Friday, July 18, 2014

A Poem about The Writing in The Margins


It is the fishhook of a question mark,
the heavy lead underline like a firm nod,
the insightful reminder
It is catching the tide of a stranger’s floral
perfume on the morning subway,
when I see the dreamlike contour of
some drowsy undergraduate
diagonal over Waiting for Godot, plowing
the pages with a pencil scarred by many teeth.
Perhaps it is the grandmother
who walks her terrier around the library,
and during such a daily circuit
made a lavender note
of a particularly perplexing
response, and the single question
mark is left to me
as a reminder that not all questions
will be answered.
Sometimes, while passing by
the flaking tenement walls
behind the library, I think
that the impressive dent
at the top of the spine
must have been some raging husband
throwing the book across the room
while screaming ARE WE HAPPY
at his wilting orchid of a bride.
I am the last stop on the conveyer belt,
a corridor haunted by many voices, as I
wonder if the wrinkled circle on the final page
was cream of celery or a tear.


1. This was actually inspired by marginalia I found while reading Waiting for Godot.
2. This is also loosely inspired by "Marginalia" by Billy Collins. Also The Halfblood Prince.

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