Oct 6 2001 and a room full of books


just back from th’ big ol’ library book sale

full of big old people and myself

the book hounds in teams

buying a dollar a hardcover, fiddy cent for paperback

 

me with an alphabetical list in fiction

scraping my box against the concrete floor like an earth mover

which later yielded a mound o’ books.

 

to the new books I say welcome!

just looking at you and reading a few choice pages

has brought me here.

 

At the sale

an old Jewish couple

were carrying on a catty literary discussion

whole rows away from each other:

“well here’s a so and so,

do you want it?”

“No. I think I already have it,

and if I don’t I’m done with him anyway,

too difficult, that one . . .”

 

the overbearingmother and balance-challenged  girl-child,

a pimply, soft too-tall 15

(she dropped a box on her toe and her mother offered a pale “sorry”)

war wounds you could almost hear the mother admonish

can only imagine how this event (the dropping of a box)

will be the topic of the mother’s cruel monologue

once they get home:

 

“you brought it on yourself

if you would only pay attention

you’re so fucking clumsy!

you think that hurts, when I was your age . . .”

infinity

 

maybe the girl was bathing herself in the public eye.

I wanted to say to the mother:

we can see and hear you.

 

the girl’s fat mother kept coming too close to where I was looking,

territorial, she was buying for a commercial venture of some kind,

analyzing the spine, the cover, the printing ,the date, the author seemingly unimportant,

and grabbing like a greedy child

ownership, possession . . .

 

and the poor soft girl finding no eggs on Easter,

just doing mother’s bidding , as usual

 

during the orderly hunt

I spot another bearded gent

he pops up here are there in my periphery as I browse

we obliquely eye each other to determine who had read Infinite Jest

 

 

at check-out

the over-helpful volunteers

peer into –

examine each hunter’s future solitude

 

 


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