Bookstore Poem #667. Lists

Strange, the thoughts that come to me at the bookstore…

He covered every conceivable surface
with lists, on

yellow legal pads
the backs of envelopes
the backs of receipts
the margins of the daily paper
scraps of paper torn off of junk mail
and Post-Its

Ah, the Post-Its!

An entire section of wall
between bathroom and living room

The books on the coffee table
the CDs stacked next to the stereo

Sometimes Post-Its on Post-Its between Post-Its

Some lists
were not so simple—

List items had annotations
which had annotations
what had their own annotations

Some lists
transformed into objects of art
with their own logic
multilayered and manic
like the pen strokes
they sought to contain

As the layers deepened and thickened
the point would fall into the cracks
leaving finer details
and fleeting observations
to jostle for position

Some lists
came with soundtracks or playlists
or a list of showtimes
from the Friday paper—
associations as likely to confuse
as to inform

In the end, there might be
only a feeling
one couldn’t shake

In the end, the madness
counted out in

grains from the capsule
and overdraft fees

a shopping cart
filled with lists and obsessions
and every crack in the system
stuffed into envelopes, books, and boxes

a hallway filled with screams
from the apartment
at the end of the hall

A hasty retreat
and then silence

and the obituary

Sometimes writing won’t save you

(19 August 2019)

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