The wisdom of the words, the wit of the montage — to say nothing of the pitch-perfect narration — make “True Love in the Impossible Emporium” a media keeper for this holiday season and all the ones to come.
The poem, which begins like this, is liable to cure the cynic in me:
True Love in the Impossible Emporium
Searching the aisles for the right kind of birdseed
To feed my inner nightingale,
I wandered the shelves of an outlandish store
Filled with customers chasing their own tail.
The store’s speciality was impossible objects,
Such as tins of rainbow paint,
And four-dimensional sprocket holes
The sight of which made you feel faint.
There were devil’s forks in the cutlery section,
Each prong was an optical illusion,
So that morsels of food eluded forked stabs,
Leaving consumers in hungry confusion . . .
The stairs to the different departments ascended
And descended in a continuous loop
Meaning customers climbed forever, getting no nearer
To the free bowls of mock turtle soup,
Or to the tin-cans that produced instant laughter
Or the horse-feathers, as used by Groucho Marx,
Or to the edible gravestones for cheering up cemeteries,
And the invisible coins for an inaudible jukebox.
There were blacked-out mirrors that helped you
To ignore the irrelevancies of life;
Their non-reflectivity forbade self-absorption,
The source of man’s endless strife.
Every item in stock was designed to unsettle,
To undermine reality’s status quo;
Shoplifters were encouraged to help themselves
By a Tannoy urging, ‘Ready, steady, go!’ . . .