#80: Shaping the Pixels (Another Minecraft Poem)


There seems to be an inexhaustible amount
of stuff that can be known about this game.
Dad writes a poem to articulate his emerging
understanding of his eight year old son’s
favorite past time, and realizes in short order
that he’s only scratched the surface, that he’s
only scratched the surface of the surface,
that he has discovered about Minecraft
the upper topmost tip of an iceberg
that’s not melting, or, the equivalent of his
meager lifespan compared
to all geological time.

And the boy wants to teach his father
everything.  What do you want to know
about minecraft? he says.  And Dad will ask questions.
What’s the most important thing to know?
Or, what do you like most about the game?
And he says, I like to mine and I like to craft.
And he’ll want to build things there, just for Dad.
Dad, make a list of things you want me to build!
And sometimes the conversations get weird.
There’s food in minecraft, he says, and without minecraft
foods you wouldn’t be able to survive in minecraft.
You have a hunger bar.  And if the hunger bar
goes all the way out, you start losing health
and you might die.  How do you find food? Dad asks.
You kill animals or find them in dungeons.
I found an apple pie once in a dungeon.
Can you choose to be a vegetarian?
There are no vegetables in minecraft, he says,
only carrots and potatoes.  Is a potato a vegetable?
No, a potato is a potato and an apple is a fruit.
How do you tell the difference between a fruit
and a vegetable?  By looking, of course.
Okay, but just by looking, how do you tell them apart,
how do you tell a fruit from a vegetable?
Because in real life, he says, I shape the pixels
into what it is, and that’s that.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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