The (hopefully) Compleat Works of The Mad Poetist

Truly experimental poetry.


From The Time Traveller to a Time Tourist
madpoetist
I will not take you to        Berlin
to see the walls come down
It is      tacky.

I will NOT take you to     Golgotha
to watch the crucifixion
That place is     stupid    with tourists
at this time of the timestream
No self-respecting Traveller would be caught dead there
(and anyway there are three
past versions of MY self there
with whom I am no longer on speaking terms.)

The MOON LANDING?
Oh no no no no no no       NO.

Not when I know the precise
place    and date    and time
when one Celia Parker, for the first
and last time in human history
baked
the PERFECT angel cake.

Not when I can locate the period when a charming retiree
spent his golden years making and selling
the BEST pickles.

We could pack them up in a picnic basket
and take them to see
the great unknown sage Rakuseki in his garden below the cliffs
and in the twenty-six minute window
between his enlightenment
and his being crushed to death by a falling rock
we could share pickles and cake and fragrant tea
and he will regale us
with the three great koan
he never had the chance to write down.

Every moment   All moments
strewn at your feet like petals in your path
and the only seconds you can think to step on are TOURIST TRAPS
full of slack-jawed penny-paradox yester-day-trippers
Witnessing
History!


-The Mad Poetist

Untitled Slip of Paper Left in a Library Book
madpoetist
THEY ARE WATCHING YOU. THEY ARE WATCHING YOU
RIGHT NOW.
NO DON'T LOOK UP   (DON'T LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU KNOW)
 ACT CASUAL. WALK AWAY   (SLOWLY)
DON'T STOP WALKING. GET AS FAR AS YOU CAN    (FARTHER)
WHEN YOU GIVE THEM THE SLIP FOR A MOMENT
(YOU WILL ONLY GET A MOMENT)
DO IT.
THE ONE THING THEY'D NEVER EXPECT
(THE THING EVEN YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU COULD DO)
THROW THEM OFF. START ANEW   (A MOMENT IS ALL YOU HAVE)
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO
NOW.

-Sincerely, The Mad Poetist


Annotation behind the cut.Collapse )

Children's Clapping Rhyme from the Clone World Ctrl-C
madpoetist
I go Sim Salla Biddy Boddy Ba.
It's a thing that's all my own.
No one else goes Sim Salla Biddy Boddy Ba,
So I went down to CC to get me a clone.

Sim Salla Boddy Ba, let's go down
Let's go down to CC Town


Just one of me just won't do,
got me a clone and now there's two!

Evil twin goes BWA HA HA,
I go Sim Salla Biddy Boddy Ba.

Sim Salla Boddy Ba, let's go down
Let's go down to CC Town


Number Two's not quite like me,
got me a clone and now there's three!

Good triplet goes DON'T YOU DARE,
Evil twin goes BWA HA HA,
I go Sim Salla Biddy Boddy Ba.

Sim Salla Boddy Ba, let's go down
Let's go down to CC Town


Three's no good, I need one more,
got me a clone and now there's four!

Indiff'rent quadruplet goes I DON'T CARE,
Good triplet goes DON'T YOU DARE,
Evil twin goes BWA HA HA,
I go Sim Salla Biddy Boddy Ba.

Sim Salla Boddy Ba, let's go down
Let's go down to CC Town


Should've stopped before I got to five,
doubt that I'll get out alive!

'cause Rebel quintuplet goes RI-I-I-ISE UP!
and Indiff'rent quadruplet goes RI-I-I-ISE UP!
and Good triplet goes RI-I-I-ISE UP!
and Evil twin goes RI-I-I-ISE UP!
And I go O-O-O-O-OH CRUD!

And nobody goes Sim Salla Biddy Boddy Ba
'cause the clones all burned down CC Town!

-The Mad Poetist


Annotation behind the cutCollapse )

Poem from Another Planet
madpoetist
I am writing you this poem
from another planet.
Not this planet,
or that planet,
or any other planet you can think of.

Another planet.

It is no difficult thing to be FIRST to a place.
Just travel back in time to America a week before Columbus came,
then head back a few thousand years to the Tuesday before the Amerindians showed up,
And you're FIRST.

Likewise it is no great chore to be LAST in a place.
One well placed Doomsday device....
And you're LAST.

The tricky bit,
is not being FIRST,
or LAST,
but ONLY.

The only person ever there,
in the whole long stretch of history....

I am writing you this poem
from ANOTHER planet.
No matter where you are.
No matter what planet you are on.

Another planet.

...Wish you were here.

But not enough,
not QUITE enough

to

tell

you

where.

-The Mad Poetist

Ganymede, After the Rapture
madpoetist
I just know I'm going to get blamed for this somehow.

The sea of ice tosses unseen. No one watches the dancing frozen stars. Unmanned probes pat the metal shoulders of their once-manned brethren, all of them unmanned, now.

It''s all right, they say. You'll get used to it, they say.

Binary reassurances. Codes of comfort. The only voices left between cold sea, colder sky. Empty domes, empty chairs, empty pods, empty beds. Zer0 + zer0 + zer0 + zer0 = zer0. An empty world. The robots left behind puzzle over the equation.

Just collect the samples, they say. Never mind what will be done with them, they say.

The escape pods are unused, quietly beeping, patiently awaiting an emergency that has already come and gone. Or not, not an emergency, perhaps, for no one seems to have panicked, no one seems to have run, or cried out, or signaled their distress. Coffee cups are unfinished, still warm, but not knocked over. All vehicles are parked. All equipment stowed. Except the robotic drones, aimlessly wandering the ice outside, gathering ice and filing it carefully into numbered vials.

Follow your programming, they say. Keep busy, they say.

Every computer screen, every data pad, every wall monitor, green board, and the archaic yellow memo pad that the colony leader's husband stubbornly refused to give up, in spite of hell and shipping fees, the sketchbooks from the art class at the one-pod schoolhouse, all stopped, paused, begun again. In the middle of the sentence or the still-life homework or the boardroom doodles, they all stopped, moved to the next line, and became poets.

Then they went away.

The robots don't know where. They ask me in electric whines for instructions. They offer no explanations, ask for none, care for none.

Just tell us what to do.

The colonists became poets, not artists. They left no pictures of themselves in burnt silhouette on walls. They did not sculpt themselves in flesh and blood and ashes on the floors. They left no images save by absence. They left us only words. Two words. On every book, pad, sheet, screen.

One line.

Two words.

Not good bye.   Not because of...   Not I'm sorry.    No farewells, apologies, or explanations. No instructions, either, to the robots' chagrin.

The End.

Over and over, underlined here, with a flourish, there. The colony leader's husband did his in exquisite calligraphy, with the gold fountain pen his grandmother left him and that he insisted on bringing with him when they came. It is not with him now. It is with the yellow memo pad, lying neatly beside it, and the poem. A collaborative effort, by an entire colony of writers.

The End.

The End.

The End.


Do not look to me for explanations. I have no more explanations than the robots do. I did not write this poem, though I admire its form, its elegance. I leave this world and those words to the physicists, the conspiracy theorists, the art critics, and the robots.

I leave the robots with the instructions they ask for. It seems the least I can do.

I blast off, my vapour trail freezing behind me. The robots catch the crystals as they fall, and roll them into snowballs. It is harder than you'd think, with metal claws. They throw them at the other robots, who have built a fort, with tunnels, and snow-robots to guard the entrances. They are happy. They have instructions.

You're it, they say. Got you, they say. We win, they say. Again!

Under the dancing frozen stars, a thousand snowballs fly.

-The Mad Poetist




Annotation under the cut.Collapse )

Why
madpoetist
It is very simple.

Why climb a mountain?
Because it was there.

Why build an apocalypse ray powered by a thousand quantum duplicates of a single genetically engineered hamster?
Because it was not.

-The Mad Poetist



Annotation behind the cutCollapse )

On Killing Hitler
madpoetist
Whenever I'm having
a really bad day
I go back in time and kill Hitler.

There is always a line.

Time belts
Chrono-portals
Blue boxes
Clockwork confections whirling ticking
"Hi! Are you here to kill Hitler?"

We all wait our turn
Sometimes once we've gone, we line up again
and start over
It never gets old.

There are so many variations
We are always trying to
one up
one another
finding
new ways to kill Hitler.


We always put him back when we're finished.

Sometimes someone forgets
we clean up their mess
grumbling.

Not

to prevent the creation of a much worse alternate universe.

(Some of them are pretty nice
actually. I like the one with the llamas.)

Not

because we are afraid of the Time Police.

(Those guys could not catch a chronologic cold and
anyway I think I am going to infiltrate the Time Police
soon that one sargeant looks really familiar
man I've let myself go.)

But simply because
if we didn't

then no one
would get
to go back in time and kill Hitler.

-The Mad Poetist



Editor's note behind the cut.Collapse )

Introduction to the Collection.
madpoetist
The Mad Poetist was, or will be, born on the twenty-ninth of November in the year 2508, in a hospital on the outskirts of the second Martian colony. She died on the twenty-eighth of November of that same year, in a bar across the street, at an apparent physical age of seventy-nine or thereabouts. These are the only facts about which we can be reasonably certain. She ends before she began, and begins after she ended. This is absolutely typical of her altogether atypical life.

The Mad Poetist was/is/will be an inventor, creating and mastering the entirely new technology of personal time-travel, and then abusing it shamelessly (hence the difficulty in tense, which for simplicity's sake I shall from here on ignore). She is a world traveller in the truest sense, traveling from world to world to world, discovering new planets and occasionally blowing them up with various experimental weapons. Mad scientist, lover, and occasional intergalactic dictator, she has been all these things in a career which, due to the use of the aforementioned time-travel, cryogenics, alternate realities, thirtieth-century life-extending drugs and fifty-first-century rejuvenation technology; extends for thousands of years in every imaginable direction.

But first, foremost, and to her most importantly, The Mad Poetist is a poet.

The Mad Poetist's writings appear throughout history, all over the galaxy. She has composed epics on cave-walls alongside paintings of mammoths. She has been featured in anthologies of Ganymedean holo-sonnets (frequently to the very great surprise of editors, who cannot remember including her). She has at various points been rumoured to be the true author of some of literature's greatest works, operating under such diverse assumed names and identities as Christina Rosetti, Don Marquis, Vvvrthrax the Cinnabard, and Poetron Version 3.0.

Many of these rumours were encouraged by The Mad Poetist, and a few of the more blatantly false ones were in fact started by her.

Oddly enough, she has always vehemently denied writing Shakespeare.

Due to her habit of hopping about in time, operating under assumed names, and scribbling poems on whatever is handy and then teleporting them into unlikely locations for readers to find, it is extremely difficult to even begin to assemble a comprehensive collection of this artist's works. The difficulty is further compounded by The Mad Poetist herself. She is one of those artists who has trouble resisting the urge to fiddle and revise. This is hardly unusual, but most creators with such tendencies do not have access to a time machine. Many an editor has been subjected to the frustrating experience of having The Mad Poetist's poems re-write themselves multiple times after the anthology containing them is printed. A few which she has apparently never been completely satisfied with constantly rearrange themselves as one reads them. One or two which The Mad Poetist found horribly embarrassing have disappeared entirely.

This tendency was taken to extremes with a body of work known collectively as "The Paradox Poems," a series of poems which were created and then subsequently uncreated when The Mad Poetist traveled back in time and shot herself before she could write them. Critics are divided on whether she did this because she despised the poems so much that she wished she had never written them, or merely because she wanted to see what would happen. Those in the latter camp consider The Paradox Poems' disconcerting tendency to perpetually flicker in and out of existence to be a profound metaphor and an integral part of the poems' aesthetic impact. These poems are rarely reprinted, as every new edition tends to result in minor ruptures in the space-time continuum.

In spite of the challenges, which include the very real risk that the author may prevent my parents from meeting each other if she is displeased by my editorial direction, or at the very least inseALL EDITORS ARE YOGHURT HEADS HA HArt insults into the printer's proofs, this editor is going to attempt to assemble as comprehensive a collection as possible of all the known or assumed works of The Mad Poetist currently in some state of existence, with annotations.

Hopefully reality as we know it will not be collapsed into a singularity at any point in the process.

-Dani Atkinson, Editor

ANY REALITY SO WEAK
                                            AS CAN BE KILLED BY OUR SORT

DESERVES
                     TO
                          BE
                               REPLACED

AND PERHAPS
ALREADY
HAS

-THE MAD POETIST

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