Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Precie’s May Book Contest #2

Precie is running her second contest of the month. This is what it is:

This week's theme: Playtime

This week's contest assignment: Write about a childhood game. (Up to 500 words.) You can either post your entry in the comments here OR on your own blog with a link in the comments here.

Deadline: Friday, May 16, at 11 pm Eastern

What do I mean by "a childhood game"? Again, I'll leave that up to you. You may end up writing a fiction piece about kids playing, about adults reliving their past...You might write a poem about Twister or Connect 4 (yes, I realize I'm showing my age)...You could write a non-fiction essay waxing philosophical about Little League competitiveness or a memoir snippet about the first time you played Dodgeball or Break the Gate...

So here’s my entry. It’s a poem.

To My First Love

When I'm blue and downtrodden, I look for some ways
To rekindle the memories from my happier days.
Without fail, they’re of you, my forsaken, unwed.
Yes you, my first love, Atari Twenty-Six Hundred.

In the years since we parted I oft contemplate
How dreary life’s been without your bits of eight.
Even rites of my passage, like my very first makeout,
Failed to compare to our long nights of Breakout.

The places you took me, they nourished my soul,
And you took me there quickly, like a Solaris wormhole.

Though at times we sank slowly—water o’er the gunwale—
Like in spring ’83 when I got carpal tunnel.
And although disgusting, I played through the moist ick
Produced by repeatedly handling your joystick.

And likewise, you too, forgave most of my faults,
Which could've been—should've been—labeled assaults.
Like, I tripped on your cords ‘cause my eyelids were saggy.
Or I pummeled you senseless ‘cause the screen went zig-zaggy.

But I understood you, and you understood me,
And together a match made in heaven were we.

We braved the flat jungle to help Pitfall Harry.
Missile Commanded world safety when nuke death was scary.
We Dig Dug deep tunnels, and Pac-Manned blue ghosts,
Shot the shit out of each other—we were both Combat toast.

The Position of Pole we achieved for our cars,
And we exacted Revenge belonging to Yars.
Day after day we played way after dark,
And that long, grueling summer we recovered the Ark!

No end in sight for our fun, so it seemed.
And we beat every challenge those game makers dreamed.

But alas, we grew distant as days faded to years,
And I weep when I think how you faced your worst fears.
And alone you did face them, for I gave you no splainin’.
Though I'm sure you deduced I really wasn't abstainin’.
And you probably felt hollow, a return sans deposit,
When I buried you gradually under crap in my closet.

So I'm here doing penance for misdeeds of my youth,
‘Cause I owe you, I think, some case-closing truth.
Neither easy to swallow nor to stomach this be,
But ages of sages claim truth sets you free.
I beg in advance for your grace and goodwill.
Truth is my dear 'tari two-six-double-nil:

I left you for another, and for that I’m so sorry-o,
But my heart was aflutter for that dude Super Mario.


Sarah Laurenson said...


Look out Pete, BT's after your title.

This is priceless!

JaneyV said...


pjd said...

Well, hell. I was going to try to enter Precie's contest, but what's the point now?

Even rites of my passage, like my very first makeout,
Failed to compare to our long nights of Breakout.


And you probably felt hollow, a return sans deposit,
When I buried you gradually under crap in my closet.

Stunning truths.

I coveted my friends' 2600. Until, that is, I got my very own Apple ][+ and found some cooler games (a few years later) like Defender and some Dungeons & Dragons thing I can't quite remember.

So I get your poem. I get it, man.

fairyhedgehog said...

I don't think I've ever seen a more moving tribute to lost love.

No, that's not tear in my eye, just a bit of dust. Maybe it's because I'm remembering our first ZX Spectrum and the games that took five minutes to load and thirty seconds to play.

Anonymous said...

I'm with pjd. Why bother???? :)

Whirlochre said...

Poems often make me cry. This one made me shower the cat.

Ello said...

My heart breaks for Atari! Dude that was too funny!

OK - I assume you have MArio Super Galaxy you Mario groupie you!

Anonymous said...

So...I'm tagging you.

But I said something very nice about your love poem in that meme....

Robin S. said...

Oh, hell.

I didn't read through BT's poem last night afer I saw the 'first love' bit. I thought - "oh, Mrs. BT is such a cool wife and Mom, how could our sweet and raucous BT do it, how could he, how could he talk about his first love, when any fool knows it should've been Mrs. BT, goddammmit!!!

And then, today, I venured down as as far as Atari. Ha!

Troll - you are a hoot, son.

Kiersten said...

So funny. I need to visit more often...

And I'll reopen my story, just for you.

Precie said...

Has Paca seen this? Given 80s other pop culture references he's made, he's GOT to see this. LOL!

ChrisEldin said...

Robin called BT 'son.' HAhAHAHAHA!

BT, this is brilliant!! I love how people are coming here and saying they 'get it.' You struck a chord.
Very funny poem!!!

Do you still own an Atari?

Precie said...

Hey, BT--

1) Brilliant! As a former Pitfall addict myself, I totally relate.

2) The hat from which I select contest winners has spoken. You win! Please e-mail me your choice of one of the following: Stephen King's ON WRITING, Richard Matheson's I AM LEGEND, or Sara Gruen's WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.