Erasing All the Sacred Texts
Erasing all the sacred texts
one verse at a time, I rub
the pages raw to expose
the silence beneath the words.
Walden, Ulysses, Great Gatsby—
bundles of pulpy blank paper
tossed on the floor, the carcasses
indifferent as sole-less old shoes.
Already the enemy crashes
in the rooms downstairs. I’ve sworn
to leave nothing readable behind
but don’t believe in burning books
so have worked my pink eraser
to a nub. The enemy stumbles
upstairs. I expect to expire
in a clatter of rifle shots
but you appear, clutching a silver
Instant Winner lottery ticket.
We’ve won a hundred dollars
and the war has called itself off.
I mourn my ruined library:
Dante, Hemingway, Gertrude Stein.
You examine my blunt eraser
and laugh that caramel laugh
that made you a radio star
in childhood. The enemy
never invaded, you explain,
but rumors shaped like meat hooks
plumbed the dark of the public brain.
The ruined books rebuke me
like dead fish heaped on a pier.
Thank you for helping me tote them
to the dumpster. We abandon
the books and cash in the ticket,
but revealing the silence beneath
those sacred texts has changed me,
and not even a hundred dollars
can humor me back to earth.
words: William Doreski, New Hampshire (blog)
image: V. Ulea, Pennsylvania (Ulita.net)
another blueprintreview beyond-this-room poem:
the ends of maps