Thursday, March 19, 2009

"In the Bookstore"

I went down to the bookstore this evening
and found myself in the poetry section.
But for every thin book of poems
there was a thick biography of the poet
and an even thicker book
by someone who's supposed to know
explaining what the poet
is supposed to've said and why he didn't.
So you don't have to waste your time
on the best the writer could do,
the words he fought the darkness and himself for,
the unequal battle with beauty.
Instead you can read comfortably
about the worst the writer could do:
the mess he made of his life,
how he fought with his family,
cheated on his lovers, didn't pay his debts
and not only drank too much
but all the stupid things
he ever said to the bartender
just before getting 86'd will be printed for you
and they're just as stupid
as the things everyone says just before getting 86'd.
The books explaining the poet
are themselves inexplicable.
The students who have to read them
cheat.
I left the poetry section
thinking about burning the bookstore down.
Some of a poet's work comes from his life, ok.
But most of a poet's work comes
in spite of his life, in spite of everything,
even in spite of bookstores.
So I went to the next section
and bought a murder mystery but I haven't read it yet.
I find I don't want to know who done it
and why;
I want to do it myself.

Julia Vinograd

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