Saturday, October 12, 2013

365 Poems in 365 Days: Operatic Investigation

Opera and investigation
A heady if peculiar mix
I follow up on the situation
But maybe that dilutes the tricks

1. This is poem 285 which I am posting on day 285 of the year. So this is on target for the first time since 10 January.

2. This poem introduces a piece on eavesdropping for my creative writing class. This is the homework which followed this classwork. As is probably clear I didn't continue what I started.

3. "Follow up on the situation" - I have 10 000 words of a science fiction horror story riffing off the following piece sitting on my hard drive which I intend to go back to. Now I'm up to date with the poetry I might even have the mental capacity to go for it tomorrow!



Some Limitations on the Use of Computer Assistance in Reviewing
Surveillance Footage for Evidence of Criminal Activity
 “I thought the monitor program detects violent crime.”
Link gestures towards the bank of screens. “You were rehearsing an opera. For weeks. There’s screaming and shouting and singing, people dying, fighting, in tears, collapsing, – it’s logged two hundred and sixty four possible events.”
Johnson leans closer to look. “Show me.”
****
I joined the circle as Amy gave the whole crew directions.
“We all know how this is usually staged. Firstly General Wei sings from the top deck.” She pointed at the pile of boxes. “Jackie sings a challenge. Wei steps slowly down. They stand and sing. They fight, no singing, just music. They stop and sing again. They fight again. Eventually it ends, and Wei does his big number.”
Nods came from all around. This was familiar to everyone.
“We’re going to try something different. A little more spectacular.”
“Something crazy you mean.” Ben was fully dressed up in Wei’s uniform, although without makeup.
“I can cut some of the stunts. We don’t want anyone hurt.”
Ben and I exchanged glances. “I’m ready for it,” I said. Ben agreed.
“Places everyone!” At Amy’s call I stepped out alone to the middle of the space, and turned to face Ben on top of his podium. “Music!” There were four bars of introduction then he launched into his song.
My army undefeated, my victory at last
Vengeance for all the slights is within my grasp...
****
Link frowns. “Is that a man or a woman?”
“Jackie? The play is deliberately ambiguous on that point.”
He looks at Johnson in frustration. “No, not the character, the actor.”
“Nailed it didn’t he. Ivan Romanov, counter-tenor. You’re scheduled to interview him in an hour.”
“Hmph.” Link looks back at the drama unfolding in the recording.
****
Ben held the last note, then looked down at me. As the orchestra quietened I sang out a wordless challenge.
He dropped a metre and a half – it would look more from the audience’s perspective- and bounced forward to his mark. We drew swords and levelled them at each other.
Then waited, as the chorus hissed out the sound of wind and waves. We held out the blades for a long, long time, waiting for our cue.
It came, the blare of a trumpet. I lunged forward, following the moves we had blocked out last night. Ben twisted aside, our voices duelling as our swords danced.


General Wei                                                   Jackie
Cast your false gods down I will                     The sea is my only homeland
With this sword that must also kill                  So here I shall make my stand
Until all your hopes lie dead and still...           Defend it with my blade and hand...

****
Link watches as Ivan somersaulted over the blow, missing a note on landing. They slowly circled each other, silent, as the orchestra built to a crescendo.
“I can see how it fooled the computer. Loud noise, weapons, violent actions.”
“No one dies here,” says Johnson. “Not for real anyway. So, two hundred and sixty three more to check.”

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