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13 June 2017 @ 11:11 pm
LJ Idol Season Ten: "Not With A Bang..."  
Not With A Bang...
idol season ten | week 21 | 1035 words
Current Events

x-x-x-x-x

Why it started in the first place was a mystery, but it did. After just a few weeks, it became the law.

One stray limerick or even a haiku could cost you big. The message was clear: poetry was not for amateurs. It had nothing to do with talent, either. It was about regulation and control.

Or maybe it was about someone who had heard one Dr. Seuss parody too many.

It brought out the rebellious streak in some people, which was never the answer. They would infiltrate shopping malls and kick out random piece of hipster trash—mostly for the attention:
Sick, baby, sick,
You love to cry and cry and cry.
Your love is thick like a brick,
Makes me so high I wanna die.

Sick, baby, sick,
You love the pain, you love the hurt.
You want the slick of my di—


"All right, that's enough!" and boom—the cops would be all over them. "License, please."

"I don't need a license for art!"

"That wasn't art, and we don't make the laws—we just enforce them. So either you show us some credentials, or you pay the fine."

Just like that, the rebels and their greenbacks would be parted once again.

The restrictions did not apply to original poetry alone. The number of citations for unauthorized renderings of Auden's Funeral Blues could have funded several small nations, and preschools were going bankrupt over the use of nursery rhymes in books, games, and décor.

The people who did have licenses were often smug. They might commandeer a street corner, or even a stage:
We have known the good, the bad,
The everyday,
And come through it together.
Shoulder to shoulder we will stand
Today, tomorrow, forever.

I'll always have your back.

The cheers and groans from the crowd would compete as certain onlookers grumbled that the poet was a worthless hack.

"He's licensed, and he works for Hallmark!" someone would be sure to point out.

"So what? He has the soul of an accountant!"

Frustrated baristas and dog-walkers who didn't earn enough money to buy their way into the system tried to keep their artistry under wraps. They muttered free verse into their phones when they thought no one was listening, or wrote secret longhand odes in loose-leaf notebooks while hiding in closets.

Poetry circles cropped up in basements, protected by locked doors and ever-changing passwords. Would-be squealers knew they'd lose any hope of a free audience or helpful artistic discussion if they ratted out one of the groups, but it still happened:
—know the sins of ghosts
Who bear our faces.

And in those distant mornings
There are stories
Formed of broken words
And the lies of long-dead men.

They are the cruelest,
The hardest to forget.

From—


"All right, hands up everyone, stay right where you are! We're the government, and this is a raid!"

The poets all had the same question about the laws, the fines, the arrests: "Who is unregulated poetry hurting?"

"That's not for us to say," the police would reply. "You don't like the law, talk to your council members."

Those who did were rarely satisfied with the answers. "Oh, I don't know," Councilman Buzz Haxell said. "Seems like a pretty good idea to me. Have you heard some of the crap people try to pass off as poetry?"

Before long, almost everyone had.

Some would-be poets talked about moving to other areas, where they could release their inner bard.

Several mayors of neighboring counties and states suggested such a move might tempt them to release their inner thug. "I don't want that kind of thing going on in my jurisdiction," one said, under condition of anonymity. "You let that kind of thing start up, and pretty soon you've got candle shops and goats' milk vendors on every corner."

"I don't get what the big deal is," another one said. "I mean, say you don't let all those Shakespeare-sniffing stiffs pen their little rhymes whenever the mood takes 'em, so what? Is all of that 'artistry' gonna back up inside 'em until they blow a gasket or something? I don't think so…"

A few unlicensed poets thought that was exactly what might happen, but what could they do? Pen a satirical ode to a friend for his birthday, and you might spend the next three years on a watch list. A few were forced to pick up extra work after-hours so they could afford to buy a license. It was definitely better than going crazy.

The licensing fad spread to other states and other countries. After a couple of years, worrisome side-effects became evident.

"Hey, that thing I just heard—"

"The one with Roses are red, Violets are blue?"

"Yeah, that one. Was it any good, or was it terrible?"

"I thought it was okay. Say, have you seen the latest from Morrie Moneymaker, the Greeting Card guy?"

"Oh, he's good!"

"The best. I totally 'get' his work, you know?"

"Yep. It's like what you meant to say, only better."

"Exactly! Say, can you change the radio to the Easy-Listening station? That one's my favorite."

Soon, real poetry went the way of classical music and ballet. Fading away into obscurity, it went too quickly for the general public to notice or mourn.

"So, like, my teacher wanted us to read these, like, sonnets or something, from like, a million years ago? I couldn't even. I mean, like, what was the guy trying to say? It was all so pretentious, and like, totally long. Ugh."

"Well, pumpkin, I guess it was a good idea to cut down on that stuff by licensing it. Who did all those people think they were, anyway?"

"I know, right? We got a homework assignment to write some of our own under the school's license, but that's okay. I’m ready."

"Really? That's amazing, Mindy! I didn't know you had that kind of talent."

"Oh, yeah, and it's not even that hard. Everyone makes such a big deal out of it."

"Well, of course, honey. It's art!"

"Yeah, art, right. Whatevs, Mom, it's cool. Just give me about ten minutes, you'll see—I've got this killer limerick forming in my head!"


--/--


One of the side-effects of aging eyes is misreading things, especially when just glancing at them. On the other hand, the results are often more entertaining than the actual version! The inspiration for this week's entry came from misreading the online headline for this news story and parsing it the same wrong way three different times. And yes, this was definitely more fun than the real point of that article. :D

Voting this week is a Gatekeeper round, so no poll. But all of the entries are posted here in the comments. Lots to read and enjoy. :)

 
 
 
penpusher: Sirius Dogpenpusher on June 15th, 2017 04:45 pm (UTC)
What about the poetry
You didn't even knowetry?
Those accidental rhymes
That get made from time to times?
Doggone, a license, say bees
Can help prevent some rabies.
But one person's art
Is another one's fart
That's the thing about talent...
Sometimes it's Goofus, and sometimes Gallant.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 17th, 2017 07:03 am (UTC)
Hahahaha! I think Ogden Nash would highly approve of the way you rhymed poetry with "knowetry," as well as talent/Gallant.

It IS possible to have negative talent, it's true. Mostly rare, but unfortunately still true. :D
i_17bingo: toileti_17bingo on June 15th, 2017 08:33 pm (UTC)
Is it wrong that I don't think of this as a bad idea? There is so much bad poetry out there, and it needs to be contained somehow.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 17th, 2017 07:04 am (UTC)
I think the problem is that it starts out as restricting "bad" art, and then it bleeds into "challenging" art, which eventually becomes everything that isn't simplistic drivel! :O
cindy: misc fictsuki_no_bara on June 16th, 2017 02:39 am (UTC)
on the one hand, this isn't a terrible idea, because there's some crap poetry out there. but on the other, everyone should have the freedom to be a terrible poet in person.

in any case, this is crazy and inspired and i have to giggle at the misreading of that headline.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 17th, 2017 07:21 am (UTC)
everyone should have the freedom to be a terrible poet in person
So true-- and most of us probably are!

I'm glad you liked the inspiration for the title and story. The actual story was snoozefest full of factoids, and the misreading was so much more fun than the reality!
messygorgeousmessygorgeous on June 16th, 2017 02:11 pm (UTC)

Lol!! I was reading this and thinking "My god! We are fast on our way to living in a dystopian nightmare!" (well we kinda already are!) But, if they are now regulating POETRY, what next??


So glad to discover this was a case of bad eyes and not bad government!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 17th, 2017 07:56 am (UTC)
Hahaha-- yes, totally fake. Though I can almost see someone doing this, since we seem to want to screw up so many things right now. But at the moment, poetry is still free-range. :D
rayasorayaso on June 16th, 2017 11:50 pm (UTC)
This was so wonderful -- and to think it all started with licensing pets, not poets. The poetry in here was so deliberately awful! If hair stylists need a license, why not poets? A bad haircut is gone in several weeks, but bad poetry survives for so much longer. This was so much fun, I burst out laughing several times. It was so pointed and snarky! You have such a creative imagination.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 19th, 2017 12:31 am (UTC)
/o\ Well, the last example was supposed to be one of what might be good poetry, but the others were intended to be awful. Getting just that exact Hallmark-card-tone of platitudes and bland encouragement is harder than you might think, too!

With the rise of the Internet, bad poetry really might be around forever. Just like "Kung Fu Fighting" refuses to die, thanks to oldies stations. :O
Murielle: Scrunchedmurielle on June 17th, 2017 12:40 am (UTC)
So funny!

I have a confession to make. This Idol season I have written some unlicensed poetry. LOL!

As always brilliantly written. Unlicensed Poets! :-))
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 19th, 2017 12:36 am (UTC)
Hahaha-- I wrote some as my introduction this year, in fact, but I usually don't write them for Idol unless the piece really wants to be a poem. And WHY that is, when it happens, I really don't know.

I promise not to turn you in to the authorities. ;)
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre: pic#126855595bleodswean on June 18th, 2017 01:42 pm (UTC)
Haha! GREAT response to a truly funny misreading of that headline! I think this could be endlessly explored! And why don't we license the arts???

I was thinking of you the other day, K, and I think you might enjoy this smallish book if you haven't already read it -

https://www.amazon.com/Ella-Minnow-Pea-Novel-Letters/dp/0385722435/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497793323&sr=8-1&keywords=lmnop
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 19th, 2017 12:53 am (UTC)
I hadn't heard of that book, but it fits in really well with this theme! And with the kind of dystopia shown in "Shades of Grey," where everything has narrowed down to what was included in the manifesto written by the person whose system they now follow... and anything NOT in the manifesto is not addressed with sense. I.e., the manifestor forgot to mention spoons, and as a result no new spoons are manufactured. Instead, they are handed down from one generation to the next, and rarely leave one's person. :O
Rebeccabeeker121 on June 18th, 2017 11:18 pm (UTC)
Heh, poetry licenses. I think you got the curve of this just right, that at first everything would be even more rebellious and then slowly it would all settle into something undemanding.

I love that a sonnet is too long - ugh.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 19th, 2017 12:54 am (UTC)
I can so easily see people's standards sliding farther and farther down to the point where anything longer than a limerick seems FAR too long, and anything better written than that is just dense and strange and obviously NOT of quality. :O
Teo Sayseternal_ot on June 19th, 2017 11:27 am (UTC)
Haha...I really enjoyed this one. I was curious about the origin of it and even that made me laugh out loud. Great job here.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 20th, 2017 08:42 pm (UTC)
I can imagine several people thought, "Wow, what kind of dystopia have we slipped into? Are things really getting this bad?"

And no, they are not. But darned if the inspiration this gave wasn't better than the truth!
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen": I Love Poemsroina_arwen on June 20th, 2017 02:39 pm (UTC)
Unlicensed Pets vs Poets! Too funny!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 20th, 2017 08:42 pm (UTC)
Hahaha-- I thought you might enjoy this one! Did you see the first comment up above? I think the Ogden Nash lover in you will like it very much. :D
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen": Anne Boleyn - Smileroina_arwen on June 21st, 2017 11:15 pm (UTC)
Yes! Very good stuff
Rebecca Sparrow Wanderlustrswndrlst on June 20th, 2017 10:32 pm (UTC)

Frustrated baristas and dog-walkers who didn't earn enough money to buy their way into the system tried to keep their artistry under wraps. They muttered free verse into their phones when they thought no one was listening, or wrote secret longhand odes in loose-leaf notebooks while hiding in closets. 


ha! this is actually me


I am glad to see you kept up with your theme :D
but this one is almost scary

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 20th, 2017 10:52 pm (UTC)
You could almost see it happening, couldn't you?

And if you must poem, you MUST! Even if no one else ever sees or hears it, art is stronger than mere reward. :)
marlawentmadmarlawentmad on June 23rd, 2017 01:56 am (UTC)

I really love the idea of poetry being at the forefront of society, though!

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2017 02:38 am (UTC)
The idea that by licensing it and restricting its freedom a little bit, people become more obsessed with it? The forbidden fruit effect. :)

That may very well be better than free and highly ignored. :O