The Hitting Game

The Hitting Game



On the island’s south side

a solitary town fizzes

like overloaded circuitry

on dark, motherboard hills.


Across a sticky, smooth-tiled walkway

an amusement arcade spills

a test of sexiness based on how clammy your palm is

and the hitting game.


You spin in coins so they register

on sensors worn numb. 

A padded stump protuberates.

The screen says HIT IT! A bell rings

but everyone's watching

and your hasty jab glances off

plastic quilting compacted as B & B pillows.

Missing makes you totter. It's your second go


the bell rings and the screen says HIT IT!

A slurp of adrenalin clenches your heart

and this time, when your

half-arsed haymaker connects,

an industrial spring kicks back, jolts up your arm:

its like touching an electric fence.

Sweat prickles through burnt skin


it's your third and last chance

to prove yourself

and the screen says HIT IT! so you hiss

come on you fucking fucker, fuck you.

The bell rings, you duck down half an inch

to push against the planet, bite the air

even if you're the type to stick to the shade,

even if you've learnt to not want

and know when to stop,

even if you've never, ever, your whole life,

intentionally hurt anyone

but yourself.

Graham Cliffordpoetryholidaygamearcade

◄ In Cars

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Dave Bradley

Thu 6th Jun 2013 17:29

I really enjoyed this vivid poem, Graham, and note that it is a slight re-write of an earlier post. Just out of curiosity, why did you leave out the paella?

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Laura Taylor

Thu 6th Jun 2013 11:51

Ha - excellent, loved this! Beautifully evocative from the outset, that first verse is fantastic.

I really like how you build it up - was with you all the way :D You should see me play air hockey - I turn into a complete animal. Gets proper dangerous! :D

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