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  #1  
Unread 01-10-2019, 05:55 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Default The Lord Warcraft

Already what will be a real rager
is offering hors d’oeuvres—relentless rains
and bouts of bluster. All the subway trains
are sleeping now, and you are slogging down
to NYU to talk to “Woot” McGraw,
pot-smoker and Computer Science Major.
He chose, as “Lord Warcraft,” to stay in town
and face the consequences of the storm—
the floods, dead fish, and days of martial law—
rather than leave the console in his dorm.

When you describe the server farm you saw
at Grace Church, Inc., he snorts and answers, “Uh,
giants like Microsoft, of course, have vast
centers like that out in, like, Iowa,
but stacks of hardware ‘stretching row on row
forever’ in Manhattan? I don’t know.
Real estate’s too damn pricey. Furthermore,
why would a church have secretly amassed
all that bandwidth, all that download speed?

But, hey, let’s say you really saw it. Fine.
Bad guys might use that sort of wattage for
dark-web activities, you know—online
drug-trafficking, child-trafficking, live-feed
porno, machine-gun dealerships, whatever,
and someone who was really, really clever
could lie low, then just burst onto the scene
and take the web by storm. . .”
and take the web by storm. . .” Ring, ring, your phone,
ring, ring, is butting in. You check the screen,
and Caller ID says “ID Unknown.”

“Hello?”
“Hello?” A purposeful contralto purrs,
”Listen: I’ve got your would-be wifey wife
at gunpoint at her flat. Checkmate. You’re done.
Let’s do a quid pro quo—your hide for hers.
Be here in twenty minutes. Come alone.”

“Who’s this?”
“Who’s this?” The voice replies,
"Who's this?" The voice replies, “I am the one
that nearly cut your nuts off with my knife,
the one that nicked you with my Heckler. Friend,
I am your destiny. I am The End.”

The line goes dead, then, and you start to run
not for your own but for your lover’s life.


. . . . .

No cabs to take, no cars to jack—
and so, adrenal in the driving rain,
you are running north to the rescue, stud.
Fast as you are, though, you feel defeat
hard on your heels. That harpy threatening
Li-ling’s life won’t let her keep it;
you’ve gotta go and give yours, anyway,
die, too, for your darling.
die, too, for your darling. Desolation!
No gull is here to gape at you going
through old Manhattan all alone,
no Norway rat to note the splat
of soggy Converses on soaked sidewalk
and flooded street.
and flooded street. The Strand Book Store
bobs by on your right with boards on its windows
and soon, to your left, lights-out and shuttered,
Chase Bank and Brenner’s Chocolate Bar.
General Washington, who won his war,
is sitting in stirrups astride a steed
in Union Square, while you, a young
campaigner of note, a promising patriot,
must face on foot a final failure.

Guilt (what you’ve gotten your girlfriend into!)
wells up on Broadway near the Brooks Brothers.
By the time you turn on Twenty-Eighth,
you want what’s coming, wicked one.

. . . . .
I.4.1 "A purposeful contralto purrs" for "A taunting sort of alto purrs" for "A purposeful contralto purrs"
II.1.8 cut "but"
II.2.line1 "Desolation" for "Damn desolation!"

Last edited by Aaron Poochigian; 01-18-2019 at 09:59 AM.
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  #2  
Unread 01-11-2019, 12:19 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Eureka! You've really done it this time, Aaron. This excerpt is per-fec-tion. I especially enjoyed the details in the second section as "you" run north on Broadway in Manhattan. It's just like being there!
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  #3  
Unread 01-11-2019, 12:20 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Thank you, Aaron.
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  #4  
Unread 01-11-2019, 02:34 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Nah, on second thought, "Damn desolation!" gilds the lily. I am going to pull back to, simply, "Desolation!"
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  #5  
Unread 01-11-2019, 10:19 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Hi Aaron,

I agree, desolation is better. I also wonder about "the" in this: "wells up on Broadway near the Brooks Brothers," and about the opening line with its missing beat. Could you put a beat in there?
Other than that, this does pack a punch. I am enjoying these installments. Now it reminds me a bit of The Big Sleep - not a bad thing.

Cheers,
John
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  #6  
Unread 01-12-2019, 01:21 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Hi Aaron,

Not surprisingly, this new installment from your dystopian verse-novel crackles. I enjoyed it.

Not much to pick at here. Good move, switching back to just "Desolation."

A couple of things that came to mind with a second reading:

I like the phrase “would-be wifey wife” but I don’t understand it. Why “would-be”? Isn’t she his wife?

Would a super-criminal of whatever kind say “quid pro quo”? Seemed off to me.

Where you switch to alliterative tet in the second part, I get 5 stresses in “but you’ve gotta go and give yours, anyway”—is that intentional?

For “That harpy threatening” maybe put “That harpy who threatens”?

Best,

Andrew
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  #7  
Unread 01-12-2019, 04:49 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hannibal Lector said 'quid pro quo', didn't he. And Bond villains often have intellectual pretensions.

It's lots of rollicking fun again, Aaron. I like the overarching motif of the storm always in the background, like the proverbial 'ticking bomb'. It deserves to do well when it eventually emerges.

I'd watch out for that first critter though; those fan-boy types can turn on you.
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  #8  
Unread 01-12-2019, 11:06 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Gentlemen, thank you very much.

John, I have gone back and forth on the “the” before “Brook Brothers.” I think, with the “the,” there is the suggestion that “the Brooks Brothers” is a franchise, one of my many. I am undecided.

I scan the opening line as “alREAdy WHAT will BE a RE-al RAger.” That is how I naturally pronounce the line—a fast line of iambic pentameter.

Andrew, “You” and Li-ling are not yet married, though you are living together.

Would you prefer “Let’s do a tit for tat” or “Let’s do a little trade” over “Let’s do a quid pro quo”?

The “harpy” is currently “threatening,” so I think I prefer what’s there now. Do you prefer

That harpy threatening
Li-ling’s life won’t let her keep it,
but you’ve gotta go and give yours, anyway,
die, too, for your darling.

Or

That harpy threatening
Li-ling’s life won’t let her keep it;
you’ve gotta go and give yours, anyway,
die, too, for your darling.

?

I don’t think the “but” makes a pentameter in this accentual system.

Thank you, Mark. I am still thinking about “quid pro quo.” Yes, the first person to comment on this thread was obnoxious.
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  #9  
Unread 01-12-2019, 11:09 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is online now
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Aha! I'd missed that real can be two syllables. A nice pronunciation. I withdraw my nit.

Cheers,
John
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  #10  
Unread 01-15-2019, 10:36 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Yay! The 'Sphere is back. I have posted a few revisions, most substantially
"A taunting sort of alto purrs" for a "purposeful contralto purrs".
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