Tuesday, April 29, 2014

poem of the day 04.29.14

banned books

the bookstore
has a huge display of banned books

bookstores are always
proud of themselves in this way

but these displays rarely attract the intellectually curious

instead they attract people like this woman
who before she found the display
had been screaming into her phone
about frozen yogurt and the world trade center memorial

screaming across the book store to her idiot kids
as if they were at a yankees game

now she has them all gathered here
in this hallowed place of american folly
to thumb through illicit literature

oh my god, she says
i can’t believe books are banned in america
that just doesn’t seem like it would happen here

i’ll bet they were banned in other countries
her daughter offers

they all nod

the bookstore has placards up
telling the story of each banned book

but these patriots aren’t reading those

it’s general, uninformed assumption time
here in the good old u.s.a.

the mother holds up a copy of lowry’s the giver
she looks at her son in earnest
well, this must be why they didn’t have you read it this year

the mother continues scanning the display

she picks up a joyce then a toni morrison
she picks up some steinbeck and james baldwin
then puts them down just as quickly

well, they must’ve had their reasons, she tells her kids
after all, the giver, is a pretty sad story
and our leaders probably didn’t want
to depress any of you with it

they all nod again
then they walk away without buying anything

leaving the hemingways and hellers
the orwells, huxleys, and alice walkers
to duke it out for infamy

and those of us left lingering around
to fear for the future of this infant nation.


No comments: