Continuing the trend of looking at the world through the eyes of children, we moved from Sin City to the Midwest for our next poem. We shifted our focus slightly, looking at one younger child in a suburban environment rather than a group of elementary-school-aged children in the big city.
On August 25, 2009, Martin had opined:
The allure of Vegas kept […] this poem [from having] the “wondrous view” of a small kid – I still think Indianapolis might be better a better fit for that and I think we should write that poem, too…
John agreed and responded with a few initial lines:
When he gets big, he’s going to be an army guy because they’re good / at shooting dinosaurs harassing Mommy and Grandma, especially T-Rexes // that are part vampire. But sometimes, he’ll also become a racecar driver, / slapping juicebox stickers over the golden flanks of the palomino minivan
We also agreed that a third-person perspective was the way to go, to avoid the limited diction of a kindergartener. (It struck us that it might also be too tricky for two separate adult men to synthesize a consistent voice for a particular small child. Maybe in the future…)
Despite the dubious allure of Martin’s work responsibilities, we were able to wrap the poem up by September 6, 2009. Uncharacteristically, John supplied the ending, adding a possible happy future ending to Martin’s image of a deserting father:
The night his father zoomed from the driveway, never to return, he was told // that the moon was a racetrack, and that his blood would pump in his veins / assisted by his pit crew with brown bag lunches, tied shoes and kisses for fuel. // So he’s going to collect on the deal, even in fighter jets frenzies and hydroplane / lunges, he’ll find the old man and rassle him, going “Tag. You’re It.” and away.
(Trivia fact: When Martin sends an ongoing poem back toward John, he often writes “TAG” for a message. He thus inspired the bit of dialogue John included in the final line.)