Guest Poet Jeff Kallman

Christopher Robin's Toys

Christopher Robin's Toys
                      would never have suffered
                                             an adoption reversal battle
if they had been skee ball prizes
                               on the Long Beach boardwalk
                                                         from the advent 
                                                         of the Beatles
                               to the rapture of Richard Nixon.
They would have sat
                 unmolested between
                                 fading depression glass bowls
                                 novelty appliances
                                 back-key monkey drummers
                                 marked pinochle cards
                                 musical candlesticks
                                 stale bubblegum sticks
and Marvelous Marv Throneberry's
                               faded 1962 baseball card.
And they would have traded
                        each other's excruciating visions
of boardwalk lovers
                 and displaced surfers
                                    for jars of hunny.
And they would have laid down bets
                                on the local elections.
And they would have wondered
                          who would finally claim
the hand-held D battery
                     number two wood
                                  swizzle stick
for the same number of tickets
                             I laid to claim
                                          six glasses with poets'       
which never survived
                  my brother's rages.
                                   To him, a poet
                                          was a street punk
                                          with a pie in the face
                                          and a token round of dozens
                                          by Sonny Liston.
Not that it mattered
                  in my mother's house;
to her, a poet
            was a bum on an inheritance
            or a boy in search of a hiding place.
In her house,
            Christopher Robin's toys
                                  would have been a menagerie;
            she'd have repatriated them
                                     against Milne's wishes,
            hoping in the future
                              she could cash in a favour
                                                  with the Labour Party.
And God forbid
            Christopher Robin
                           should have picked up a guitar...
            Would say Pooh,
                          "Hunny, I'm home!"
            Would say Piglet,
                          "Gimme, Mr. Rock and Roll Star!"
            Would say Eeyore,
                          "Will you play the blues for me?"
            Would say Kanga,
                          "Play you a lullaby for Baby my Roo?"
            Would say Tigger,
                          "The wonderful thing about Tiggers
                           is Tiggers are wonderful things!"
Would say Christopher Robin,
                          "Oh, Mother, tell me more,
                                               in spite of myself."
            And Christopher Robin's toys
                                      would return to parents
            they never knew,
                         because History, after all,
has its dubious claimants.

February, 1998

Jeff Kallman's Questions:

1) Do I succeed in writing a poetry based on normal breathing patterns, as William Carlos Williams taught was the ideal model for poetic communication, without compromising the requirements of sound imagery and soul expression?
2) Is my use of adoption reversal battles a good analogy for the controversy over returning the original Winnie the Pooh animals to England?
3) From there, have I expressed well a man's troubled recollection of a parent's trivialisation of meaningful things and a son's soul?

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The Albany Poetry Workshop