Sleepingfish net

../ ]  [N/08.11.25] [ 4 instructions for children's games
by Mathias Svalina
] +
N/08.12.01 ]


Instructions for a Holy War

(for 7 or more players)

One child begins in the center of the circle. The other children carry sticks & point the sticks at the sky. Oh elephant one moans. Oh Ferret moans another. Soon each child is moaning the name of an animal, except for the child in the middle, who is starving to death.

When the child in the middle is dead the children point their sticks toward the earth. The sticks grow roots & enroot a circle below the dead child. As the sticks grow into enormous trees they lift the body of the child up into the sky so that no one can ever see her again.

One child says I can see her. But that child is lying. The other children circle around the lying child & begin to stroke his skin & rub his feet with expensive oils. Another child says I can see her as well. This child is also lying. Other children circle around this child & give her candies & juice boxes.

At night the first lying child sends his people to kill the people of the second lying child, but they are under strict instructions not to kill the second lying child.

Mathias Svalina


Instructions for a Civil War

(for 2 players)

One child glues herself to another child with super glue. She glues her palms to the other child’s palms. She glues her lips to the other child’s lips. She glues her knees to the other child’s knees. She glues her eyelids to the other child’s eyelids.

At the end of the school day the two children exit the school & approach the buses. The one child wants to go to her bus. The other child wants to go to his own bus. They each attempt to reach for the wads of cash in the back pockets of their jeans in order to pay the other child off, but as they do the skin rips off of their forearms where they have been glued together. This hurts so much that each child jerks away from the other, ripping all the skin off the front of their bodies.

Mathias Svalina


Instructions for a Drug War

(for 5 or more players)

One child is the criminal & one child is the law & one child is the government. Each of these three children cover the playground in money. They wrap the other children up in dollar bills until they are completely cocooned in the money.

After 14 days the cocoons shake & rattle & split open. The opened cocoons spill out thousands of small red bricks.

The criminal-child, the law-child & the government-child collect the bricks & build fabulous palaces with them. In the back of each palace they build swimming pools & fill them with the clearest, coldest water.

Mathias Svalina


Instructions for a Guerilla War

(for 4 or more players)

One child is a soldier. One child hides in the woods. One child is the government. Once child stays in the village & continues to plough the fields. This last child is known as The People & she or he remains completely silent throughout the entire game, pantomiming ploughing actions & goat-milking actions & sleeping actions & waking actions.

The child in the woods sets the soldier-child’s house on fire. The Soldier child sets the child in the wood’s house on fire. Someone finds a white handkerchief along a dusty road & places it over the open wound. The government child stands before The People & tells her or him You are better now.

The government child holds out a plate of food to The People & says Here is some food for you. The People returns to his or her town, which is also his or her hometown. He or she returns to his or her bed, the bed in which he or she was conceived.

It should be recognized that on both sides great courage is shown. There are beatings & there are soccer games. Someone is found in the village square with her hands cut off, attempting to grip a wooden bucket. The soldier child & the child in the woods both stare into the canopy, awaiting the luminous moment of battle.


Mathias Svalina
is a co-editor of Octopus Magazine & Books. He is the author of the chapbooks Why I Am White (Kitchen Press, 2007), Creation Myths (New Michigan Press, 2007) & most recently The Viral Lease (Small Anchor Press, 2008). With Julia Cohen he has three collaboratively written chapbooks available or forthcoming. His first full-length book, Destruction Myth, is forthcoming in 2009.

 <<< zzz ><()*> >>>

|| home || news || archives || submit ||masthead || 5¢ense reviews ||

© 2003-2008. published by Calamari Press