god is an alligator white dunce cap common supernatural they are kind of fragile wicked mother i said i don’t know you reveal your in cantatory power vanishes soon of dawn alligator called maeve anything is yours big smile looking at leaves going around your big breath rattling every baby born after june 07 confused about cost and course are you wind wisened carried from child to child in red eyes we haven’t slept for weeks drink some of this we need to talk blockchain saprophyte you imagine not wanting to die at cost suddenly his girl friend her cadillac mania smoldering munitions return from orbit burn bump and birthright debased marlboro of denial indifferent save a dream david shields trashes my bike the hourlies and the salary men hide like armor ed doors between you and i and me confusing memory with money untold nights buzzing spent the gin flower in my heart explodes killing myself there’s nothing i want more than desire be alive 🍼 see my alligator grow up i was 14 or 15 didn’t know anything in lieu of replication error chomped a personality by liquor light 🥃 and it worked at immense cost 20 years pry open my skull 💀 exorcise the inadequate physical ruins of love 🫀 collapsed by mid-morning one suddenly recognizes at immense cost the crushing power of Their jaw 🐊
i don’t want to do your work do you want to do your work work is screaming at the dog a terrible person who can’t be bothered with other people the dog lays there right there her allergies her anxieties on the leafy greens and onionskin and cries not at me she’s a good girl at the baby nursing on her belly little heart beating so fast i don’t want to think of the hummingbird her fragility her natural work her glitter where’s my glitter there she is right there
Every once in a while white lines appear in my field of vision, curling sometimes at the top of it and I realize once again that there is an invisible rectangle around everything. How do I know it’s there? I just put it there, that’s how. And those white lines? Little hairs straggling from my eyebrows.
rich fucks poor schmucks grey donkeys pink goats loser communist cattle roaming cocks black pig
gnaws vestigial arm of long-dead stump pink pig dreams of shit in dry sun
all pant in red heat zoo as palace of great social inequity lonesome horse shreds grass
beside canada goose both children enamored in their wielding
large white girl swings twig black girl arcs storybook of freckles red polka dots
on tawny field of mask skipping mirrors through corridor of meat two indian condors fuck in nearby cage
and insignificant small brown deer neither getting their money’s worth older schmucks inarticulately elsewearing
zoo — $6 a head— equalizes even verbs animals people objects subjects as commercial rents plummet
dirt everyone fucked and fucking sun and moon penetrate sky kiss asphalt i go back where i came from
play volleyball with colombian neighbors i go home to america feel lonesome as stars
imagine america and hang cheap black tarp like flag with expensive steel clamps
over and over
union made folding in america where wind is ideal and idea and erase myself between parked cars
another picture made with shitty attitude fueled by quarter crackers
we feed one another from vicious passive hands
release fang fur leather feather plate-mail instinct river bloat low medicine white phosphorus art school upheaval
In a Photograph of Heaven
cold floorboards creak and broken feet labor, yr
tiny vertebrae at arms fingertips asleep on a giant’s shoulder, my
one hand raking its grave across her back taut guiltless guileless unwalking preverbal, yr
the object holds fear her out there like just her out there with the fulsome dogs of envy, my
wrapping themselves in wallpaper and music and great ambiguous hurdles that jump jump jump over trees canals and land on a better partner who tells himself the day’s failures remain, okay, yr
that when one sits down to analyze their respective scroll everything beneath our feet, vulgar back catalog, mines and thines
bedrock rot head-in-the-clouds metaphor head-in-the-sand metaphor she cleaves the fall harvest at winter’s end
The Race to Fire Island Lighthouse
hey, listen i want to explain it to you the difficulty of love curled up like a roach ‘s obvious hunger sense organs engaged and something like a heavy-lidded lighthouse lying grandiloquent on its side elbows sore forearms sore my exercise anymore to soften desperation melts that selfsame bedrock
do you understand the line through love and pest and lighthouse i’m snorting a lexapro with you in this zoo
beauty bubbles up like a distraction desperate not for good genes we’re all needled scaled or broadleafed nor unabashed of scholarship and easy love hidden in history
reader, when i’m gone tell her how quickly the tunnel nootka was built
how direct its line from here to there a plurality of good intentions some heartbreak ‘s unavoidable but not too much that she’ll come to understand as mere fact like a new crime the prosecutor says
dig a little in the dirt
the ear the chin the crown of the head missing uncombed not as wild as any newborn mind pull back a meter stop digging the prosecutor says gun badge law degree and no sense of aesthetic pride
reveals some pretty incriminating things the truth isn’t the best way to get a bad actor off a clean street
i am not a fan of creation neither nor perpetuated myth it is what it is it is until the skin burns the maps draw themselves and murderers prop up little books of poetry a little knuckle a little knee a choice to remove the lighthouse debris i abide the law with a straight spine from space presumably hemmed in by caught-shadow i remember her face as it dances across every unknowable constellation of beauty
As a new dad, I’ve found my priorities suddenly shifted away from gaming. I work long hours at an insane job. I take care of my now-17-week-old daughter. I try to be a good partner to my wife. If I’m lucky, I steal some time to eat, shower, and brush my teeth.
No one can smell me over Zoom, so what’s the difference?
Once in a while though — between burpings, diaper changes, and bath time — the dad gods bless me with thirty minutes of idle time. Do I do the reasonable thing and nap? No. I grab a controller and settle in with my old, now-frivolous-seeming first love: Gaming.
I’ve discovered a few things during these blissful little interludes. I should not be launching into a Destiny 2 raid with my infant hypothetically dreaming in the bassinet or drooling on my shoulder. Nor is it the time for a round of Overwatch. Feats of gaming such as these require focus, some level of team communication, and a not-insignificant time commitment.
Nor can I recommend diving into that 80-hour JRPG like Octopath Traveler. I tried playing it on Xbox Game Pass, but found it was a challenge. I couldn’t stay focused on the details of Therion’s quest. What’s a Dragonstone? My daughter’s doused me in spit-up. I need a wet washcloth, not a Dragonstone.
Ditto for any Souls-likes. My pathetic, frustrated yawps at the “You Died” screen, which might as well be burned into my TV, woke up my tentatively sleeping tot every time.
Octodad, ironically, presented a significant physical challenge for this infant-toting dad. The 2014 seafood sitcom simulator’s flicky, one-handed mouse controls were spastic. Thirty minutes with the game left my wrist cramped in agony.
That said, I’ll always be a gamer at heart. Here are my favorite 8 games that I’ve enjoyed since becoming a distracted dad gamer. Consider it a Father’s Day gift from one me to you.
Little one asleep on your shoulder? No problem! Griftlands’s card-based combat, set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, isn’t tied to twitchy reaction speed, but instead strategic and thoughtful choices. One-handed gameplay is simple and intuitive.
There’s no battle clock, so if you walk away to change a diaper your character won’t be dead when you return.
You can save anywhere, anytime outside of battle; something you’ll see in many of the games on this list. The whims and worries of modern parenting strike unexpectedly so this is a great feature.
Dad brain is real and you’ll forget your own name often. Griftlands helps fight this by implementing an encyclopedic lore reference system right into the game’s dialogue boxes. A simple feature I never knew I wanted, this helps me tell my Spark Barons from my Grout Bogs.
You and your non-verbal offspring can bond over the game’s art style, which has a vibrant Saturday morning cartoon with radiation scars vibe.
The twitchiest game on this list, Binding of Isaac was originally released in 2011 but received a major DLC in March. Repentance rebalances the game and adds new characters, levels, more than 130 items, and a treasure chest full of content.
It’s about a baby! As a parent, you’ll relate to items such as “Used Diaper,” “C Section,” and “Mom’s Bra.” Some of these items (“Meconium” comes to mind) I couldn’t fully appreciate until I was a father.
On Isaac’s most basic level, gameplay cycles occur from room to room and each room typically takes a minute or two to complete. You can save between rooms and come back later once parenting releases you from its milky grip or, if you’re lucky, play an entire floor or two while the baby sleeps.
You’re definitely a better parent than Isaac’s mom who, in the game’s precipitating events, attempts to murder our young protagonist with a knife and chases him into the basement.
This iterative update of the 2019 point-and-click RPG includes superb new voice acting and some additional features.
By far the best game I played in 2020, Disco Elysium is allegorical, fantasy storytelling at its finest. The player embodies the dark and vibrant world of a down-on-his-luck cop in Revachol, the “disgraced former capital of the world”. The game presents an imaginary foreign land that comments on our own with a rich, philosophical, and entertaining script, an unforgettable cast of characters, and masterful pacing.
This one requires a little more headspace from the player as the story, which demands your attention, involves a world of deceit and political and psychological manipulation. Disco Elysium — at its core — is about the choices we make that determine who we are over the course of one’s life. And, while the game certainly has nothing to do with parenting, its story is a deeply human tale about empathy, relationships, and change — themes that should resonate with new parents.
Raising a child is at turns surprising, dispiriting, unprecedented, and quotidian. As such, nothing prepares you for the journey like an education in the classics of absurdity (I’m thinking especially of Beckett, but also Sartre, Kafka, and filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos.) Cardboard Computer’s episodic point-and-click adventure Kentucky Route Zero reminded me of this time and time again. Pandering to neither genre conventions of the point-and-click video game nor any one literary archetype, KR0’s story deserves a place in the pantheon of itself.
This one vibed hard for me during those quiet, late nights where sleeplessness takes hold, anything is possible, and your hands are not your own.
One of the slower-paced games on this list, KR0 offers players the opportunity to meander around existential and absurd set-pieces while contemplating broad themes that include the imagination, family, storytelling, pleasure, work, folk themes, and childhood. Its precisely crafted cast of characters will stick with you for a long time.
An unlikely pleasure for me, it takes a special kind of person to enjoy EVE Online.
Players will discover multiple gameplay types within this free-to-play space MMO.
Inexplicably to family and friends, I prefer to spend my limited time in EVE mining raw materials from asteroid belts in high-security space (a reasonably safe endeavour) and then sell these resources on the game’s player commodities markets. It’s an oddly satisfying gameplay loop that, as a new parent, doesn’t overcommit me.
Corporations, EVE’s version of an MMO clan, allow the player to make fast friends in-game. I highly suggest the clan EVE University, which specializes in teaching newbros (EVE-speak for new players) the ropes of this nuanced game.
For parents, corporations are especially great; because the game is played worldwide, you’ll find friendlies online any time of day.
Diapers are expensive. EVE Online is free to play. Sweet.
6. Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) (2019)
Logging into pen-pal simulator Kind Words is like going for an easy stroll through a forest you’ve hiked thousands of times since childhood. It’s likely to bring warm, familiar calm to your soul and offer up a few pleasant surprises.
No time pressure and no lose state, Kind Words encourages you to take your time and offer kindness — in the form of anonymous letters — to strangers on the internet.
Popcannibal designed Kind Words’ music, interface, and soft, neon aesthetic to deliver maximum chill. It’s like playing one of those lo-fi hip hop YouTube videos.
Shoot your shot, dad! You’ve got a lot of kindness to offer the lost children of the internet.
In the time-traveling-mech strategy roguelite Into the Breach by Subset Games, failure is inevitable. This is a lesson that has become familiar to me as a new parent. The progression one makes and the lessons one learns through every screw up are key in both scenarios. Unlike Into the Breach, however, I’ve been unable to reset a terrible, no good day and unscrew my parental snafus. And that’s okay.
I hadn’t played this one until it landed on Stadia earlier this year. Google’s cloud gaming platform lends itself well to the impromptu gaming sessions dads often find themselves delivered unto.
A basic concept: Strategy games are great for dad-gaming because they provide the time and space to put down the controller and slowly consider the implications of each move.
8. Judgment (2019)
Play it on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, and Xbox Series X/S
I suspect it’s incredibly common for a new father to find themselves unexpectedly pinned under a sleeping baby on the couch. One minute you’re feeding her and half-watching TV, the next she’s snoring, mouth agape, in your lap. When you can’t stand up but want to play a game, Google’s Stadia, for all the bad press and typical Googlian fear of abandonment, has been invaluable to me during those times.
Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s 2019 detective noir beat-em-up Japanese arcade simulator has been at the top of my list since it released on the cloud platform earlier this year.
Judgment plays out like a narrative-heavy prestige TV drama with its action focused less on combat (though this is a Ryu Ga Gotoku beat-em-up and you will smash hundreds of Yakuza with bicycles) and more on your skills of observation, exploration, and deduction. And drone racing — have I mentioned you race drones through the skies of Tokyo?
In the best of times I imagine traveling with a baby is a challenge, it’s near impossible to consider it during a global pandemic. This game, with its gorgeous and precisely recreated city, quietly scratches my itch to return to Tokyo.
As with Into The Breach, playing this game on Stadia made booting, loading, saving, etcetera, a breeze. Plus you can take your game with you to any room in the house and play on TV, computer, tablet, or phone.
That’s all I’ve got, folks. There are like two or three hundred different video games out there, so please let me know in the comments if I missed your favorite title for gaming while parenting.
A hate passed across generations over borders an ex-vast desert
a black wall scars the landscape i do not know what i am in it
what it gives me destroys me i do not need it not today not tomorrow desirous alien interior
crown fortune its endless skull walk exposes the delirious face grabbing and shaking-down of who or what anymore and goes away from the island dune with a tavern of warm milk and upside-down memory of friends and if a place is too familiar it removes its visitors like certain meteors from near constant travel i stand at the immense black wall and scream in wind at the constructing god
here as in under my feet here sheathed in goat leather as in affronting here as in without fear of description discipline or performance
idiot rush at the gold farm gods open your terrorist wallet trap the house of esplanade and swallow god
black camel mahler stops death can be a poem he didn’t have to leave though i demanded it with my hands and bleak words i hoped anyone could understand the desert media or what remained drew up plans my intentions my privilege like a deep wind-up across sand and i wonder how he’d bred a modern aesthetic echo the private world of containing wishes: no black river neon bootleg nothing ashamed of … as a poet i dream about him buried deep in the sand in the lungs in the lugs
deep enough to have had enough of other people’s worlds woke up screaming bronica barbacoa bankrate like that would fix anything and here i am the white noise cresting the horizon she said looking back one final time
and beach dragged back hands intracoastal churning snatch from impossible tides certain hopeful loneliness imposed the bodies of others i thought i saw an iguana at the gates swung open manna bornfrom a factory i scratch the wall first with stones and dried plant matter and stones then fingers beguiling consistent
fingers bleed wall remains black black black
through travel we charge the scene a belanced knight tilting at god these innersee references insufficiently sophisticated inflicted upon us by lesser
the job of an arrow is to brand the world what puts the reader to sleep — that is you to sleep — passes for a story between hands the simultaneous wall do you understand do you have this inside you?
the sky above the city is the noun constantly reintegrating parameters these are the questions made obvious against a photograph but what about the outreach the compassion the drama of it all otto had the look of a killer big bald head dirty lederhosen someone nearby spinning out the color of green apples big black eyes quiet let his friend do all the talking not the type to confuse numbers for bugs (or vice versa) had many famous friends now none
c. 1400, “make impure by admixture,” from Medieval Latin sophisticatus, past participle of sophisticare (see sophistication). From c. 1600 as “corrupt, delude by sophistry;” from 1796 as “deprive of simplicity.” Related: Sophisticated; sophisticating. As a noun meaning “sophisticated person” from 1921.
Poem Can’t Defend Itself
they are gone out / they are beautiful / they are never enough
DESPITE a community rises up around me a community rises up around me a community rises up around me a community rises up around me a community rises up rises up rises up DESPITE i sink into community into community into community rises up around me around me around me a round me a rondo a nonce an ounce of community in my pocket a pound of trounce in my hand a ton of electronics on my back DESPITE a promise to tend to the garden to the garden to the garden tend to tendencies tenderly a garden a garden a garden worth guarding tenderly a community DESPITE rising up around a ton of electronics tenderly gardening my back DESPITE an ounce of rondo in my pocket
Ounce of Rondeau
you ask yourself: is the next minute enough? enough to pull you into them? to keep you there enough? is its plurality of negations enough to keep you reading forever? independent of the men in caskets we come to the incinerator or from the incinerator — there’s a world through this door
poetic form necessitates a poetics of absence less attitude more altitude reality holding your hand we walk backwards down a fall of steps individualism into the chopper i wrote myself a letter in sand no i will write myself a letter in sand no i must have forgotten not writing it with precocious expectations of a strong handsome noun on my knees at the wall with obscure eyes the letter didn’t say west of here is a nice mass grave and east of here is blue smoke of otto more violence more opiate i wake up wanting
survive make friends at the inn at columbia tell stories
whenever i hold my child the hair on my body turns white noise white heart welcome to the world it’s just me you’re ok oh my god you’re ok
Ounce of Zuihitsu
the moon of thicknesses and texture of papers one for photo one for text quality absorption two i’s a k and a p pile high like huey dewey and louie in a trench coat attempting to purchase pornography or an assault rifle or enriched uranium galk the image is gone he’s piloted guys chariots into the sun melted melted axle horse and hope alike the image has dispersed the boy my stand-in meditates on his describing destruction and finds opportunity for new life to bathe its hot fault lines there’s an emoji for that the old phrase goes
when i lift a palm-full of warm sand i feel it coursing through my hand though i see it still in my fingers the sense receptors haunt the skin wrapped around muscle bone breath the warmth of the sand the atmosphere of it of them our misunderstanding and inflate with metaphysical charm surreal pleasure undeniable expression the inward experience of what kind of story is this story
the menu at the storm is written in an alien language that looks like begging a stranger to buy your underage-self violence and sounds like the opiate state protecting your fragile body on offer are the powerful horses of a new god
I don’t know how else to tell you there are problems with what little soil remains problems with what little oil remains problems with the spoiled chaos of which there is plenty the dog-boys expect one in every tribe to make a mistake i put the beginning at the end and pray
c. 1300, despit (n.) “contemptuous challenge, defiance; act designed to insult or humiliate someone;” mid-14c., “scorn, contempt,” from Old French despit (12c., Modern French dépit), from Latin despectus “a looking down on, scorn, contempt,” from past participle of despicere “look down on, scorn,” from de “down” (see de-) + spicere/specere “to look at” (from PIE root *spek- “to observe”).
The prepositional sense “notwithstanding” (early 15c.) is short for in despite of “in defiance or contempt of” (c. 1300), a loan-translation of Anglo-French en despit de “in contempt of.” It almost became despight during the 16c. spelling reform.
Blacking Thee Impossible Art
some men are large others are sharks but all men have their cut coming what price what playing harmony what origins hungry submissions layered to the ceiling like dried newspaper waits for spark a wide lens saturation cranked creamed laughing fringes pissed the windgreens that fill sinuses this is indirect incorrect take the first viola on your right and go straight on til the measuring tape boils oh see can you say it like he sees it will you allow the worries to tell you no wrestling nude in the sun people blacken me blacking thee impossible art life i’ll tell it straight no surface artifact artifact camera aims his gun at the sun a diagonal field sailing memories the means to be an artist dearest exponent YES! i like top ten art as much as the next guy but here in the desert there’s only survival
i don’t want to hurt people that’s the point i guess jane the fried of the west said the best you scream when you know jane didn’t say that i said that no not that even i’ve acquired it put it in my pocket like a write of passport it was born here what do you want from me screaming burnt hair test the limits of the dog-boys laying there depressed dried out next to their dreams of milk next to a soundscape of rolled up death that gives way to the blackened mind
in the wallet of the last quarter century don’t know how to spend it don’t know that if we ever will
the data bears this out the data proves popularity is a marauder straddling a spreadsheet from station to station the numbers are bright and clear as the moon ticked on the ocean wall in chalk the countryside evaporated by nuclear strike like a crow like a crown like a clown from the diving board insert yourself here transfigure possibility and cliche
the men he met at the wall and they were always men displayed no dedication to the pilgrimage no ambition to elide its infinity they plant their feet in the hot sand and shed blood an ear upon a pedestal this masculine beauty
so we waited seven years anymore how do you experience cold it’s not cold to be uncomfortable would it even register as cold or just certainly not a breeze a sensation experience an external sensation register as different from in your belly proximity to celebrity on this the final day of the final april
what is this crocus trampled inconvenient bottom boot beside the dog-boys’ leftovers in the sun warning our flesh some listen some tilt listen i’m thirty seven trying to get to the under of this big wide doing so far so guilty so unwinged by the mage or the architect or god the builder send me a picture of there