Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Weekend Mini-Challenge: Juice




Recently my little house in Central Florida was bamboozled, flummoxed and baroccocoed by the passing of Hurricane Irma, a grand dame of massive wind and climate shame. The good news is that except for a bad night of rock 'n' roaring round the rafters of our house and a leaky upstairs deck door (fixed, finally, with a redneck repair of duct tape), we got through fine. Lots of branches down and, like millions of others up and down the state, no power for days.

The world changes without juice—contemporary human life is powered-up, online, air conditioned and refrigerated; such things define our suburban dailiness. No clocks, no microwave, no reading lamps, no Internet and only sparing use of cell phones and laptop, preserving precious percentages of remaining juice. No TV, no DVR, no Netflix or HBO on streaming. Without these essentials, the day reverts back to natural rhythms and definitions. Inside and outside lose most of their difference. Time slows. Night ends day and not much happens until the next coming day.

In a powered-down town, houses at night are afterthoughts and stars are amazing.

Last night, thirty seconds before my wife went over the edge wondering when those idiot lazy power crews would get their act together—mid-sentence, actually, of her extravagant diatribe against Those Who Control The Juice—right then, all the lights sprang to life and a resounding cheer sounded up and down our block. We left our half-eaten takeout dinner on the porch and rushed inside to turn on lights and a/c and TV. And just like that, the natural world was gone from suburbia. Hi ho back to binge-watching “Veep” on HBO Now and an upstairs bed no longer sweltering.

Hi ho here and hello to all of you out there. We were fortunate going just two days without power. Some parts of western Florida won't be seeing juice until the end of next week, and some of our Caribbean island neighbors who caught Irma at Defcon Cat Five won't have juice for weeks, maybe months. We live in a not-nice age of a fooled-with Mother Nature.

This has me thinking about power and what runs our lives. Every living organism is self-powered with animate cells, and yet we extend our power through social contact. Humans extend their juice much further through tools that range from hairstyles to electric grids to guns to Facebook to booze. We are addicted to diminishing powers and recover through dependence upon higher or deeper powers. Our muse or musing is empowering of what we create—great when it comes, dry as a empty well when it’s gone. There are strategies of conserving and furthering power, reservoirs for storing it and batteries for carrying it. There is a need to balance power with something else—love, say—and sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice one’s power for the greater good. And sometimes we can’t learn about the nature of juice until we’re fully deprived of it.

For this challenge, write a poem about power in your life and the world. Write about family or creativity or instinct, plugging in or playing unhooked, heavenly or earthly powers, the power of life or death, human powers versus nature's, etc. Then come back here to the pond and find a lily pad to plug into and let 'er rip. Visit other patrons of the pond and sample the hooch they've brewed. Extra points for keeping your poem mini (-ish, -esque, -mal, -finny, etc.).

The juice bar is now open, whattaya having?

(Note: the next day after I wrote this, our cable, Internet & TV went dark again, and we've been told it will be another week before connectedness. I can still get Internet access using my iPhone for a hotspot, but the signal's weak and glitchy. I will not have much chance to visit you today as I plan to spend much of it in south Orlando at my mother's where there is still no power. But I'll get around to your contributions eventually.)


17 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

Many thanks for bringing us this challenging prompt, no matter the wind and weather.

Magaly Guerrero said...

Hope the power comes back soon. I've been talking to friends from home, and things are getting better... but they aren't great yet.

Thank you for the prompt (and the rest of what Kerry so brilliantly said).

hedgewitch said...

Modern life without power is drained of resources, isn't it? We've forgotten how to read a paper book, write a paper letter, sit outdoors and laugh at the moon...but no air conditioning in central Fla. is no laughing matter. I will see if I can power up the brain machine, Brendan. Good luck to you and yours getting back on your feet.

Mama Zen said...

Stay cool, Brendan!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

The words flew right onto the page.. thank you for the prompt, Brendan.

Jim said...

Join the club, we've been without TV, Internet/wifi/eMail, and phones now for three weeks. At first we missed it a lot. MacD's is close for Internet, et al. And our neighbor lets us log onto his but we have to use it in the dining room or upstairs by the window. We've become to cell phones only and will stay that way. Football is here so hoping TV will return and we'll drop the phone for cells only.
You wrote very well, Brendon, a story in miniature. I'm glad you didn't get all the rain we had, 40 plus inches, 51 in Houston.
..
That will soon be repaired

Marian said...

Brendan, what a great prompt! I am cogitating on this. Meanwhile gosh I'm so sorry to hear your power went back down. Keeping food cold and preparing food is a real issue with no power... boo. I learned in hurricane preparedness to grind my coffee beans in advance but that's about it. :) Be well!

Outlawyer said...

So sorry for how hard it must be down there. I remember going through it once with my mother several years ago. Good luck! And great prompt! k.

Brendan MacOdrum said...

Thanks for the lucky wishes, I'll try to use them as a hotspot!

@hedgewitch - It's been 12 years here since we've lost power so widely. Facebook didn't exist and no one had iPhones back then. Unfortunately, simple pleasures melt down quickly in this infernal heat (Florida has gotten hotter since, too).

@jim - You folks in Texas got it far worse. The world goes on but ours isn't made for such powerlessness. At least the political noise has been diminished!

@marian -- nothing is simple without juice! Took me half an hour to make coffee with an expresso pot over a can of Sterno. Rotting food sucks.

Sherry Marr said...

Wow, Brendan, you are in the thick of it. Thanks for valiantly coming through with the so intriguing prompt.

Martin Kloess said...

Thank you for lead us, Brendan.

Kim Russell said...

First of all, thank you for an interesting prompt, Brendan, which I have only properly read this morning. I was poorly yesterday and didn't feel up to writing. However, I did check my Kindle last night to see whether the mini challenge had been posted and this morning I found that an old post of mine was mysteriously linked to it! I'm not sure how it happened or whether to leave it, delete it or just add a new poem. I'll see what happens...

hedgewitch said...

Not sure if my attempt is exactly what you had in mind, Brendan, but it seems to be what I had.

brudberg said...

I spend a large part of my vacations in the mountains, and even if we stay at cabins power comes from wood and gas, and there is no coverage.... it's very quiet, and you end up reading and chopping wood. You talk to people.. and you sleep. Something about life without juice can be quiet nice. This weekend has been crazy and filled with a big party. I might write something later but I'm exhausted at the moment.

Gillena Cox said...

Nice Challenge, and a very good new week to everyone

much love...

Vivian Zems said...

Loved this challenge and happy to join you guys. Have a great week :)

brudberg said...

Linking up late... but I also link up to Tuesday platform