15 Seconds of Fame

“Dangerous TikTok
‘Skull-breaker challenge,’
Causes child head injuries.” 
 
Seniors trick 14yr old. 
Ask her to jump for their video,
Kick her legs out.
She cracks her skull into
The bathroom tile.
 
Singapore police
Wearing all black,
Full face covering 
Riot gear mask. 
Musically counts down,
Head and hands lilting,
4, 3, 2, 1. 
Officers record their own
TikTok video
Kick down classroom door. 
 
Tackle and drag 
The screaming seniors
To the tune of 
Cutesy pop. 
 
Another 15 seconds 
Of fame. 

*This story is derived from this ABC news article that I saw referenced on Reddit:

The article is not set in Singapore, and admittedly I do not know how popular TikTok is there. I also don’t know a lot about TikTok culture.

In the startling world of police responding to emerging threats towards young people in unpredictably creative ways I don’t think this is too far out of the question. Imagine a small town police chief, or just someone with a lot of free rein thinking about fighting fire with fire. Saying screw trying to put together educational videos these kids will never see, let’s get right to the source. Let’s tag the kids we’re arresting. Let their followers know directly what happens when you do this to your peers.

Again, horrible. Taking a TikTok of an arrest would not be a good idea. But it just feels like it’s going to happen.

Just a Joke, for Me

A vanity CAT scan. 
 
He asks his doctor friend
To apply the enormous
Power
Of her medical degree
To turn the scan
Into a 3D model. 
 
Contracts the model
Out to a 
High end
Print shop.
 
High quality materials.
A slick
Milky white yellow
Finish.
 
Like Hamlet
Could never even dream of
He holds his own skull
In his hand
And asks 
Who the fuck he is.
 
And listens to sad
Shitty
Alt rock music
And leans backwards
In his chair
Into the sickening
Waves 
Of a lost mind. 
 
The skull sits on his
Expensive, 
Dark,
Sharp featured,
Wood desk. 
 
Day to day
More or less
In his right mind
He grazes his fingers 
Over it.
 
Stares into those
Eye sockets.
 
Runs his thumb 
Over the teeth.
 
And presses the
Base of his palm
Firmly, 
Desperately,
Onto the crown. 

*The title, “Just a Joke, for Me,” refers to the occupation of the person who the skull Hamlet holds belonged to, Yorick, the jester.

I think this piece is interesting, and stressful, because can you imagine holding your own skull? To take something so vital to who we are, out of us, without taking it out. To know that you are holding something you are intimately depending on to remain where it is. To look into your own eye sockets without your eyes being in there. To run your hands over the crown like you would run them through you hair. Distressing.

It seems to me like the technology for this is already 100% here. It would probably be a lavish expenditure to have a scan done of your skull for fun so you could have it printed. That said, I know some friends from college who took part in studies that included a scan like this. I wonder if they could have gotten it rendered and printed for free at the ubiquitous university library free 3D printing room.

Tropical Stardew Valley

Mods,
Mods,
And more mods, 
Stardew set in India.
 
Change the looks of the townspeople. 
Change the dialogue, 
New quests, new interactions,
Navigate family member errands,
And appease neighbors you don’t like.
Change how the buildings look.
Change how the trees look.
Change how the artisan tools look. 
Change the crops,
Taro, papaya, rice, bananas, sunflowers,
Chickpeas, buffalo milk, okra, soybeans,
Cow milk, eggs, peppercorns, and pandan. 
Change the recipes 
Change the SEASONS, 
Long dry, rainy, and monsoon. 
There’s a 24hr clock. 
Bees buzz around your crops. 
Butterflies, dragonflies, and mosquitoes
Dart through the air as you walk. 
The trees shake in the heavy, 
Relentless,
Monsoon rains. 
 
The stable is a garage, 
First for your bicycle,
Then your motorcycle. 
 
You can kill your animals for meat, 
And learn that vegetarianism isn’t 
A choice people make lightly. 
 
There’s your thirst and hunger to fend off. 
 
The sale prices for most things 
Are scaled down like it’s multiplayer, 
But it’s just you. 
And it’s harder. 
 
You take the bus to the city, 
Too far to bike, but it’s the only place 
That sells the right commercial seeds: 
Soybeans, corn, wheat, sunflowers. 
Can’t put them in your seed maker,
The game has rules, 
Because big companies have expectations, 
That turned into real life laws, 
And video games get enough flak for 
Getting kids to commit crimes. 
 
The bundles, 
The junimos, 
The community center,
They’re all there. 
 
There’s a shipping container in the town center
With for-export bundles: 
Wheat, sunflowers, soybeans, rice, bananas, peppercorns, 
You can sell them for actual
Money making, 
Think about getting rich, 
Prices. 
 
But you’ve got to bring 
Enough quantity to make it middleman viable, 
Minimum 100. 
 
And you’ve got to meet 
International import/export standards, 
Minimum 100 gold star crop units. 
 
You get paid when it goes to market,
On the last day of the season, 
Only if you brought all 100, 
And all 100 were good enough. 
 
I hope the real money cash crops 
Didn’t distract you, 
From tending to your cattle, 
Your chickens,
Building a silo, 
Watering your chickpeas,
Your taro, 
Gibing presents, 
Remembering birthdays, 
Enjoying the festivals, 
Navigating relationship cut scenes, 
Falling in love, 
Fishing,
Exploring the mines,
Fighting the slimes, 
Reading books, 
Watching tv, 
And filling the museum. 
 
If you kept you head on straight, 
Make sure you make the most
Of your time with the elderly couple
And the blacksmith, 
There’s a 33% change one of them will die
In any given year.
 
Any advice, recipes, letters, 
There were holding on to, goes with them. 
 
Look at the scenery, 
Plant the things that make you happy, 
Say hi to your chickens,
Give nice things to your friends, 
Explore the land, 
Work hard, 
Get rich, 
Feel fulfilled, 
Get married,
Have a kid, 
Enjoy the moment, 
Meet your deadlines, 
Have a snack,
Practice a little altruism,
And get everything you can out of life.
It’s a little harder, 
But it’s there. 

*This is a poem about ConcernedApe’s popular farming video game, Stardew Valley. The original game is set in an ambiguous high latitude rural town. It could just as easily be rural Washington, Scotland, the French countryside, Argentina, Chile, or Japan.

I think it would be interesting to put together a comprehensive mod of Stardew Valley to give a different perspective to players of the original game. Navigate some of the difficulties someone might encounter in a rural community in the tropics, like India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Samoa, or the Philippines. Come around to really caring about the people there and asking yourself if it is really so different. Ask yourself how much you care that something is fair trade after trying to finish those export bundles.

Despite a robust modding community, I didn’t find any mods that changed the seasons. Almost all of the other mods mentioned do exist.

The Strobe Light Supermarket

I rented out a 
Supermarket from a
Very confused 
Manager who
Took a painful
Month to email back. 
 
I rented 2 Smart Car
Industrial sized fans. 
 
Begged and paid 
Some theatre arts 
Students to rig the
Walls up like
A disco bowling alley.
 
Spice it up with 
More deep reds and
Upsetting, 
Angry flashing white 
Strobe lights. 
 
Alone at midnight
I open the doors
Of a grocery store
Epileptically seizing 
Through nightmare
Time and space.
 
And lazily lean on 
My shopping cart.
 
Wander the 
Aisles at peace 
In the gentle 
Wind and colors 
That make so much 
Sense. 
 
Enjoy holding the 
Glossy cereal boxes
Sparkling,
Glazed in the gentle
Red light. 
 
Checkout with a 
Blindfolded cashier,
 
And pick at a 
Bag of chips
Open 
For the car ride home. 

*This poem is about my deep love of/obsession with supermarkets, gentle breezes, flashing lights, and creepy red emergency lighting. I wrote it because it sounds like the ultimate meditative experience for me. To stumble around a supermarket, shopping, with the flashing lights and emergency lighting. Seeing all the brands and fun colors I like, distorted a little, glistening like streets after a rain.

If anyone is ever looking for an involved Christmas gift for me I would take this over even the most expensive spa treatment.

Meet the Author, Sort of

Who am I? 

While this blog is in its infancy I am not going to stick my name on it. I’m just trying to get a few pieces out there and see how it goes right now. 

What’s Going on With These Poems?

I like to think of them as near future science fiction horror poetry. Some of them are fun ideas I had. Some of them are reactions to news stories, or things from real life. Some of them are dreams that bothered me enough I had to write them out.