BROKEN BOOK CASE
The tension, like arm wrestling with yourself,
by B. E. Stock
After breaking my feet and half my heart,
Has resulted in this lumber on the floor
Mingled with novels and crumbling notebooks.
I shall creep out before the thrift shop opens
And lay my offerings on a sidewalk
Littered with dirty shirts and sneakers.
Even a dirty sneaker is more prized
Than an old book, which the library
Scorns, and the store sells for a dollar.
This author, I want to explain,
Is in the marrow of my bones,
Part of the passion of my youth,
Like a pane I saw through at times,
When I barely had eyes amid the debris of decline.
Do they know what is at stake
In doing the labor of thought themselves?
No, they go as sheep for the slaughter,
Their rebellion no more than a stud
In their own cheek, submissive to a fault.
And the labor of generations of teachers
Goes for naught, the piggies to market.
Am I such a threat to you,
Mumbling about your business in the café?
The young find me adorable, they bring
My hot cocoa when I cannot get up.
They answer my questions
About their school work accurately,
But knowledge is a useless ornament,
A bit of class, a candy for the wall,
For they will not argue or risk
Or ever take a stand.
If I offered them a classic,
They would issue a response
From a workshop on symbolic objects.
But part of them would like to ask,
What is a book? And open it
Curiously, as a small child does,
When reading could be anything at all.
Copyright © 2015 by B. E. Stock.