X-Station-Box Generation

Rating: 5.0

A not-yet-out-of-nine year-old
Gleefully decapitating countless passers-by
In a frenzied orgy of Samurai sword slashing
Just to revel in how the dark lifeblood
Pumps, spatters and spurts
And to leer and laugh at the deadweight drop
Of headless torsos and torso-less heads
Decanting their precious Ichors
To slowly pool and congeal in the gutter.
Doing it all over again
For the craic
And a crowd called to witness
The murder and slaughter of innocent medics
Whose only ‘crime’ was to exist as
Avatars in exactly the wrong virtual place
At precisely the wrong digital time.
Loading up a double-barreled shotgun
(As if one wouldn’t be enough)
Bought with hard kill-count currency,
Prowling the ghetto
For easy meat and soft targets
To ‘blow away’,
‘Take out’
And otherwise ‘terminate’ with a degree of gratuitousness
Alien to both sanity and humanity
Just to steal a ride for a couple of blocks
Until the next ‘hit’ opportunity walks into harm’s way
To shrug off a fatal few seconds boredom,
Satisfying the all-too-itchy urge
To squeeze the trigger and watch ‘em fall
Like sitting ducks against a fairground wall.

Parachuted into a war-world
Where progression and promotion
Demands an even higher body-count
Borne of bomb and blade,
Gun and grenade
In scenes of such utter carnage
The real-life victor’s laurels can be nothing less
Than a lifetime’s subscription to Post-Traumatic Stress.

Sold disingenuously as ‘games’ of skill, craft and strategy
Such insidious software has infiltrated and invaded leisure time
And imprisoned and poisoned the minds of our most impressionable
Whilst we battle-weary parents are overwhelmed and in retreat
Before rampaging hordes of DVDs and downloads we can’t screen or quarantine.

How did we get from brick-in-the-wall, Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Tetris
To today’s high-definition,360-degree, death-driven, heavy-calibre insanity
Lurking under the camouflage of the family console or PC?

What’s next, now blood and gore and the race to sell it clearly knows no limits:
Celebrity concentration camp?
Columbine: one more time?
My little ethnic cleansing kit (kindergarten edition) ?
The innocent’s guide to genocide?

These grotesque dystopias are sick stimuli
To evoke even sicker Pavolvian responses
On the part of children barely able
To hold a conversation –
Much less a weapon.
And when not locked into these online nightmares,
Blacked-out and blinded against light literal and moral,
What is left for them to do
But to corral all other conversation
Inside the barbed-wired and guarded limits of these ‘games’,
Confined to discussing‘shortcuts’ and ‘cheats’
To get them ever deeper and quicker
Into internet enabled death-debt?

‘Games’?
Games these are not;
But rather 5th Column Programmes:
Calculating;
Mind-warping;
De-sensitising;
Anaesthetising
Weapons of mass de-construction and manipulation
Detonating daily upon screens before our children’s eyes...
And inside their minds with the megaton message:

THIS IS WHAT ADULTS DO

‘Programmes’ is the right word –
Not programming the what, so much as the who:

Who, then.........?

......Yours?

....................You?

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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Viola Grey 04 August 2008

I only use my playstation to play singstar...much more fun than murder...nicely said Tony.

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Kevin Wells 30 July 2008

Bravo! ! ! I have long wished to write something about these insidious 'games' and have not known where to start. I think you have said all there is to say about this evil - which in any other age would be condemned as brain-washing. Kids sitting in front of screens for hours on end, feeding into their minds the suggestion that it is okay to kill and not only that, but it is competitive and 'fun'. At one point, your verse asks 'what's next? '.... Well, we are already there, aren't we? When the novelty of the games wear off, they go out and do it for real. Just like in Roman times! If one could not satisfy the mob, the mob would satisfy themselves. To use your adopted language, Tony, this is a tour de force. I can feel the outrage, the impotent anger and the sadness. I think many people will read this and agree and say nothing! You have a knack of pulling people, screaming, from their comfort zones. Some people will miss the message - by design - because in the world we write about, roses are never red and Mary never had a little lamb. I have been waiting for you to post a new piece for a long time. It was worth the wait!

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