Posts Tagged ‘Mermaids’

Two items today, the first that the current issue of STAR*LINE arrived Friday afternoon with a three-line mermaid-vampiress poem, “Wet Work,” by me on page 12.  Hidden, where one would not expect her, look for her down in the depths on the right.  STAR*LINE is the publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) which also runs an annual Rhysling competition for speculative poetry.  More information on that and STAR*LINE can be found on their website by pressing here.

Then ASTOUNDING OUTPOST (for more on which see just below, December 1) announces that a Kindle edition of NEURAL NETS, UPLINKS, AND WETWARE is now up and on sale for 99 cents for a limited time.  They don’t say for how long the sale will last, so to take advantage one should press here now.  Also don’t forget you can vote for my story, “No Place to Hide,” by using the link in the post below and, as a bonus, as it’s third in the contents in the Kindle edition one can read it in its entirety in the sample pages at the Amazon site (much more readable there than in the original web publication, which one can also find linked to at the end of the post just below).

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Today brings an email plus PDF proof from Editor Vince Gotera of the latest STAR*LINE for Fall 2017.  Please proof your piece(s) . . . as well as your listing(s) in the table of contents.  Could you please get back to me with any corrections ASAP?  In my case the page of interest is the twelfth with, sharing poems by Christine Sng and by R. Mac Jones, tucked neatly in at the bottom right my three-liner “Wet Work” (cf. October 13).  And this time, aha!, there was an error, one of the sort that would sneak past a computer spell-checker (whereas, ironically, the correct word might not).

So not to worry, I’ve sent back the change along with mailing and payment details.  More to come when the published issue arrives.

So, okay, this is another teeny horror/dark humor poem I read at the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Last Sunday Poetry” last week (cf. September 24), but this being the afternoon of October’s “First Sunday Prose” (more on which later this p.m. or Monday morning), why not?  Actually it came up while perusing “Bloodizabeth’s Meat & Greet Dinner Party” on SLASHERMONSTER.COM and seeing one comment mentioning The Beatlles and “I Am the Walrus.”  So having this variant, as it were, in the quiver, why not shoot it into the “Comments” section as a comment upon the comment?  (And thus here, as an “extra,” for you.)

I AM A WALRUS

i have a walrus mustache,
& am hot for mermaids

Let us take a quick trip down memory lane to April 25 and my coverage of the Polish mermaid film THE LURE, a Goth-rock variant of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.”  Then, back to today, what should I run across courtesy of DIRGEMAG.COM but “Dark Mermaids Take Everything Men Fear and Use It Against Them” by Brenda S G Walter, including her take on “The Little Mermaid” as well as THE LURE and two other films.  In this case the “lure” (sorry) is primarily via the Andersen tale — no dwelling on mermaids’ alter lives in the siren trade, for instance, but then the payoff is still the same.  These are hungry fish-ladies.  And, music or not, the piece is interesting (and a little Freudian) and can be read by pressing here.

Then, for the writing life, Saturday after my writers critique group eviscerated my TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH essays (cf. May 18 just below, et al., and no, they didn’t really — I did post all three essays to the group in lieu of a story this month, for which comments, while mixed as to which one might be a given critiquer’s favorite, were generally encouraging), I continued to local restaurant-bar The Crazy Horse for a celebration and signing for Bloomington Writers Guild member and poet Nancy Chen Long’s just published book, LIGHT INTO BODIES.  To lazily quote from the invitation:  This event is a thanks-giving.  As a way of honoring, Nancy has invited Cynthia Bretheim and Beth Lodge-Rigal, two women that she credits for getting her back into poetry back in 2006, to read.  Members of Five Women Poets, a local writing group that Nancy belongs to, will also read.  In addition, two friends whose artistic-ness inspire her — Matt Allen on jazz guitar and Stephen Simms on bass — have been invited to share their music.  It also was fun, and with good snacks too, and a special feeling of kinship for me on the eve, as it were, of my own book’s release which, if not an absolute first as such, is my first novel.
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More on Nancy’s book, officially published on May 10, can be found by pressing here; more on my TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH by pressing its picture in the center column.

IndieWire describes THE LURE as “the best goth musical about man-eating mermaids ever made.”  Not sure there is much more to say.  Agnieszka Smoczyńska’s fiendishly dark and sly modern fairytale is set in Communist-era Poland and highlights the havoc wreaked by two vampire mermaid sisters intertwined in love triangle.  In Polish with English subtitles.  Contains mature content, including violence and nudity.  (Indiana University Cinema blurb)

So what’s not to love?  Perhaps “Golden” and “Silver” aren’t precisely classical vampires, preferring to subsist on human hearts, but they do get at them by biting through people’s throats.  At least Golden does, the one truer to her roots and, as one critic notes, the seemingly smarter of the two sisters.  But LurImage220Silver’s mistake is in taking it figuratively as well, falling in love with a dance club bass guitarist, and even enduring an operation to transplant a human lower body in place of her fish tail.  In spite of the fact that Golden warns her, should the fickle musician marry another, she has to “eat him” before the next sunrise lest she turn into sea foam.
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It doesn’t end well.
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One reason:  the film is actually a version of Hans Christian’s Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” which means part of the deal is she loses her singing voice too, and she and Golden are actually sirens of the lure-sailors-to-their-destruction kind.  And as Golden explains, she doesn’t sing solo.  In fact they’ve become a striptease act of sorts at a 1980s Warsaw night club (“Want to hang out here for awhile before swimming to America?” as Golden asks Silver early on), at one point billed as Corki Dancingu, the Polish title of the film, which I understand translates to “Daughters of the Dance Club.”  Another, perhaps, that it’s really a coming of age film about two young women, but without her sister, can Golden ever get to America by herself?
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On the down side, parts of THE LURE are a little confusing and, from a bit of a conversation I overheard outside the theater, the subtitled translations may miss some beats — but then, songs are a big part of the film too (remember:  Silver and Golden are sirens).  According to the docent before the screening, the 1980s are also important, including a sort of dance hall kitsch, as reminiscent of the director’s own childhood.  Also the music, channeling such films as ALL THAT JAZZ and CABARET, or at least a little, as well as Bjork — and the music is good!  And, the docent added, the mer-sisters do NOT wear seashell bras, but that’s not the only reason for not bringing children to this one as some of the violence does turn toward the graphic (something about “strong stomachs,” I think he said).
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So . . . maybe not the best movie ever made, but a weirdly good one.  I recommend it.

Here’s one of those lists where I’m not sure I’ve run across many (or any) of the items on it.  How about you?  But it does seem interesting, “10 Films You Need to See Before You Die . . . Literally! bStarLine39.1smy Howard Gorman on SHOCK TILL YOU DROP, brought to me courtesy of Mike Olson via Facebook’s ON THE EDGE CINEMA.  To check it out for yourself press here.

Meanwhile in today’s physical mail STAR*LINE 39.1 arrived, for Winter 2016, with my mermaid poem in it (cf. January 8, November 28).  This is an untitled three-line, haiku-styled piece about . . . well . . . a mermaid, but one perhaps with a special talent.  STAR*LINE is the official publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association.

The poem can be found tucked demurely in the lower right corner of page 13, while more on the SFPA can be found by pressing here.

So today brought a proof copy of STAR*LINE 39.1 with my 3-line mermaid shortie (see November 28).  I put “haiku” in quotation marks because it isn’t really, at least in any rigorous sense, but rather an epigram with its title replacing its one-time first line.  But that done, it still works and so the proof was returned tonight with the issue, dated Winter 2016, presumably to be out very soon.

For the poem itself, it’s about a mermaid, but not a very nice one.  One will find it on page 13, nestled in the bottom right-hand corner, appropriately given that its title/first line is “death from below.”  As for STAR*LINE, it’s the official quarterly publication of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, more about which can be found here.

I don’t usually call them haiku myself, though some euphemize them with genre portmanteaus like “scifiku” or Horrorku” — rather I think of them, in English, as 3-line epigrams that just happen to borrow an approximately 5-7-5 syllable count (which isn’t really exactly what defines the Japanese form either).  As such I generally title them too,

A Mermaid - John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917)

A Mermaid – John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917)

which purists would not do with real haiku.  But, hey, it’s having fun, no?  And if a title gives it another half-twist (or even not), well, what’s the harm in it.

Thus it happens that I e-sent five of these 3-liners to STAR*LINE a little while back.  And then, today, only four returned, the first retained by Editor Jeannie Bergmann, but with this proviso:  “I like the first poem quite a lot, but would you consider replacing the first line with the title?  I’m not crazy about titled haiku, and not attached to the 5-7-5 form either.  . . .  Let me know if that works.”  Or, in a sense, make it a little more like an actual haiku (though not with a seasonal tag or a sharp descriptive image), a least in form.

Well, in this case, okay so I sent back my nod.   The missing line gave an opening description of sorts but one implied by the rest of the poem, the titleless form fits with STAR*LINE style . . . so what’s the harm in it, eh?  Other than that, all I will say is, as noted above, it has to do with a mermaid or mermaids.

Also, being a horror poem, its conclusion is not nice.




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