NPC Won’t Hypnotize Me

by: Drew Kalbach

Wise move, NPC, truculent
twitch beyond screen. I slow-open
shade drawn windows and breathe in the dog shit.
This is progress, the zone,
itemized the soft bits between legs and felt guilty
hours later when big bang static comes in free.

Opened my mouth
to get a web, to slide it
down my throat. I won’t press play
until beeps allow me.
Across the street, exposed
power lines in an abandoned house
about-face my exposed body,
air from underneath leaky floorboards,
low hum of generator building toward excess.
When it comes back on
unplug me.

Merchandize! NPC won’t hypnotize me.
Lay it out flat, side by side,
hems one way, zippers another.
Lay it out flat and sell me back my sleaze.

oh-zone, o no,           it’s goosey out here for a trucker,

bridge too low for my big rig’s hat rack

which is a boil           if I ever seen one

Through talk channels
Voice chat, over game
Distorted, too quiet, overplayed
By other voices
While action sound continues
The chat, the shot
Clicks until it resets
NPCs abound, shift team to team
I wet mic stub, mic end
Whisper static grind into nubs
While they mute, unmute
Let new voices enter
The game-space, leaks
Into other space, rain outside
Air condition grinds on
While voices click
In and out, through headphone
Through stream noise
Through heavy breathing noise
I express myself in comments
With teeth pressed tight against keys
Style won’t leave you out
Even if you let it