Portrait of a Bookstore bids a fond farewell

Dear Treasured Friends and Customers,

After 26 glorious years, 14 of them spent happily inside Aroma Café, Portrait of a Bookstore is gracefully retiring. How could we say goodbye after 26 years of such success? In the words of Orson Welles, “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” This is our happy ending. Our official closing date is May 17, 2012.

On May 17, 1986, Julie and Frank von Zerneck, along with their children Danielle and Frank, Jr.,  gave birth to this bookstore, which grew to be a haven, a home-away-from-home, for so many members of this community. One of the smallest bookstores in the world, “small but mighty,” as we’ve always been called, our selection of books was impeccably curated, worthy of the praise of any astute bibliophile. Our gift shelves were always laden with the best greeting cards in town, beautiful toys, jewelry, gifts for the home, gifts for readers and writers, gifts for the heart and soul, even gifts for people who had no more use for gifts. Each of these was chosen with the utmost care, with our beloved customers’ tastes and needs in mind. “Everyone who walks in through that door is a guest in our home,” has, for all these years, been Julie’s mantra. And, indeed, this was our home and you have been our family.

Over the years, we have watched local writers work in our garden on their manuscripts, get published and arrive on bestseller lists. We have watched babies come into the world, learn to read in our children’s nook and grow up to start families of their own. We have cherished every moment of our time in this community. Surrounded by love, support and inspiration for the last 14 years inside Aroma Café, we have loved, most of all, being here to listen to each person passing through share the details of their lives with us. Each of you has been incredibly special to us. We will remember forever and ever the years that we were blessed enough to live at 4360 Tujunga Avenue.

Thank you, each and every one of you, for the years, the memories and the love.

- Julie and Frank von Zerneck, Danielle von Zerneck, Frank von Zerneck, Jr., Lucia Silva, Aida Chaldranyan, BJ Hegedus, Donna DeLacy, Lilly Holden, Jane Goe, and the rest of the POAB Staff

 

Every wonderful thing in our store will be 50% off  starting April 16.

The hugs will be free.

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none of these will bring disaster

by Elizabeth Bishop
from The Complete Poems 1927-1979
 
 
 

 
One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant 
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

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having drunk from the gash of sunset

Be Near Me
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
translated by Naomi Lazard

Be near me now,
My tormenter, my love, be near me—
At this hour when night comes down,
When, having drunk from the gash of sunset, darkness comes
With the balm of musk in its hands, its diamond lancets,
When it comes with cries of lamentation,
                                             with laughter with songs;
Its blue-gray anklets of pain clinking with every step.
At this hour when hearts, deep in their hiding places,
Have begun to hope once more, when they start their vigil
For hands still enfolded in sleeves;
When wine being poured makes the sound
                                             of inconsolable children
                      who, though you try with all your heart,
                                             cannot be soothed.
When whatever you want to do cannot be done,
When nothing is of any use;
—At this hour when night comes down,
When night comes, dragging its long face,
                                             dressed in mourning,
Be with me,
My tormenter, my love, be near me.




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your half of the milk

 

Milk Division

I duct-tape a border down the middle

Of every room—my side, your side—

So I won’t be able to watch the clock

And you won’t be able to see the mirror

While you dress each morning, and I’ll

Have to lean across the plants to tell you

What shoes you’re wearing with what hat.

It’s a good system. If your toes wander

Onto my side of the bed, I’ll keep them

And raise them as my own, and one day

You’ll come home early and you’ll catch me

With your half of the milk. This is all

In the future. Goddamn, you’ll say,

We should have tried this years ago.

 by Josh Bell

from no planets strike

April is Poetry Month. We’re celebrating here with a poem a day, by giving out poems like candy when you visit us, and discounting all poetry books by 10%. Because reading poetry is a fairly acceptable form of social deviance. And we’re all about that.

 

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I wonder if They bore it long

I measure every Grief I meet (561)
by Emily Dickinson 

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, eyes – 
I wonder if It weighs like Mine – 
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long – 
Or did it just begin – 
I could not tell the Date of Mine – 
It feels so old a pain – 

I wonder if it hurts to live – 
And if They have to try – 
And whether – could They choose between – 
It would not be – to die – 

I note that Some – gone patient long – 
At length, renew their smile –  
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil – 

I wonder if when Years have piled –  
Some Thousands – on the Harm –  
That hurt them early – such a lapse
Could give them any Balm –  

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve – 
Enlightened to a larger Pain –  
In Contrast with the Love –  

The Grieved – are many – I am told –  
There is the various Cause –  
Death – is but one – and comes but once –  
And only nails the eyes –  

There's Grief of Want – and grief of Cold –  
A sort they call "Despair" –  
There's Banishment from native Eyes – 
In sight of Native Air –  

And though I may not guess the kind –  
Correctly – yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary –  

To note the fashions – of the Cross –  
And how they're mostly worn –  
Still fascinated to presume
That Some – are like my own – 


April is Poetry Month. We’re celebrating here with a poem a day, by giving out poems like candy when you visit us, and discounting all poetry books by 10%. Because reading poetry is a fairly acceptable form of social deviance. And we’re all about that.

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the wooden shoe that sailed the sky

Wynken, Blynken and Nod
by Eugene Field

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe,
Sailed on a river of crystal light
Into a sea of dew.
“Where are you going, what do you wish?”
The old moon asked the three.
“We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in this beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we,”
Said Wynken,
Blynken,
and Nod.

The old moon laughed and he sang a song,
And they rocked in the wooden shoe;
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew;
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in the beautiful sea.
“Now cast your nets wherever you wish
For never afraid are we,”
So cried the stars to the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
and Nod.

All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam,-
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe
Bringing the fishermen home.
‘Twas all so pretty a sail, it seemed
As if it could not be;
And some folks thought ’twas a dream they’d dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea;
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
and Nod.

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one’s trundle-bed;
So close your eyes while Mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be;
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three:
Wynken,
Blynken,
and Nod.

April is Poetry Month. We’re celebrating here with a poem a day, by giving out poems like candy when you visit us, and discounting all poetry books by 10%. Because reading poetry is a fairly acceptable form of social deviance. And we’re all about that.

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gift

This is one of my most favorite poems.

 Gift

       You tell me that silence
       is nearer to peace than poems
       but if for my gift
       I brought you silence
       (for I know silence)
       you would say
This is not silence
this is another poem
       and you would hand it back to me.

by Leonard Cohen

you can find it in Poems and Songs from Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series, at your favorite independent bookstore, this one.

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