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Posts Tagged ‘video games’

Reversion

Tonight we rolled back
a month of mornings that crept,
tickwise, the whole of the sky
like the firmament thought once
to swaddle the world,
star-layers and strata
stowing little ellipses
nested like cyclical gears.

Weeks of work undone
in the wake of an error,
but I am untroubled,
carrying only a pick
and a shovel, a drive
to remake what we’ve both wiped away.

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The choice I expected was which,
but whether arrived
like the thorn of a shrike,
the pierce of a spear,
strike of a bolt at the end of its flight,
its tether run out once the damage is done.

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Pizza Joint Corner, 1984*

Creak-crackle
of flour-dust crust,

cheese flocks the plate,
and I wait in the space

between the grain
and the game.

Jean jacket hip check,
twitching on the joystick,

the moment is mine
for a leap and a climb –

one quarter in my pocket,
another on the ledge.

* This  poem was commissioned by Children of the CPU and adapted in their song “The Kill Screen.”

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Gone

The staircase didn’t seem to loom before,
not from my periphery
while I padded past its foot,
left for later the second-story
search as bookcases, binders,
loosed leaves led
like river pebbles dotting
pappy moss from the forest’s fringe
to the clearing
and the cauldron
at its heart.

The attic and its ember-ring I knew
better than to break into.

But after I hear her wish
only to sleep, to wait among the rafters,
I remember your last message played
back from the black two-tape machine,
heralded by red-disc strobe
warning like a lighthouse
from the upper oak ledge
of my dorm room desk,
a record so long its end never vanished
under crests of study dates and walks to lunch
and the pall of a bare “Call home.”

The spooling poles relayed
a dwindling account
of all your fight ebbing out
in a sanctuary lit mostly by prayer,
ending with a finality of “insurmountable,”

and so I wish my arrow might fly faster,
to sprint up the foreboding stairs and wind
my way to the red-shift attic,
green-track fervor and yellow-page dread
propelling pedal and pulse and a longing
to be in time this time.

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As though I’d stepped through a narrow
volume of winter bookended

by plane and bridge, hauling behind me
a suitcase packed for spring, I know

at once: I’ve carried the wrong things
through with me, loaded myself down

with staples and found, in the next world,
staples aplenty. The ax I should have left,

the shovel, too, along with all the cuttings
to kindle and to craft, should not have weighed

my pockets with flint and stone –
they pock the ground on this side, too.

I ought to have brought the rarities, mementoes,
the gears and gems and gold, what’s hard to find
and hard to catch. What comforts. What reminds.

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The Mario Poem

I can’t write a poem about Mario,
not of leaps and blue platforms, not
of Peach and pipe and coin.

At the top of the weathering stairs,
on the landing between two
rooms split for four sisters,

TV and console lay past the thick guard
of towheads and cowboy boots
that thundered their way up

after lunch, before bed – no place
for two cousins outnumbered by nine,
and only the one of us wishing to play.

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I should feel elated standing
here, as enthralled in cleverness
as the first bee to fit
six sides into a hollow,

compact conjecture framing
sweet economy. With the shifting
floor behind me, its resets and
drops at last evaded, I feel

only fatigued relief, like the slump
of fallen cake, a settling
furrow to be shored, filled in,
smoothed over like failure disguised.

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