‘Gotz’ & ‘Gamification’


On the outskirts of town, in a timber house
too large for one, I can find you on your own.
Head down at the lathe or tablesaw, gaze fixed,

your hands rough and steady. You make tables,
cut lumber, upgrade the town hall. All furnishings
pass through your palms. The woods are in you.

Your crown of chestnut hair, your knotted fists,
your thick trunk ringed with winters. I am thankful
you came to my farm to chop the oak blocking

the forest path. I say so and touch you, grazing
the bark of your elbow. But then, you are telling me
of the blizzard, your words bursting like a storm,

blow through and bury so fast, leaving only snow
silence. You rattle off sums: the measure of coffins,
of time spent sanding wood that would hold a wife,

a child, and carry them to where you could not go.
You dreamed of returning to the earth with your kin.
And then, snow silence. You pursed your thin lips,

flexed your weary arms. A tree chopped down,
its branches used for bar stools. Its white heart
turned into a cross to mark a family grave.




When you will try anything,
you can turn your body into a game.

Remember to feed it pills daily,
star any chart on an app. Pee on sticks
first thing each day. Aim carefully.
Wait a fixed amount of time.
You can play every game alone.

Months pass while you stick at it,
then years. Others have moved on
to the sequel, the next big thing.
But you persist. You are so close.

You hope for a level-up, new content.
You aim to defeat the boss. Save
the princess. But the boss is you,
and you are the princess too.

And no matter how many hours
you put in, you start each day
again at the beginning.
You cannot make new life.