blur book stack books bookshelves

Photo by Janko Ferlic on


The books I know I don’t have time to read
The covers I took a picture of
In case I could read it later
Maybe if I was locked up in the bookstore at night
Maybe if I took a sabbatical year

The books I pluck and open like a fruit
To see inside
To taste a sentence, a feel, a spark of the author’s mind
An idea, an image,
The first sentence, the last

Best is to be in the bookstore
Usually a Saturday morning
Minutes stolen from the week-end
Sun sparks, espresso smell lingering
Staff picks
Every time, each visit
I envision, I imagine
What it would be to read the book

Doing math in the bookstore:
So many hours spent writing
So many hours needed to read
Each book its time and space
Each book a life, an era, a continent
Each book a daybed, an afternoon sofa
Multiplied by the rows of books
By authors, by sections
So many hours per square feet

Reading minutes stolen from a pot of rice waiting to boil
Hours stolen from a job-week
Guilty mental-health day
Time before children, time before dinner

Agatha Christie on an October day
Sweater weather, Harvard square strewn with orange leaves
Near Halloween,
Walking along Massachusetts Avenue

Reading in the Boston T
From stop to stop, screech to screech
The books read from cover to cover
The book you take on vacation
The book you read on the way home

Reading by the light in the window
Curled up on the sofa in the first days of spring
Or fall, or summer, or winter
By the light of the night table
By the ceiling light of the airplane
By the flashlight under the sheet in bed
In a tent on an air mattress that smells like rubber
In the passenger seat until you get seasick
In a waiting room at the dentist’s, the doctor’s
In a train on an hour-long trip

Titles in the transient book of Must read one day:
The Last train to London
The Dishwasher
A Primer for Forgetting
The Other End of the Line
Improv for Writers
The Source for Self Regard
What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About
And last but not least
Happy Cat, Happy You

All teasers like the cashmere sweaters
That parade on my computer screen at work
That scream Buy me! Now!
And I know I can’t and won’t buy

The books I want to read
And for some, answer in kind
Answer the kind writer who
Took so many hours to tell his or her story
And wouldn’t it be nice and polite
To return the favor
A sort of correspondence of writers
A book for a book

But all the books of the past
That I couldn’t wait to buy
Are now languishing on my nightstand
Or dream of the day when

The book you take to bed
For a few pages until the weight of the day
Shuts down the eyelids.


7 thoughts on “THE BOOKS I WON’T READ

    • Merci Carnets. Alors, comme je voulais une réponse spirituelle, j’ai trouvé ceci: “L’imagination a le droit de se griser à l’ombre de l’arbre dont elle fait une forêt” Carl Kraux, ou alors : “Penser, c’est chercher des clairières dans une forêt.” de Jules Renard. Le fameux renard. Mais ce qui m’intrigue le plus c’est la vieille question de l’arbre qui tombe dans la forêt, et s’il tombe vraiment si personne ne l’entend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • je ne connais par Carl Kraux (vais me renseigner). Pour une fois, je contredirais Renard ; pour moi, “penser, c’est chercher des arbres dans une forêt” : ils sont là, évidents même si on les voit pas, et sans aucun besoin de nous, alors que nous avons besoin désespérément de les reconnaître (ne serait ce que pour ne pas les prendre en pleine poire en marchant)


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