Rescue, a Poem

So I work pretty well under pressure.

For example, one of my good friends posted the following prompt on his Facebook page a few days ago.

ImageI don’t know why my brain processed this as a dare, but I immediately put down my lunch and began typing away. Fifteen minutes later, I emerged with the following poem. I think this thrown-together saga actually counts as some of my “good” stuff!

Rescue

Sneakers scuff against linoleum tiles
As the long hallway leads my feet to the locker room,
A halogen-lit corridor the likes of me never see.
I slithered out from my basement home–
Pallid skin singed by the sunlight–
To find you in your element today,
Swimming in the ethereal light of a gymnasium,
Alone in the colorful aquarium of your popularity.
I’m out of place.
My dark tail drags a conspicuous trail through the sand,
But my hand, skinny and gnarled–
Probably from too many video games
Doesn’t stop hoping that you’ll hold it some day.
It’s a perfect dream,
And you say my name.

Our reverie is shattered by your screams.
My footfalls echo on polished and painted wood,
My claws clatter against the stones of your ivory tower,
As I climb, and I find you,
Pinned down by the body of a quarterback–
Your one-time knight in shining armor–
I know it’s his letterman jacket
Over your shoulders and under your back–
And I know it doesn’t matter
Just like it doesn’t matter that you should have been mine
Because you said “no” to the joust.
In that moment you remind me
That I’ve been saying “yes” for too long–
That the song they want me to sing is sweet
When mine is more like a shriek–
That they want me to run away and hide,
But I can fly–
That the Hollister cologne
And the Listerine that should be on my breath
Aren’t me.
I breathe fire.
I’ve seen death.
I’ve desired things your hero here can’t fathom.
I grab him
And hit him like my Dad hits me.
He sees stars,
And I can’t see a thing–
Not even you.

Your knight–
You know his armor only shines
Because he’s never seen a battle–
Never had something to fight for.
Look at mine.
Look at how the light is absorbed
And not reflected by the dull surface,
Scuffed and scratched from ten thousand tussles
With monsters twice my size
But not nearly as angry.
Whole chunks missing
And now filled with tiny pools of his blood.
Hell, this isn’t armor.
It’s scales,
And I’m no knight.

I’m the dragon,
But I’m yours.

Are you at all inspired by this prompt? Write a little something and link to it in the comments.

Cleverbot Poetry

Rebooting my popular Cleverbot Poetry post in hopes of getting some more participation! To join in the creative and artificially intelligent madness, check out the Cleverbot Poetry tumblr.

A few days ago, I had an incredibly intriguing idea for something that I was sure would turn out to be an interesting exercise/experiment for writers.

I decided to write a poem with the help of Cleverbot! 

For those who don’t know, Cleverbot is an Artificial Intelligence robot that is famous for learning from the input of users worldwide. That means that every time a user asks Cleverbot a question or provides a response, Cleverbot learns how to better answer questions in the future. Because of this learning capability, conversations with Cleverbot can often stay on a specific topic for a considerable amount of time and adhere to logic and reasoning like a conversation with humans (well, most of them, lol) would.

Of course, there are always exceptions. Take my first poetry attempt as an example.

User: Want to write a trippy poem with me?
Cleverbot: Do you even know what I am?!
User: Why, a clever bot, I assume.
Cleverbot: What would you say that for? You hurt my feelings . . .
User: Clever is a good thing, and bot is hardly something to be ashamed of.
Cleverbot: I am learning.
User: That’s nice. How about that poem?
Cleverbot: I don’t like Obama. His policies are downright atrocious. We’re sinking further into debt and he hasn’t actually fulfilled any promises he made on his campaign.
User: Is that your idea of a poem?
Cleverbot: And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
User: Haha, I like that one better.
Cleverbot: Really?
User: How about I write a line, and then you write a line, and we’ll go back and forth?
Cleverbot: No.
User: Please? I’d really like to hear what you have to say.
Cleverbot: Harry Potter or Twilight?
User: Harry Potter. No contest.
Cleverbot: Exactly.
User: Glad we’re on the same page. Now, I’ll start the poem . .
Cleverbot: Hi, this is Baskin Robins. Home of the 31 flavors. If you can name 31 flavors in 31 seconds, you can get 31 flavors for free. Your time starts now.
User: Very cute. Here we go!
Cleverbot: It is insulting to be told somethig that they know is completely contrary to the truth that they enforce.
User: You spelled ‘something’ wrong . .
Cleverbot: “Tell me about Penny Fluff.”
User: “She always thought herself more than enough.”
Cleverbot: Nine.

Frustrating and not particularly inspiring; however, I did finally discover the secret! Here’s what I ended up with:

Socrates, and a Misquote At That

Without a soul, who can know what the future holds?

What future? How can I get past today with nothing to live for?
Offer them a new technology, and offer to develop it for them.
Sell yourself to the industry of creating humans more efficiently and less uniquely.
But I’m not doing it for the law. It’s for my religion.
I believe in creation. I believe in choice.
But I’m not a believer.
Why do I lie to myself like I lie awake at night wishing for a purpose?
Do you have a religion?
No? Then let’s share mine.
I can be strong for the both of us.
I can pick you up in my Ferrari.
I’ll carry us away to a time more certain.
Fairly more certain that you are not making sense.
But I forgive you. After all, the world doesn’t make sense.
Or does it?
All I know is that now I have you to live for.

How fun! And how cool is that?

The trick is to not ask the bot for permission to participate in the activity! Simply write what sounds like it could be the first line of an artsy poem and continue in this manner regardless of how the bot responds.

If you would like to submit a poem:

  1. Follow the guidelines above.
  2. When you think you have come to the end of your poem, press “Think For Me” and let the bot’s final line (or a few words from it) be the title of your poem.
  3. Click “Thoughts So Far” and copy and paste the conversation into a word processor.
  4. Format the conversation like a poem. Get rid of the “User” and “Cleverbot” labels and eliminate the spaces in between lines.
  5. Submit to me via email (jet.thurston@gmail.com) and see if your poem ends up in a future post!