In this game, the Princess is
In this one, the Gorilla has a thing for guys with mustaches.
How it works is things don’t work out, but the game keeps on going.
of binary code
sputters in the back of each skull like the rusty four-stroke of a lawn mower engine.
another, but they never get the one thing
Mario wants to be a big man, but he’s a man in a cage with a woman with the key.
a Mario that wants him for more than his simple tools—the burn of unrequited
enough to chuck keg after keg of displacement. Princess wants a Mario that loves
the way she can hold a huge hammer high above her head and feel
ache for the sake of her man. But you can never move them closer
The game does not allow for this. There is no correct key sequence.
leaves the player dead or simply unsatisfied.
on the heart’s quick starter. The player is supposed to police
navigating a few central commands. The player is supposed to favor
over emotional investment. Even if the player beats this level, there is another,
another with the same ladders, the same
basic controls, but only more intricately laid out—as if the programmers had meant
cruelty to gain gravitas under the system’s relentlessly singular assault.
instead of the kiss. Instead of backstory,
with the structural integrity of a soft egg. This is called playing the game.
spare quarters, how many new lives … Even if they all got where
then what? A castle, a solid 9 to 5 plumbing gig, Sundays at Bowser’s, some kind of a compromise
It’s been so very hard for me. It’s been so very long. It isn’t easy, is it? We both know this. Sometimes there are too many cows and not enough cattle guns. Sometimes the slush pile gets under the nails, doesn’t come off of the skin. But you, you are beautiful despite this process. I loved your recent interview with [insert famous name here]. [Insert famous name here] is always good isn’t he or she. Dear magazine: Please consider these poems for publication. Dear magazine: Please consider me, and consider me often, happy and brilliant and one of your “new voices.” Some of my work has been featured in other “known” magazines, but let’s not talk about that, let’s talk about us. Dear magazine: I feel like I’ve known you for a long time now, that I’ve known you so naturally, that my work lately is all just an extension of this knowing, that naturally they fit. Dear magazine: dear dear magazine. Dear magazine, it’s been too long; why don’t you like me, I thought we were cool? It’s 3 AM and I’m crying and I can’t sleep, and you just sent me this rejection. You write that you were grateful for the opportunity … that the work was read with real care … but that my submission did not meet your current editorial needs … But what about my needs, dear magazine, what about me?
Jim Redmond lives in Austin, TX. He recently started writing a blog series for Drunken Boat. Some of his work has been published or is forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, PANK, Weave Magazine, inter|rupture, RHINO, TYPO, and NANO Fiction, among others. His chapbook, Shirts or Skins, was published as an insert in Heavy Feather 3.2.
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