Thursday’s Rune

Discordant Disguise: Tiger is Gone

I was searching for past experiences,
memories of an impossible back then,
when I wore younger men’s clothes,
and I carried a smoking coolness
now long hidden
behind my taste for tranquility. Memories, vague feelings
not fully forgotten I want resurrected.

It was for writing project research
that I strolled into a huge game arcade
in northwest Austin.
A pay-to-play place, a land of profound noises,
a nightmarish field of dreams without payoff.
I saw few protective parents and a grand or two
with kids (school?), fewer still couples
who seemed pointlessly confused,
and me, one lone but alert and somewhat spry,
out of place, no longer young man
who had stumbled onto hearing aid hell.

I switched them off to mask needlessly
amplified din down to merely survivable decibels
as excruciating blares from hundreds of electronic games
simultaneously competed for my attention
with blasts, bangs, zips, loud inhuman screams,
and other onomatopoeic, nonsense of
computer generated junk sounds funneled
into my resistant ear canals.

Flashing lights
from each mad machine making them all the same;
flat pops, grunts, and groans,
melding into one pot of brain numbing total sensory
overload, paled by screams too fake to be scary,
making unappealing demands of humans
to pay for the privilege of interacting
with computer generated absurdities
charging each equally, about a dollar a minute.

I won some games on a vintage Williams
electromechanical pinball machine,
then promptly lost them while discovering
how much faster the silver balls fly around,
how slowly my flippers and tiltless taps responded
to my now vastly reduced reaction times on
the bumper-filled clacker playfield,
sixty years since I last pressed play.

Are we having fun yet? No one asked.
The eyes of others looked unsatisfied
and bored except for the few youths
unaware of being had by the unreal stimuli.
If a man with a gun over there was firing,
no one would notice except the victim.
I did not find the kid I was looking for.


Look longer for lost ubiquitous games played by great-grands.
Find the genesis of brain numbing entertainment.
Look both ways for bar zombies that refuse to die.
Mind the gaps if you dare delve into a past that will never exist again, except in the souls of the old players.

10 thoughts on “Thursday’s Rune

  1. Oh, I was with you all the way. But do not have the benefit of wearing hearing aids I could turn down to stifle the din. I pass by these arcade places and wonder how the hell one can spend so much mindless time within. Of course, I was never really a fan.
    And trying to capture our youth in such a manner… kudos to you for actually making a valiant effort!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dale. Hearing aids make it all worse because they amplify everything.
      I plan to go back (next week?). I was to meet middle son there, but he got snagged by his employer.
      I am working on a project — one of those ‘maybe some day’ I will finish this things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It makes it worse because you hear everything but you can turn them off, too!
        I love that you are meeting your son there. Hope next times it actually happens.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. They (aids) do work great when there is not much ambient noise around. Next time there I will leave them in the car.

        Yes, Steven, #2 son, my gamer, (former house music) DJ, certified answer finder, and trail biker to the gods. 🙂 He lives close (30 minutes) to the place and suggested it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I can’t say I blame you!

        Sweet! My youngest is a gamer – even works at finding glitches et al in games. Mind you, both of them are obsessed right now with some stupid game that came out today – both of them “sick” and not going to work tomorrow. Pffft. Now I’m feeling like being “sick” tomorrow too! Sigh…
        Managed one stanza of my poem. Will continue tomorrow. Brain is mush.

        Liked by 1 person

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