Just a little stream of consciousness for an early Thursday evening.
Bibliophage: I have them with a crepe in the morning. Most of you wouldn’t believe I can cook a crepe, the skinny girl of the pancake family. She’s wispy, but she sweats in a jacket. I have them as a side dish, with tea in the evening. A spot of butter on the folded corner and a lick of my thumb to turn the page. They taste sweet mostly, sometimes moist depending on how rich the publisher felt. Words swallow like they sound, a knickerbocker like a large pill, a horse pill. Trickle, like homemade syrup, the goose of preserves and Dallience, would make an old man withered by memory and loss of movement speak in soliloquy. Shakespeare through the nursing home, drunk on one night, after class walking home, hearing the pat of his shoes against the brick and the humming of someone soft nearby. It might be slightly raining, but it feels like honey breath and the trees are still in their whispering, sure that no one can hear their secrets, but the girl walking just ahead is nodding in agreement and when she turns to look just below her shoulder, the streetlamp catches her rosed cheeks. Although she isn’t crying, she could be. She could be wearing gloves. She could be licking icing off her fingertips in a kitchen in the midwest, but because he is here, his head stuffed with ancient history and long-hand notes, she quarter smiles and nudges her cheek slightly against the lump of her arm, the corner of her lips leaving adjectives on the slope.
Bibliolestes: We are the chimney sweeps of libraries, the ones left-over hidden under a desk when the librarians turn the lights out. Some people pocket underwear, some lipstick in their purse. But my coat is inflamed with pages. I’ll roar it open on the block and sell each word to those on the streets. They will expect watches and shiny gold. People of the poor and humble want so badly to be the rich and famous, they must tear at the pages. Tear in every sense of the word, every double meaning. Shine a flashlight so it flares as a spotlight in the dark and all of these for the simple prologue, the last sentence, someone’s last breath. Because isn’t that what a book is, the death of something in another human being, or is it the life. I will keep the smallest in a shirt pocket, hide the medium journals in the hood of her bra, tuck paperbacks into my socks, my sock drawer, the hip of my jeans. I’ll put them any place they will stay without too much sweat. Steal double in winter, wait for the sun to go down. Trail paper pages out of the bathroom, watch curiosities pick them up and try to find meaning in the second paragraph.
Bibliolater: I am there before sun up. On my knees, leaving the wrinkles of my pants indented in parts of my skin. I touch my forehead to the wood. They are piled, mounted, a few of the pages stained, but in perfect condition. I want to lean over and smell them, a burnt house cleaned to be next to Godliness. Tomorrow, I will bring a duster. Wear words around my neck, on my fingers. Make the king kiss the alphabet of my pinky. People will hear sentences from the rooves, flyers from pages written in translation, protests against burnings and rippings. These are not jeans. These are sacred. I will sweep the quick feathers over the covers and feel the indents of the letters on their bridge. The spines will touch, I will make them become affectionate, love one another. I will bow to their hearts beating like a fist in the stiff pages. Here where the world is raised up.
Bibliophobe: They’re being used as decorations. People expect me to rest my feet on them, propped upon the coffee table. There are Little Free Libraries posted in front of businesses that I used to populate. People are reading them on buses, for goodness sake. Benches, movie theaters during previews, with a flashlight, next to a resting cat, on a picnic, under blankets. People are building forts dedicated to the silence. Someone, somewhere is doing yoga in their honor, these despicable things. The actors will not say MacBeth, even off stage, these are the things that shall not be named. Categorized for people by their genre; horror, fantasy, textbooks, poetry, anthologies, romance, literary. Literary is the worst, those lovers of language, those people who hold the sentence delicately in their palm. Close enough to sniff the “brilliance.” These lovers, these people who are so inadequate in their own life that they have to live others. These girls who hold characters in their purse. These schizophrenic types, talking to Ms. Austen on the train, talking her into or out of Darcy. I refuse to have them even in digital in my house. We should nail them down and never open, never turn, never let the spells out.
Biblioriptos: That’s right. I’m the dinosaur of bookishness. The short arms, long tailed one who’s been picked on throughout middle school, reading in the potty stall alone. My only friends between the white sheets. The gold edged harm of them bleeding into my dreams. I just get so excited I can’t hold them anymore. They’re yelling, or they’re silent. They never feel alone because they’re stuffed full with friends who have different views and different ways to wrap the plot around their bonnets and their swords. I will sharpen their swords, help them fight a steep battle. I am making them stronger, slamming them against library walls, dropping them on the floor in piles so they can communicate even easier with one another. They lean against each other in castle stacks of my house and when they get to talking too much, those women too chatty, I pick them up to shut them up. You would too if you heard them all day.
Bibliomaniac: The yellow wallpaper is peeling and behind it just words.
Bibliognoste: She will never get her hands on this one, that swollen granddaughter, thick with another baby. It will be sent to museums, first edition, inscribed by the author, his firm hand pressing hard with the pen. This will last hundreds of years under the right glass. If anyone asks I will pretend to have sent it to the Library of Congress. It is tucked away between documents that haven’t been opened since before there was a Congress for books. This book will go where all the confidence goes to die.
They discovered it in a clove of bookstores in Portland. It was hidden between a guide on growing vegetables and a fat stack of musical reference sheets. The sheets were not bound, just shoved together at odd angles. This was the “R” section which had nothing to do with anything. This bookstore had arcs of books, it was made of books. Someone could sell this at auction, go on Antique Roadshow and say they found it in their great-grandmother’s attic around the old dresses, burnt tights, and spiders. There may be a tennis racket in the same box, but no balls. They could say they’re from Tennessee and hoping that a copy from 1878 would be worth more than the average cost of books. Since everyone knows that books are dying and my mind is a useless one for the new world. This is the world Bradbury talked about, computers in the spectacles of people’s eyes. No, this one, this one will stay below glass in the Country Bookshop. The bookmark pocked inside, an old Valentines card from a flea market with the handwriting of a woman who wrote many letters, they will keep. They will place it in plastic and give it to a future daughter, they’re living the legacy, slowly, but sure.
Biblioclast: “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” (Bradbury). I can see the fire in the gloss of their helmets, and it must be glowing back in the wet of my eye.
Bibliotaphe: The Smeagol of literature.