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Jun 2016
Within the four walls of this library
sit three walls packed into the corner;
shelves, stuffed full of books with dog-eared pages
and slip-disc’d spines and fraying edges,
and a big white sign, which dangles from the ceiling
like a megabat hung on a cave mouth, sleeping and dreaming,
the word “NONFICTION” is inscribed on its countenance,
adjacent to signs shouting “MYSTERY” and “SCIENCE
FICTION” and “FANTASY” and “ROMANCE”
and a thousand other sorts of words
for myth and fabrication. But in this corner
live the rest, the et ceteras, the miscellaneous,
the kingdom of protists; for instance, care for some ethics?
Marx’s manifesto is stacked lazily beside a heap of essays by Rand;
you can practically see the two of them, shaking hands
uneasily, the will to never understand already forming
in their brains, and others yet remain;
Capote and the Clutters share shelf space
with the Mansons, hiding helter skelter behind
gnostic gospels and silent springs and a thousand
dreams for Freud to interpret (translated
from German for your convenience); nearby,
Orwell sings war songs in Catalan, accompanied
by the universe’s most elegant superstrings,
and the caged birds, singing of freedom,
harmonizing a melodious cacophony with the song
of the executioner. Butler criticizes his performance,
and she probably would have anyway, but Friedan thinks
he has a certain sort of mystique and Dawkins offers his own critique,
going on about genes and memes, extinction and delusion, but
not hallucinations—Sacks makes the distinction; let us continue
to praise famous men, and their children after them,
these naked apes, with minds so ***** that
they’re riddled with the emperors of all maladies; oh, Morris
Kinsey and Mukherjee could tell you all about these things,
maybe over lunch with Schlosser or dinner with Pollan,
minglings with Machiavelli over affairs of the state,
or affairs of space and a brief history of time; but,
if you're feeling too full to eat, or to pray, or to love,
ask Frankl what to do, let him change your life
with words from decades yore as he keeps on
his search for meaning just like every man before, at least
that's the case when these boys’ lives weren’t preoccupied
by artful war or bright and shining lies. And here,
by the holy bookend, lies some old and antiquated glossary
which lost most of its “glossy” many years ago,
for one flip through the pages will catalogue the changes
between what we thought we knew about the stars
and our bodies and doomsday as recently
as your last birthday, and all the things that everyone says
we now know that we know; speak,
memory, remember all you can
about this endless, sundry cosmos, and
the microcosms that it boasts; bury my heart,
if not at Wounded Knee, then maybe at this
library, where comprehension and speculation
find themselves in coexistence, packed into a single
point resembling the genesis, and fear and hope
take dueling forms, those of fact and mystery;
and now all that’s left to do is read,
until the end of history.
if you want to play along at home: there are 33 allusions to spot.
JT
Written by
JT  22/F/Maryland, USA
(22/F/Maryland, USA)   
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