378 comments, 342 on me, 1 contests, 0 columns, joined May 14, 2009
Visited on May 22 03:24 AM
I first realised I had a problem when I was 14.
My borrowing rights were suspended due to the non-returning of poetry books at every library in the local area in which I lived.
Things became desperate. I would return to these libraries, head held low like an outlaw re-entering a crime scene. I would feign studying and place smaller poetry anthologies into larger texts, like those focused on Interior Design. I would sit and learn poems by rote so that the words could travel with me wherever I went.
After awhile, that wasn’t enough. I needed to see the poems prancing before me, touch the worn pages and smell the musty scent of fermented words, taunting me with the definite promise of intoxication.
I took to the 'Large Print' section, rapidly tearing poems from texts, knowing the traffic through these aisles would be low and the vision of readers’, lower.
On busy days, I would take the books into the toilet with me. I would repeatedly flush the toilet and make all sorts of sounds in an effort to cloud the noise. After awhile I became more daring and realised that the sound of pages being torn wasn’t so far removed from half the noises I was privy to when frequenting public restrooms. I would smile as I transformed the idiom ‘let rip’ into something literal.
I would turn the pages into scrolls and find secret spaces for them-my purse, the crevice under the windowsill, under mattresses, between clothes like scented sachets. After awhile, the pages fell apart or went missing and I would return to the library searching for the same poems. I found the anthologies, half expecting the pages I tore out to have grown back- like when you open the fridge late at night at regular intervals expecting something new to be on the shelves.
They never did.
I felt guilty, still do...for having ruined any chance of others who may have stumbled across these books, to be swept off their feet.
Although those specific pages didn’t grow back, it planted the seed needed for my own poetic journey. I am now 30. I have a clean library record and haven’t torn poems from books in well over a decade. As you can see, now I even write my own poetry...in digital form, so you can’t rip the pages out and use it as toilet paper!
I have limited poems on AP, for current work visit my blog: