E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (№ 3 in the Atari 2600 Poems Series)

I gave you a quarter
You should have called someone who cared
Instead, you just wandered
As though you were drunk
Falling down into black hole
After black hole
After black hole
One depression after another
You couldn’t get out of

And to think it only took
Five weeks
To make you this way

It’s official:
You are simply a catastrophic failure
Unwilling to be controlled
Unwilling to be counted upon
Unwilling to be a contributing factor
Toward easing the burden rate

There are garbage dumps out in New Mexico
We will bury you in

And encase you in cement

You had the quarter

Don’t you wish you had just phoned home?


* * * * *

Zachary Houle lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where he works for the federal government as an Information Officer and is also an Associate Music Reviews editor for PopMatters.com, a pop culture webzine that reaches 1.2 million unique visitors a month. He also contributes regular book and music reviews to PopMatters. Houle has been awarded a $4,000 emerging artist grant from the City of Ottawa to write fiction, and was a Pushcart Prize nominee for a novella that appeared in Midnight Mind. His fiction or poetry has also appeared in places such as Broken Pencil, Word Riot, Pindeldyboz, Kiss Machine, The Danforth Review, Girls with Insurance, Thieves Jargon, Friction magazine, Megaera, and many others. His poem “Ode to the Long Lost Mini-Pops Album” was published in the book anthology In Our Own Words, Vol. 7 (MW Enterprises, 2007).

His contributions to Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.