NaPoWriMo 4: Breath or, Inspiration / Exhalation

An Iain M. Banks Style Spaceship

A curious task today: make something using the names of spaceships from Iain M. Banks sci-fi books.

It must have been a synchronisity (or was it responsive?) for this to appear on the day that Iain has announced that he’s very ill with cancer and will probably not recover. (His very moving and pragmatic statement is here, too).

So I wrote a piece based on two of his ships’ names (all of which are wonderful fun):  Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity and Just Another Victim Of The Ambient Morality. I’ve taken them as the first word for each line in the poem, to push me into a structure.

And, in keeping with my series of poems inspired by science news stories, I was looking on BBC Science and found this story: about the possible diagnosis of (particularly) stomach cancers, using the breath. Essentially, our breath is – the research suggests – like our fingerprint: unique.

Whenever I’ve got stuck in writing, I looked for a next word from the article (a bit found-poem-y, yes) and also sought some Banks quotes too. So it’s a drawing together of today’s announcement, that story, and Banks’ amazing spaceship titles.

It is something of a sketch, with lots of SPACE in it – as it should be…

I’m copying it in as a JPEG below (which may be a bit small) and a definitely-readable PDF here: Breath or, Inspiration / Exhalation

(WordPress is NOT good at poems with any unusual layout in them and I would not sacrifice it!).

A NaPoWriMo poem based on the spaceship titles of Iain M Banks.

A NaPoWriMo poem based on the spaceship titles of Iain M Banks.

 

Prey or, White Metal Cave

A 3M-long scrub python is preyed on by a plane.

In my effort to write two new poems a week based on things I’ve seen in the news, here’s today’s attempt (a little more minimalist that yesterday’s asteroid effort, but rather more crafted!). It’s fairly self-explanatory – but based on the news story from the pic above and the excerpt below. Rather sad, I thought – despite it garnering plenty of attention for its ‘Snakes on a Plane’ connotations. So as is my way, I wanted to write something to present the other perspective…

“A 10ft (3m) scrub python was battling to retain its grip on the wing as a plane made its way between the Australian town of Cairns and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.”

– BBC News, 11th January 2013

Prey, or White Metal Cave

Hunger lured the hermit in

beneath the aluminium fuselage skin:

a white metal cave – a pristine space

for preying (on cloud rodents which were not there).

A head peeps out, tasting its lair,

expecting.

 

Until the monster-bird takes to the clouds and so:

earthquake-shatter hurricane-roar at two-hundred-and-fifty degrees

below. It doesn’t look down at the scrub, shrinking trees, gaping coast. A rope

cut adrift, a tube loosed from its machine, it clings;

stains kangaroo fuselage,

sprays the wing.

 

The last image it might have caught?

Touching shoulder to shoulder, head to heart,

a human, chewing, with a camera-shaped face.

Click. Looks the other way. Python

becomes prey.