Tuesday, June 11, 2013

reading in libraries

it's a habit i developed when i was in school.  instead of doing homework or attending class the lure of the stacks would draw me in.  often i find i'm the only one standing in the rows rabidly scanning the spines of books.  when i found one i'd open it up and read standing right there in stacks.  often it is a book of poetry in my hands.  i would read from back to front last page first as if it were a japanese book.  i read magazines like that too.  discovery upon discovery made in libraries pulling one lovely tome after another.  i'm on display of a sort doing a private act, reading, in public.  the delight of holding a book in hand and smelling the pages.  sometimes the eye simply scans the text letting the mind pick random words that become almost a totem.  a certain sense develops and meaning is made from the randomly scanned words as i flip the pages.  memories are made too.  i recall finding letters to lorca by jack spicer upon pure chance.  i remember taking a book by jackson mac low off the shelf opening it up and marvelling at the compositions so strange and startling.  i recall reading a book of interviews by ted berrigan and feeling like i just snorted a few lines of speed myself.  i remember getting annoyed at a girl at the next table over because she wouldn't stop talking as i was trying to read back issues of sulfer.  the habit never left me.  i make pilgrimages to the central library a few blocks from work.  i enjoy the silence of the stacks.  the library is shelter to street people.  the library is often host to political events.  i remember asking to see mary oppen's meaning a life in the special collections room and having to wear white gloves to read the book.  i do still stand in the middle of the stacks with a book in hand and reading last page to first flipping the pages sometimes and  scanning the text for the odd word that will make a meaning of its own.    


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