you wake up beside your old love

Some of you are so sad it makes us want to take it all back! Some of you are also pretty confused and furious. The rest of you are loving this maniac of a sale. The bookstore is retiring for the same reasons that humans retire. Which makes sense, I guess, since it’s owned and operated by humans, who have decided to retire. We want to make the next month or so a celebration and not a mourning, but those of you who manage to relay, between gulps of air, while weeping into my neck, how deeply sad you are… well, there isn’t anything adequate to say, except to continue hugging you. Yes, this was the only independent bookstore around for many miles, and yes it was a truly magical place and though it was irreplaceable, you mustn’t ever forget that where there is great need, it will always be met in one way or another. Don’t lose hope now, don’t give in just yet and forgo a longer drive in favor of clicking a button. Hold on just a little longer.

In the meantime, it is still Poetry Month and I, for one, am glad about that. Here’s a poem for today.

by Eleanor Lerman

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to 
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a 
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have 
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman 
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night, the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological 
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old 
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it 
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the 
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you 
were born at a good time. Because you were able 
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And 
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland, 
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel, 
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.


Filed under Poetry Month 2012

2 responses to “you wake up beside your old love

  1. Julie von Zerneck

    That was utterly beautiful and made me cry my eyes out…. what ever that means… now, I don’t have any eyes? …. My eyes are hanging down and out? … Or have I just wept so deeply that my eyes need to be closed up for a while?

  2. Pingback: Portrait of a Bookstore to close on Tujunga Avenue |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s