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god bless our troops, especially the snipers.

February 18, 2009

Stacey’s Bookstore is closing.  I thought it was just some bookstore next to where I work, but apparently its been in business for 80 years, at least according to the store closing signs in the front window where the discounts are rising weekly, currently holding at 40% off of all books.  It doesn’t seem so sad really about the store itself.  They’ve had a good run after all.  What is a little heartbreaking is all those homeless books: shelves slowly emptying week by week never to be restocked.  David Sedaris fell over on The Best American Sports Writing 2008.  The staff has made little display collections of their favorite books, and it’s a valiant effort, but you can’t help but to think that these are second string favorites.  Like the scruffier puppies at the shelter, the ones that have an obnoxious bark, and the old dogs that are harder to imagine loving.  These books are the 15-year-olds at the orphanage, not to say that no one is adopting, because they are. I watch two girls flip through the poetry collections, Lawrence Ferlinghetti is still there and Sylvia Plath, some essays by Mark Twain, but the Charles Simic that I wanted is gone.  These girls are picking hastily over the poems, and I can’t help but think, where were you when poetry was full-priced?  When it could have really used your interest.  How long before someone finally takes The Collected Works of Kenneth Koch?  50%? 60? 

I turn away from the ruins of the poetry section to that other bastion of literary non-fiction, the essay collections.  Of course one of the few remaining titles is something called, Why Poetry Matters.  It’s possible we’ll never find out unless someone breaks at 80% suddenly consumed with some wild poetic desire to know poetry does matter. 

I leave the store empty handed, but with three novels stuffed in my bag, the only sale I can understand is one marked “free.” Just kidding mom, seriously I have a few “things” but stealing is not one of them.  I do decide to wait until there is one book left, and that I will buy that book.  I will take home the kitten with worms whose gray fur is falling out in soft tufts.  I know he’ll love me more than any of the others.  

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kent McMIllan permalink
    February 18, 2009 5:58 am

    I turn away from the ruins of the poetry section to that other bastion of literary non-fiction, the essay collections. Of course one of the few remaining titles is something called, Why Poetry Matters.

    That is, of course, truly droll. A Russian woman named Sabina Spielrein once asked an odd and slightly crazy question: whether destruction was the cause of creation. A couple of years ago, it was the sort of question to which a lengthy and plausible answer in the affirmative might win a comfy armchair at some right-wing institute where destruction was the order of business.

    I am myself not a great fan of destruction, but I admire anyone who is willing to look for such momentary grace as you have reported among the ruins.

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