The madness of reading (a poem)
Your madness is running free,
Book to book, epilogues to prologues,
Trickling along the spines of golden anniversary editions,
And author’s side notes.
Writings from here and there, from far across foreign seas
From across colonial roads and archipelago islands.
‘One of a kind’ you say, ‘the voice of the generation’ you remark,
Your eyes glaze over the ‘NY times bestseller’ gildings,
Only to realize that such gilding is stamped upon millions.
You read about wronged homosapiens, about attributed beasts of this earth
In each page you squeal that this book ‘is your best yet!’
A dozen past books smile at the same remark being thrown to them.
Each passing year you run around marking all that you are ‘dying to read’
Only to release that longing like a caged bird fluttering its wings
In anticipation of de-caged flights.
You read words from aisles which are remotest to the extreme,
where lights do not reach, let alone publication
You pick their pages and put them in your ‘Non-fiction November’ bookstacks,
Again squealing about your self-thrusted ‘diversity’
Every other peeking cover in shiny bookseller’s dens promise to be:
‘Nothing like you have ever read’
Your mind takes you back to several such eager musings
When you were twenty and chasing all things transitory.
In brave indomitable zeal you try to read more and more,
Of men white, brown and yellow,
Of slums and skyscrapers, of fluorescent grasslands and 90’s cafes
More and more and more,
Books stay and move on like guests of one-night,
For whom you’ve hastily cleared the guest-room only that morning
replaced the wilted flowers with plastic roses,
and sprayed fresheners to dissipate all that is dingy.
As the morning creeps near, as dawn stealthily steals the sky
You arrive at the doorstep of your guest
Yanking the guest out as quickly (but ceremoniously you can) out of the room,
Making space for another guest, another ‘marvelous’ book-in-waiting.
Outside of this madness, fresh gloom turns into tiresome bloom
And then back into gloomy spasms, silently phase by phase
Away from the ‘next-best-release’ and yet another ‘modern classic’
In drenching claims to make you empathize better and understand better
You read on and on, pages after pages, readathons to be won
But all that you read about,
happens right next to you in uncomfortably close vicinity
But you, my dear, don’t cast an eye.
You read on and on,
spicing your tongue with congratulatory ‘taste in reading’
Overlooking what’s around,
But mostly just glaring yonder at far,
More, more, and more.