40 – Hamlet

I know this sounds like more anti-capitalist ranting, but this time you are wrong, my dear children! The pigs are real, and they despise me for being a vagrant in their city. I’ve been playing Don’t Starve Hamlet all day and I’m feeling particularly ill-served by the local porcine authority. Stand there and watch me starve to death because I don’t have any of your ridiculous pig-gold, will you? I’m fairly sure I could have this pig tried at the Hague.

Wendy bout to introduce this ham-stuffed shirt to her machete,
and maybe her dead sister.

In the hamlet, pigs lurk all around me.
They’ve watched me this way since the day I came;
not one of them has ever asked my name.
They just called me “unpig” when they found me.

They sneer at me struggling to survive.
I scrape their leavings from the cobbled streets
and sell them back to every pig I meet.
Each morning they’re surprised I’m alive.

I cower before pigs with mighty blades
Fawning, I beg the well-dressed swine for gold,
huddle in their doorways out of the cold,
watch the guard-hogs barely contain their rage
that a tiny unpig should be so bold
as to demand a meal or working wage.

Check out the rest of the 100 Sonnets

32 – Stabilized Glitch

At my wife’s behest, another one about No Man’s Sky. It’s all we’ve been playing lately. We’ve found a lot of [REDACTED] planets that have been mostly creepy as hell, and a lot of Breached and Anomalous planets that have been mostly beautiful. The creatures on such planets are usually… geometrical, or architectural, rather than animal in structure. Floating spires, a general collection of excited stones, a huge crystalline orb sweating quietly in the moonlight. I’m enjoying making very abstract friends.

Vaulting ‘cross the hills in search of glitches,
surrounded on all sides by floating stones
Ahead, a motivated mountain roams,
flanks all seamed with ore like shiny stitches.

The mountain’s children play in its shadow
jasper-yellow crystals that resonate
bob in the air and agitate
the ions swimming free around my halo.

One rests its central spire ‘pon my back.
I feel a blunted point against my spine.
Then all around me, mountains start to cry,
electric tears to rise from minute cracks
and as I chase their sorrow to the sky
they weep a river that runs back in time.

Check out the rest of the 100 Sonnets

30 – House of Waves

A cool planet I found. This is not the ocean planet.
I’m not going back there to get a screenshot; I don’t love you that much.

I was playing No Man’s Sky this morning, and I came upon the first ocean planet I’ve seen. I don’t think that was a thing before this recent update, but… I’mma be honest, guys, I’m not okay with it. It turns out that my thalassophobia is very real. I landed in my ship on one little island in a whole world of ocean, and for a whole minute I sat there, too terrified to get out. And it’s not like there’s a damn thing in No Man’s Sky’s oceans I haven’t met and mined for its precious minerals, so this is not a practical fear. I can’t tell you what I thought would happen. I felt somehow as if the entire world were a mouth, at the edge of which I was flickering like an infinitely tiny fly about to be swallowed. Just… just fuck every part of that. Went back to space. There’s nothing down there I need.

I have a lot of nightmares about the ocean. It’s not about drowning; most of the time in my dreams I can breathe underwater. That doesn’t help. There’s something about a bounded void, a fundamentally unknowable and yet concrete space. I think there are some similarities in this to the fears that House of Leaves plays upon. If you haven’t read that, go read it; come back and blame me for your lost sleep later. Anyway, this poem is about… all of that.

Once, in your arms, I learned a sinking waltz.
Full fathom five my father lies, they say.
He can’t see the sun, even at midday.
Instead, he constructs endless… empty… vaults.

I confess it’s that emptiness I fear.
All empty spaces, by their nature, ache –
what if that darkness should come wide awake
thoughtlessly yawn, swallow a thousand years?

I fear the emptiness of space much less
than a void with limits, a house with halls,
an ocean with an unseen floor below.
What will I find when my feet come to rest?
What if, down there, it’s just more floors and walls?
Would you bring a light?
Would you want to know?

Check out the rest of the 100 Sonnets

18 – Gelatinous Love

My wife told me to write about our gelatinous cube, Enzo, so this is her fault.

This is Enzo.

Oh! What a joy it is to devour!
You meet a fine young humanoid at work –
You: Gelatinous cube
Him: Bandit jerk –
and think, “I could digest you for hours.

Inside’s where I keep all my favorite things.
There’s certainly some ancient artifacts,
a magic tome, the Happy Headsman’s Axe,
fourteen ring fingers, nineteen wedding rings…

In there you’ll have a different point of view.
You’ll finally get to meet my secret heart.
You’ll see that it’s your skin keeps us apart.
You’ll weep with joy as I’m dissolving you.
Never tasted such beauty in your art
as in this union: one, where once were two.

Check out the rest of the 100 Sonnets

10 – In Memoriam Moron

Been playing Oxygen Not Included all day, so today’s offering is a rage-filled eulogy for my Duplicants. Your little asteroid-mining dudes are so breathtakingly stupid that they can and will:

  • Build themselves into the wall like a very proactive Poe protagonist
  • Get so stressed out by their need to pee that they stop fixing the toilet to fill the room with urine, then complain that their shoes are wet
  • Happily abandon friends and loved ones in pits, behind locked doors, in freezing or boiling water
  • Willingly enter a gas-filled chamber, destroy the exit from the inside, and suffocate to death with a bewildered expression on their face

And so much more. It’s actually good that they’re so infuriatingly dumb; if they were any better at staying alive, I might feel the slightest bit sad when they die.

Trapped beneath the floor, Gossman jumps and flails.
The water’s rising ‘neath his sneakered feet.
Finishing his work, he takes a beat
to be proud of his well-constructed jail.

Above the floor, his friends would help him bail,
but first they’ve got to cook up some lunch meat
and just make sure their bedrooms are neat.
Gossman lets out another bubbling wail.

The light flickers, but then – he sees his wife!
Mi-Ma will save him!
Mi-Ma is sweet and wise!
Trouble is, in a crisis… Mi-Ma cries.
As sure as if she stabbed him with a knife,
she drowns her gurgling husband with her eyes,
just so upset that she can’t save his life!

Check out the rest of the 100 Sonnets