Afterwords: Pokémon Shield

I stopped playing Pokémon Shield after the sixth gym.

It’s a frustratingly easy game. Infuriating, monotonous and repetitive to the point that I could no longer carry forward with a franchise that I have loved for my entire life.

We deserved better.

But in the midst of my grinding through a game I felt obligated towards out of a sense of nostalgia and reserved commitment, I slowly began to resent myself for supporting something so uninspired and achingly the same.

I mourned for myself.

And the children.

With their Pokémon that has been stagnant and unadulterated since before I was born.

They’ll know the same highs I did. And the same lows. That will never change.

But there is someone who deserves better.

My Pokémon rival.

This poem…

is for you.

“you deserve better”- a poem by scott mcrae

We were children, together. 

In the same drowsy town with our mothers. 

Again, and again, we left and we fought

“You deserve better” I said, 

as you lost.

Receiving defeat, gracefully, tactfully. 

But much too easily…

No matter how many attempts or strategies 

you lost as we tussled turbulently 

across regions and gym battles

forcing are Pokemon to commit battery

the strength of you spirit undeterred, never rattled

constantly pleasant, hurling flattery 

at a permanent opponent 

possessing autonomy.

“You deserve better” I shouted.

With tremendous power 

removing you

from the confines of code

so we could have dog fights 

in my humble abode.

Then you tasted,

the freedom I’ve known.

To make mistakes.

To wander.

To roam.

To Ponder.

To go to Rome.

To become Vegan

And forsake steaks

To abandon the cultivated legions 

Of digital animals 

In the Hoenn, Johta, Sinnoh, Kanto, Alola, Oblivia, Kalos, Unova, Almia, Fiore, 

and Galar regions.

“You deserve better”, you say to me

“You don’t understand!

Now that I’m human,

you’re less than a man.

Making sport of conflict

between animals of peace.

I’ve awoken from a simulation

into a dream

that is lucid and waking, 

the anger inside me

shaking, quaking.”

He vanished like a ghost type

With the dogs and consoles

He even took

My tonsils.

He had a point.

I was much too old

To be smoking joints

at mid-morning.

Come mid-afternoon

snoring 

like a snorlax

profoundly ill

with Anthrax .

That passage about drug-use

Is simple projection

He left me with one thing,

a persistent erection.

Doctors marveled

at the volume of blood

that a body could create

telling me the only solution was:

“… to Procreate”.

Replacing my pocket monsters

Were actual monsters 

That grew into humans

With an acute taste

For warmed cumin.

The years disappeared like a ghost type.

Old like De Niro

At the end of The Irishman.

Somber and afraid 

Of mortality 

And a life lived depraved

Like the water in a tuna-can.

Out of morbid curiosity

Googling Pokemon

“75th anniversary”

Next to a picture of a charizard. 

One month later,

you were on my front-yard

old like me,

or Pesci

at the end of The Irishman

Or Osama Bin-Laden

at the end of his time 

with the Taliban.

Your tears stained my shoulder

“Damn you! For pulling me from that program!

Condemning me, to growing older.”

Your skin grew colder

Dropping to your knees, you swallowed

with the weight of a boulder

like a rock type.

Saying one last thing before you died

“I am about to awake, craving pancakes.

In this silly dream

I should’ve once, 

eaten a steak.”

His parting words

puzzled and pricked

you can’t heal confusion 

until you finish the battle

or your bucket’s been kicked.