Everything that is left out.
Like the Saddest Story Ever Written,
Often attributed to Ernest Hemingway.
“For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”
An iceberg tip of six words.
Dive deep down and explore,
That submerged mountain of subtext.
Illuminate the ellipsis.
You probably don’t want to know,
What’s really under there.
It’s a quiet room within a place,
That used to be much quieter.
There are about fifteen of us here.
Refugees from the non-quiet part of the library,
With its dozens of overlapping conversations.
A library should not need a quiet study area;
It should be a quiet study area.
Like the libraries of my childhood,
Staffed by stern librarians,
Who would shush you,
If you spoke barely above a whisper.
But libraries are different now, I guess.
When you first walk in the door,
You are greeted by the smell of coffee,
From the cafe on the first floor.
When did they start putting cafes in libraries?
The old brick n mortars tried that gimmick.
It kept people coming in,
And staying in for longer.
It worked for a while,
Until it didn’t work.
But libraries aren’t book shops.
They are quiet areas, to study, to read.
At least they used to be.
That’s what was so appealing about them.
Allow them to visit and chat,
And text and talk,
And drink a coffee.
Then the essential libraryness is gone.
It’s not a library anymore.
I suppose death is the final answer,
To the basic math that is aging.
But one lesson we are all taught,
Is Show Your Work.
How did you get there?
What was the process?
For age is not merely a solitary number,
On an otherwise blank page.
It’s the accumulation of life.
A gathering of knowledge and experiences.
One cannot move on to the next lesson,
Until one fully understands the previous one.
But most of us do not learn,
And thus we are unprepared.
We haven’t learned this formula,
But we try to move on anyway.
New knowledge is acquired,
But old lessons are not learned.
Mistakes are carried forward,
Until we finally realize,
All the pain and frustration they cause,
Are actually the most important part of the lesson.
That the world was dark and very small,
Was the very first thing I can recall.
And the only sound that I could hear,
Was my mother’s heart, beating so near.
Then I fell down a waterfall,
And the world was not so very small.
It was the darkest, coldest day,
When summer seemed so far away.
So far away and yet so near.
Brighter each day for half a year.
Until the longest, brightest day,
When the light of summer fades away.
Around, around, the world it spins.
The winter starts and summer begins.
Around, around, we push this wheel,
Midwinter child at mother’s heel.
We make the streams and rivers run,
When winter’s gone and spring’s begun.
The Summer leaves then start to fall,
And cold and darkness covers all.
Around, around the world it spins,
As winter leaves and summer ends.
Around, around, we push this wheel.
Midsummer mother at daughter’s heel.
Pray on, everyone.
As they prey on everyone.
Ask God to make it all okay,
While they’re ripping their own flesh away.
Because God had told them what to do.
The very same God you’re praying to,
To ask for comfort and help from Him.
Should He listen to you or to them?
Dust it off,
That brain of yours.
Open up your mouth.
Clear away the junk.
Come out of the fog
Say what you really want to say.
But everyone keeps asking how you feel,
Expecting you to say, I’m fine.
And everyone keeps asking,
What you’re going to do,
Expecting you to say,
Well, I have one or two ideas.
But you have none.
You feel numb.
But that’s not important.
A little gentle deception won’t hurt.
I feel just fine.
Life is good.
I have everything figured out.
I just need you to think that I’m okay,
In order for me to be okay.
I dug a piece of ruby red glass out of the ground,
Pulled it up with the dead twigs of last year’s peony flowers.
It was intertwined with them, as if they were holding on to it.
Keeping a little treasure for their very own.
Like arrowheads in the Southwestern United States,
Such finds are fairly common around here.
Not too far from Nybro, home of Kosta Boda.
Here in the Kingdom of Crystal.
Yes, it’s really called that.
It’s hard to tell what this piece was meant to be.
Maybe a handle of some kind.
It’s curved and perfectly smooth on one side,
Sharp and jagged on the other.
This little town used to have its own glass workshop,
But it shut down many years ago.
No trace of it left now.
Apart from little artifacts like these.
It was probably part of a failed piece,
Cast into a waste pile.
A crystal midden, redistributed by bulldozers.
The little broken treasures lost,
Until dug out of backyard flowerbeds.