There are many modes and styles of storytelling. Classic, minimalist, expository, stream of consciousness, mosaic, metafiction—and on and on go the ways in which an author can transpose their imaginings into fiction. But poetry? Have you ever read science fiction in metered form?
Time to waste, so I escape the city
At one of those seedy establishments
They call ‘Glow Shows’ because they fill the girls
So full of Pro’ it nearly burns their veins.
Prometheus, resident wonder-drug;
Pro’, Promo’, ’Theus, liquid-fucking-light;
Prohibited by city law and shot
By yours truly, Virgil Yorke, hero cop (1)
So run the first lines of Oliver Langmead’s Dark Star (2015, Unsung Stories). And what follows is a story that lives up to every ounce of vividness contained in those few words—a proper story, just in measured form.
The effect replete, when Detective Yorke is called to the late night scene of a murder, the emptiness between the lines makes what imagery that is in the lines—the corpse’s neon veins—twice as powerful. The city of Vox perpetually dark, the young woman’s body glows in the back alley, begging Yorke—and the reader—to learn what has transpired. But just as his investigation begins, an even bigger crime calls Yorke away. Vox dependent on the power generated by three dying stars, one has been stolen. So, into the cold, dark night Yorke goes, battling his own addictions every step of the way, the metered verse stripping his story down to its evocative essentials.