Monday, 11 January 2016

Poem notes: rain.rb

Atypical Weather, the 9th issue of short speculative poetry journal inkscrawl, is out. It was guest-edited by Bogi Takács, and comprises 15 poems of ten lines or less. I'm thrilled that one of my poems is featured there (read it here) among some clever texts.

If you feel like needing more than ten lines, here are some bonus notes:

  • I'm used to rainy summers. When I moved to the UK I found myself missing the cold Toluca's summer rain: those huge drops that almost made your skin hurt. Here, rain is like being under a shower: it doesn't hurt, but soak you to the bones. Anyways, one day I woke up imagining what would happened if Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, had followed me all the way from Mexico just to make the kind of rain I love. I thought it'd be cool to write about it, but didn't actually do anything about it until the Atypical Weather submission guidelines went out.
Tlaloc as seen in the Codex Borgia

  • The poem was born like a humorous one. I revised and rewrote it several times, but in the end I thought it lack something (still not sure what), and decided to change the tone. I won't let the first poem die in my HD, though. Here it is:

Roommates
by Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas


Tlaloc's drop-like fingers nocked at my window.
He needed a place to crash
but never left.
It started to rain
inside the apartment and under the umbrellas.
You need to get a job, said my voice through the water.
But his job, he thundered, was to rain
rain
rain
My clothes grew mold; my skin, scales.
I lost my money deposit.


  • I decided to rewrite "Roommates" by using code. I like to think I coded the poem for its final draft.
Someday, I'll write a blogpost about how I started learning how to code and why I chose Ruby as my first language. For now, let me share with you the first book on coding I ever read: Why's (poignant) guide to Ruby. Its whimsical and funny narrative helped to define how I understand programming.
Image part of Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby

  • I've been working on a piece of fiction that includes several chunks of code, but I've been so coward that I haven't managed to get a final draft, plus the thought of submit it to an editor terrifies me. I fear it'll end up illegible and obscure no matter if it's just kind of pseudocode that follows Ruby's syntax, though doesn't compile.
Somehow inkscrawl's submissions window was the perfect opportunity to test this kind of rough-code fiction I want to create. I know Bogi likes unconventional formatting, so I gave it a try. It was worth it.
Image part of Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby

Bonus note for a little bit more technical readers:
  • Have you tried running "rain.rb"? It does compile. Just run the two parts of the poem individually because... INFINITE LOOP WARNING!
Does it change the way you read it?