Archive for February, 2008

Shelf Talkers

February 19, 2008

Enticed by handwriting samples
scratches and loops
of idiosyncratic enthusiasm
cramped onto three by fives,
less than a summary
more than an endorsement,
caught slightly under the book
then folded down
to overhang the shelf below.

Each invitation
an urgent note passed in class
a message in a bottle
a heiroglyph of literary rapture.
This one will quench your yearning,
this one will reinvent your world view.
If you only read one more book in your life
it should be this one.

I want to dress in this adjectival indulgence
as though it were already part of my wardrobe,
draped from my shoulders
dangling from my ears
tucked into my belt
gathered into my skirt:
“witty and engaging”,
“infused with wonder”
“a superb storyteller with insight into the human condition”
“offers heartache and humor, hope and healing”

but never that ninth circle of faint praise hell
“a damn good read”.

I want to stalk each of these blurbers home.
Surely this magnitude of praise transcends
mere commercial intention.
Do gangs of convenience foods slouch on their shelves?
Are their flower beds mulched?
Kincaide or Dali hanging from their walls?
I will raid their bookshelves
read their collections as anonymously
as I have trusted their recommendations.
Absorb not just their lives
but all the lives of all the characters
they have fallen so intimately in love with.
Sluice their earl gray tea between my teeth,
pet their cat on my lap
and vicariously live their lives
vicariously living lives worth living.

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