Tampa poet Yuki Jackson taps into Super Mario and finds the joy of discovery

‘A system without a human attempting to beat it, has no point.’

click to enlarge TOM EVERSLEY/ADOBE
Tom Eversley/Adobe

There is a lack of respect for the origin, even though connecting to it is what will give us power. Perhaps this disdain comes from fear. Many are afraid of what they don’t know and what lacks certainty. What can be trusted is what can be controlled, planned, measured. There is enough science to back up some understanding of how the universe was created but there are gaps in knowledge. This is where we have plot holes in creation.

This is where imagination comes in. Imagination fills the holes in this plot like a sower. A gardener who tends to this plot like land, lovingly sowing seeds then covering them. No wonder we cannot see what has been planted until significant growth has taken place. Much like unlocking necessary tools and weapons when playing a video game. 

I’ve been finding much inspiration from Super Mario. From that ominous “duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nah” track playing in my mind when I encounter a Koopa-like obstacle to recognizing how each ascent into the air is accompanied with a raised power fist, the game has become a prevalent reference for how life is designed. I’ve felt both existential despair and profound gratitude when I consider that everything is all a part of a highly intentional grid, a system with a creator(s). It depends on where I’m coming from. 

When I feel powerless, I experience despair. When I feel empowered, I am happy. It's that simple. Simple as a deceptively ordinary guy making it through a world that appears to be built to stop him. Making it through means winning. Winning requires the interaction of the system and a game player. A player who is willing to learn from their mistakes, daring enough to take risks and committed to reach the end. A system without a human attempting to beat it, has no point. 

I did not intend to write the poem to make a case for video games. I wrote it to celebrate the joy of discovery. While I was listening to an artist, I made a connection between their music and how Mario powering up with a star is consistent with the workings of our universe. After all, Mario is a star in his own right. So rather than passively becoming empowered by a higher force, it is a moment of two stars colliding, a superpower formed from union.

I think sometimes there is a sense of doom when imagining the collision of stars. The end of the world, some may fear. But when I remember that the star that I take into myself is just my Self, there is nothing to be afraid of. We are simply creating a new world together, plotting points in this grid like constellations.

“A Star Takes Mario”

I take a star
into me
so I can become
invincible 

pulsing with power,
I imagine
that this temporary
is a happy accident
on purpose 

thanks to the design
of the system 

this is not even the end

Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team works tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow @cl_tampabay on Twitter.

About The Author

Yuki Jackson

Yuki Jackson is an African-American and Japanese poet and educator based in Tampa Bay, Florida.Her work has appeared in Cosmonauts Avenue, Foundry, Entropy and other publications. She is also the founder of The Battleground, a youth program in the Sulphur Springs...
Scroll to read more Local Arts articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]