Playing Commander Keen

Playing Commander Keen

A Poem by Moflo

Commander Keen was a computer game I had when I was a kid.

Based on a dream I had the night of November 6, 2009

I find myself in your bedroom,
Someplace I haven't been since June.
Our bed is cut in half now with
A red curtain separating
Me and you, but I'm not alone,
My friend is with me, he is drunk
And he is stumbling around
The curtain like a rapid dog.

He trips! He falls into the curtain,
And he rips it down, exposing
You and your new friend in bed
But there is no alarm, just stares,
And for a second you're enthralled
That we could share this bed again.

Then, suddenly, I find I have
Returned to a different time:
A game I played once as a kid
Where all the road ahead of me
Was endless platforms rising high
Into what seemed like endless skies,
And every single platform was
Christened with tiny treasures:
Candy-bars and lollipops,
Ice-cream cones and Gobstoppers.
And here I jumped into the sky,
Rising with each platform's step.

Then the platforms ended and
I approached a distant staircase,
Just to find that you were back
In my arms, to join my climb.
We softly hit each wooden stair,
Climbing with your hand in mine.

And as we approached the top
I froze, to a sudden alarm.
I see a man atop the stairs
Asleep in his chair, even though
He holds a video camera
Filming those who climb the steps,
And beside him, a monitor
A television screen showing
Our climb into the sky
For all the onlookers to see.

I stop to wake the poor man up,
To say he is asleep at work;
But the onlookers disagree,
Say I should let the poor man sleep.
And when I turned to finish my
Climb, I found you'd disappeared.

So I jumped and jumped just looking
For where you might have gone or
Something that would serve as a clue
To what you might be doing now,
And after every empty platform,
The candy-bars and lollipops,
The ice-cream cones and Gobstoppers,
Which no longer exist because
I have already been here, I
Realize you're a pointless cause.

So solemnly I do return
To our bedroom all alone.
There is no curtain anymore
And I am sliding furniture
Around so I can re-create
What once separated our bed.

In the haste I find a picture
Tacked onto your wall of you
And me, when I was younger,
A past you never saw, although
There you stood beside me, repulsed
At what you were, what I once was.

-There's a photograph in my room too
Of all my friends from youth posing
With their wives and girlfriends now
In a beige kitchen.  And there I was
Off to the side, still by myself
Standing by an open window,
And covering the window,
A red curtain.

© 2011 Moflo

Author's Note

This poem is very personal to me, mostly because I feel my writing it predicted something that happened to me a year later. I still feel as though its not perfect though so please tell me what you think.

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very powerful descriptions and content, you took us on a bit of a trip!! it reminded me of a cross between playing mario and watching a tortured love story haha - climbing the platforms to ascend to the higher levels - but falling back down to the bedroom which you now occupy alone!! It reads a little prose like (not sure if intentional) but I like that! I think rhymes would have made it contrived! nice!!

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Wow, this is amazing. I can definitely see that it was inspired by a dream, but I like the surreality.
I think life is often like that simple game, we are always trying to "climb the steps", "climb into the sky", and while we discover something new on each step, sometimes we look or go back to look for thing we think we lost or missed, but actually, we managed to take the next step, so we must have found everything we needed to go higher up before. Sometimes we have to let go of things we climbed with for a long time, because they won't climb with us anymore, and looking for them in the past, on lower steps, will get us nowhere, the past is the past.
The sleeping man is an interesting figure. Reminds me of god - watching, but looking away. "Asleep on the job", as some lyrics say.
I like how the red curtain appears in the beginning and in the end, both times seperating - once from the past, once veiling the future. Like in a game show with "candidates" for a bachelor he can ask questions and then pick, but not see everything.
I suppose it means the future is there, but it is unknown, like the outside that should be seen through the open window is evidently existent, but hidden and therefore unknown.
While all the others' partners are already settled, all options remain open for you still.
Very clever poem, very nice surealism!

Posted 12 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

WooooooW. That is extrememly interesting. Nothing like a dream with a blast through the past. It caught my attention immediately from the beginning with the red curtain descriptions. Then I eagerly kept reading and I came across the part with lollipops and Gobstoppers and I thought that was a really neat part. I kept wanting to highlight parts and tell you my favorites, but I soon realized that I couldn't do that because it all flowed together too well to pick it apart. Thank you for the read request. I definitely appreciate it. :)

Posted 12 Years Ago

A very sorrowful dream, so many hidden messages in there but as I read I can see the vivid images you create with your words. You do a very good job bringing the reader into the dream with you, anticipating the next scene. On the edge of my seat, the whole way through and then the hammer drops on the sorrow that overcomes us all when such a feeling is placed amongst a platter of strangers to dine upon.... Great write and your heart seeps through the screen.

Posted 12 Years Ago

It's in dreams..... despite all the nonsense...they can be prophetic. You painted a crystal clear image of your journey. It's good to leave out metaphors when describing something as "out-there" as this. It makes the reader understand the reality of it better. You should do a following up writing.....what happend later that made this so personal?

Posted 12 Years Ago

This zigzags through a mind-explosion of place and emotion, thoughts precise yet jumbled .. could suggest you tidy them but won't because that erratic wording is what propels the reader on from start to finish. There's quite a tragedy here, a sadness that truly hurts .. not sure how it pans out really but do hope the writing's helped you to clarify this or that. You're very adept at laying things out in prose poetry .. tale told but with poetic function.

Posted 12 Years Ago

Wonderful piece of writing, wish I had such flair for the written word, well done x

Posted 12 Years Ago

What functions most effectively here IMHO is your line breaks and rhymes - they give the reader a sense of the stop-action filming taking place, adding an element of rationality to the Dali-esque scenario that reminds me of his beesting dream painting ... I like how the common element is the thread of your personal narrative, that takes the reader along with you through associations and elements that are yours (and hers) alone - lending a kind of insular, lost quality to both the narrator's sensibility and the demise of the relationship. A fascinating piece of work.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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oh my ~ you are not asking dream interpretation here, ya?

i like your form ~ thought separation that carries on to the next line. that's an art i haven't achieved yet ... quite effective here.

ok. well maybe you are asking for some sort of interpretation ~ i have to remark that your recall for detail is extraordinary and the content ... mmmm ... well, complex and disturbing, prophetic in some way meaningful only to you ...

these are the kinds of dreams that leave imprints ~ they are revisited in varying degrees of similarity throughout a lifetime, i think.

i have such a dream that varies in frequency, maybe once a year or so ~ it's a dream about flying that involves a certain aircraft and a certain pilot; always those two components in different scenarios, but always with an impact that is unforgettable and seems to fade with excruciating lethargy.

i can appreciate the personal disclosure here. dreams. well, the subject is so huge.

Posted 12 Years Ago

what comes next! aha! hehehe really well done to express a usually chaotic medium of the dream in such great clarity and on top of it to highlight subtleties and tie it all together so well. i think I ve just been on a magic ride through your head

Posted 13 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This is good work. Solid work in fact.

Posted 13 Years Ago

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Added on January 13, 2011
Last Updated on January 13, 2011




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