Monday, May 9, 2011

Patented DNA (Minstrel Mondays)

A long time ago, I wrote a little half-poem/half-song called Patented DNA, which was obviously sci-fi related. It was something I almost had published on several occasions. When submitting it to different publishers, I received many positive replies, though none quite positive enough. They all said it was great, and they wanted to publish it, but for various reasons it didn't fit the book or magazine they were putting together. This has often been the case for my work, it doesn't quite fit.

Years ago, I posted this poem for free at Authors Den, a website for aspiring writers that never really worked for me. There are a lot of under-qualified people posting stuff there, so you generally don't get many readers. I stopped using the "paid" version of the site last winter, because it wasn't worth the cost. I can post free stuff on this blog, or at my website, and get more people to read it.

Okay, back to the poem. This little thing has been kicking around for years, but I'm going to repost it here for those who haven't seen it at Authors Den (which is almost everyone).

In this strange day and age that mankind has made,
I find it hard to stay sane.
These things the children do in this future world,
they would simply boggle your mind,
for a century from now, I'll tell you how it is.

When I was twenty one, I had a son,
raising him was supposed to be fun,
but the modern age of technology couldn't leave him be.
They filled his head with fantasies,
of things that shouldn't be.
Indoctrinated him to be a slave of the bureaucracy.

But one day when he was seventeen, he came and said to me,
"Why won't you let me see darling Marie?"
I said, "Come here son, and I'll tell you why
you can't go around with that girl.
Don't you know she was made with Patented D.N.A.?"

My son said, "Sure, dad, I know how she was made.
That's why she's such human perfection.
So why is it wrong to take her out to a show,
or someday give her my ring?"

I said, "It's not that simple, son, she's not right.
She's not free like us at all.
She's a product of bending genes, a biological machine
of the highest order, but she is owned, heart and soul,
by a Wall Street company.
At birth she was sold to her high bidding parents,
but it was only a lease,
the investors hold all the patents,
and the well intentioned scientists
are paid too well to fight."

"To marry her, you'll have to pay her price
to a high rise business firm,
and even then you'll just be renting her.
Then if you want children, you'll have to buy the rights
to her patented D.N.A."

"And then you'll never be free.
The firm will make you pay your children's fee,
and they'll own them indefinitely, same with your genes.
And when your children are grow up, the businessmen will sup
from the sale of their hands into marriage,
just as they did with your wife."

"So now you see, son, I just want you to be free.
I don't want you selling your soul.
In this world of illogicality,
some things, you have to let them be."

Well it took some time before he could speak,
and when he did he sounded very meek.
He said he understood why he couldn't fool around
with the patented D.N.A.
In a world where so few of us are free,
we can't allow the slavers to win over one single soul entirely.

Now you see what I have to put up with,
in this future that mankind has made.
I curse the forefathers of slavery,
of scientific pursuits co-opted by greed.
Some day they'll have to reckon with me.

There, I hope you enjoyed that little bit. It really tells a story, or at least an outline.

*Some of you who are very familiar with my writing history might note that this poem shares the name of a Pill Hill Press anthology containing one of my short stories.  Last year, when Jessy Marie Roberts first considered doing a clone-based anthology, she asked a few of us for title suggestions. I proposed Patented DNA, feeling the name would fit perfectly, and I am pleased to see it has done just that. You might consider picking up a copy of this book sometime, as it has a lot of really good stuff in it, including my own short, "Democracy in Action."


  1. Stunning, Martin. Absolutely, stunning. It is very rare I write poetry - I'm ashamed to say I just don't get it. But I loved the way Patented DNA told a story, and was thrilled when I discovered you were in the anthology. My short story, Exipration Date, is also in there! I can't believe it is nearly a year since I wrote it and how much my writing has since changed. Have you found that when reading back your old stories?

    I haven't yet read all the stories in the anthology. Guess which one I'll be reading later?

    Ellie Garratt

  2. Indeed, I've noticed the shift in my writing over the years, particularly from my late teens to my early 20s. My first few novels (which remain unpublished) were a little more jaded, though I've found that my works are starting to get consistent.

    I used to write a lot more poetry, since I was blessed with a lyrical mind, though there's really no percentage in it (so many poets, so little poetry readership). I probably could write a pretty good broadway musical, but I'd need a musician to help me score it.

    There's an interesting story behind the creation of my short story, "Democracy in Action," though I'll save that for another blog post (could we shorten that to "blost" for internet slang?).