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Death is Death

A poem by the eleven-year-old me.

There’s only two kinds of people:

Those who do this [ ] with

Their controller when Super Mario has to jump

And dead people.

Hand and eye are so rarely coordinated in the

Dead folks I’ve seen. I know because I myself

Was a zombie before I got the Power Pad (and the Zapper).

They woke me up and gave me enough life to crave

A Power Glove.

I even bugged my dad for one—knowing he’d say

I could have one when I had enough of my own

Money to buy it. ‘Cause that’s how he is.

More living to do, I guess.

I’ve been playing the game ever since that week

With a fury in my heart, making Super Mario grab

Every coin laid out for him and timing that tinkling clink of

Reward with the beat of it. I hold down the B button like a

Speed demon and do my controller like this [ ] over gaps in the board

Without thinking.

I do my controller like this [ ] up the

Valedictory staircases headed to the flag and

Fireworks that hail my arrival at some new castle (I

look like a spazz in the middle of a good Turtle Tip!),

Ready to learn enough life lessons to get rich from a paper route.

My work in the Super Mario field has also taught me

“The Flinch”. You know, the one that comes to the living when

Super Mario dies in the water if he can’t get to air before the

Clock runs down. The same one that happens on advanced

Levels when, for whatever cosmically weird reason, you forget to do

This [ ] with your controller and instead think you can just run through

A giant spiked turtle throwing hammers at you or skim Christ-like across

Some lake of fire.

“Practice makes Perfect” is the prayer my hands make when I’m

Going forward faster than I can pay attention to. So, my hands just

Go like this [ ] with my controller.

My girl cousins have a Ouija board,

So I know they understand. . .

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Death is Death
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