Searching for a Cure for Closed Books



My books squat
in a burgeoning pile,
stratum upon dusty stratum,
each full of words wise
though silent,
save for the imagined
‘tsk’ my mind’s ear absorbs
with crimson shame.

I view them as a tourist
walking past pictures
of le Tour Eifel
or la Torre di Pisa,
glimpsing their images
from the corner of my eye
but never scaling their heights.
Even if that height
barely brushes my knee.

And there lies the blue and
fallow field of my e-reader,
within which I occasionally
climb stunted virtual trees.
Why do I no longer consume
the artfully written word?
Have I lost my appetite,
or am I waiting without recipe
to cook up something
even I would read?

Quickly dashed off poem of sorts inspired by this week’s prompt from Annie Fuller and her Writing Outside the Lines challenge. In this case, it is this quote from the great Mary Oliver (who I DO read):

“I read my books with diligence, and mounting skill, and gathering certainty. I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.”

Once I read on a level akin to respiration or eating, to sustain my life. Today, for reasons I cannot parse, I’ve become an asthmatic anorexic of the written word. I need a cure and I’ve yet to heal myself.

2 thoughts on “Searching for a Cure for Closed Books

  1. I too was a literary anorexic (great way to describe) for a long time…until I concluded I had to read to save myself from potentially fatal despair. Thankfully, the cure worked. Still reading…now writing.

    • I do not know what changed in my feral little brain to make reading such a chore. As a kid, reading was like respiration to me. I’m still reading things, my need to know overwhelming my malady, but literature, fiction rebuffs me every time I crack open a new door to some author’s opus. It’s quite depressing to a guy who doesn’t need the added impetus to commune with the black beast.

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