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Cry of a Book (For a prompt in Poets/Artists Unplugged FB group)

April 29, 2015 | By

The Face Book group Poets/Artists Unplugged to which I belong puts up a prompt from time to time. Recently it put up a prompt– ‘Cry of a Book’. Being a lifelong lover of books and a pack rat with about a 7000 volume library, anything having to do with books immediately gets my attention. So I just started anthropomorphizing books and thinking of what might make them cry. I first addressed ones in my home, then ones still loose in the wild and those who meet worse fates than being in collections. Then I just let images and language kind of take me where they would to build the rest of the poem, concluding with how I wish I could solve the dilemma.

Poetry Month Special

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Viewed once then placed aside, many marked at the point of intended return grow old and dusty waiting

My home is a Dantean inferno of books crying
in despair because their covers are closed
their spines resting still on shelves
their words unspoken to eyeballs
for many long years. Viewed once
then placed aside, many marked
at the point of intended return
grow old and dusty waiting;
Their screams a cry of Satanic
unfolding though all I hope
are dry enough to avoid molding
though many molded the mind
that now carries me around–
some still screaming, some
still whispers, some forgotten
but still around, just in case
I was wrong in my reading
the first time.

Who can say which few words
may have been just as well left out
or ignored, skimmed over
and which even after dozens of readings
awaits another viewing soon. Who
may know at one moment suddenly
the occasion may arise
to refer to one of the hundreds
standing by at the ready like
home guards with polished rifles
always only a call from the governor away
from being loosed to rescue some
or another ignorance.

They cry for their kin left behind
at garage sales for lack of a quarter
for compadres left behind after
the library book sale is over
at a dollar a bag
for black barred remainders
peddled cheaper than dirt
at the dollar store
they lament the fate of contemporaries
that gather dust for years
on new book store shelves
for those comrades buried
in the catacombs of Powell’s
awaiting the stone to roll away
and awaken them.
Wail for volumes
gobsmacked into stacks
at libraries that have not
burned them as a waste of space.

Raise wails of lamentations
for dumpsters full delivered
to landfills, buried as food
for worms—book worms
come into their own
replaced by relentless flow
of ones and zeros
flickering skeletons
or former selves
on screens.

I would like to rescue them all
but I know their cries
will never go away
at least as long as I am here to hear.

Read more stellar poems in our Poetry Month Special Edition

D. Russel Micnhimer has been writing poetry for forty five years while working at a variety of jobs and traveling through much of the world pursuing his interests in the archaeology of ancient civilizations and rock art. He is author of several books on rock art, fiction and poetry including his latest collection Notes to Be Left with the Gatekeeper published by Global Fraternity of Poets which earned him the honour of Poet Laureate from that group. His latest book is called Lotus Mirage: 52 New Ghazals In English. He holds a degree from the University of Oregon and makes his home in Central Oregon with a 200 mile view of the Cascades outside his front windows for inspiration.
All Posts of D. Russel Micnhimer

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