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steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016


Apgar 0
(159 Words)

Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid
Today you sing, your smile is soft, warm light,
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.

I watched you begin, midwife at your aid.
Silent, limp, wet and in her hands so slight,
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid

A light, klaxon, medical cavalcade.
I held your mother as I watched you fight,
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.

Wiped clean, new breath, your signs of life remade.
We held you close, tight, watching through the night,
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid

Older now, time helps memory degrade
News of a brother makes you smile so bright
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.

My fears doused, behind mental barricade -
The day draws near, I’m scared they'll reignite.
Fragile and blue, you made me so afraid
But fears have roots, and these ones do not fade.

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sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


.

sparksbloom fucked around with this message at Nov 27, 2017 around 03:33

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


dance of dead dreamers
136 words

beat so fast, like drums my heart that races
down into the shadows of the crowd
through rays of light and unfamiliar faces

silhouettes that deal in twos and aces
clubs that tumble underneath the shroud
beat so fast, like drums my heart that races

stop and go to rhythms that betray us
flashing smiles that crash against the sound
through rays of light and unfamiliar faces

blown-out speakers, hollow sadness, baseless
raindance met by silence in the clouds
beat so fast, like drums my heart that races

suffocate in overcrowded places
fading stacks of smoke are pulling taught
through rays of light and unfamiliar faces

every beat is chasing for the latest
dreams like pennies dropping on the ground
beat so fast, like drums my heart that races
through rays of light and unfamiliar faces

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Favor Fortune
(152 words)

The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.
He shuffles, stooped, into the seaside town;
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

Meg Callahan his ragged coat espies--
A fishwife, she, whom fortune has let down.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.

No man so poor will purchase fish. She sighs
And studies his gnarled feet, his scabby crown.
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

Meg calls out, "Catch!" and tosses him a prize:
A monkfish, like herself salt-caked and brown.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.

Directly to his arms her present flies;
Surprise and wild delight erase his frown.
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

He clasps Meg's hand and sheds his human guise.
Together, they depart into renown.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

archived.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Oct 31, 2017 around 22:02

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Week 220 Crits, Continued


Claims Adjustment

This story is full of the kind of plot that Stephen King talks about, where plot is used as a crutch instead of focusing on story or character, where “plot” becomes more of a verb than a noun. And beyond that, there’s really no conflict evident here. When Lucia finds the feral society, they’re all friendly and accommodating and they just trust that Lucia won’t tell anyone about them. Save for a few typos, the writing is alright, it’s just that it serves little purpose other than “this thing happened, then this thing happened”.


Lifting the Veil

This is alright. You have a habit of getting the eerie and the macabre correct, and this story is no exception. The ending is a bit of an anticlimax, though—I was looking for “horrifying”, but instead I got “clever”, which wasn’t what I was expecting, both in the positive and the negative sense. The time loop seemed not only like a pulled punch, but also more of a pain in the rear end for whichever Lovecraftian entity was on shift that day than just a bloody death. The little details, like the grandfather clock, and the self-strangulation—those did a lot more than the rush of feeling at the end for me. It makes me think that if you’d have just hinted at something much more dark without fully showing it, the story would’ve had a more lasting effect.


Ascent

This was interesting in its own way. I liked the conceit of the endless tower. I didn’t like the present tense and the second person as much—mainly because I didn’t understand why I had to be in the main character’s shoes. He has a name, he’s his own person with his own past, why not just make it a third-person POV? Even so, I liked a lot of the little touches this story brought forth. And the ending hit hard in the way a lot of the stories this week couldn’t achieve.


Gainful Employment

This was well-written, detailed enough to make it seem human, and by the end, a little bit funny. It didn’t really seem to have an end to it, but it was interesting enough. If I had to change it, I might introduce the book club sooner and provide a steadier rise towards the story’s climax. We’re introduced to the book club, and almost instantly we know there’s some Lovecraft poo poo going down. It’d have more impact if it was more of a slow build—maybe a couple details at the opening that set your teeth on edge before you’ve figured out what’s happening.


Russell Saves Voidmart

My struggle with this one was that the internal logic of the story didn’t really make sense. I like the conflict between the two competing stores, but it feels like the more time you spend carefully explaining the dynamics of the rivalry, the less sharp and immediate the story feels, and the less sense it makes. Also, the ending seemed a bit too easy, like you ran out of time and had to find a way to put a bow on everything. It’s charming enough, though. Maybe if you kept the main character’s POV but had him explain a bit less.


No Evil

I like the device of replacing your eyes, but it seems like it would make more sense as a cosmetic surgery, like a status symbol, rather than as a cure for depression. “I need new eyes or else I’m going to kill myself” doesn’t quite ring true for me as a reader. Beyond that, it’s just sort of pretty filler until he does kill himself, for reasons that don’t quite come across to me. The imagery is beautiful, but it adds up to something I don’t really believe. Dude’s a few degrees away from a teenager throwing a tantrum about a tongue piercing. It doesn’t add up to a satisfying story.


The feeling behind the feeling

Yeah, this is a sebmojo story. Concise, charming, and darkly unfortunate. Also very character-heavy. This compares very favorably to that one story about the worms-in-ears conspiracy. The ending is the weak point, though, if you can call it an ending instead of just a cliff. I’d have very little negatives to say about this story if it stuck the landing at all.


The Plunge

We covered most of what could have been said about this story in the recaps, but it’s basically a rush job. I like the concept of the symbiotic vine, and it makes me wonder what would happen if this was submitted during a week that didn’t require the Voidmart conceit. There’s that one intriguing element—the vine—in a sea of thematically-appropriate nonsense.


Customer Service

I was surprise when I went back to this story and realized it just barely cracked a thousand words, which if anything is a testament to how much you can pack into a small wordcount. Technically, it’s spotless, so I’m going to focus on the few things I didn’t like. I guess I’d say that I missed an entire layer of the story due to my unfamiliarity with Norse mythology, but even then, the conflict was still apparent and compelling. I also would’ve liked a degree less attention paid to the jewelry descriptions and a degree more attention paid to character detail. I dunno. In a week where a lot of people went towards Cthulhu, it was cool to see a Ragnarok star.


Lost and Found

This week had a contentious judging session, but I pushed for this to win because I thought it embodied the spirit of the prompt the best, while at the same time being an engaging and resonant story that managed to have a satisfying ending. Nitpicks: story seems a bit top-heavy, in the sense that it’s paced slowly at the beginning and all of a sudden you get a rush of forward motion at the end. The “this is a farm” paragraph seemed particularly telling, in a cheap-ish way—if you had more room you’d want to make the revelation a bit more organic. Ultimately, though, it was an earned and deserved win that I enjoyed reading.


Secrets of a Small Family

If I recall correctly, and one of my co-judges can correct me—this was on the DM chopping block, but I pulled it off because I thought there was something to it. Looking at it again, I somewhat stand by that—there’s not much done with the prompt other than to set up the moment at the end where the parents discover each of them is cheating on the other. It felt real enough, kind of Carver-ish, and understated in the way a lot of other endings weren’t. No one got swallowed up by anything, they just agreed to see a therapist. It’s not much of a story, but you had a lot of competition in that area this week, so you got a pass. In the future, maybe outline your ideas more thoroughly and determine the driving conflict in advance.


Special Promotions

The main character reminds me of Entenzahn’s IRS guy, and not in a good way—to the point where both of these people are defined by their professions so much that they appear more like caricatures than actual people, especially given the existing cartoonishness of the setting. The story doesn’t really have any sort of arc to it, it’s just one locale and then the next and then the next in this mildly-charming-but-ultimately-benign sort of wild-goose-chase that by the end of the story leaves me wondering what the hell happened and struggling to remember if any of it was important. So instead of Unspeakable Horrors, she found Zombies, who don’t need worker’s rights. Also she gets a new position within the company. The competition for the loss was stiff, but so was the competition for the win, and I can see why this got lost in the shuffle, unfortunately.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Last Request
167 words

It's easy to get to that shadowy place.
No compass is needed, no map will lead there.
There's nothing to see at the end of the race.

The freaks of the world have carved out a space
To huddle in pockets and wail in despair.
It's easy to get to that shadowy place.

A ravenous leprosy seeks to erase
Six centuries work, borne along in the air.
There's nothing to see at the end of the race.

I tire of waiting. Look me in the face.
Though long as I lived here I never would dare,
It's easy to get to that shadowy place.

But do this and you are a fool, a disgrace.
There's nothing to gain from this selfish affair.
There's nothing to see at the end of the race.

Remain here with me, tend the fire, replace
Dead embers. I need you, my glory, my heir.
It's easy to get to that shadowy place.
There's nothing to see at the end of the race.

Julias
Jun 24, 2012



Bora
(58 Words)

Wanderlust
For the seven secrets of
Autumn gust

So robust--
Ghosts and leaves groan and sway with
Wanderlust

Flaking crust
Sirocco peels back with an
Autumn gust

Nature's rust
Blood and pus paint passionate
Wanderlust

Inhaled must;
A putrid squall, tethered by
Autumn gust

On the last brae, I degust
Acrid memoirs, as mistral overcomes
Wanderlust
Autumn gust

Metrofreak
Mar 17, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Parting Words Between Old Friends (134 words)

‘Twas good to see you once again
There was no way this could end well
You were, of course, my closest friend

Your honor you did well defend
Your sword well earns the price you sell
‘Twas good to see you once again

My leg, I fear, might never mend
Your bleeding I shall haste to quell
You were, of course, my closest friend

Your soul will not this day descend
I shall not let you ring the bell
‘Twas good to see you once again

On mercy, you should not depend
I’ve not much left but empty shell
You were, of course, my closest friend

Your wrath, I know, is without end
I’m certain you will give me hell
‘Twas good to see you once again
You were, of course, my closest friend

katdicks
Dec 27, 2013

SO BIG

Slippers and a Bathrobe
(147 words)

An arson? Well, that is a mystery.
I was asleep, you see. That is, until,
The smell of burning gasoline woke me!

So I investigated, naturally.
I grabbed my robe and headed down the hill.
An arson? Well, that is a mystery.

I don’t think I was being that nosy,
When - I admit, I felt a little thrill -
The smell of burning gasoline woke me!

In fact, I think it’s rather neighborly
(Not that they checked on me when I was ill)
An arson? Well, that is a mystery.

I saw the fire, and turned back up the street,
Went back to bed. Enough! I’d had my fill.
The smell of burning gasoline woke me!

The flames burned down to smoke, eventually.
And now we’re here, sonny. I’ll tell you still:
An arson? Well, that is a mystery.
The smell of burning gasoline woke me!

Hawklad
May 3, 2003


Who wants to live
forever?


DIVE!

College Slice

Aurelia
115 words

Shadows rise on the garden wall.
Pale light creatures with sumac stings,
driven to the edge, mankind's fall.

Worlds of veil lie within their thrall,
from deep they drift on mucous wings.
Shadows rise on the garden wall.

Jellies float over barren pall
of bleached white bone and scattered things,
driven to the edge, mankind's fall.

Toxic sand spills from urban sprawl
and metals boil from buried springs.
Shadows rise on the garden wall.

Waters birth sheets of black rainfall
where once did shelter vibrant beings,
driven to the edge, mankind's fall.

Echoes large fade to echoes small,
of desperate men, dark machines.
Shadows rise on the garden wall,
driven to the edge, mankind's fall.

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!


Fun Shoe

To What End We Know Not
116 words


Thunder sings its dark refrain
An epitaph to dreaming dead
As static hisses through my veins

The hourglass’ ever fewer grains
Pay no heed to all the words we’ve said
Thunder sings its dark refrain

A fear from deep within me strains
Against the world that lies ahead
As static hisses in my veins

The truth upon the soul it stains
The path of memory untread
Thunder sings its dark refrain

What hands are there that hold the reins?
What future still that can’t be fled?
As static hisses through my veins

The walker now a path attains
Although it fills the heart with dread
Thunder sings its dark refrain
As static hisses through my veins

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


A Note to Myself (141 words)

Reject lax acceptance, refuse to save face
Trick not oneself one display might suffice
For rapid but steady, relentless pace

Should dictators die with their thrones now replaced
Tell yourself still you must pay change's price
Reject lax acceptance, refuse to save face

What have you given? True, make your case
Still, attend to the future and futures you sacrifice
For rapid but steady, relentless pace

So pick up the phone and visit the polling place
Remind yourself, twice
Reject lax acceptance, refuse to save face

And pay no attention to thieves of king's grace
Calling for patience when he'd preached precise
For rapid but steady, relentless pace

Is the world that you dream of the one that you chase?
You know it is. So keep it alive
Reject lax acceptance, refuse to save face
For rapid but steady, relentless pace

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


(166 words)

Ash Tray

There’s a folded note in my lunch today.
Tucked, hiding at the bottom of the bag.
"I'm done, I can't, I'm taking Scott and May."

The shift horn petered out, like it was strained
from weeks of underuse; I told my friend —
There’s a folded note in my lunch today.

“poo poo, money that tight?” — I couldn’t just say
“Yeah, that’s it,” as if you could explain away an
“I’m done, I can’t, I’m taking Scott and May.”

You can try it poet-like, you can say:
"We were, like, smoldering, in an ashtray..."
There's a folded note in my lunch today.

Better that than the truth; the calls, the shame,
the drinks and the soul-tearing morning-afters.
"I'm done, I can't, I'm taking Scott and May."

Before work I told her, "Shift's back, okay?"
She took me in her arms while the kids played.
There’s a folded note in my lunch today.
“I’m done, I can’t, I’m taking Scott and May."

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

Between You and Me
168 Words

It’s okay. I’m not afraid to lie.
When they ask you, you know what I will do—
When I’m alone, no one hears me cry.

Your mother makes a hell of a pie.
But I can see it coming, right on queue—
It’s okay. I’m not afraid to lie.

I cringe when you say it, though I know why
When you lie to Jacob, when he asks you who—
When I’m alone, no one hears me cry.

We’re in the wrong place. Here, we could die
If they knew the truth, how I feel about you—
It’s okay. I’m not afraid to lie.

I’m afraid of other things. That you’ll say goodbye.
I’m afraid we’ll be the only ones who ever knew—
When I’m alone, no one hears me cry.

It seems easy for you. Like you don’t have to try.
So I doubt. And I wonder. And I don’t have a clue.
It’s okay. I’m not afraid to lie.
When I’m alone, no one hears me cry.

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


Submissions closed!

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


It’s a poem about death (because that’s every poem)

archive

flerp fucked around with this message at Mar 14, 2017 around 05:28

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

Four Letters

Who knows what the future will bring?
As minutes tick across the clock:
Fast judging, Good judging.

A winner, a lose, the usual thing.
A spate of mentions on the dock
Who knows what the future will bring?

For hours on cliff’s-edge we’ll cling
Will they uphold or will they mock
Fast judging, Good judging.

The bluebirds and vultures will sing
A pretty song or angry squawk:
Who knows what the future will bring?

When mornings erections upspring
A lusty thrust or hate-bone’s' ock'?
Fast judging, Good judging.

We wait on crit’s savage sweet sting
For each to rise or fall in stock
Who knows what the future will bring?
Fast judging, Good judging.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Thranguy posted:

Four Letters

Who knows what the future will bring?
As minutes tick across the clock:
Fast judging, Good judging.

A winner, a lose, the usual thing.
A spate of mentions on the dock
Who knows what the future will bring?

For hours on cliff’s-edge we’ll cling
Will they uphold or will they mock
Fast judging, Good judging.

The bluebirds and vultures will sing
A pretty song or angry squawk:
Who knows what the future will bring?

When mornings erections upspring
A lusty thrust or hate-bone’s' ock'?
Fast judging, Good judging.

We wait on crit’s savage sweet sting
For each to rise or fall in stock
Who knows what the future will bring?
Fast judging, Good judging.

fjgj

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


sparksbloom posted:

Week #221 Crits: Flash Frontier Bird Week

these are great crits, thank you 😍😘

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


MY BROTHERS WHAT DO THEY SAY OF THE FJ

THEY SAY IT IS THE GJ

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

f

fjgj?

FJGJ!

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


Judging I
There once was judging. It was good.

The End.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


Judging II: Electric Boogaloo
There once was judging. To be continued...

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

If you can't handle me at my fjiest, you don't deserve me at my gjiest.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as fjgj

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


oshit it's your boy Los Angeles Judge Craig Mitchell!!





Craig is the best judge

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

oshit it's your boy Los Angeles Judge Craig Mitchell!!





Craig is the best judge

judge fast, fast judge!!

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Mike Judge

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013





look at this fast judge, running through the night. a good judge.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


hes alright i guess

Armack
Jan 27, 2006

Corde pulsum tangite


Week 233 Results:

Read these in judgemode, fyi.

Congrats, goons, on a good week. We had cause to dole out more HMs than DMs. If your poem didn't HM but you thought it was good, it probably was. But there was a lot of good verse this week and it's possible some minor nitpicky thing took you out of the running, especially given quality of the competition.

The no-changing-anything-in-refrains rule proved too strict for some, especially when it came to punctuation. Nobody got DM'd or DQ'd solely on the basis of violating this rule, but I did take entrants' adherence to it into account when evaluating stories.

Thanks to sebmojo for co-judging.

Jeers to SkaAndScreenplays for being the lone failure.

Our single Dishonorable Mention goes to Jay W. Friks for a poem that is sloppy in structure and content.

The proud owner of a brand new losertar shall be Chernabog for a poem that swats at sentimentality with a stick built of clichés.

This brings us to our strongest entrants!

Honorable mentions go to: Thranguy for a lighthearted and cleverly structured piece; Hawklad for a poem that (while perhaps not so ambitious) deftly hits its mark; sparksbloom for a masterful villanelle, chock full of double-meanings that truly cause the nature of the refrains to change. Sparksbloom, you missed the win by a razor's edge.

Our winner this week is GenJoe for a poem that is every bit as emotionally resonant as it is pleasing to the ear. Congrats, GenJoe, on this, your first ascension to the throne!

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

If only, THUNDERDOME


Prompt etc.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


prooooooooooooooompt

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


oh

Julias
Jun 24, 2012




This is the worst prompt ever.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Julias posted:

This is the worst prompt ever.

ur the worst prompt ever

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

If only, THUNDERDOME



Oh
1 word

Oh.

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


Week 234: Binging on Bad Words

So in my short time here inside the rattling death-cage of the thunderdome, I’ve noticed a little something — the pieces of writing that really get to me, the really good ones — they all have a character somewhere in there that’s unconditionally and unquestionably human. There’s a character in there that’s been through some poo poo, that has perspective on something. They’re interesting in some way and I want to know more about them. I can relate to them, and by god, maybe I even like them enough that I want some good poo poo to happen to them at the end of it all.

This week, I want you to give me a character that's human. Make them nuanced like any human is, make them want something like all humans want things, just don’t give me lifeless and don’t give me stereotypes or cliches. The strength of your character is what I'll be looking for the most.

You’re also going to get a little stage direction this week. When you sign up, I’m going to give you a TV show synopsis from Netflix. The synopses are universally vague and clickbaity, and you’re going to form your story around one of them. (it’s okay if it’s loose, these are really just there to give you a concrete setting)

Here's a sample synopsis, from Grey's Anatomy (I won't be giving you the title of the show when you get yours):

“Neither their patient’s problems nor their own relationships are black and white. It’s all shades of grey”

You're going to turn your poo poo-garbage synopsis into pure gold.

God speed.

p.s. given the current political climate, there is a strict no nazi rule being enforced this week

Word limit: 1400 words

Sign-ups Close: 11:59 PM EST, Friday, Jan 27th.
Submissions Close: 11:59 PM EST, Sunday, Jan 29th.

Judges:

GenJoe
Chili
Thranguy

Entrants:
Twiggymouse
Venomous
Benagain
Kenfucius
katdicks
a new study bible!
Carl Killer Miller
Bad Seafood
Chernabog
QuoProQuid
jon joe
flerp
Fuschia tude
Hawklad
Obliterati
magnificent7
Uranium Phoenix
Tyrannosaurus
Okua
sparksbloom
Killer-of-Lawyers
Entenzahn
sebmojo
Djeser
Metrofreak
Flesnolk
SkaAndScreenplays
kurona_bright
The Cut of Your Jib
Julias
Chairchucker
Jay W. Friks
BeefSupreme

GenJoe fucked around with this message at Jan 29, 2017 around 22:38

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

DOUBLE BEEF ACTION

GenJoe posted:

You're going to turn your poo poo-garbage synopsis into pure gold.

lol good luck with that

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