Pause – Kadeem Beresford-James

I wish I could
stop to watch and learn and strategise.
Figure out the path to take
to minimize the lives I lose.
Enter the cheat code for money, so at least that
worry is gone.

If I could
I could think more and
decide after a while,
but instead I’m stuck,
to decide and act right now.
It has to be now.
This is a time attack
and the HUD is broken
and the start button is gone.
The next checkpoint doesn’t exist,
I have one life left and don’t remember if I’ve used my last continue,
and I’m pretty sure the electric is about to run out
so I need to finish.
Or I lose.

There’s a synthetic voice telling me to hurry up.
But I need to time to think.
And my friends are getting angry – they want a turn.
They all know their own way to go
and won’t stop yelling about it.
The time is running along without me.
It’s too noisy.
But if I wasn’t playing, I’d be yelling.
And it’s no fun being ignored.


is bad with names, good with details, and enjoys a good drink. Previous editor of Roehampton Writing Society’s Anthology 2012 and co-founder of Talking to Strangers.

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