Congratulations on deciding to make the world a more interesting and even ‘understood’ place.
Long ago, poems were recited, taught mother-to-son and father-to daughter, etc. and thus preserved orally. Today we have pencils, paper, keyboards and thumb-drives, freeing Ma and Pa to work thankless jobs instead of mumbling Beowulf on the castle floor. Progress.
And speaking of work-horses, it behooves us to stay abreast of the latest in technology. Hence, today’s topic: Penmanship. As in, Bic’s® latest ‘Pens-4-Poets Value-Pak™’, which I recently had the fortune to try out, and am dying to review. So let’s get it on.
Open the box and right off you’re hit by the myriad of dizzying options. These are not your Quickee-Mart scribblers; no, these are ‘serious tools for serious tools’. Each one has a specific function, and they are all space-age optimised with cutting-edge technology. Let’s be specific:
The ‘Iambic’ set is a great place to start. (The ad-copy boys at Bic seem to have fallen heavily for the ‘I Am Bic’ fortuitous coincidence.) Colour-coded, they each have built in pressure-sensors which actually ‘count’ accents. The sample lines for each one, on page three of the manual, are instructive:
Iambic bimeter: “I count to two”
Iambic trimeter: “I learned to count to three”
And so forth. Oh well, here’s the rest of the set:
Iambic quadrameter: “Today I learned to count to four”
Iambic pentameter: (three(3) supplied) “Today’s the day I’ll learn to count to five.”
Iambic hexameter: “Rejoice! Today’s the day I learned to count to six.”
And so forth… And not to worry. I tried to ‘cheat’ and yes, the pen stops writing if one ‘departs’ from the meter. As long as you’re using the ‘purple pen’, for example, no more illegal lines. But wait, there’s more, of course.
And I’ll already bet, Dear Reader, that you are planning on writing me a nifty ‘Ode to Sol’ in gratitude for my deciphering the sometimes-confusing Owner’s Manual, specifically:
Here’s where the Bic-boys© at their Wells Bardo, SD equivalent of Skunk Works went wrong, in my opinion…
The ‘Tri-Plus’ pen, confusingly colour-coded just like the ‘Trimeter’ save for an additional length-wise stripe, incorporates their “Bic-Smart” IQ-tech™ features by default. That means that with it you can only write poems extolling the Trinity, tykes-on-trikes, a ‘troika’ (with Cyrillic font-support enabled), or basically any other theme, but on condition that it must include ‘the number three’. I suppose one could get used to it though.
The book goes on to explain each one:
Quad-plus: ‘Poems about college dorms, 4-wheel drive vehicles, The Four Seasons song lyrics, etc’. Hmm.. I tried to write ‘Three square meals a day’, in a poem as a plea for support for the homeless, and it ‘acted-up’, intermittently refusing to ink the page. Oh well. They do have a ‘Report bugs’ web-site, although I haven’t as yet tried it.
Penta-Plus asesses the degree to which the user is supressing ‘pent-up’ emotions’. How they do that? Go figure. Anyway, I actually liked this pen (it’s green. For envy, rage?) It quickly forced me to rewrite:
“I think that I shall never see/ A billboard lovely as a tree” as
“WTF!! I hate fucking billboards!” Who knows? Maybe I’m the one with the passive-aggressive problem.
Hex-plus is fairly forgiving; Verses about Magick, unfair persecution, evil ex’s. Great for Emos, dumped spouses, schizophrenics. (Refills available from the web-site.)
And so forth… Septa– allows vignettes about the Phila transit system, but also, in my tests, writes perfectly on the ‘grass being always greener over the septic system’.
Octo-plus: By now you probably get the picture. Poems about ‘octopi’, obviously, but also anything to do with eye-sight and, luckily, ‘vision’, both literal and metaphoric. A great pen, all in all.
One would think that by now the selection would have been exhausted. ‘But ‘one would be wrong’, as I love to say. Yes, each of these pens come in three quirky ‘flavours’, somethng like quarks. This we discover only upon lifting the tri-layered box’s packing, much like the gift-chocolate pieces you get from family and friends for Hanukhah. Yes, although the top ‘layer’ is ‘Iambic-pentameter’, for example, one can also choose from ‘Amoebic-pentameter’ or ‘Anemic-pentameter’. Here it gets ‘interesting’, to say the least:
The ‘Amoebic-‘ set ‘cuts-out’ at the very first hint of anything concrete. Don’t bother trying to describe the Moon as a roughly-spherical rocky mass of orbiting eons-old ‘space-junk. Even ‘We are stardust!’ barely prints legibly. Have fun, but don’t be specific.
And ‘Anemic-‘ is even more proscriptive; these pens, probably best given away as presents to one’s friends and/or relatives in old-folk’s homes, work only as long as the writer’s compromised self-image screams silently from his whimpering lines. (ex: “I’ll probably never see a tree/ I’m weaker weekly; woe ist me.”)
Bottom line: At $59,95, there is truly something here for everyone. I’ve already run the Dalmation-spotted ‘Doggerel-plus®’ pen out of ink, and enjoyed every barking minute of my experiments. And if I should ever tire of that much-despised form, ‘Kat-man-du-Plus’ is there in the box, waiting for ‘Ode to a Way-ward Pussy-cat.’
Choosing a proper pen for poems is no laughing matter.
Do give the Boys from Bic© a try, won’t you?