Near-Life Experience

Robert Beveridge

(a choose-your-own-adventure poem)

(go to page 2)


and your band of Merry Men

are in the forest

armed only with sticks

and a few unnameable pieces of food

that bear a resemblance to old, dented tin.

On the hill, a house

with seven cupboards

and a weathervane.

Behind you, the forest.

(to enter the house, go to page 15.

to enter the forest, go to page 7.)

page 7:

you come

to a fork in the path.

An old man

in a tattered coat

wanders off down the path

less travelled.

(to follow the old man, go to page 27.

to take the other road, go to page 8.)

page 8:

when you reach the city,

the harlots

mistake your food for money.

(go to page 30.)

page 10:

old blue eyes

begins to croon

and you flee into the forest.

(go to page 7.)

page 15:

the cupboards

are full of Sinatra records

and a beer or two.


figure out

how to use the phonograph.

(to drink a beer, go to page 16.

to play the Sinatra records, go to page 10.)

page 16:

it goes down easy.

(go to page 30.)

page 27:

you and the Merry Men

find yourselves in therapy groups

beat deerskin drums

with sticks

and get in touch

with your inner children.

You lose.

page 30:


your band of Merry Men

gets merrier.