Solitaire (poem)



Solitaire


when you become
yet another who
flakes on me,

do you wonder
why I prefer to
keep to myself?

there are worse
things than being
on your own, so

I remain alone
in a world full of
people I have loved


Joanne Fisher


Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

the groynes (poem)

the groynes

come down to the sea

they say

do you not hear them

calling you?

hear them whispering

beside you

in the sea breeze?

beyond the reclaimed

groynes they call

to join them

 and once you are

trapped in the

undertow unable

to breathe

that is when they

have you

their mottled green

hands holding

you under what

do they say?

welcome to the deeps

sea-daughter

become one of us and

live forever in these

sea-green depths but

you struggle

break free rising

to the surface

before running out

of breath

you have escaped

this time

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 95

This was written with the photo prompt provided by Crimson’s Creative Challenge #119.

Is anyone else having problems with the Block Editor? They seem to have changed it again. This is my eighth attempt to write this post. The preformated block I’ve been using lately for my poetry seems to have been changed and doesn’t seem to work the same as it did. I’m getting sick of this…

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Oracle, part seven (fiction)

The Oracle

7

Beta Hub is an area of space where stellar engineers had built a significant number of wormholes leading to the other parts of Beta Sector. The centre of Beta Hub is a long dead star, and orbiting this dead star is a space station called Beta Station, originally built long ago. When it was first built, it was a typical modular station to service spaceships in need of help, restocking consumables, and repairs. Over time it had grown with new sections being added until it was a sprawling chaotic mess. While it still offered its original services, it now also had casinos, luxury hotels, and a thriving underground black market. It was now seen as a place for people to go in Beta Sector where they could satisfy their hedonistic desires and purchase items not easily found or acquired. The station had, over time, also acquired its own resident population of drifters, entrepreneurs, and people with an eye for the main chance.

“This is Captain Stephanie Clarke of the New Earth Spacefleet scoutship The Oracle. We are here to dock for 48 hours to restock before we resume our way to Gamma Sector.” Clarke said as they approached Beta Station.

There before them all on the bridge Beta Station slowly came into view. The station looked roughly ball shaped with various sections jutting out at odd intervals. It rotated slowly, revealing more bits sticking out from the main station rather haphazardly. Steff shook her head. It was an architect’s nightmare. Maybe they should decommission it and start again, thought Steff.

“We hear you Captain Clarke. Docking is granted at Subsection F. We are sending coordinates now.” A voice from the station said.

“Pilots proceed with docking procedure.” Steff commanded, then she turned on the intercom: “We are now docking at Beta Station for 48 hours. Everyone on board has leave to visit the station during this time. If you do go into Beta Station, may I remind you as representatives of the New Earth Spacefleet that your conduct is expected to be at its absolute best while you are here. Also, do not engage in illegal activity of any sort. If you arrested by station security, or found bringing contraband on board, you may be left at Beta Station or end up in the ship’s brig. All that said, please have a good time. We leave in 48 hours. If you’re not on board by then, you may be left behind.”

“Captain, we are now docking with the station.” One of the pilots said.

“Bring up visuals.” Steff ordered. The view on the bridge now changed to an image of The Oracle docking provided by Beta Station’s cameras. “Okay cut main thrusters and engage the starboard lateral thruster.”

“Yes Captain.”

“Okay slow it down.” Steff saw a round airlock slowly come out from the station in the direction of their ship. Slowly The Oracle drifted towards the stations airlock. “Keep going… now cut the lateral thruster.”

“Yes Captain.” The spaceship slowly drifted towards the airlock using its inertia to finally dock with the station. Once both airlocks met, the ship came to a stop. The pilot turned to face Steff. “Captain both airlocks have now formed a hard seal. We are docked with the station.”

“Very good!” Steff replied. Turning on the intercom, she again spoke to the crew: “We are now docked at Beta Station. We leave in 48 hours exactly, so please lock this time in to any devices you have and are carrying with you to Beta Station.”

“You going aboard Captain?” Blake asked her.

“As Commanding Officer I have to. I’m expected to report to the stations Command Crew. Wherever they might be.” Steff replied. Blake laughed.

“Yes it’s not the easiest station to navigate. A friend of mine once got lost in there. He only found the right airlock several days later, but of course his ship was long gone by then.” Blake told her.

“I hope that doesn’t happen to any of our crew. So how did he leave the station?”

“He managed to jump aboard on the next ship leaving, though it went in the opposite direction. He found himself back at New Earth eventually, by then his Captain had reported him AWOL. Luckily he was able to straighten it out before they court-martialed him. He’s no longer in the Spacefleet however.” Blake told her.

“I’m not surprised. Frankly I’m still surprised to be commanding a spaceship again.” She said candidly.

“Well you are the Hero of Esfor. They couldn’t let you stay on leave indefinitely.”

“I think some in Spacefleet Command wanted me to.” Steff told him.

“Edwards seems to be fine now.” Blake stated, abruptly changing the subject.

“Yes, so far no sign of any problems.” Steff replied. In the last week Edwards had not even put a foot out of line. There was nothing she could do, she had to reinstate him as Chief Security Officer otherwise it would have looked strange to the rest of the crew, and she wanted to keep her concerns known only to a small group of officers she trusted. Yes he had been reinstated, but she was still watching him intently.

“SARA keep an eye on the ship while we’re docked with Beta Station.” Steff said.

“Yes Captain.” SARA replied. “Though I should point out I do not actually have an eye. All my visuals are utilised by the cameras on board.”

“Yes I know SARA. It was just an expression.”

“I understand.”

A short time later Steff walked through the airlock. Once she was in the station, she saw an officer waiting there, his uniform rather unkempt. He was tall with brown wavy hair and a thick beard. Once he saw Steff emerge into the station he walked towards her.

“Captain Clarke?” he asked.

“Yes.” She replied. He saluted her, and she saluted back.

“Welcome aboard Captain! I am Commander Ellis. I thought I would come down to greet you personally. So amazing to meet an actual legend.” He said with a thick accent she couldn’t place.

“Why thanks Commander. It’s an honour.” Steff smiled.

“I also wanted to see your ship. It’s a new class yes? I thought it was a frigate, but you said scoutship.”

“Yes technically it’s a scoutship. It’s a new class for deep space missions.” Steff told him. Ellis looked at the ship through the space station windows.

“I see. It looks so sleek and shiny. What exactly is your mission?” he asked her.

“Just going to the new areas that the wormholes have opened up. We’ll be classifying planets. I suspect it will mostly be for resources.” Steff told him.

“But wow! A brand new spaceship. You must give me a tour sometime. I love to see new advances.”

“I’ll try to arrange a tour for you. I hoped you might let us use one of your docking bays.”

“All of our docking bays are for smaller craft, sadly.” Ellis replied. “Can I give you a tour of the station?”

“Yes that would be most welcome.” Steff answered.

Ellis gave her a brief tour of the station. She guessed he was showing her the nicer parts of the station, but even these were rundown and grimy. The station needed a lot of maintenance, and a good clean in her opinion. They finished the tour in the Command Section which was filled with people looking at monitors and watching all the incoming and outgoing spaceships.

“This station is very busy.” Ellis told her. He took her to his office which was down a short hallway. She sat down and was offered something to drink.

“Have you had any problems with the Separatists here?” she asked him while cradling a tumbler of whisky.

“Separatists? No, not here. Our main problems are with pirates.”

“Pirates?’ Steff asked surprised.

“Yes, groups of pirates attacking our supply ships and running off with them. I deployed some cruisers to take care of them, but the pirates use small ships that are fast and agile. Very difficult for a large cruiser to deal with. I don’t have enough ships to escourt all the ships that come and go here, so I mostly help with the larger ones, and all I can do is escourt them to the various wormholes or from them. If they are followed and attacked by pirates once they get beyond the wormholes, there’s nothing I can do about it. I have let New Earth know the problem here, but it’s not a high priority for them.” Ellis admitted. “A few more ships would be handy.”

“The pirates never attack the station?”

“No they wouldn’t dare, though I suspect they visit from time to time to make use of the markets here. There are probably Separatist spies here as well I imagine. Not easy to find.” Ellis replied. “This station has an interesting cross-section of human society.”

“How do you manage all the crime and black markets?” Steff asked interested.

“The small stuff we try to ignore, to be honest. Our station security would be overwhelmed if we tried to arrest everybody doing something illegal on this station, and then some.” There was a knock on the door. “Yes?” The door opened and a young woman wearing a Spacefleet uniform walked through. “Can I help you?” The woman gave a grim smile and turned to look at Steff. She pulled out a concealed gun and aimed it at her.

“This is for killing my friends and family on Esfor you monster!” The woman screamed as she pulled the trigger.

to be continued…

Joanne Fisher

Index of previous chapters: The Oracle

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

She Said (poem)

She Said...


She said I don't care about most people
         but I like you

she said I want to be with you
         forever

she said I love you


*


she said I don't want to come around 
         anymore

she said I thought I loved you once
         but now I'm not so sure

she said I'm sick of you


and I was pushed under
    the dark waves


Joanne Fisher



This was previously published on my blog in June 2018.

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Daddy by Sylvia Plath (poetry)

"Daddy" by Sylvia Plath

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You--
 
Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not 
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.

If I've killed one man, I've killed two--
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

12 October, 1962

Sylvia Plath died this day in 1963. This is one of her more well-known poems.

Beyond Reach (poem)

Beyond Reach

I meet her in the deeps

seaweed in her hair

and she smiles at me

tantalising promises

every time I reach out

she escapes from my touch

when I’m on the beach

she is there by the waters edge

she beckons to come closer

but once I approach,

she slips back into the sea

the waves, she says to me,

the waves are relentless

once you find yourself

going under

you are forever lost

among the kelp and sea-water

Joanne Fisher

Second stanza begins “when I’m on the beach”. Third stanza begins “the waves, she says to me”.

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Oracle, part two (fiction)

The Oracle

2

Steff gazed at The Oracle slowly getting larger as they approached. She was on board a shuttle ready to take command of the ship. It was two months since her meeting with Admiral Owens, and now finally the ship was almost ready to leave on its mission. During this time Steff had finalised the crew for the ship and looked through extensive star maps of the known wormholes to plot the best and safest ways to get to Gamma Sector. Alternative routes were also memorised.

The Oracle was cylindrical with thrusters at the sides in the aft and two “wings” on either side in the fore section, just below the ships bridge. These wings housed most of the ships weapons, aside for the missile tubes, which were in the underside of the ship under the prow. Also on the underside was the docking bay that smoothly jutted out in the mid-section. The Oracle’s skin was polished chrome, though in reality it was thick armour designed to withstand laser blasts and missiles from potential enemies. At just over 200 metres long, Steff felt she was definitely looking at a frigate, not a scout as the Admiral claimed it was. It was as though there was something Space Command was concerned about, but wouldn’t tell her. But whatever it was classed as, it was under her command now.

The shuttle landed in the docking bay. As soon as Steff disembarked, she found a small company of crew standing there saluting her. In front of them was Security Officer Frank Edwards, also saluting her. He was average height though thick set. His brown hair was cropped short, though he also had a mustache, which was fairly uncommon these days.

“Welcome aboard Captain!” he said. Steff saluted back, and then picked up her bags.

“Thank you. At ease everyone.” Steff replied.

“This way Captain.” Edwards said. Steff walked alongside him as they walked to the lifts.

“Can you give me a report?” Steff asked.

“Most of the crew are here now. The ship is fully stocked with consumables and ordinance. We are ready to leave when you command.” Edwards replied.

“Most of the crew?”

“Yes. Several officers are still yet to arrive.”

“Who are we waiting on?” Steff queried. Everyone should have been here by now.

“The Medical Officer, Communications Officer, and the Gunnery Officer.”

“All of them important. Get in touch with them all and tell them to get here immediately.” Staff commanded.

“Yes Sir!” Edwards replied. As soon as the lift doors opened he made for the bridge, while Steff headed for her quarters.

She dropped her bags on the floor of her quarters. The rooms were a good size and there was a comfortable bed in the side of the far wall of the main room. There was also a desk, as well as a computer console. The smaller room had a table, and she guessed it would be useful for dining with the other officers. She also had her own bathroom.

“Welcome aboard Captain Stephanie Clarke. I’m SARA, the ships computer.” Said a soft feminine voice.

“Hello SARA.” Steff replied.

“I thought you would like my voice at this pitch, though I can modulate it, if you so wish.”

“No it’s fine.”

“Current mission and route selected to Gamma Sector has been uploaded. All personnel records have been uploaded. The Oracle is ready to leave and is at 100 percent capability. Currently the Communications Officer, Gunnery Officer, and Chief Medical Officer are not on board.”

“Thank you. The Security Officer has already informed me of the missing officers.”

“If you have any need or question just let me know.”

“I will. Thank you SARA.”

Steff looked through the windows at New Earth, named after humanity’s original home. It was roughly the same size as the original Earth, and also had large blue oceans like Earth used to. Steff then left her quarters and headed for the bridge. As soon as she stepped foot on the bridge, the First Mate stood up and saluted.

“Captain on the bridge!” He said. Everyone stood up and saluted. Steff saluted back.

“At ease everyone.” She said. They all sat down again and resumed their duties. Steff walked up to the First Mate. “Lieutenant Blake, how is everything looking?”

“The ship seems to be running perfectly Captain. We’re all just waiting to leave.” He replied. Blake was of medium build. He had short black hair and slightly darker skin, though everyone had darker skin than Steff…

“We’re waiting on some officers. Are there any further shuttles approaching?” She asked.

“Yes one shuttle had just left New Earth, so it should be here soon.” Blake informed her.

Steff sat on her chair and gazed through the large windows of the bridge into the blackness of space. It was good to feel surrounded by stars and the dark again. Maybe she was still out there somewhere, Steff wondered…

“This is the Captain speaking. Once the remaining crew are finally on board, we shall be setting off. The first wormhole is around two days travel away. We will be traveling through a network of wormholes to the Gamma Sector. It will take several months to arrive. Our mission is to find new planets suitable for colonies, resources, or possible terraforming. I’m not expecting any trouble, and so long everyone carries out their assigned duties we should have no problems.” Steff told the crew over the intercom.

A couple of hours later the final shuttle docked with the Oracle. The last three officers disembarked. Steff watched them from a monitor as they walked towards the lifts.

“SARA, tell the officers who have just arrived that once they put their belongings in their quarters, they must come to the bridge immediately.” Steff commanded.

“Yes Captain.” SARA replied. Steff knew she would have to make an example of them. She didn’t particularly want to, but she had to show the crew she would not tolerate any disobedience. A short time later the bridge doors opened. Steff swiveled her chair around so she could face them. The three of them stood there: Dr Teresa Philips, a woman in her late thirties who was rather tall and thin with long blonde hair, Lieutenant Sofia Garcia, the Communications Officer, who was in her twenties and had brown wavy hair and darker skin, and lastly Lieutenant Peter Hunter, the Gunnery Officer, who was a rather serious looking tall man with short dark hair. They stood at attention and saluted her.

“So nice for you three to finally turn up. I hope we’re not getting in the way of your obviously busy schedules.” Steff said sarcastically.

“I’m sorry but we all had a delay in getting to the spaceport.” Dr Philips replied. The other nodded in agreement with her. The rest of the bridge crew turned around to watch.

“You were meant to be here by the time I boarded the ship. All three of you have important responsibilities on this ship. How can I trust any of you if you don’t seem to take your positions here seriously?”

“I’m sorry it won’t happen again.” Dr Philips replied. She looked at Steff with distaste and disgust, even thinly disguised hatred. Steff knew that look, she had seen it often before. She knew Dr Philips had been reluctant to join the crew and had been surprised when she finally relented.

“Good, because I will not tolerate tardiness, or any other disobedience to my command. Do I make myself clear?” Steff asked.

“Yes Captain.” They replied.

“I’m watching all three of you closely from now on. Go to your posts.”  They nodded. Dr Philips and Lieutenant Hunter left the bridge while Lieutenant Garcia took her post on the bridge. Steff swiveled the chair around again and faced the bridge. “And now it’s time to leave.” She announced. “Engage engines.”

The thrusters were engaged and the starship sprang to life. Slowly the speed built up. Steff could feel the ship vibrating, like a cat ready to pounce. In a short time they were surrounded by blackness and New Earth was just a faint glimmer behind them. A few hours later Steff left Lieutenant Blake in charge while she went to her quarters.

“SARA?”

“Yes Captain?”

“You have been informed about our secondary mission?”

“Yes, to find the missing scout ship Argos IV.”

“What do you think happened to it?”

“I don’t have all the information. It could have had a mechanical failure or been hit by asteroids.”

“Admiral Owens suggested that Separatists could have destroyed or captured it.”

“Unlikely.” SARA stated. “It is almost on the opposite side of the galaxy from the Alliance of Free Colonies. There is certainly no record of them ever having any presence near there. Also it wouldn’t make sense for New Earth Space Command to send you to a place in danger of encountering them.”

“What do you mean?” Steff asked.

“Well if I was an Admiral of Space Command and sending you back into space, I would send you in the exact opposite direction of the Alliance of Free Colonies, which is what they appear to be doing. I’m aware of how the Alliance of Free Colonies regard you.”

“I see.”

“Do you wish to discuss this further?”

“No.” Steff stood up from her desk and looked out at the distant stars. She wondered if there was something bigger going on that she was unaware of.

Joanne Fisher

Please donate! 🙂

©️2021 Joanne Fisher