fiction, poetry & more


by Peter Baum

I sent 9 poems off to war
They’d never ventured forth before
To Gemini its 12th contest
That wanted just the very best

The poems, like 9 rich bouffants,
Were all dressed up in fancy fonts
And showing off design and format
All prepared for mortal combat

As they traveled cyber space
And conversed about their grace
Wondered where they might be headed
Probably a place they dreaded

They talked about sincerity
And looked for similarity
Each one felt some anxiety
Heard whispered insecurity

Soon they met the mighty 7
Laid their eyes in order Erin
Leah Sandra Zoe’s grin
Melissa Rachel Katherine

Each one judging skillfully
Searching for fluidity
Weeding out the weak and lame
Eliminating those insane

First they wanted just to thrive
Then the goal was “stay alive”
Poems dropping here and there
Dead and wounded everywhere

For reasons they did not know
They fought these poems not their foe
Now they wished for love and peace
Yearned to have the battle cease

As each died or met their fate
None was ever filled with hate
A final thought, a “twin” remained
A copy back from where they came

Maybe even in their dying
Poetic slaughter horrifying
Each may someday rise from kin
Rise in glory, heard again!


Peter Baum does research on the foundations of mathematics and artificial intelligence. He’s working on a book that uses a theory of artificial intelligence to construct elementary arithmetic. He writes poetry and fiction to explore his more emotional side. Other interests include running, music, graphic art, and photography. Lately he has enjoyed shoveling a lot of snow. He lives with his wife and three cats in Onset, Massachusetts.

February 2022