Thursday, 6 October 2011

It's National Poetry Day

We've had our heads buried in so much work that I didn't pick up until three days ago that the theme for National Poetry Day this years is games.

What an oversight! Especially as one of the projects we've been trying to draw together is Coin Opera 2, a whole anthology of poems about computer games, and especially as we're only just past the 40th anniversary of the first coin-operated video game being installed at Stanford University (Galaxy Game, if you're wondering).

So even though we were utterly unprepared, we couldn't let the whole thing just pass us by. Insanely overambitious as it was, I accelerated a little side project that was intended as part of Coin Opera 2 and have spent the last few days staying up late to try to finish 41 short poems, one for every year since the unveiling of Galaxy Game, each based around a game released that year. Oh yes, and they each subscribe (with some room for manoeuvre) to the most pointlessly difficult form I've ever invented.

I crawled across the finish line last night at around 3am, and hence today I am shattered and broken, but able to digitally publish the whole sequence. It's called Treasure Arcade and you can download the full pdf from the Sidekick Books site. In the mean time, here are are a few of my favourites:

Colossal Cave Adventure
You are in a twisted lip.
You are on a lip of ledge, a little twist of ledge, before a deep pool.
You are in a pool of passages, an inverted brain, a cave-cool lap.
You are lip-deep in a loop of cool lip, on the brain’s ledge of sleep.

Dig Dug
Hori Taizo! How dare
you dig up my land again! You plan it as if it were a night-time raid,
arrive with your makeshift harpoon and a tank of oxygen-rich air.
But there are no dragons buried here. Go spade your own hectare.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
In bed, Carmen smokes
a red cigarette, claws for her red knickers, leaves reedy red marks
across your back. The dawn is meat-red, and there is even beauty
in how she stokes the cabin fire to red sparks, her hair slightly sooty.

The Secret of Monkey Island
We who went a-roving,
lean for the sweet trade, all of us foundered on the garnet-haired governor,
her brazen calico, who left each heart a capsized coracle, each body
run through with loving, every rum cove and ravener drunk for her custody.

Gunstar Heroes
Me and my brother
mixing rare gunpowders – letting the various chemistries breathe.
The shafts they’ve bored are veined with rails and heck-deep,
but we were born to scupper. We seethe with colour and lack of sleep.

I’m thinking of our shared
furious flush in a mountain spring that steamed like boiled radish
the second time we met, me with my memory a shorn stem,
you with your girlish bottom bared and reddish, each wound a diadem.

Angry Birds Seasons
Night and day and night,
they blitzed the weakest joins of the house, leaving it scare-torn
and clotted with powder down, us scrummed, half shaken apart.
Rage made them bright. Greed had drawn us like an applecart.


the Tsaritsa said...

National Poetry Day? I had no idea. I was about to tweet this, but then I remembered we're in different countries :) I wonder when USA's Poetry Day is. LitQuake is coming up, so I'm psyched for that!

Royn-Ber Wendjaifa said...

People think they don't really like poetry, although they can't always be all that serious about it.