Two Poems

by M. A. Schaffner 

Game This

Digital emu ranching supersedes
revival editions of Donkey Kong.
Somewhere a statue of Mario winks
at Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty
Volume Twenty-Two the Homecoming Game.
Wax no nostalgia for innocent days
of walrus tusk kings and narwhal horn knights
press-ganging eunuchs for the Sultan’s court,
eye-gouging substitutes for Candy Crush
in the lungs of six year old chimney sweeps
saved at random from swifter starvation.
Drive a car with fins to lodge a complaint
taking a right hand turn at polio.
Been there, saw that, conquered the continent,
and came home bored to while away the time
with anything less atrocious than our lives.


Salt and guilt provide little antidote
as roast fowl fills the house with the essence
of windowless steel barns with grated floors,
eighteen wheelers attending close behind.

And what to light a candle for if not
the luxury of denouncing plenty,
the gift of abstinence and every sin
that rides the back of failure to abstain.

Even here, ancient radiators clank
songs of industrial revolution
long after it morphed to what we have now,
announced every morning in our news feed.

So the question, winner take all of what
leaving a mass of neurotics who’d starve
without one or more subsidies paid for
by neurotics making a wee bit more,

their houses absorbed by edifices
built around an electronic courtyard
hand held devices singing like tame birds
trained to annoy with endless praise and news.

As archaic as a post man the sun
dizzies itself with fresh applications
and a soul can hardly speak out of awe
for each gift that works without batteries.

M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, and elsewhere. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.

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