In the flapping of Borges’ pigeon wings, lodged in Gregor Samsa’s gizzard, in the cello
played during commercials for luxury sedans and the crow
clinging to the top of the telephone pole, behind a mountain’s profile,
at the bottom of my glass, wadded
in the pocket of my jeans
I am the story I am seeking.
In every face, every poem, even yours.
Yesterday, with my knees aching on the cement floor, I moved my ouiji hands
over the shelf until they snagged on a poet named Ruefle
which felt right since it was my last day at the bookstore and I was looking
for words to explain. I found
“Everything that ever happened to me
is just hanging — crushed
and sparkling — in the air,
waiting to happen to you.
Everything that ever happened to me
happened to somebody else first.
I would give you an example
but they are all invisible.
Or off gallivanting around the globe.
Not here when I need them
now that I need them
if I ever did which I doubt.”
and that is how I want to go, trailing sparkle. I leave the door
open for you but I take this stanza with me because it’s mine now, my Ruefle
to stuff under my shirt, to pad my passage. You can read it when I’m done.
Why do you have to bring up those other people, you ask, don’t you know
it’s so off-putting this name dropping thing you do, don’t you care
about my experience? What about me? But of course, I tell you. Show me,
show me what you’ve got under there. Let me have it when you’re done.
Look at me, I tell you. I am smiling. Look. I shiver with open
arms. Look, I’m older now but I’m not done yet. I have enough shine
to share. And look, look at you, hanging there like a frozen star. You are so
fucking beautiful. I want to take you with me, I want to stuff you
under my shirt and make you mine.
With a nod to Courtenay Bluebird
and everyone at the bookstore.
Did I mention that I quit my job? Yesterday was my last day. I really did go to the poetry shelf for an answer and found Mary Ruefle. Wow. I did not pocket her book, but the thought did cross my mind. Have you ever stolen a book? Tell me a story.
So many lovely lines and phrases:
” trailing sparkle….I take this stanza with me because it’s mine now”…
“hanging like a frozen start”
Great read, thanks
Thank you for reading. I’m still trying to figure out what it means.
One day I will be in Powell’s City Books in my lovely town of Portland, Oregon and I will see your work, published, in hard back, with a dust jacket and everything, and I will say… I know that girl in the hat.
Oooo. What a lovely fantasy. Someday, maybe someone will want to pinch my book. xoox
thanks for introducing me to Mary Ruefle and yes I may have pocketed the occasional book (my first job was in a university bookshop and it was brilliant !)
I loved many things about my job but the longer I worked there, the fewer books I wanted. Except the Ruefle, that is. Mary Ruefle is so good it hurts.
Reblogged this on Batok kelapa.
I have never stolen a book, but now I want to. God knows why.
This is lovely.
God knows why you haven’t or why you want to now, I wonder, and I’m thinking what a good story it would be if an author stole her own book. What would happen if you were caught? xoox
Publicity! I could be the Winona Ryder of the literary world!
Dooooo it! xoox
Mary Ruefle’s “Madness, Rack and Honey” was the best book I read in 2013. She speaks to many of us.
She’s craaaaaazy goooood. I didn’t know until now, but I tend to find authors right when I need them.
Reblogged this on Iconography ♠ Incomplete.
I stole a book from Tam High and forgot about it for 25 years. Then, one day while sitting upon the ruins of my failed business and trying to find a path forward, I looked up at my bookshelf and re-discovered the book and an old love for solar energy. I have that book to thank for getting me into this industry 10 years ago. Maybe now it’s time to return it, so it can inspire someone else.
Here’s a poem by Goethe that seems appropriate. It once inspired someone with a revelation that changed the world…
The glow retreats, done is the day of toil;
It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring;
Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil
Upon its track to follow, follow soaring!
I suppose you could chase the day. That would make an interesting story– chasing a day by moving east (how fast would you have to move) always moving toward the sun (but why, what’s the motivation) hmmmm. I like that idea, Todd. (And for some reason, that book on your shelf makes me happy.)
This is so good, I want it in a book so I could think of stealing it. I know you though, so I wouldn’t. I’ll wait until you publish your volume. I love your poetry.
And oh yes, I stole a science book from the school library when I was about six or seven. I thought no other kid would love it as much as I did.
Love the lines:
“I am the story I am seeking.
In every face, every poem, even yours.”
Nope, never stolen a book. But god knows I have been tempted to do so,