Fujichia

Poems In Battle Mode

2021/07/27
EXCUSES / LITTLE GIGS / CAR GAME / HOW TO PLAY THESE POEMS / PUZZLE VS GAME / GAME ON / POEMS IN BATTLE MODE / :)
image

I know I said I was going to do a booksale today but I woke up Monday with an uncharacteristic headache and then the day's worth of work I thought I'd need to finish listing everything (work that had already taken up much of last week) started looking more like a day and a half, or maybe even three days. Well I decided to treat my self with benevolence and put the sale off. It's my castle, my decision. Instead, here's some poems.


I wrote these as part of a gig I was doing for a small phone app company. I do little gigs like this now and then-- writing questions for Trivial Pursuit or punching up a screenplay. It's usually pretty fun. In this case I had fun, I wound up with these nice little poems and I got paid. I think very few people can say all three of those things about anything. So I'll take that as a blessing.

The game was a phone app version of a game I know as a car game. The idea is that you'd be given two things, and you'd have to choose, this or that. Like: Microwave Pizza or Microwave Popcorn? And then your choice (let's say Microwave Pizza) would get matched to another prompt: Microwave Pizza or Putting A Marshmallow In The Microwave? and so on. My poems are just a sequence of these prompts. You decide between the first two lines, then pit the winner of that battle against the third line, the winner of that battle against the fourth line, and so on until the end of the poem. I'll do an example:

One poem is like this:

Microwave Popcorn
Microwave Pizza
Putting A Marshmallow In The Microwave
Huge Comet Headed Towards Earth
A Diamond Tiara
Iced Coffee

But I'd play it like this:

OK Microwave Popcorn or Microwave Pizza?? I'll take pizza. Making popcorn on the stove is easy. Microwave Pizza or Putting A Marshmallow In The Microwave? Ahhh I'd go marshmallow. That's something special. Putting A Marshmallow In The Microwave or Huge Comet Headed Towards Earth... Comet, sorry. Huge Comet Headed Towards Earth or A Diamond Tiara??? I guess... comet still? Huge Comet Headed Towards Earth or Iced Coffee????????? OK... I'd go iced coffee.

You might play this out in a completely different way, and that's valid.

Some people play with more specific requirements than just "choose one"-- they insist that you should make your selection on the premise that selecting one thing would cause the other to be removed from existence. A vote for microwave pizza is a vote to destroy for all time the concept of microwave popcorn, to annihilate it in an instant, even from your memory-- to never have, think about, or refer to microwave popcorn ever again. I appreciate that in this game each decision should be made with upmost sincerity, and there should be a feeling of ramifications, but as a casual car game, something to argue about, I always played it as just "this thing or this other thing", with a heavy mindset but without loss. In fact I didn't even play like "this one is better than this one"-- maybe this doesn't make sense but my way was just like "this one". You may try whichever method of selection you like.

As a poetic form, it's pretty fun-- the verbless staccato format has something of the haiku, and like all poems there's an external or community form which is fairly static and an internal or personal form that is eternally shifting. It also sidesteps the big poetry problem, which as I see it is that so many poems have something of a puzzle in them, but they don't readily communicate that the puzzle is worth solving, or that the struggle will be in any way beneficial to the reader. I mean this is my baggage, something I'm bringing to the field of poetry. But for me (and maybe for you) it's nice to be able to remap a poem from "it's a puzzle" to "it's a game". Then instead of "I'm not sure if I really figured out this puzzle" it's like "I had fun playing this game". Maybe that's the big takeaway from this post.

OK is it clear how this works? It's a poem and every line battles the line under it, and at the end of the poem you're left with just one line, that's the winner. Try not to read ahead without making a decision. The poem is both the words as written and the decisions you make in the poemspace. You can play in a solitare fashion or in argument mode with a friend. If the poetry mode is too precious for you just think of it as a car game. If you're "good at reading poetry" (?) then forgo the game aspect I guess. OK there's 12 of them, here goes:

1.
Heavy Metal (music genre)
Acid (music genre)
Heavy Pieces of Actual Metal
Acid (corrosive liquid)
Acid-free Sketchbook
Acid (drug)

2.
Alligator Shoes
Snakeskin Boots
Snakeskin Snakes
A Person Named "Snake"
A Person Named "Bunny"
Bunny Slippers

3.
Microwave Popcorn
Microwave Pizza
Putting A Marshmallow In The Microwave
Huge Comet Headed Towards Earth
A Diamond Tiara
Iced Coffee

4.
Sour Gummies
Sour Cream
ZZ Top
LL Cool J
Dee Dee Ramone
Eggs

5.
Lemon
Melon
Cannon
Demon
Canyon
Nylon

6.
Teenage
Mutant
Ninja
Turtle
Secrets
Ooze

7.
Great Time At A Shitty Bar
Regular Time At A Decent Bar
Bizarre Experience At An Expensive Bar
Bar With Backyard Seating
Drinking In The Regular Outside
Nice Bowl Of Cold Cereal

8.
Looking Good And Feeling Good
Looking Great But Feeling Bad
Looking Bad But Feeling Good
Looking Absolutely Twisted But Feeling Incredible
Looking Hot But Bored As Shit
New Haircut

9.
Rhinocerous
Coca Cola
Tree Sloth
Miller Lite
Moss
iPhone
Blue Whale
The White House

10.
Clam Chowder
Peanut Butter
Dog Clothes
Sharks
The Tundra
Government
Underwear
Consciousness

11.
Sweatpants
Ironing
Tape
Turtles
Berries
Books
Hair
Counting

12.
Cowboy Hat
Cowboy Boots
Jeans Jacket
Baseball Hat
Fresh Basil
Black Clothing
Piano
Salt


If any poetry teachers want to try this battle mode in class, please let me know how it goes! And if you want me to punch up your screenplay just send me an email. :)

image


If you got here through a link, click here to go outside and come back in: [outside]

Archives of previous posts is here, in the coat room: [coatroom]

To sign up to get these posts in your email for free, click here: [substack]

To write me a nice message, use the contacts page: [link]

To leave a little donation to help in the maintance of this castle, OR to simply hear the sound of a large bell, which is good luck, visit the temple area: [link]

As always, if you're bugging out or need a respite from endlessly scrolling the feed, you are welcome to hang out in the castle as long as you want. :)

other posts you may enjoy (chosen at random) :
Smells
SENSORS OPERATIONAL / SOCK HUFFING / GRASS DEFENSE / DANK JAR WITH OLD FIRE / WORF SOUP / HEALING WITH WHOLE FOODS / RESOLVING GRIEF AND SADNESS / SOCK HUFFING REVISITED / ME AND MINE / LINKS
Small Flowers / Blinking Lights
RAMBLE
THE WOODS / SMALL FLOWERS / ISAO / APPRECIATING THE ATTITUDE / FIREFLY BID / GROUNDSKEEPER TODOS / A LOT OF STUFF DOWN THERE / BLINKING LIGHTS / RAVE JOB / SPELLING / COOL GIG ALERT / PARFAIT TABLE / LINKS
World Snake Day
HOLIDAY
TIME TO CELEBRATE / REGARDEZ MOI / THINK OF SNAKES / JOYCE CAMEO / YOU'RE WRONG / INTERCEPT A SQUIRREL / NEIGHBORHOOD SNAKE / BARRELHOUSE COUTURE / WHEN YOU'RE ON DRUGS / LINKS