viernes, junio 13, 2008

the children

I'm a the public library, where the kids are all
competing heavily in the summer read-a-thon.

For perhaps the millionth time,
I get the idea that you, me, and all our smartest friends
should get rich writing children's books.

a little munchkin has sat down at my table.
she is trying to read comic books
that are above her reading level. too cute.
"I'm going to find a magazine to read" she says.
her dad strolls by to make sure she's okay and that I have no designs on her.

this is ever so much more interesting than working on a tenure file.

a six(?) year-old boy says of the (latina) munchkin,
"wow, that's girl's small. and she knows english"

he himself knows chinese and is chinese, he announces.


a girl ran by who looks just like my friend wendy amai from forty years ago
(even though I only met wendy amai thirty-five years ago.)

the two boys sorting through the comic books announce
"I can't stop itching like a dog"

Here in Oakland, libraries provide the function of free day care.
So now that school is out, the libraries are bursting with kids,
whose parents dropped them off this morning and will be returning
for them after work.


a litter of pre-teens was escorted outside for a 15 minute time out.

the little munchkin has starting squealing
"I'm not screaming! I'm not crying!
I want some pizza!"

her (Anglo) dad calmly leads her out the door,
announcing "a little too late."

"for what," ask the librarians.

"for naptime."

"pizza! pizza! pizza!"

I'm lonely now.
I know I could fit at least a couple of these kids into my backpack.

[Nora writes to me that on no account am I to do this,
unless I plan to barbecue them. Nora takes pride
in her complete lack of maternal impulses. towards humans]


the librarian with the frizzly hair
has her own meltdown
and drives the moneylending
preteens from the marketplace.
Or the temple.
something like that.

One of the little charmers
speaks of the librarian in the third person
"she's got issues!"

fortunately, before the librarian with the frizzly hair
resorts to violence, her cheerful butch librarian friend
comes to her rescue.


only the second day of summer vacation
and already banished from the library.
a poemlet:

the children who were driven
from the house of books
mill about the entrance
eyes hungry
faces blank
surely, nothing they had done
has called down this banishment.
the powers that be
are obviously
having a bad day.

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