"A Well Read Book" (poem)

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Summary: A poem about the stains that books have, and a challenge to those who think that books should always be pristine if you love them. That is not so, and this poem explains why.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

(23:57:44 CST)

"A Well Read Book" (poem)

Isn't it weird that I have not written more poetry about reading and books? I think so, but here you go, one of my firsts:

A new book may be stainless, Or might, as it were, have many silent stains: shipping fees and the smell of ink, finger-prints left by editorial remarks, bad reviews, a small crease left on its dust jacket by wayward bookseller hands. But a well read book, it should be full of stains: marginalia of soon forgotten witticisms and complaints about whatever you will not look at again and so what imaginary future generation did you write them for? Maybe last night's dinner's gravy, the scent of pipe smoke, and a smudge on the corner of page twenty-seven, from a hurried, sweaty thumb. There are tears and frustration at cracked words and daring neologisms, and dust from the bookcases, moths that piggy-backed upon seasonal fruit, a tear from haste, a crumbled back cover from a drop at bedside, the shape of a bookbag's bottom, a used bookstores price sticker, a discarded mark bearing some library's municipality. A small hand print left by a child one rainy afternoon when they were bored and you just wanted to read one more chapter and you sent them to their quiet room because you were so irate because their dirty little fingers refused to stay away and later there was ice cream because it was just a book, after all, and no marks can mar the words, just the page, and little faces are hard to say goodbye to when you know they are but fleeting; and mostly just creases down the glue of the spine. Being loved, it will never be the same.

Dedicated to Rebecca "Becca" Chambers as an early birthday gift. Becca, you should read more!

Si Vales, Valeo


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Written by Doug Bolden

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