Can you beat the feeling of buying a new book you’re looking forward to reading? I don’t care what the date is, it’s like Christmas morning.
Better than Christmas morning, even, because you don’t have to put up with all the people and the noise and the obligations (and can you think of three more lethal things for reading?).
And not only is the new book good for you, it’s good for the author, who—unless he’s Dan Brown—is not making much on this writing and appreciates every little royalty he can get. (On this count, I speak from first-hand knowledge.)
Me, I like to look the new book over, feel it front and back, sniff a riff of pages. Oh, yeah. Only then do I turn into it slowly, looking at the colophon, dedication page, epigraph, acknowledgments, table of contents, etc.
And when it comes to a new book of poetry, when I’m done teasing myself with a little anticipation, I read the first poem—the warm-up, the promise of things to come–slowly. Then again. And then, because it’s a magical number, a third time.
Anyway, the first poem. Take a look:
by George Bilgere
I’m grateful to the camera for reaching out
sixty years ago and putting a stop
to time, if only for the 1/125th of a second,
so that my father and I can sit a little longer
in the nifty white convertible he’s just bought
and driven home to take me for a spin.
I’m five years old, and taking in
what the camera can’t: perfume of seat leather,
my dad’s Chesterfield, and the lilt
of Vitalis in the air as he slips
the little beauty into first, eases out
the clutch, and heads off to be dead
by the end of the year, his liver
finally throwing in the towel.
We smiled as the shutter clicked,
giving the film its sweet slice of light,
and my mother waved and went back into the dark
part of life that doesn’t get its picture taken.
There. See what I mean? New book. Smooth page. Sweet poem with more to follow. All you need do is find your favorite place to read. You know. Away from people, noise, and Christmas morning.
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