Tag Archives: War Games

Childish Games: NaPoWriMo 2017, Apr 20


Childish Games

The dominoes go head to toe.
They must line up precisely so.
Why that’s so, we do not know.
It was determined long ago.

Rules of the game were made to last
ages ago, long in the past.
They tell us when to break our line,
when turning sideways is just fine.

Who can play, in perfect order.
How to avoid the table’s border.
When to ride each other’s train,
then when it is forbidden again.

Necessary rules to follow
lest our world turn blank and hollow?
Senseless rules to senseless games,
we line up tokens on boards and frames.

Sometimes the stakes are higher when
the rules, determined by famous men,
turn life and death, each token one
less calculated to end in fun.

All game pieces hidden away,
there to use some other day
when some fool says it’s okay.
Secrecy the rules of play.

Suddenly, the play’s no fun.
We want the gaming to be done.
Put away the games and toys.
It’s time for you to grow up, boys.

The prompt in NaPoWriMo today is to write a poem that incorporates the vocabulary and imagery of a specific sport or game. Mine was based on the domino game called “Chickenfoot” or “Mexican Train.”  Ironically, in Mexico it is called “Tren Cubano” or “Cuban Train.”  Guess everyone likes to pass the buck.

Blind Misfortune

DSC08409Mixed Media collage “Macho” by Judy Dykstra-Brown, jdbphoto


Blind Misfortune

What you blindly get into
in youth can be the end of you.
Those days of passion, counting coup
are never risked when days are few.
The shorter our remaining years,
the greater seem to be our fears.
Thus, old men send the young to war,
forgetting what life’s really for.

They forget love’s throb and ache
and living just for living’s sake––
that need to feel adventure’s thrust––
the drive to do what’s fair and just.
Once passion ebbs, the quest for gold
drives these men turned crass and old.
They give libido other names
as they turn to other games.

Warheads coming now erect,
it seems a waste not to connect
them to their targets, so far away.
It’s only strangers who will pay.
All those enemies of mind,
with no thought of age or kind:
mothers and children meet their ends
and old men never make amends.

They send their own youth off to war
because this is what they’re for.
And young men taught by fantasy
on football field or on TV
are fodder for the greed of those
billionaires in evening clothes.
So the young men blindly go
for reasons that they barely know.

The WordPress prompt word today is blindly.

Summer Evenings Turn to Fall

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Summer Evenings Turn to Fall

Back when we drank summer through paper soda straws,
we played cowboys and Indians, hiding out in draws
that we imagined wilder. Our hearts beat with fear
of fictional opponents who might be drawing near.

We had no euphemisms for our enemies.
We only knew our fear of them, silent, on our knees.
Little did we know then, during childhood games,
imaginary enemies would assume other names.

No ditch big enough to hide, and no night dark enough.
No more cops and robbers. No more blind man’s bluff.
Strange that in those peaceful times the games we chose to play
were a mere foreshadowing of what is real today.

Back when summer filled our cheeks with melons and with berries,
why didn’t we fill balmy nights with princesses and fairies?
Back when life was summer smooth, we lusted after roughness,
as though we’d gain maturity through violence and toughness.

Feigning valor not yet gained, we knew not that tomorrow
we’d have the fears we’d feigned for real––the terror and the sorrow.
Childhood evenings filled with shouts and laughter interspersed
were in reflection adult games that we just rehearsed.

 

The picture is my sister Patti and her best friend Karen.  Note the saddle placed on the makeshift “horse.”  

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/summer/

Puzzled

                                                               Puzzled

How I spent my Xmas vacation!  The heat is on to finish before Xmas Eve as my sister needs the counter for dinner preparation!!!

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Almost done!

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Last piece!!! So you can stop holding your breath.  Merry Xmas!!!!

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THE END

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/exhale/

 

 

 

Unopened Rooms

The Prompt: Brain Power–Let’s assume we do, in fact, use only 10% of our brain. If you could unlock the remaining 90%, what would you do with it?

Unopened Rooms

My working thoughts live in a mansion, restrained to just ten rooms.
When the unused rooms grow cobwebs, they must sweep them out with brooms.
They cannot see their pleasures, for they enter with eyes shut.
Sealed chambers filled with many things, but we do not know what.
It is exhausting just maintaining all these extra spaces.
No wonder that I lose my keys and forget most new faces.

No telling when we’ll let our thoughts roam free in other rooms.
For all these years they’ve been sealed up like dark and unused tombs.
Perhaps we’ll find they’re portals to other times and places.
Perhaps they lead to other worlds in intergalactic spaces.
They might allow a journey into the minds of others.
Would extrasensory perception make us enemies or brothers?

I’m sure the reason that we use small portions of our brain
is because if we knew of them, we’d use them all in vain.
We’d journey through the cosmos to plunder other spheres.
React to them like enemies, guided by our fears.
If there is any entity guiding how things go,
perhaps they recognize that earth’s evolving sort of slow.

Our energies put into things instead of who we are.
Instead of love? Investments. Instead of aid? A car.
If perhaps we aren’t allowed the full use of our brains,
it is because we have not learned to use them for our gains.
How we look’s important. How much it costs the point.
We’re ruining our planet by cluttering up the joint.

Our brains we use for warfare. Weapons we can’t control.
They wind up in a child’s hands or on a grassy knoll.
They’re used for entertainment on a computer screen
in games that build agression. We win by being mean.
Shows they call reality prefabricate each role.
The lowest denominator seems to be their goal.

True, other things are in our mind: poems, music, art,
dance and social functions, a few of them with heart.
So we stage elaborate galas to raise the money for
children who are hungry, adults chewed to the core.
And yet some of us still balk at giving medicine to the ill.
If they are not wealthy, they must chew the bitter pill.

No doctors and no dental care. No succor for the poor.
If they would work, they’d have health care. Complaints are such a bore!
These things we fill our minds with. There’s no need for more brain space.
In the ten percent of brain we use,new thoughts we cannot face.
This E.S.P. is hogwash, and U.F.O’s are fiction.
Even the thought of universal health care causes friction.

For every room within the mind that’s used, there are nine more
filled with mysteries we won’t know until we try the door.
Some enter and return to tell of wonders they have spied.
Yet unenquiring minds respond by saying they have lied.
We’ll never leave these sealed up rooms unless we learn to dream.
Let creative thoughts flow out in an uncensored stream.

To seep beneath closed doors into our mind’s more spacious realms.
Be adventurous voyagers standing at the helms
of ships of mind that sail the wilder seas of consciousness
regardless of the ones who try to censor and to hush.
Turn off the TV sets and games of war and violence.
Let Honey Boo Boo slip back into former innocence.

Lay Kim Kardashian to rest, pull out your skeleton key
that just might let you in to all the rest that you can be.

Railroaded and Blended: Thirstless in a Bloodthirsty World, Sober in a Laughless One

Railroaded and Blended: Thirstless in a Bloodthirsty World, Sober in a Laughless One

Every day, our children are mesmerized by computer games where they hunt down and kill. TV shows go from violent to horrific—all echoing a world made increasingly more warlike as the war games of children grown into the war games of politicians and financiers who seek political and financial gain by first vilifying and then “going after” their enemies.

It is not my dreams, but rather my waking world that’s tortured by the bloodthirst of our world. At night, in my bed before sleeping, I fear for my own breathing and have to go outside for the comfort of cool night moving air. That scene from “The Bridge” where a child is buried alive with water slowly filling his crypt—will not go away. I am stuffed to strangling with earth’s cruelty.

My dreams remain my own, so it is not sleep I fear, but rather that time before sleep when I release hold of my consciousness and let my mind drift into worlds I am half-conscious of. That’s when I give way to thoughts of my own death, jerking myself back from fears of what comes next.

I don’t share the world’s appetite for torture, violence, killing and revenge. I want to scream “Please! Stop!” and run in the opposite direction, for I can’t follow where the world’s mania leads us. And this is why, when a friend asked me to go to a movie with her and suggested “The Railway Man” with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, I pleaded for a chic flick instead. My uncle died in the death march on Bataan. I saw the “Bridge on the River Kwai,” “A Town Like Alice” and have read about how the real life and death of women prisoners of war was minimized by “Paradise Road.” I’ve read of the horrors of those Australian nurses marched into the sea and shot, the rapes, deprivation, starving and executions.

This is why I said, “No more!!!” when my friend asked me to see that particular movie, wherein former POW Colin Firth goes in search of one of his Japanese captors. This year I have read two books dealing with the tortures of the slave trade and two more about the Spanish inquisition. I simply cannot take any more tales of torture and man’s inhumanity to man, and so it was that I chose the movie “Blended” starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler and my friend agreed to attend this “light comedy” with me.

This is how we came to be sitting in a theater in Ajijic, Mexico, with approximately ten other viewers similarly misinformed as to the utter dross and simplistic humorlessness of this movie!!!!! (Suffice it to say that all tortures are not physical in this world.) This was the singularly worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I love Drew Barrymore and most of Adam Sandler, but the script and acting in this movie were horrible! Add to that the ridiculous slapstick of the sterotyped African Disneyland that passed as an African adventure. I would add “offended” to the other adjectives that describe my reaction to this movie: namely, “unamused, bored, sickened and amazed.” The children were obnoxious, the plot implausible, the African characters one-dimensional stereotyped farces. What was that African singing group that showed up at any given moment furnishing a (not-funny) Greek chorus effect during various mini-climaxes during the movie?  Not since the black-faced minstrel has such an offensive stereotype been presented.

I must admit that my friend loved the movie. She laughed throughout, and must have wondered why I sat unsmiling and laughless throughout the entire movie. There is a certain amount of insult in finding fault with a book or movie or TV show that someone else loves, and I felt like a Scrooge when I was asked how I liked the movie and had to admit I HATED IT! Fed up to the eyebrows with the violence and torture that seems to be increasingly necessary to hold our interest in both our media and games, it was I who had suggested we go to this movie instead, and perhaps I was forced to pay for my need to bury my head in the sand for a few hours.

Not wanting to be influenced by what I read, I have deliberately not gone to IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes to see whether the critics agree with my review of this horrible movie, but as I draw toward the end of my diatribe, I will now do so and be right back with some of their thoughts:

Rotten Tomatoes Review: “Lurching between slapstick and schmaltz without showing much of a commitment to either, Blended commits the rare Sandler sin of provoking little more than boredom.”

Washington Post, Stephanie Merry: Each sweet moment is inevitably punctuated by some in-your-face joke that’s at least as stupid as the preceding moments were heartfelt. Blended has other problems, too, including some faulty editing and a typically predictable finale.

Reel Views, James Berardinelli: “What’s missing from Blended? Two key ingredients: it doesn’t touch the heart and it doesn’t tickle the funny bone (at least not often enough). “

Entertainment Weekly, Jeff Labrecque: “In Blended, his (Sandler) comic flab has never felt as thick, and this hackneyed “family-friendly” entertainment feels less like a movie than a bad sit-com re-run.”

Portland Oregonian, Stephen Whitty: “He(Adam Sandler) plays it so low-key there’s nothing much for him to do, apart from the clueless-dad shtick and some awkward comedy.”

NY Times, A.O. Scott: “Most of Blended has the look and pacing of a three-camera sitcom filmed by a bunch of eighth graders and conceived by their less bright classmates. Shots don’t match. Jokes misfire. Gags that are visible from a mile away fail to deliver. “

Meta critic, B. Jackson: “I loved earlier comedies by this duo but this looks like they were here just for the paycheck. Also, based on the screenplay, the writers must have been working on a tight deadline for their high-school drama class.”

USA Today, Caludia Puig: “You have to work hard to make an African vacation seem unpleasant. And Adam Sandler nearly pulls it off in Blended.”

Not all critics hated this movie and some fans, including my friend, loved it. Having lived and traveled in Africa for years, I perhaps found the Africa scenes more insulting and deprecating than most. But this movie lost me long before it got to Africa!

The Prompt: When was the last time a movie, a book, or a television show left you cold despite all your friends (and/or all the critics) raving about it? What was it that made you go against the critical consensus?