Monday September 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about a: surplus.

In honor of the ridiculous amount of potatoes and leeks still remaining in the garden. Hoping to rectify the situation through a conversation with the chef at the restaurant, as we're not certain why he's fallen so far short on ordering what he told us in the spring he would.

Our farm intern left us this morning, and the friends who arrived Saturday night departed this afternoon. So now it's back to Kat, myself, and Max for the first time since mid-May.

Tomorrow's box harvest will be... interesting.

Mine:

The animal control officer stood at the front of the classroom, arms crossed across his chest as he glared at the students squirming in their seats. Their teacher sat at her desk, not bothering to hide the fact that she was clearly unimpressed.

Though whether that was due to the officer or her students, she wisely kept that to herself.

As the minute hand dragged its feet on its way around the clock facing the children, the silence in the room was disturbed only by the panted breath of the officer's German Shepherd, who was seated at his feet. The dog was unusually calm, his appetite sated by an overly large breakfast that morning.

"So." The officer made the word sound like a threat, causing several students to begin to cry. "Which one of you released the class' pet rabbits into the woods behind the school?"

5 Comments:

Greg Bennett said...

That sounds like it could be an interesting conversation, especially since potatoes and leeks are pretty staple and easy to use! I hope it all goes well :)
Sounds like your days might be slightly busier for all they'll be less full of people.
Heh, I love the foreshadowing in the third paragraph that allows the punchline in the last to deliver its kick! And it definitely reminds me of being a child at school and the adults using patience and dread as tools to get a class to confess :)
[Typo for you: class' is missing its "s" for the possesive.]

Surplus
A hand trembles.
Old fingers, cold fingers, gnarled
and knotted with age and rage
– an excess of rage, he thinks –
reach for the tap.

Polished aluminium, a steady bar
gleaming in the cataractic darkness,
stiff with unuse and necessary neglect
"FOR USE IN EMERGENCY ONLY."

This critical mass, a density of souls –
Unsustainable!
Unmaintainable!

– racing through space in a colony-ship
to spread the surplus of humanity
yet further afield.

The tap creaks but it turns;
The hiss of oxygen dies;
And a hand trembles.

morganna said...

Greg -- I didn't think the missing 's' was a typo -- sometimes, if the noun ends in 's', the 's' is dropped from a possessive and only the apostrophe is used. Is that only a North American thing, not a British English thing?

And why do we all seem to find surplus to be something ominous and/or disgusting?
-------------
So much food, so much dinner
Up it comes
Retching all the way
Please tell me how I
Let myself eat so much
Up it comes --
So terrible!

Greg Bennett said...

Hi Morganna,
it might be a British thing you know! We only drop the s after the apostrophe if the following word begins with an s as well, because it gets hidden in the sound. So I take my comment back :)

I guess I owe another surplus though...

Surplus
The European butter mountain,
The North American sherbert fountain,
Is where I go to holiday,
And eat till I feel sick!

morganna said...

Thanks for the insight into British English grammar, Greg! Now I need a positive view of surplus, too :)

The rosebushes won't stop blooming
I cut the roses, dry them and store
Petals for potpourri.

More roses bloom, to cut and dry.
The jars are filling,
I have no more room --
A surplus of roses!

Marc said...

Ha, bonus learning and writing from everyone! I like it :)

Greg - well he's promised that he'll be putting leeks on the menu, so we'll see what that means for the amounts he'll be ordering from us.

Your first is fantastic, for all its darkness. Your second is much lighter and so, of course, I tend to prefer the first :P

Morganna - thanks for helping out with the case of the missing s :)

Your first is a rather yucky acrostic (in content only, not execution), while your second is quite lovely. It's a rather impressive contrast for two poems born from the same prompt!