June 12, 2003



CHILDREN'S BOOK
-- by David Berman

My children's book will commence
with a moment of remarkable traction
when a semi-circle of eyeshadow cannons,
two warthog musketeers drafted
from the realm of Functional/Unwanted,
and an adolescent clerk with
the ghost of his father
living inside his haircut,
meet up in the misty borderlands
at the climax of authorial impairment
for a journey deep into the tie-breakers.

Like the wigs of continental congressmen,
the clouds in my children's book will hang over
a housing development called Scotland Groin
whose residents will suffer from an insomnia
caused by the wearing of tophats;
greatly complicated by random explosions
coming every few pages
from a nearby paper bag factory.

There will be plenty of lads
with boiled cheeks,
the requisite foolish old woman
riding an ironing board out to sea,
as well as terrific deer salons
with bramble perimeters
and a battleship made of harmonicas
wheezing in the bay.

There will be kid ideas woven into the story
like "Kick a rock, change the world",
and a disembodied voice that solemnly asks
"who can apologize for the way things are"
after a group of senior citizens
is abruptly turned into wild animals.

The characters will travel
over stale beer creeks
and through eight room forests,
hauling convivial objects
that have many times survived their ownership
up wind-lickt heights
and over grassy hemispheres
until they are so far outside
the administered world,

with all their wristwatches gone dark,
and all their cheeks scratched by rain,
in a hard-to-see place
where no rules obtain
and someone else's dream
dying in their hearts.

[Thanks to J. O'Brian for transcribing and sending this poem, which is in the current issue of The Believer. Pick up a copy today.]

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