Category Archives: poetry

A response from Nintəndo

The following is a response to Kylen’s poem/letter to Nintəndo.

Dear Kylen,

We at Nintəndo find it quite pleasing

when devoted gamers write letters.

Really, we do; I’m not teasing.

Atari calls us bananas,

but we like it a bunch,

almost as much as Mac likes

to earn a star punch.

You know that Mario was the ref in that game?

No princess in Punch-Out either.

Isn’t that a shame?

Back to your points, on side quests

we won’t dawdle.

Just know your suffering moves us

as do your death foibles.

Your many…many…many death foibles.

It’s funny you should ask

about the plumbers’ back story.

Their pipe dreams began long ago

on that glorious morning,

but that’s all I can tell you

without a DLC purchase.

To answer your question

about what substance influenced

side-scrolling action, flying turtles and goombas,

we don’t condone–wink, wink–

the consumption of fungi,

LSD, ecstasy, or marijuana.

Though there is Bud, but he’s only one guy.

Then, I suppose, there is Sue and Steve and

Amanda and Tobi from Bandai.

Now is no time to get caught up

in the who took the what

or why the walls melted

into the princess-dragon-castle plot.

That answer, I’m sure, will be found

in another spot.

As for tossing your system

out the window after your thousandth death,

I can say this:

The biggest Nintəndon’t

I’ve heard to this day:

Never, ever, ever, ever

throw your Nintəndo away.

Didn’t mother ever tell you

there are aliens on Mars

who are starving to play?

I’ll close out this letter and reveal a surprise.

Attached is a package

with Amanita muscaria spores inside.

I do have to add that

these are strictly for research

beneath a microscope.

Now, go slay that Bowser! The Princess is waiting.

Star Power for life!

Forever Yours,

Nintəndo

Line Potion #5

Wait in line at the bank

Write lines in a notebook

Between the lines of a page

Check online for an email

Outside the lines on the highway

Front line trenches of warzones

Offensive line runs a play fake

Line backers blitz the runner

Receiver bee line touchdown

Hold the line for the call

Clotheslines knock over wrestlers

Free throws at the foul line

Fast line round the racetrack

Line drives blast the outfield

Baseline alley-oop dunk

Notes line sheet music onstage

George Clinton’s bassline funk

People line dance in the night club

Cast pickup lines at the bar

y = mx + b

Carpenter chalk lines before cutting

Neon timeline on my face

Bread lines in the depression

Aluminum foil lines the pan

Kitchen line cook makes soup

Formula for a closing line.

Daily Fortune

Monday’s child watches football at night

Tuesday’s child eats tacos done right

Wednesday’s child has Pugsly for an uncle

Thursday’s child is thirsty for trouble

Fridays child likes to party and dance

Saturday’s child wants to give peace a chance

As for the child that is born on a Sunday

They won’t be delivered ’til two o’clock Monday

Southbound

Spring, spring.

Like fools we do sing?

Like Dionysus Zagreus,[i]

from the heart do we sing?

Nay, that four-chambered war drum

is too dark to let sing.

A heart like Persephone’s

six months before spring.[ii]

“The horror, the horror,”[iii]

the forlornness in spring.

The despair of Theseus

amidst a labyrinth of string[iv]

while the minotaur keeps charging,

charging…

its smart phone,

of all things.[v]


[i] Mark Morford and Robert J. Lenardon. Classical Mythology. (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999), 223-224. Hera, out of jealousy, convinces the Titans to devour the child born to Zeus and Persephone, and save the heart which is secretly returned. Zeus swallows this heart and Dionysus is reborn. Zeus then hurls a lightning bolt at the Titans, turning them to ash. Humans are said to have originated from this evil ash.

[ii] Ovid, Metamorphoses, translated by Mary M. Innes, (London, England: Penguin Group, 1955), 127-131. Persephone (Proserpine) is condemned to spend 6 months of the year, starting in Autumn, in the underworld with Hades. Logically, Persephone’s heart would be the saddest/darkest once autumn arrives, 6 months before spring.

[iii] Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness. (Kindle Edition, 2012). Kurtz utters this as his last earthly phrase which is rumored to represent Kurtz’s acquired disdain for and perceived meaninglessness of life. The utterance may also be viewed as a condemnation of the pure evil that lurks within the hearts of humanity.

[iv] Ovid, “The Cretan Labyrinth,” Metamorphoses. 183. Theseus uses a spool of string to mark the way to the labyrinth’s exit. Consider the frustration and confusion one might feel when trying to find the way out of a maze in which one’s line to the outside world blends together with the walls of the maze. Such a situation might leave one to feel unable to ‘pull the right strings’ – a trope that refers to being able to exert one’s influence for a beneficial gain – and make an exit.

[v] Albert Camus. The Myth of Sisyphus and other essays. Translated by Justin O’Brian. (New York, NY: Vintage Int’l, 1991), 157. Camus begins his essay “The Minotaur”: “There are no more deserts. There are no more islands. Yet there is a need for them…in order to serve [folks] better, one has to hold them at a distance for a time.” Smartphones, social media, and instant news access have given humanity the ability to, seemingly, hold one another at bay. Will this result in the betterment of humanity or an increase in social isolation and depression?

Allure

Sunday afternoon in the garden
I am graced by your presence
a dozen paces before me.

Your hips are a metronome,
sin in their sway.
Hypnotic. Left, right, left, right.

Orange tiger lilies
watch in envy. Your approach
intended just for me.

Floral patterned, sheer
pastel yellow sundress
hem flutters about your knees.

Polished pink toes,
faux leather sandals.
Footfalls pace my heartbeat.

Beneath dogwood branches,
I am planted, watching you.
My dear, you are hypnotic. Left, right, left right.

Black hair mingles
with gentle fingers of the breeze.
Sunlight is your halo.

Smokey saucers of mocha
beam through clear lenses
and twinkle with a grin.

Butterfly wings tickle
my insides. Breath pauses
in my throat.

Rubenesque curves
strum nature’s melody-
a lust-filled bassline

that brings me to life.
Anticipating your touch,
my temperature spikes.

Wind-swept ember,
you glide into my arms.
We spark. We kindle.

We kiss.
Toe tip to toe tip,
enveloped, both burning.

Collapsed in the grass,
flames lick our skin,
searing green blades beneath us.

– Christopher Miller

Train of thought

At dusk, I open the door, step outside, down the brick steps
To my right, just above the muggy tree-lined horizon,
a waxing crescent moon dipped in crimson hangs
in the evening October sky, soaks up the last rays of natural light
A flickering neon sign of a lone star forces itself into existence

In the distance, a rider winds back on the throttle
The motorcycle engine responds with a throaty gurgle,
bounces sharp crackles off home fronts, propels its rider up the two-lane highway
I dig the lighter out of my front pocket, thumb the flint wheel, and light up a smoke–
a dirty habit that I should probably quit

But quitters never win, I think to myself as the headlight of the growling cyclopean machine illuminates the northern side of our warped mailbox
Angry pistons rock back and forth, expel snarls and snorts, pierce the silence
As the two-wheeled beast careens past our driveway, a tune, faint at first, oscillates toward me

“Hey… ye…eh…”
grows more distinct
“I said hey! What’s going on?”
I take another drag, exhale. Piston beats dance against my skin
“And I try, oh my god do I try”
A steam engine rumbles, disrupts my thoughts, knocks the Fourth Volume of Musical Knowledge from my mental library shelf
“I try all the time, in this institution”
I dig through its overturned contents, look for the chords that tie the song to its artist
“And I pray, oh my god do I pray”
Rock, 90s Alternative
“I pray every single day”
Bands with numbers in their name
“For a revolution”

The taillight spills its faint auburn glow over the white and yellow-lined pavement where it is consumed by the stillness
I extinguish my cigarette, turn, climb the steps
4 Non Blondes continues to sing along the country stretch of 421 South
where pine trees and cotton fields wait their turn to listen

– Christopher Miller