Fun_People Archive
28 Sep
The Book of My Enemy

Content-Type: text/plain
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 100 13:45:32 -0700
To: Fun_People
Precedence: bulk
Subject: The Book of My Enemy

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <>
Forwarded-by: John Hedtke <>

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered
  by Clive James (1939-  )

  The book of my enemy has been remaindered
  And I am pleased.
  In vast quantities it has been remaindered
  Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
  And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
  My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
  In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
  Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
  One passes down reflecting on life's vanities,
  Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
  Lavished to no avail upon one's enemy's book --
  For behold, here is that book
  Among these ranks and banks of duds,
  These ponderous and seemingly irreducible cairns
  Of complete stiffs.

  The book of my enemy has been remaindered
  And I rejoice.
  It has gone with bowed head like a defeated legion
  Beneath the yoke.
  What avail him now his awards and prizes,
  The praise expended upon his meticulous technique,
  His individual new voice?
  Knocked into the middle of next week
  His brainchild now consorts with the bad buys
  The sinkers, clinkers, dogs, and dregs,
  The Edsels of the world of moveable type,
  The bummers that no amount of hype could shift,
  The unbudgeable turkeys.

  Yea, his slim volume with its understated wrapper
  Bathes in the blare of the brightly jacketed Hitler's War Machine,
  His unmistakably individual new voice
  Shares the same scrapyard with a forlorn skyscraper
  Of The Kung-Fu Cookbook,
  His honesty, proclaimed by himself and believed by others,
  His renowned abhorrence of all posturing and pretense,
  Is there with Pertwee's Promenades and Pierrots --
  One Hundred Years of Seaside Entertainment,
  And (oh, this above all) his sensibility,
  His sensibility and its hair-like filaments,
  His delicate, quivering sensibility is now as one
  With Barbara Windsor's Book of Boobs,
  A volume graced by the descriptive rubric
  "My boobs will give everyone hours of fun".

  Soon now a book of mine could be remaindered also,
  Though not to the monumental extent
  In which the chastisement of remaindering has been meted out
  To the book of my enemy,
  Since in the case of my own book it will be due
  To a miscalculated print run, a marketing error --
  Nothing to do with merit.
  But just supposing that such an event should hold
  Some slight element of sadness, it will be offset
  By the memory of this sweet moment.
  Chill the champagne and polish the crystal goblets!
  The book of my enemy has been remaindered
  And I am glad.

prev [=] prev © 2000 Peter Langston []