Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 01-30-2019, 10:21 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,071
Default Alfred Is A Hurricane

The wind is full disquiet, and the rain
raucous percussion on the windowpane,
and you are grateful. You are good and warm
and glad your girlfriend didn’t go upstate
and leave you desolate for, God knows, weeks.
You love the heat of her; you love the storm.

And then your phone rings. It’s Director Eight.
She starts right in with,
She starts right in with, “Listen. We’ve got trouble.
Michael Sanger, keeper of the geeks
at DHS* in Soho, disappeared
six hours ago. What if the worst we feared
has come to pass? What if Stavros Canard
is back?
is back? I want you down there on the double,
first, making sure all’s well, then, standing guard
over this software called ‘The Master Key’.
It’s classified; it has priority.
Now go.”
Now go.” And so you leave the comfortable
nest where your love is, with your son or daughter
inside her, sleeping wrapped in satin sheets.
Outside, the gales are madness, and the streets
vanishing under mad amounts of water.

. . . . .

God damn this storm! you think as, itty-bitty
beneath its hugeness, you galumph down 8th.
No signs of life. You are a lonesome wraith
haunting what once had been a vibrant city.
The task your boss has set you seems so dumb.
Really, what act of evil could be done
this sodden morning after Kingdom Come?
Who else would brave this mess?
Who else would brave this mess? In fact, while you
are slogging onward underneath no sun
at dawn, the anarchist Stavros Canard
is riding shotgun down 9th Avenue,
an army at his back. Since everyone
has run for high ground, and the National Guard
has yet to move in, all New York is his—
his and his ‘missionary’ mercenaries’—
to loot and play with. The bloody hand he carries
used to belong to a computer wiz
named Michael Sanger. Now, hacked off, it is
Canard’s great hope of getting at the ‘The Key.’

Inexorably, as profound waves drown
the margins of Manhattan, you and he
are heading southward toward the same Downtown
Department of Homeland Security.

. . . . .

Soon as you shove your Bureau ID Card
against the plexiglass, the door goes buzz.
Inside, you smile and feel annoyed because
there is no crisis, no Stavros Canard,
only Miguel DeVera, junior coder
and Heather Hackenrude, his supervisor,
and cubicles and the distinctive odor
of burnt coffee.
of burnt coffee. Miguel is quiet; Heather,
chatty:
chatty: “Hey, how 'bout this crazy weather?
Either you are a very early riser
and just love hiking in the wind and rain
or something very big is up. What is it
that brought you out to us?”
that brought you out to us?” When you explain
that you were told to come and pay a visit
because of Michael Sanger’s disappearance,
Heather says,
Heather says, “I hardly know the guy,
but, with the storm, there’s lots of reasons why
he might be AWOL.”
he might be AWOL.” When you ask to see
the backroom where they keep ‘The Master Key,’
she answers,
she answers, “Sorry, but we don’t have clearance.
No one, and I mean NO ONE, sees that vault
except the chosen few who wear the right
fingerprints. No method of assault—
machine-gun fire, bazooka shell, C-4—
is getting through that steel-and-Kevlar door.
Trust me, the Master Key is locked up tight
in there, and nobody, including you,
will visit it today.”
will visit it today.” As if on cue,
Kaboom!, a big loud blast. The streetside wall
explodes and tumbles toward you. Rubble buries
Miguel the quiet programmer, and all
Alfred comes howling in. The sudden squall,
blowing the smoke away, reveals Lord knows
how many hostiles dressed like missionaries
leaping through the rupture, gun in hand.
Goddammit, you will have to make a stand,
you and the chick, against a horde of foes.

. . . . . .

*The Department of Homeland Security

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 02-21-2019 at 10:10 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 01-30-2019, 10:44 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,908
Default

That first stanza is worthy of its own emoji -- that is, if I liked emojis or used them to any degree. But I don't like them much.
It's a stunning opening stanza. Put that in your moji and moke it, Mario.

I haven't read the rest. But I will. After I read the first stanza a few more times.
IMHO, you are rockin it these days...
x
x
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 01-30-2019, 11:48 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,071
Default

Thank you very much, Jim. Do come back, if you have time, and let me know what you think of the rest.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 01-31-2019, 02:56 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 3,701
Default

Hi Aaron,

Yes, I think this latest installment maintains your high standards. It rattles along, it sings. I like it because it creates tension and nobody is being blown away; there is one explosion, but we've not had a surfeit of those. Two things: would a door have kevlar on it? And is squall the word you want? I think of squalls as sudden but mild.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 01-31-2019, 03:20 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,071
Default

Thank you, John, very much. I did research on "safe rooms," and they have doors made of steel and/or Kevlar from what I could gather. I will think about "squall"--I do think of them as sudden but not mild.

What do you think, people? "Squall"?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 01-31-2019, 11:26 AM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,336
Default

My dictionary says: a sudden violent gust of wind or a localized storm, so squall seems fine to me.

It reads very smoothly--it's hard to look for nits when it carries you along so fluently.
I guess "you and the chick" sounds very dated, and since the action is in the present, unless N is a time traveler, I would drop the sexist epithet.

Thanks for the read,
Martin
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 01-31-2019, 12:58 PM
Stephen Hampton Stephen Hampton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Jacksonville Florida USA
Posts: 308
Default *The Department of Homeland Security?

Ah Aaron, do you work for them?
If you do, you don't know me, Pooch, and I don't know you. Okay?

Seriously,

I'll come back and read this again, and hopefully have more to write. It does read as a personal experience.


Sincerely,
S
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 01-31-2019, 01:05 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is online now
Distinguished Guest
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,071
Default

Thank you, gentlemen.

I will go with "squall," Martin. Thank you for reassuring me.

Stephen, no, I have no connection with DHS, though at the location mentioned here in Soho, there is an actual branch of DHS. Please do come back.

Best,

Aaron
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 01-31-2019, 01:29 PM
Stephen Hampton Stephen Hampton is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Jacksonville Florida USA
Posts: 308
Default squalls have claws

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian View Post
Thank you, John, very much. I did research on "safe rooms," and they have doors made of steel and/or Kevlar from what I could gather. I will think about "squall"--I do think of them as sudden but not mild.

What do you think, people? "Squall"?
Whether rain, or sleet, or snow, they are sudden winds that bite and scratch with painful pin pricks. Winter ones are worst for me, now I must face one to feed my sheep, cow, horse, cats and one lazy dog who is begging me not to feed her outside in the cold. Be back in awhile.

S
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 01-31-2019, 02:49 PM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1,908
Default

I love the title and think it does exactly what a title is best suited to do in poetry: add dimension and insight; give a good after-the-fact “Aha!” effect. ("and all/Alfred comes howling in.")

Some thoughts...
  • L12,13: “What if the worst we feared/has come to pass?” I don’t hear her as talking that way.
  • The character names are wonderfully fictionalized. Though “Hackenrude” might be over-the-top.
  • L16: Possibly get rid of comma after “first”
  • L19: Should “Now go.” be “Go! Now!”?
  • The wrinkle of the girlfriend being pregnant is excellent. I don’t know where you're going with it but look forward to finding out.
  • L26: The sonics of galumph down 8th is fantastic and the "grid" visual of the two racing parallel to each other down 8th and 9th street in Soho is fantastic.
  • The plain-spoken writing throughout -- lines like, “The task your boss has set you seems so dumb.” -- is what gives counter-balance to the artful meter and rhyme and overall pace of the piece.
  • Was Stevros in fact riding shotgun? Who was driving? Does it really matter? It did cause me to stop and wonder…
  • The dastardly deed of chopping off someone’s hand to obtain their fingerprint is awesome.
  • It ends in great suspense. I can almost hear the sirens that will soon be screaming towards them. What will become of the bloody hand? And where is Michael?

The whole thing gels and I finish wanting more.

(And I love the opening stanza for what it evokes: It has a pulp noir/romantic feel and gorgeous rhythm to it.)

This is great work, Aaron.
x
x

-------

Editing back in to say I edited out some of this original post. Posted way too fast...
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 01-31-2019 at 06:44 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,959
Total Threads: 19,417
Total Posts: 248,631
There are 132 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online