Five Poems

an odyssey, in arcade years,

lasts all night, a video game

is just a death, avatars trapped

in the afterlife bear witness


to the bells and chimes of an

outmoded form this dream

of infinite lives, friends, feelings

that burst out like a pinball


around a loop, sirens, screeching

brakes, motors, the shrill of fighter

jets locking in, I’m bewitched

by memory on a spinning track

maybe we’re all just time soldiers

aiming our guns with eight-way

rotary joysticks, walking

in one direction, while shooting


in another, we re-enter

the portal until we arrive

at the correct time period,

THE AGE OF WAR, and out we pop


to shoot our enemies along

a scrolling backdrop, but this

can’t be LIFE, unlimited

on all levels, except the last

the difference between death and

video games is lives left, or

how many fantasies do the drone

victims have left, this level


begins and ends with a target

is my name, see my i.d. says

TARGET a silhouette before

trial, the joystick vibrates


through the clouds, the order


voices leaving an arcade, mega

pixels picking okra in a field

to build an arcade is simple

lungs, fabricated engines, time

capsule inside children, line up

over your target and drop


a bouquet of bombs when they hit

yell, SPLASH and the bodies

blow, parts of the whole next level

of forgiveness, like where’s the secret


whistle that skips me ahead, how

many lives do I have left, if

we stay here all night how much

would it cost to beat the whole game

we’ve come a long way since SPACEWAR!


first-person shooters have been funded

by the pentagon since WW II


the crowd stands to honor fallen heroes

brought to you by RAYTHEON, guiding

missiles to the heart since 1948

you hear that thump, you know you’re alive


soldier player 1, soldier player 2

this trailer shoots down aircraft with microwaves!

when the prisoner looks up at the flag

all he sees is a dead body