#52



remote channels

    after James Coco on The Muppet Show

 

  they call it          

                       a gateway. 

we call it

 a bass line.

         only my brother 

 

understands.                             

my brother & i

            communicate 

on levels. 

 

i first noticed 

levels’ standing

when he was born, 

but i was not abel

to level w/                     my only brother 

until much later after

the point of starting on different levels.

 

LEVEL I

 

the first race we ever competed 

against each other was to see

who could wake up first—

who could wake up first from dreaming  

to catch one of the earliest SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS. 

we both caught on that there was something
about tube’s rarest episodes that aired between dusk & dawn  

 which had unexplainable jimmy coca-coco no-no fire, 

& if we found out an obscurity the other one never did,

it was valuable to raise one’s level.  

i remember those early eps rich w/ deep, strange mythologies & theologies 

that seemed to go on somehow beyond comprehensible time 

& space 

& chores awaiting us, our vessels, to dive down

into doily quarrels over dust diffusion.

 

our family’s tv stingrays shot our paces up 

& made us

strive to be some super aqua bat spider bird dinosaur alien herculoid

on the highest level of his unique quest

in shazzan’s mysterious space ghost system simulation.

our virtual animation of starry us was a mirror.

occasionally 

we’d stop staring 

& gaze @ grids 

of unpronounceable 

nutritional factoids 

like cave animals’ 

wide pupils beholding 

vitamin mineral counts 

& maybe just as grandpa might have looked 

@ his land of lawn he’d level

for garden beds / after soaking

 up paper comics & radio programs

& we’d marvel at how it all added  

up to our current sugar-fix obsessions.

i wonder maybe 

if we had never gone to sleep

our cosmic cereal bowl helmets 

might have hit ULYSSES in the thirty-first century’s 

interstellar european time zone.

 

            our cyclops sun —  our black mirror —

the screen held such power over us

 

            levitating like ghosts

 

over our spoiled octopus garden carpet.

     

it’s a real wonder when we fought

there was never any murder 

by death between us 

when critical navigation choices 

had to be made b/w 

his annoying ghostbusters 

or my peewee muppet babies

& which of our idols would reign supreme 

on our family’s saturday-morning tv screen.

we were lucky enough

to have a sister & her vote

—the territory tiebreaker— 

before the huge paradigm shift 

of more than one 

tv in our never-ever-

falling shingled house.

 

LEVEL II

 

we had first played as brothers 

on our cousin’s NINTENDO.

we learnt what it meant to watch

the other get hurt or score

while waiting for one’s turn

to level up.        

 

                        perhaps in racing his own brothers

our indiana bond father

crushed surprise crusades out of us, 

giving the joint gift of an unknown system 
GENESIS for christmas.

            we became altered beasts 

with the push of a button 

but only one of us would be the first player.

vhs movie rentals turned to game rental verse

            on which versus game we wanted to try out

or who & where we wanted to go virtually.

our choice depended in the end on case markings

& if it was stamped w/ 2P under its shell’s dust jacket.

renting new games had to be two player

            cuz our mom said so.

otherwise someone was getting left behind 

moonwalking cool spot levels w/o the other.

two controllers were toejammed together into forgotten worlds 

            of earl & duke dragon doubles wielding golden axe guns

for contra fighting streets of rage 

            & all its fatal finishing mortal moves

performed for zombie neighbors.

 

i was always the girl.

i identified with women kicking,

but unlike the female penelope,

as a young gay boy,

i grew tired of the games.

there were very few 

i was any good at.  

i couldn’t pretend.  i was always 

unable to do certain maneuvers 

or falling off cliffs
unintentionally.   glitches.

 

my younger brother was better than me,

& so i found my place as his sidekick.

i’d end up dead behind him

            & i eventually got used to watching 

my brother play his fantasies

            over & over w/o finality

as the next great shift of zones

would happen any moment 

                        after animal drummer god 

            blew dust to life 

                        into cartridges for systems.

 

LEVEL III

 

one house / one landline / one internet /

my whole family gathered around our new power-driven fire 

& each of us went awol for AOL’s online service believing 

the computer screen foretold our future fictions.

a schedule to delegate usage was speedily made by our creators.  

the crystal ball had to have time limits

for each of our role-playing games, 

chatting up handles, acting as someone on

a different level of life’s labyrinth mazes.

 with allotted time, we’d investigate
connectivity investments ramming 

information into memory.

 

            & then

i remember that one nerve-wrecking day 

            (just like he always was able to do in video games)

he found out the secret—

                     my secret.

he appeared in the computer room 

during my time 

& he saw me slowly up-

loading jpeg pic 

of nude, snake-charming man   

& pain hissed inside to unbearability—

i pleaded to my brother

my case (to survive)—

 he did not see anything

                        he thought he saw—

it was actually an ad that popped-up 

by cruel circumstance—

i was on some straight site—      

(my pants were on fire)

 

            this was the first huge shift
away from the other one’s level

so far as my coded head saw

from inside the closet w/ the old ATARI.

 

things change so fast—

 

fads/systems/technologies/truths/

 

i’ve never been abel 

to keep up w/it all.

i’m jealous of my brother,

            & we can be so savage 

ignoring the other one’s level.

 

GAME OVER

 

o welder brethren, 

i can’t imagine being able

to reset this & start over 

w/ knowledge & currency.

if we saw what ledge came

next after those messages                        

we could do it all right,  

back as GAME GENIEs

to school all the others. 

 

i wonder what was all that fault

         space                       time  

                  growing b/w           us?
silence              
                                b/w          us         GAMEBOYs 

b/w              screen windows we couldn’t open
            together.  suppose it was the same 

space time silence w/in our U.S.?

our brothers of the unknown ancient man /

worn souls / jammed / small sponge brains /

saturated / machine / energy vibrations /

angles / wasted youth / away / land of mines /

 

could it mean we shared                      nothing? 

                                        flickering traces?                     

silent spirits—    all lives lost—     despite spite— 

            w/ space time online—

levels
            & worlds unseen

                                    w/ ghouls & ghosts— about us now— 

i’ll level with you, stranger, 

if my brother sends a gif to my 3G GALAXY—

it’s like a homing red turtle shell 

that spins my heart’s s-mart engine

out of any battery red zone.

 

(EASTER EGG)

 

film resurrection / consoles / it’s like mining for gold / b/w us / 1up / i win you / treasures / points / shockers / understood / mary’s yew twig intricacies / points / for our favorite / serials / streams / wax / reappearances / points / money comes & goes / motors / actors / pointing / flags / points / visuals / points / lines / did you watch? / comes from money / can’t believe we never saw that one / plug-in company / current / are you watching? / shows as currency / points for viewing / marks / videos / shows / cell blocks / brave computer mainframes / page / page / page / did you fall asleep? / make a point / shipment shape / laptops / vessels / capsules / cartridges / the vereen screen / no. fifteen / one house / one box / one tube  / YOUTUBE / level up / crash / SYSTEM OVERLOAD @$%&(*%#≠ \ 01010 \ request backup 

 

 

    *** first published in COUNTERCLOCK