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Poetry: 'The Alice Bomb' & 'TINAG' by Ian Badcoe

The Alice Bomb

11:03 am Alice#462 wakes up,

angry and wanting

to trash something.

11:07 am Alice#463 wakes up,

angry and wanting

to trash something.

11:10 am Alice#120, calls herself The Print Master,

an important job, although sometimes

she’d rather be destroying something.

She pours another drum

of looted feedstock into the printer,

which beeps, quietly,

as Alice#464 wakes up...

11:24 am Alice#192, smashing a cobble

against the police car side window,

waves Alice#463 over.

Police and Alice corpses

decorate the tarmac.

11:31 am Alice#470 wakes up

wanting to smash something.

11:33 am Alice#192, waves four new Alices off

in the hotwired squad car:

The front line is about two miles East!

–she shouts as they speed away.

11:45 am Alice#462 hunts for a lever

for the gun shop door.

Of all Alices,

numbered below 50,

only Alice#23 survives.

Newer Alices call her

The General.

All Alices are identical.

2:08 pm Alice#500 wakes up,

filled with all-consuming rage,

printer already humming

its way through another Alice.

4:00 pm Authorities admit

that Alice#0 will never be questioned.

Combat psychiatrists cannot divine

the exact state of her mind

when she overrode the safety settings

and lay back in the printer hopper...

...although a surviving witness

describes her as “pissed.”

Priestess Alice#103 lights a candle

for the shrine

around the solicitor’s letter.

It is so screwed up

no words are visible.

They all know what it says.


their move

a woman is trapped in a hotel room // David Attenborough eulogizes coral // from a

mid-range smart-TV // beyond the heavy curtains a city riots and burns

your move

This Is Not A Game //

T.I.N.A.G //

without irony //

a school of game design

their move

a diver four inches from an anemone films // clownfish for the BBC // the making-

of people // four feet back and further still // two tourists and a plastic bag drift by

// at least one person present is a spy

your move

living //

dying //

not a game //

shield your lover //

not a game //

feed your children //

make that sparse change //

every day

their move

the message in the letter drop leaks // medical research // funded by one

government // ignored by another // stolen by a third // none of the three actually

caring // if six percent of patients can't breathe unassisted

your move

in the reality //

not a game //

in the realisation //

not a game //

no referee //

no umpire //

not a game //

no Mail on Sunday match report //

not a game //

not a sport

their move

Adamson is not called 'agent' anymore // patient // a sister draws blood // walks

away // his head remembers days // stabilizing and destabilizing // governments in

that same city // where the woman // trapped // peers nervously // from a hotel

room window

your move

playing by the rules? //

not a game //

choose regulations to suit to your heart //

give 11,110% //

play poker //

everyone else advancing cautious pawns //

leave the field //

not a game //

it has always been your move //

the game so long underway //

this is not a game –

player one




Ian Badcoe (he/they) is a nonbinary poet living in Sheffield, Yorkshire. He is a strange hybrid of poet, game-dev, gardener, husband, father and geek. He likes to write "genre" poetry–especially SciFi and Noire–as well as science and technology themed work. He has a long-term song writing collaboration with German indie composer/performer Hallam London and they are slowly releasing an album. Ian has been published in various places, including: Antiphon, Riggwelter and recently in Streetcake Magazine.



SoundCloud: Ian Badcoe


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