The first of my gaming poems is available now at Sidequest. Earlier this year I set a goal to write more free verse, since I tend to gravitate toward formal verse. As I was on a video game poetry kick, I brainstormed characters, settings, items, and moments from games that stood out to me from childhood. My mind fell upon the magic potion bottles from Super Mario Bros. 2. I always liked their sleek, bubbly design, and the bizarre place to which they transported you—Subspace, with its striking color palette.
But perhaps strangest of all was how you used the potion. Just throw it. That’s right, chuck the glass container of liquid onto the ground. How counterintuitive is that?
A few years back, we held a Mario themed birthday party for one of my sons. I labeled all the food and drinks with puntastic names and pictures. We had “Mix Your Own Magic Potions”—lemon lime pop, grenadine syrup, and maraschino cherries. While reminiscing about that a few months ago, I started wondering what it would be like to actually drink the potion in the game. And since this was during what’ll hopefully be the height of the COVID-19 shutdown in my area, travel and escape occupied my mind. As I said at Worldcon, sometimes the poem finds you.
Now, as wildfires rage across my state and others, the sky bears the rusty yellows and purples of a bruise, and yesterday’s afternoon sun looked like the moon during a lunar eclipse, an eerie pink dot. Plus, my power was out this morning until about 10 minutes ago. Kind of feels like I’m in Subspace right now. I hope everyone stays safe.