Poetry

My Babysitters

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 POETRY
My Babysitters by Anselm Berrigan

Most of my babysitters came of age during the fisting revolution of the late seventies. My brothers the clams were shot in their bungalows on channel 11. During the investigation Eddie and I discovered God’s calf massager. Eight feet wide and thirty feet long, surrounded by sand pipers. My dad said he’d fuck anyone who thought he was terrific. Prageeta advises against becoming a man who uses poetry to prove he still has sex. Eddie said pretend you thought it was a neurotic poetry reading. Two of my babysitters took pictures of naked guy poets in order to learn their fluffing techniques. I saw all the pictures when I was nine on a calendar. “As good as Beethoven and Patti Smith in their garter belts,” Mom said. Kevin likes to say “Anselm’s fisting Chee-tos” in his poems a lot, but I meant feasting cheetahs. I want to do boring things with my lover like trying the blender on low. Eddie said he’d have sex with Colorado but not New York. I said I wouldn’t steal his lines anymore. Facing the other way on top was too ab-ex: obscurity does not please my lover. I used to think I’d be good at being either a groupie or a therapist. As a poet with lower-case p I get to be both. “The way you keep your eyes to the ground when you wander into traffic totally turns me on” I heard one of my babysitters say. I liked the way they let me stay up in 1982. I learned from another babysitter couple how unimpressive nudity could be. Sometimes I think of my babysitters as a community. Sometimes I’m not sure that becoming cynical about sexual transgression before reaching puberty was such a good thing for my development. The idea of me and Bowie sleeping together was such a gas we laughed for days and he painted my nails. To quit smoking I imagined I was Eleanor of Acquitaine gathering troubadors in the 12th century. Once one of my babysitters told me I shouldn’t talk about my babysitters because I’d never be taken seriously if I did. Then he said the first definition of pedophile is one who loves children and I ran and ran. I remember freaking out one of my babysitters by showing him how the mobile of a flasher that my sister sent us worked. My favorite babysitter bit the back of the rat who bit her back, scattering the thirty other rats on her back. Then she taught me how to hurl circles.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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Anselm Berrigan was born on August 14, 1972, in Chicago. He is the
author of two books of poetry, Integrity & Dramatic Life (Edge Books, 1999)
and Zero Star Hotel (Edge, forthcoming this summer). His poems have appeared
in recent issues of Open City, Milk.com, and Enough.

©2002

Anselm Berrigan and Nerve.com