Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Library Collection.

I’m in the library

It’s where I want to be

Here I’ll find my bliss.

Between the walls lined with books

Whose covers I won’t kiss.

This place is scary,

Now that my librarian died,

I hide amongst the bookshelves

And shield myself with the stacks

Of never rebound books.

There is no Book of Life in this collection.

Just a library of struggle 

And a bibliography of attempts

And a useless reference work.

The catalogues can give direction

And the descriptions can be read

But they offer small satisfaction. Because 

the synopsizes are misleading

For those who are reading

The receding texts of yesteryear.

As I stroll down the isles

Judging books by their covers

My mind starts spinning 

In the google of ideas.

I begin looking for the illustrated version,

With the diagrams and charts.

Who am I kidding?

By scanning the miles

Of organized piles

For the Book of the Living.

Where are the writers?

The editors? The illustrators?

And where is my librarian?! 

Come be my guide, in those corridors

Of endless information.

Show me the route to my shelf

So I can see the text

That guides the perplexed

Out of this forest of scribes.

I’m looking for life

Illustrated and annotated

By the expert in the field.

But in the library nobody can hear you think.

If you ascended that ladder

You already sacrificed the matter

At the alter of blank pages and drying ink.

The smoothness of those sheets tickle my fingertips

The letters dance like a tango in rehearsal

And the books spines smile to me 

Like a lover in a dream that lasts too short.

Yeah, life was an open book, once upon a story

Then it became an unfinished piece of work

And now it’s a project that still has no name.

I promise to write, I promise to read.

These commitments only made sense before I came.

The library day ends at the start of the one to come

That still gives me few hours 

To search the towers

For the Book of Life

I know I won’t find.

I hear people in the cafeteria

Caught in a laughing hysteria about milk that spilled

They will never understand;

They never met

The librarian I killed.


  1. you're searching in vain, your book of life is being written right now, authored by your actions of multiple murders,(of the librarian, of self)rebirth, (self, and maybe librarian) courage, transition, failure, aggression, confession, confusion, etc.

  2. I love this poem.
    I remember how I used to carry the chitas around everywhere, on the bus, in and out of railway stations, like it was an extension of my arm.
    It was like a continuation of myself.
    And then when I ditched the whole scene, for ages I still couldn't walk around without a book in my hand.
    So I would get on a bus, take out James Joyce or Virginia Wolf or whomever else I had stumbled across that week, and search the pages for what is real and true, then catch myself before I kissed the back cover.
    Side Note: If you haven't yet read James Joyce's
    'Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man' read it now. Seriously.

  3. Thanks, Anon #2
    I admit to not having read it, I'll check it out.

  4. Speaking of James Joyce; I thought I'd post an excerpt from his poem 'The Holy Office'.

    So distantly I turn to view
    The shamblings of that motley crew,
    Those souls that hate the strength that mine has
    Steeled in the school of old Aquinas.
    Where they have crouched and crawled and prayed
    I stand, the self-doomed, unafraid,
    Unfellowed, friendless and alone,
    Indifferent as the herring-bone,
    Firm as the mountain-ridges where
    I flash my antlers on the air.
    Let them continue as is meet
    To adequate the balance-sheet.
    Though they may labour to the grave
    My spirit shall they never have
    Nor make my soul with theirs as one
    Till the Mahamanvantara be done:
    And though they spurn me from their door
    My soul shall spurn them evermore.

    -James Joyce