Friday, December 31, 2010

Combatwords, December 31, 2010: New Year, Old Year

Combatwords, December 31, 2010: New Year, Old Year

Hey man, did you know that time, is like, arbitrary? We're like all here right now. There's no tomorrow, there's no yesterday, there's like, just today man. Like, time is just a human invention dude. Could you do me a favor and pass me the bong again?

Combat Expiration: 12am PST 1/3/2011

Critique Expiration: 12am PST 1/4/2011

Bonuses/Penalties: +2 if posted by 5pm PST 12/31/2010, +1 if posted by 12am PST 1/1/2011; -1 if posted by 6am 1/3/2011, -2 if posted by 12pm 1/3/2011

The Rules:

ps: Everybody has been slacking on the score lately—self included. I'm going to aggressively score this week's combat, so you'd better too, unless you want my taste to determine the winner.

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  1. Yesterday's far off futures
    are laughable
    and the precise predictions
    in seconds drone on
    as the futility of control
    lays upon my head
    like a well worn hat
    forgotten and embodied
    all dreams and desires
    are best ingested
    in plans yet laid
    The sun may not rise
    but Time will not sit

  2. There Was Silence in Heaven for About Half an Hour

    “Put your seat belt on,” the old man scolds. The infant in the passenger seat giggles and drools and claps his fat little hands, ignoring him. The old man shrugs and buckles his own belt, takes a swig from a dented flask, and turns the key in the ignition. The radio crackles into life, vibrating the van with thumping bass and skittering electronic drums. “God damn jungle music,” the old man mutters, punching the buttons until settling on some talk radio. “It’s an honor to have you on the show, sir. Now if you would, maybe you could start by sharing with our listeners exactly what, in your opinion, constitute the signs that life as we know it is about to come to an end.” “Happy to, Ed...” Meanwhile the van has lurched into life and it careens down the alleyways, bouncing over potholes, rust flaking like peeled scabs from its hide. The old man squints to see through the filthy windshield as they barrel through the streets, squealing around corners, clipping the fenders of the parked cars. The baby bounces up and down in his seat, squealing with delight. He starts punching the driver with his tiny fists until the old man hands over his flask. The infant suckles at it, gurgling happily, hurling it out the window when it’s empty and letting loose an enormous belch.

    The following morning the van is found in a parking lot on the edge of town. The old man lies some distance away, his body bruised and his face lacerated beyond recognition. The baby is nowhere to be found. The new year is off and running, and there’s nothing to be done.

  3. All We Have Is Now

    It's The Flaming Lips "All We Have is Now"
    playing on repeat, repeat, so why
    do we always take the trash out on Sunday

    And let others wait, while money's disappeared
    into coffers like indulgence in days of old
    when we invest in a future on a promise

    And think we can get something in return
    for so little effort? My love is languishing
    in the procrastination of a cold argument

    Gone on for too long between myself
    and my unknown self, neither of whom
    is brave enough to make a go at it

    ("Mother Mary come to me,
    speaking words of wisdom
    let it be.")

  4. The Second Bell [Combatwords, Jan 1, 2011]

    Leave your gonads at home,
    We'll ride on the trolly
    Switch the ding for a bomb.
    For now we'll make do
    Walking the first minutes
    Of a year we don't need.
    Brace all your nonsenses
    For the streetcar will come.
    Take vitamins, subways;
    Take kisses on Market—
    Cute strangers might cure you,
    Could give you their herpes.
    You could wander and want,
    You might listen for lore
    When the armpits of crowds
    Have a radium glow.

    They roar
    On streetcars—new
    Because the year is new—
    And sip their brandy laughing, packed.
    They stink of cigarettes, of coke and weed
    And semen, pussy goo or danker smells—like shit.
    Your friend can smell like that sometimes—he's only twenty two.
    His mother called you up to say another friend of his just died.
    That's two this year; the first one shot inside the park at night while deejays spun.
    You saw the poster walking home: it said 'Reward' and showed a smile you met one time,
    While juxtaposed beside that pic, a smiley face with neutral mouth and three eyes looking blank.
    The second one got flu and stayed at home, too broke to call the hospital, too scared
    To call his friends to ask for loans. I heard he slept instead and only when
    He missed his pool-hall league event did someone send the cops to check
    His pulse, to check his bottles, check his dog and see what makes
    It possible—at forty one—to die amidst
    Such wealth and liquify for several days
    With Daily Show, Colbert Report.
    It's time to hear the bell,
    The second bell:
    Ding Dong.

  5. I'm totally devoid of text on the inside, so here's an old goodie:

    Let’s drink to end this year, so many ends
    Our closest dreamers turning dry and bitter
    Our hands reach nothing, all we get is glitter
    We try so hard, but cannot make amends

    Let’s dream to end this end, so many years
    So many drinkers turning spry and boring
    We’re out of drugs, they even stopped the whoring
    But we shall force our way to joy from tears

  6. Your poem rose like a pulse out of the straight line
    A literal Lazarus, shuffle stepping his way up a mountain profile
    Imagination wants to pick up the piece
    Swing it around like a hatchet during a peak of frenzy
    Forgetting there is more to it than the shape
    The snow globe is delicate
    It's part of it's beauty
    Seeing a scene some other artist believed enough in
    To make in miniature and ship halfway round the world
    For people far removed from the blizzard
    To catch the cold
    And see the strange television light
    Lapping on the corpse of another afterthought
    A friend of a friend
    Brought to life again
    In the ringing in of a new year

  7. New Year’s Eve in Dublin. Just another night in this dirty-sweet town, another gig with more people and higher expectations but nonetheless, just another night. Not one curse crossed my lips, not one blow was struck here where twelve months before a guy rearranged the bone structure of my eyesocket. Not a drop spilled or a penny lost, no scowls to draw the brow, elation rouging cheeks as sweat adorned lips with a glisten that Max Factor would double-die for. One of the best bands in the world from this tiny rock ringing in the minute that calendars switch back, their music lining the heads of hundreds in the best venue in the capital, a far cry from that first show just two years back when five people showed up but far more boast of attending.
    False eyelashes, fake fur, sateen, suedette, rum, whiskey and wine, good music so loud it’d be heard for a lifetime in the reverbation of emotional tinnitus, genuine smiles, rippling muscles under cotton that just couldn’t stay damp. Air heavy with the invisible trackmarks of a billion good wishes as phones vibrated like atoms, certificates of the night’s success framed by ragged corners of paper where revellers had ripped away party posters as keepsakes. Merch stands selling tomorrow’s hangover-wear. Social butterflies milling like drones around the communal hive of activity, the smoking area, strangers as a rule but family for this brief spiritual moment of critical mass. Zealous fans crammed front-centre, long hair strobing through the steady beam of floodlights, ecstatic fists beating time in the air, one glorious elbow glancing off my head from an apologetic aficionado, bruises blooming under 10-denier protective clothing as my knees knocked against the stage-edge, fingers laced into the unpadded patch of the PA so I wouldn’t be jostled out of the sweetspot I staked as my own. Eyes forced open to watch the sounds I listen to every day, crushed plastic cups underfoot to replace unseasonable December snow outside, bad dancing from not-young-enough guys who were granted their dreams of eternal youth for one more night. The encore, the best songs and then an expertly-calloused outstretched impromptu choir was created as the crowd swarmed on to the stage in droves, lending their voices to hundred-strong-harmonies, feet somehow evading abandoned instruments, set-lists swiped faster than stolen banknotes. Just another night in Dublin. A warm embrace, empty space, soft furnishings and harder liquor waited, along with a whole new set of days to dress in comedy and tragedy but at that moment, real happiness snaked by just within reach, slung like a boa slung across the shoulders of men.

  8. Kapparot

    Your nostrils burn with the hissing fuse
    of bubbles as I strip the drumstick
    of its flesh, leaving stray strings
    of sinew clinging to the knobby bone.
    Outside, laughing beneath the neon moon,
    your strap snaps
    and you genuflect hard on the wet cement.
    Blood beads and runs like fingers down
    your pale, perfect leg. I stare and stare.

    Reading your goosebumps like braille,
    I try to force the wrong key in the lock.
    I whisper my confessions to your neck,
    shred your shivery fishscale dress.
    My hands are beating wings across your shoulders.
    Your fingers flutter as I press onto you
    my burdens, my distress.

    You are plucked and flayed. I bray
    my guilt into your open lips,
    pen these words across your face
    so they may be erased
    from mine. I stuff
    my shortcomings into your skin.
    I fill you to the brim with all my sin.

  9. Non-Denominational:

    We weren't religious
    But worshiped just the same
    In those moments of praise
    Guilt was far away
    It fell like the covers
    As we rose
    Proud of ourselves
    And the thing we had done
    Buying some time
    To move painlessly through the dream
    Of a mind so tortured by time
    All this seems miles away
    I've no vessel for sin
    It boils like sap within me
    But I have the dream
    I slip back in
    Like a gasping fish
    Upon a dock
    Into the pond I go
    For a moment you hold your breath
    Wondering if I'll flutter back to life
    Or rise defeated

  10. The Grand Dis-allusion
    - The entity manifest it self sitting on a diamond like throne. The creature having a horse like head and flowing white mane. It bipedal shape taking form in the throne. As the two coalesced both shaped to each other to finally rest in a liquid type form. The creature opened its eyes and saw/

    - It saw the entire spectrum of time. Seeing all from the dawn horizon to it's dusk horizon. Every event noted all life accounted for. Instantly the being became aware that the perpetuation of causality along with all suffering was it's doing and linked to it's existence.

    -The creature Kull closed it's eyes and slowly evaporated out of form and into nothingness unraveling all of creation with it.


    Only a few minutes to it and there I stood in five degrees five inches of snow and still coming from a backlit bunch a'clouds, with a fancy red balloon from a passing boy on Market Street Denver screamin Happy New Year--Musta looked so blue huddled tight in my scarf, but closer to where I belong and the little kid never saw me inside among handshakes and hugs. I'd stepped out just to look for something, something else, though nothing much could I find but there on the sidewalk the scrape of a shovel by the hand of a sad old man, sad beard, sad eyes, sad like nomad nowhere left to go, and sad old boots soaked all the way through.

    He stabbed a great street lamp drift piled up over weeks, then looked over to me--With old beat down eyes he rested his chin on shovel end and together with Little Red overhead we waited for the endless tragedy of another year comin--

    Little lights all around along office tops, and right up the trees, and the windows of Denver packed full of ready sweatered folks. Restaurant behind me was a scene of a hundred interested souls watching the tubes with their glasses high, their old buddies old conversations, their kids nodding off through how best to stay stable--These people I'd known the whole way through though can't say the same of me, this me, this rotten fella outside for a midnight ride.

    But so the new year began all around--It was a collective count from all those Denver windows, all the way down Market too and up 16th where my little balloon boy waited for fireworks atop pop's shoulders no doubt--At ten came their LoDo shout, nine in joined the old crowd behind me--At four up rolled my midnight bus and two I let go Little Red--

    "New year" said the old man.

    "New year," and time's the only one ain't naming it such--The old man shoveled again the crowds cheered again, the sweatered still got things to believe and the buses kept rolling. I paid for mine and in back found a cozy little spot all alone. I watched all of Denver go by--Blake Street, the crowds outta bars back into old Denver, my old Denver, and on Wazee spotted Little Red dancing through snow with fireworks.

    I smiled, thought Hello again and waved goodbye--It was all I'd been lookin for.

  12. @humanist - Really dig this
    +1 for consistent flow and brevity
    +1 for ending avoiding dangerous pretense
    -1 for the line "Of a mind so tortured by time" which broke me out of the poem

    @rtoady - Two first stanzas are awesome, +1, riding that imagery so hard.
    Lots of great lines +1
    Last stanza loses it for me and I really hate the last line, which takes me as a reader into the land of cliche and makes me think of NIN lyrics...

    @the humanist
    +2 for avoiding the puddle of gloom and moodiness the rest of us sat in

    @angus - Liked the brevity and poise of the first piece +1
    Really didn't get the second piece at all though. Kind of a head scratching sensation...

    PS: Yes, I did rhyme ends with amends this week. Whacha gonna do about it!

  13. Angus: Thought your 1st post was a good starting incantation for the thread.


    Your 2nd comp had some promise, but it really needs more of everything.

    Toady: Your 1st comp was funny. +1

    Your 2nd comp was so good on so many levels

    Excellent New Year riff: +1
    Great imagery: +1


    KKW: Liked the way the poem wound around its topic like a song around a few moments of boredom. +1


    forpuck: Another nice incantation. Needs the next level tho.


    The Humanist:

    "For people far removed from the blizzard
    To catch the cold
    And see the strange television light
    Lapping on the corpse of another afterthought "
    +1 for that.


    I also like your 2nd comp, but it also just gets a +1.


    Sharp Language all over: +1

    It's a good thematic riff, but needs to be edited down imo.



    Sorry man, this didn't do anything for me. There were some promising bits & I liked the psychic eye, but there was too much fat for me to be able to taste the meat. -1


    Outstanding Combat this week all around.

  14. It's been months I've been away and now coming back, I clearly hear the voice of the writers that I read last year. r-toady, kahnjohn, hummanist
    As for critique...well

    + 1 time bonus
    + 1 strange concoction drunk old man and baby. good imagery.
    +1 obscure ending had me rechecking the story
    -1 couldn't find clues as to why you had that ending of the man dead and bloody and the baby gone??? maybe I missed an obvious point

    At first I thought this poem was about some twisted psychopath but after some fact checking I find it's just someone acting like a twisted psychopath once a year
    +2 for originality and visceral effect

    +1 sort of a tempered collage style
    +1 time bonus

    +1 for clarity

    +2 belligerent speed line by line creating pictures of a night out on the town. 2nd part Dodges in to thought somewhat smoothly and then death. realistic metamorphosis

    +3 eloquent and deep, aware
    +2 but not as good as the first
    +2 condensed and rich
    needs a once or twice over
    +1 thoughtful
    +2 for time bonus
    +1 for concept
    -2 for laziness