Sunday, October 03, 2004


Book marks

between pages 232 and 233
in this Moviegoer, by Walker Percy,
there is a piece of paper, folded three times,
right before Binx, in stage whisper, speaks,

"There is only one thing I can do: listen to people, see how they stick themselves into the world, hand them along a ways in their dark journey and be handed along, and for good and selfish reasons. It only remains to decide whether this vocation is best pursued in a service station or--"

stuck there by some Other Reader,
perhaps the one who wrote the name
"Browning" on page 91, or "both luna"
on 193, circling "You're like me,"

it might have been the one who left
a smudge on 218, who wrote on page
22, at an angle of forty-five degrees
the word "menage"--nothing else,

who underlined (page 31) "Uncle Jules
is the only man I know whose victory
in the world is total and unqualified"
and "the City of Man is so pleasant."

"Not in a thousand years could I explain it to Uncle Jules, but it is no small thing for me to make a trip, travel hundreds of miles across the country by night to a strange place and come out where there is a different smell in the air and people have a different way of sticking themselves into the world."

the book is heavy by the end
with all the weight of long ago,
burdened by the "Date Due" labels
with an "X" on all but one,

the ponderous sticker that declares
"3 1151 02157 7782," the edges
seared, stamped, possessed, by
"Milton S. Eisenhower Library."

when the cover was replaced
with a gray and bumpy binding,
this paper, left by Someone else,
was glued by chance into the spine.

this paper, signed by a machine,
"Charles Simpson"--"CS:bbn"--
with letter-head in seriffed caps,
foresees the end of the beginning:

"By now you ought to have received your first issue of Architectural Digest. We hope you've had a chance to browse through it, to let your eye and imagination wander unhurriedly through the dazzling environments people have created for themselves. But as you enjoy the wide variety of fascinating features and articles on interiors, gardening, art, antiques, and celebrity lifestyles in upcoming issues, please don't overlook the matter of your subscription payment."

between 98 and 99, I leave my mark:
a third of a postcard, Sienese, depicting
a sibyl, with sandaled feet, and a dog who
gazes off the mark, and on the back,

"Printed In Italy," "Riproduzione Vi ...",
my scissored card might as well be
stitched there by specificity,
handed along, stuck in the world,
a clue in an Other Reader's search.

Collective Improvisation:

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