Archives for posts with tag: games

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Badminton Net and Lost Birdies
by Marjorie Maddox

Though we rarely play,
we leave the net up when it rains,
the sagging lines reminders of what
in us divides and unifies. Behind it
(or in front, depending on your side),
a squirrel prostrates himself
against the yard’s one oak and chatters
prayer—or perhaps new rules—
to this game we do not play. Prayer, games,
even now I cannot take the other side and say
they are the same, that one begets the other
or divides to twins so alike
the mother may, for seconds at a time, forget
which one is which, unless, side by side,
they strike out with some different rhythm.
Still, our neighbors say, even this net
could catch our prayers and games,
pull itself up, and toss them into sky
like all our plastic birdies gone awry,
and there would be no difference in our lives.
On this we’re unified: we pound the stakes in
deeper, talk about retying
the net, about playing.

SOURCE: Previously published in Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me,  finding the lost “birdie” (2017).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Because it took some effort with young children, once our backyard badminton net was up, it was up for much of the summer, no matter how much the net sagged, how many “birdies” we lost, how many times someone quit mid-game, or how often opponents switched sides because of “obstacles”: trees, sun, ruts in the yard, etc. Years later the lost shuttlecocks, the sagging net, and the determination to still pound in the stakes, to still play, seemed an apt metaphor for belief, doubt, and life in general. As a side note, recently, I “found” one of those “lost” birdies still in the backyard. I use it when I conduct “Writing Poetry That Moves” workshops at elementary schools.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including True, False, None of the Above Local News from Someplace Else Wives’ TalesTransplant, Transport, Transubstantiationand Perpendicular As I—the short story collection (Fomite Press), and over 500 stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Co-editor of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (Penn State Press), she also has published FOUR children’s books˜. Visit her at www.marjoriemaddox.com.

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Need for Speed
by Mathias Jansson

I never took a driving license
But I have the Need for Speed
I want to be in Pole Position
I have driven a Lamborghini
A Ferrari, a Porsche and a Corvette
I have been chased by cops
Down a serpentine road
In high speed
I have crashed, flipped and burnt
From the highest cliff
Without a scratch
Behind the screen
I always feel safe
Gripping my virtual steering wheel

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was young I started to learn how to drive, but I never finished and never took a driver’s license. Instead I spent many hours driving cars in video games. It was more fun and more safe. The image is from the video game Pole Position, one of the earliest racing games I liked to play in the eighties.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mathias Jansson is a Swedish art critic and poet. He has contributed with visual poetry to magazines such as Lex-ICON, Anatematiskpress, Quarter After #4, andMaintenant 8: A Journal of Contemporary Dada. He has also published a chapbook at this is visual poetry and contributed with erasure poetry to anthologies from Silver Birch Press. Visit him at mathiasjansson72.blogspot.se, or his author’s page at Amazon.com.

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THE WAITING GAME
by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm

I am waiting for my turn.
Playing the game,
forever stuck.
Do not pass GO,
do not collect £200.

I am waiting to see the blue Angel,
to battle the red square,
stroll down Park Lane
and stay a while…
at the Mayfair.

I am waiting for my Chance,
my, Get Out of Jail Free,
the bank error in my favour,
to win second place in – anything,
my inheritance.

Instead,
I go back three spaces,
make general repairs to my green house,
pay my taxes – that’s fine,
for Doctor’s fee – read prescription.

I’m done with waiting!
Do I pay a £10 fine,
or take a Chance,
or do I wait –
two die?

IMAGE: “Monopoly Board Game” by Tek Image. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Carr-Malcolm was born and raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK, and now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. She works as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter, and has been writing since my childhood. Two years ago, encouraged by her friends, she set up a poetry blog at www.worldlywinds.com. She has been extremely fortunate to have had some of her poetry published in five collaborative anthologies, by Dagda Publishing, with part of the proceeds donated to two charities. She is delighted that her poetry, in a small way, is contributing to raising funds for charity. Most of her poetry is about the human predicament and can be emotive and at times dark. The elements of poetry that she enjoys working with are word play, hidden meaning, and cadence.

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SCRABBLE® POEM
by Mike Keith

Through sentient, gauzy flame I view life’s dread,
quixotic, partial joke. We’re vapour-born,
by logic and emotion seen as dead.

Plain cording weds great luxury ornate,
while moon-beams rise to die in Jove’s quick day;
I navigate the puzzle-board of fate.

Wait! Squeeze one hundred labels into jibes,
grip clay and ink to form your topic — rage;
await the vexing mandate of our lives.

I rush on, firm, to raid my aged tools,
but yet I touch an eerie, vain, blank piece,
as oxide grown among life’s quartz-paved jewels.

Once zealous Bartlebooth, a timid knave,
portrayed grief’s calm upon a jigsaw round;
yet now he lies, fixed quiet in his grave.

Just so we daily beam our pain-vexed soul
with fiery craze to aim large, broken core
and quest in vain to find the gaping hole.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Keith is a freelance software engineer and writer of constrained prose and poetry, in which a literary composition is required to satisfy one or more lexical rules. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including several works of constrained writing, Not a Wake and The Anagrammed Bible. For more news and writings, visit cadaeic.net.

NOTES FROM POET MIKE KEITH:

Each tercet (three lines of iambic pentameter with ABA rhyme scheme) in the poem above is formed from the set of 100 Scrabble® tiles, which consist of 98 letters (including all letters A-Z) plus two blank “wildcards” that can be assigned any letter. The poem is visually depicted using six sets of Scrabble® tiles, where the two blanks in each set are indicated by red tiles. In this challenge, we deem it quite permissable to use different letters for the blanks in each separate set of tiles (each stanza).

In this depiction, each line of iambic pentameter is split in two in order to keep the page from being too wide. In other words, the first line of the poem is really “Through sentient, gauzy flame I view life’s dread.”

Who is “Bartlebooth”, you might ask? Ah, this strikes at the very core of the poem. Bartlebooth is the jigsaw-puzzling main character of Georges Perec‘s massive constrained novel La Vie Mode d’Emploi (Life: A User’s Manual). Perec’s novel consists of 100 chapters with one blank (missing), modeled after a Paris apartment building with 100 rooms. The theme of missing things constantly reappears (e.g., Bartlebooth dies as the puzzle he is working on has a single piece-shaped hole).

Scrabble® has 100 tiles with two blanks, an almost exact replica of the structure of Perec’s novel. Hence, the desire to allude to La Vie in stanzas 4 (“blank piece”), 5 (Bartlebooth and his puzzles), and 6 (“gaping hole”). “Puzzle-board” of stanza two is also a reference — to the 10×10 knight’s tour involved in Perec’s work.

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STICKBALL
by Daniel Romo

Summers were a never-ending 7th inning,
and games stretched into the next day
when the sun no longer lit the cul-de-sac.

My brother’s knuckleball was an
experiment in flight pattern,
a taunting array of speculation:

                   juking and jutting,
       a hovering slow-dance
                                 inventing new steps
the batter could never learn.

My fastball was a humming blur of rocket science.

And whoever made contact deserved to
commandeer the moon.

The neighborhood kids were filler.

Portuguese soccer-playing
perpetual strikeout victims
always stuck out in right field,
because they were more skilled with their feet
than with their hands.

Today it’s the bottom of the 9th inning.
Two outs.

And we are dreamers posing as fathers
reminding our own children,
“Point your toe to the target.
Keep your elbow up.
And follow through on the pitch.”

Today I remember belting an old tennis ball
over the neighbor’s roof
into his backyard,
gliding around makeshift bases
with glorious fists raised
as if God was pulling our hands. 

PHOTO: “Stickball equipment” by Debbie Dell, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“Stickball” appears in Daniel Romo‘s poetry collection ROMANCING GRAVITY, available at Amazon.com.

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STICKBALL

by Daniel Romo

Summers were a never-ending 7th inning,
and games stretched into the next day
when the sun no longer lit the cul-de-sac.

My brother’s knuckleball was an
experiment in flight pattern,
a taunting array of speculation:

                   juking and jutting,
       a hovering slow-dance
                                 inventing new steps
the batter could never learn.

My fastball was a humming blur of rocket science.

And whoever made contact deserved to
commandeer the moon.

The neighborhood kids were filler.

Portuguese soccer-playing
perpetual strikeout victims
always stuck out in right field,
because they were more skilled with their feet
than with their hands.

Today it’s the bottom of the 9th inning.
Two outs.

And we are dreamers posing as fathers
reminding our own children,
“Point your toe to the target.
Keep your elbow up.
And follow through on the pitch.”

Today I remember belting an old tennis ball
over the neighbor’s roof
into his backyard,
gliding around makeshift bases
with glorious fists raised
as if God was pulling our hands. 

PHOTO: “Stickball equipment” by Debbie Dell, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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“Stickball” is found in Daniel Romo‘s poetry collection ROMANCING GRAVITY, available at Amazon.com.