Society ladies;
Maryam found it far more comfortable, as a steamsmith, to take
a man's role and wear the garments that suited her straight body.

When she arrived at Devonshire House, Maryam took a moment
to admire it, for she rarely traveled in such high circles
except when accompanying her father on business with his peers.
Pastel wallpaper stretched between ornate doorways,
the walls hung with splendid paintings, for the Duke was an apt collector.
The ballroom was a wonder of smooth parquet flooring
under soaring ceilings whose swirled carvings were leafed in gold.
Then she spent rather longer than a moment admiring
the phos lanterns set in sconces all along the walls,
and the vast chandeliers sparkling with crystal and light.

The young ladies swirled softly in their colorful dresses,
like a garden of flowers stirred by a spring breeze.
Maryam counted heads and realized that there were still
more women than men, then calculated the most useful response.
So she went about the corners of the room, and invited
the wallflowers out to dance, the shy girls and plain girls
and the ones who always trod upon their partner's feet.
She also partnered the elegant old ladies who served as chaperones.

When the musicians paused for an intermission,
Old Henry towed Maryam to where the Cavendish family
and some of their friends had gathered at the end of the ballroom.
Maryam obligingly admired the event and exchanged small talk,
then turned again to the young ladies -- here, George's younger sister
Charlotte, with her golden hair piled in ringlets atop her head, and
William Percy's younger sister Margaret with fiery copper curls,
between them another girl with straight blond hair and cloudy blue eyes.

Maryam intuited that a blind girl would gather few offers,
so promptly asked her to the next dance -- and was delighted
to discover Cecily a charming partner, light as a feather and
easy to guide, trusting Maryam to steer them clear of other couples.
Cecily whispered gossip and tips and brilliant observations into her ear,
and Maryam realized that the girl probably heard everything around her.

After the dance, Maryam returned Cecily to the exact same spot,
where the rosepetal pink of her dress set off the bright green
of Margaret's. Charlotte, as one of the hostesses,
danced with everyone that she could, and
gamely made herself available to Maryam.

Charlotte wore a ball gown of gold shot with bronze,
and amongst the bronze were threads of orange and scarlet
so that the whole thing shimmered like flame under the chandeliers.
The bodice hung off her shoulders, with a wide band of ivory lace
about the neckline and short sleeves ending in more lace.
The long skirt swung gracefully like the bell of a tulip, and she had
gloves of pure gold silk buttoned at the wrists with pearls.

About Me

29/bigender or polygender, presenting feminine/lifelong learner, reiki practitioner, writer.
passionate about animals, words, and helping human and non-human animals

April 2017

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