Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 17 ... NaPoWriMo / Poem-a-Day


Today is Day 17, yo! Prime number. We're on the downslide of the month. Before we get to today's prompts, I'd like to thank Anna Montgomery for giving me a shout-out on Chromapoesy. Maraming salamat!

Okay, prompts. Maureen Thorson suggests an epistolary poem. Robert Lee Brewer gives his usual Two for Tuesday: science fiction poem or fantasy poem. And Andrea Boltwood says: a poem of address. As always, mashing them up today again. Here goes.

Letter to Zelazny from Olympus Mons

Dear Roger, you don't know me but we met once at a little literary bookstore in San Jose,
California. Not that we met, exactly. Rather, you signed my book. Two of them.
One was Creatures of Light and Darkness, which I was buying that evening; you inscribed it
with simply your name. The other was an old dog-eared copy of Lord of Light I had brought with me;
in that one you wrote "Good Wishes." What a treat that small sentiment was. I didn't tell you
how years before, a single image of yours from "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" had inspired me
immensely: a description of some kind of wheeled rover skidding across the surface of Mars,
splashing red sand upward like a flame. That image resonates with me to this day.

Although you have flown years ago into the primum mobile, into the undiscovered country,
on an invisible flying saucer of your own making, I'm writing you today because I am standing
at the foot of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system, near Tharsis on Mars.
And this morning, I saw in real life that image of a vehicle's wheels setting the ground
of Mars on cold, gritty fire. You nailed that image, Roger . . . you got it exactly right.

That's not all. It would amaze — no, tickle your fancy — to know Edgar Rice Burroughs
was actually writing nonfiction. Yes, we have found Helium (not the element, the city) on Mars.
Or as it's really called, it turns out, Barsoom. Helium is still ruled, lo these centuries later,
by Dejah Thoris and John Carter, still young as ever. And yes, six-limbed reptilian green men!
It's all here: the huge white apes, the fliers that can reach a couple of hundred miles per hour,
the spider-legged nothing-but-head Kaldanes and their headless Rykor bodies . . . amazing.

What is even more amazing than all of that is something even you could never have imagined.
John Carter was not always on Barsoom. There were long periods he spent back on Earth.
Well, we both know that from the novels. The most incredible part is that John Carter
had a secret identity during one of those periods: Frank Frazetta. Or rather Frazetta was Carter.

How about that? So Frazetta's very influential art, like Burroughs's evidently realistic travelogues,
was also not fictional. Carter has told me all the art he created as Frazetta was modeled
not only on Barsoomian commonplaces but on actual scenes he witnessed in his travels through
the shadow worlds between Amber and the Courts of Chaos. Yes, that's right . . . Amber.
The secret is out, Roger. It seems you, like Burroughs and who knows who else, were writing
journalism all along and not science fiction or fantasy. Aren't you a crafty old dawg!

So, Roger . . . I'm writing to ask you to return from the dead. Yes, I've guessed you are not
actually dead. That when I said "invisible flying saucer" above I was being quite literal.
Yup, all the evidence points to this conclusion. Anyway, I'd like to invite you to join me
on an expedition. Come on back, Roger. What do you think? Let's go find Pellucidar!
Shall we? It will be like following in the footsteps of Dante towards the center of the Earth.
Let me know soon, okay? Take care. I remain, as always, your fan and, I hope, your friend.

—Draft by Vince Gotera     [do not copy or quote ... thanks]

Today, our featured poem-a-day blog is Conversations with Laurie, where Laurie Kolp is presenting sparkling, entertaining poems throughout April. Look particularly at her poem for today, "A Letter to My Face," a fun rhymed poem that makes sport of our concerns about aging and appearance. Thanks for the great work, Laurie.


Okay, friends, that's all for today. Catherine's Day 17 poem I'll add later, maybe tomorrow; she's running late today. As always, leave a comment below, please. Thanks. Ingat.


POEM-A-DAY 2012 • Pick a day in April: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


12 comments:

Susan said...

Fun! I enjoyed your using the details from the fictions to "understand" Zelazny and reality!

chocolateisaverb said...

It's good to know that, when life here on Ordinalis-ur grows tedious or vexing, you, and, we hope, Roger, will pilot us with assurance into madness.

De said...

Loving your ability to do the prompt mashups, Vince. This was great.
I've added you to my "blogs I stalk" roll. :)

chromapoesy.com said...

As someone not familiar with Zelazny or Frazetta I was intrigued and enjoyed learning more through your allusions. Zelazny's reimagining of mythologies (you reference books incorporating Egyptian and Hindu mythologies) especially caught my attention. Your tone in the address is endearing, the premise a wonderful fantastication, and the execution a lot of fun. I was happy to provide a shout out and hope it generated some traffic. Thank you again!

Vince Gotera said...

Susan, thanks. Do read Zelazny. Lord of Light is a good novel to start with ... a re-telling of the story of Buddha and the Hindu pantheon through science fiction.

Vince Gotera said...

Judy, many thanks. Certainly I, if not Roger. ;-)

Andrea Boltwood said...

Ay naku! This is cool! Incredible how you referenced and personalized the author/book/fantasy! Very intricately written and a totally fun read!
And... I am proud to announce the birth of my first Hay(na)ku!I will post it tomorrow. It was a blast! Thanks for sharing this new form with us!

Vince Gotera said...

Anna, thank you. As I said to Susan above, Lord of Light is a good novel to start with ... a re-telling of the story of Buddha and the Hindu pantheon through science fiction. The Egyptian one is pretty experimental and perhaps not his best work. Thanks again!

Are you on facebook? Let's keep in touch. Did I tell you this already? Ack.

Vince Gotera said...

Andrea, thank you so much. Although I was part (in a way) of the birth of the hay(na)ku nine years ago, I hadn't written one until a few days ago. Glad that NaPoWriMo is widening my horizons.

Vince Gotera said...

De ... thanks so much. But I wonder. Hmm. Why does the word "stalk" appear so much in what you post. Hmm. Just kidding!

Laurie Kolp said...

Thank you so much Vince. I really appreciate your feature of me here on your blog. My bad for not checking back more often. This is a crazy busy month and on the 17th I was driving back from a long weekend of chaperoning middle schoolers in a school related event. Have a great day... I'm adding you to my blogroll, too.

Vince Gotera said...

Laurie, thanks for your comment. Sorry I didn't discover it till now. Hope you had a great NPM ... I need to come back to your blog and look around some more. Thanks again.

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