Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Geek Poet's Tale (Part I)

Note: These fragments of fourteeners were discovered while scouring the backups of a once-thought lost blog on Blogosphere. More fragments may be discovered in the future. -pt

[the first fragment*]

   The Geek poet, patiently sitting, awaited his turn

   To spin his own yarn. "My own tale, I hope, you will not spurn."

My tale begins when I left my native realm, Blogosphere,

And walked planet Earth: to speak my peace, and lend them my ear.

My first encounter was this jazzily dressed dude. "A Beat,"

He said, was what his own land called him, "poet of the street.

Strange poet: What clothing is this? What roads do you traverse?

Are you a Beat poet from an alternate universe?"

"I, a Geek poet, find cosmologists' dark energy

More inspiration for verse than a person's dark psyche.

I weave verses of wonder 'round modern technology;

Some say I don't deal enough with human psychology.

Computers and math catch my poetic imagination;

But for poets of nature, I have great admiration.

And I am willing to learn more of this poetry of Beat,

And from others in your land." With that, we walked down the street.

[the second fragment]

   Together, two poets—one Geek, one Beat—walked down the street;

   Each had a backpack that carried their belongings complete.

My traveling companion curiously eyed my green pack.

"Geek poet, what is it that you carry, there on your back?"

We stopped for a bit on a bus-stop bench. I, Geek poet,

Took a strange case out of my sack. The Beat didn't know it.

"What's in that silvery shell you have sitting on your lap?"

"It's called a MacBook," I said to him, opening its flap.

"It connects me to my Blogosphere and poets like me.

Let me show you my land!" I said, with unusual glee.

"What is this? My AirPort cannot find Wi-Fi in this spot."

The Beat poet, puzzled, scratched his head; he didn't know squat

Of what I was doing and those, to him, alien words.

As far as he knew this gray cage was strictly for the birds.

Then I, disconnected, disconcerted, set it aside.

My interest, after all, was to let him be my guide.

There were more things in my pack I could show if I wanted.

Maybe later, I thought, and I proceeded undaunted.

"Perhaps you could show me what items you have in your store."

The Beat poet seemed eager to show the cool things he bore.

[the third fragment]

   The Geek poet had set aside his silver box that would

   Show the Earth-bound Beat the blogs and wikis under its hood.

In the Beat poet's blue pack was a collection of books,

Bound sheets of browned paper, read multiple times by their looks.

(Books, I only read about on my native Blogosphere.)

He set a few out, leaving behind his other packed "gear":

A Kerouac, two Ginsbergs, plus a Corso stacked beside

A Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams, like its bride.

Then flexing his metaphorical muscles beside my

Scrawny geek frame, he began by asking, "Want to get high? ..."

[the fourth fragment]

   Some items had appeared from the Beat poets pack: a bag

   Of lemon-tree scented leaves, rice papers, a pre-smoked fag.

"Want to get high?" were the words I remember him saying.

And picturing those college dorm days and disco dazing,

"No thank you," I responded, recalling the old stories

Of mellowed-out dudes, blue smoke, and next-day lost memories.

He reconsidered himself, with a flash, stashed back his hash,

Leaving behind just the books and some tiny bits of ash.

Inside his bound treasures he showed me texts — some long, some terse;

Some looked more like paragraph than some standard poem's verse.

"Prose is poetry and poetry is prose," would all he

Would say. "As long as it has beat, man!" I began to see

The nature of his craft: direct as can be. He began

To read of a meeting at a supermarket fruit stand ...

[the fifth fragment]

   T'was that well-worn Ginsberg from his right stack setting the stage

   For Beat's first read to the Geek from his favorite beat sage.

He read t'me reminiscingly in a screenplay-like prose

Of another beat poet — or was it? — in anguished throes

Of an old love he met — by chance? — in supermarket aisles:

A "hook up" of two poets of like interests and styles.

(When he read, parenthetic'ly, of the persona's touch

 of the other's book, before me, there was one in his clutch!)

They strolled off together — I'm back to his reading — but the last

Bit about Lethe stumped me as he looked back at his hash ...

[the sixth fragment]

   After his Ginsberg-Walt-Whitman conjunction rendition,

   The Beat poet's bag of hashish reclaimed his attention.

As the Beat poet toked, I revoked, and reposed on my

Thoughts of our contrasting style as he easily got high.

This earthly beat poetry, arty and hip, would teeter

My mathematic precision and technical meter.

I had tasted his poetic and set my next venture

On seeing what would be the next-up poetry feature.

As he seemed to doze off into a distant tranquil haze,

A bus stopped at its stop. I boarded. That set the next stage ...

[the seventh fragment]

   The Geek poet's bus traveled Route 66. Left alone,

   The Beat poet dozed on the bench. The Geek checked his cell phone ...

Without a Wi-Fi connection into Blogosphere's net,

I turned to my cell phone and the Twitter poets I've met

While in my own land of wiki, blog, and SMS-screen.

"One-hundred-and-forty characters" may seem very lean,

But that's all that can fit in their thrifty poetry, you see,

And that's OK with us Geeks in these attention times wee.

To my surprise I had Inbox unreads. (Somehow, at least,

I could find the cell systems' net.) I was to have a feast,

Reading the tiny screen's scroll. I opened the box, and rolled

Down the list. One was marked Urgent. What I read left me cold ...

[the eighth fragment]

   The Geek poet read Inbox's text message marked Urgent

   And struggled as best he could to decode what it all meant.

"I've been to the mountaintop. And I've looked over," I read.

At first there was hope, but what I read next filled me with dread:

"And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you."

What did it mean, this text of gloom? MLK left no clue.

( ... A "Reply" was no option for this one-way connection,

But even before I had time for further reflection ...)

A second message "Urgent"ly appeared: "Thy soul shall find

Itself alone / 'Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone--" What mind

(Just signed Poe) would send me such a supernatural rhyme

Could it actually be voices from another time?

I flipped close the cell phone and returned to my thought,

And looked around the bus. But then, my attention was caught ...

[the ninth fragment]

   The Geek, with clam-shell computer and cell phone stored away,

   Looked 'round the bus. He saw someone who his tending did sway.

Contrasting with the Beat poet's metaphysical muse,

He was a mathematical man with regular shoes.

Writing on a pad (it seemed more like writing programs in

Blogospherical verse, a script language that seemed more kin

To PHP, C-sharp, XML, or CSS <script>,

His curious form, apart, syntactical standards ripped.

He was one to my liking.—(I thought, what poet could be?)

The mode of his poetry seemed to fit me to a "T".

He decapitalized like a Marseillean guillotine,

Making my verse seem pedestrian ... literal ... routine.

I saw a seat near and repositioned my location,

To introduce myself and to surmise his vocation ...

[the tenth fragment]

   Vying for spot on the bus near the syntax-breaking bard

   The Geek poet crossed the aisle — but then, he was put off-guard ...

I was about to claim seat when that spot was fast taken

By a dandy fey. He cradled, if I'm not mistaken,

A book with childish dust. I seated instead second-best

In the aisle-facing row in front of two, now to my left.

The programmer-poet recognized the puzzle-ing dude,

And they began to converse. I didn't want to be rude,

So I eavesdropped, pretending attention to my iPhone

Instead. Their dialog revealed their particular tone ...

[the eleventh fragment]

   The Geek, who had left Beat, asleep, now traveled on the road

   with the curious two: one of Puzzle, the other, Code ...

The two po's seemed familiars — the playful and the dandy.

Programmer-like one had an old typewritten sheet handy

Whose typographical play I caught sight of, displaying

Words unspun — this, to the poet of conundrum, showing.

He was seeking, so it seemed, some critique from the fey fop.

The logic-bender mused — his hand scratched his feminine mop —

Then let loose a laugh. He was getting the inside joke, while

I, outside, was left craving. But then, I glanced 'cross the aisle ...

[the twelfth fragment]

   Having found two poets with minds like his own geeky muse,

   The bus-rider from Blogosphere was to find other views.

I was intrigued with the banter between cryptic Coder

And the priss-Puzzler, when I looked cross the aisle. No colder

A chill had I felt in my travel. Outside the window

I observed the most mysterious thing: the scenic flow

Had changed from — to me — a somewhat familiar venue

To a late medieval one — history, to me — and, too,

A bearded man with black hood, walking with handwritten book.

What time-demon had transported me with devious hook?!

I had to find out. I pulled the stop-chord, left my own time,

And found myself at the genesis of my own slang's rhyme.

*This ends Part I of The Geek Poet's Tale. This post is a time-ordered compilation of the original posts (with some minor corrections).