Category Archives: poem about books

This poem written over two years ago and edited a bit today seems to fulfill the requirements of today’s prompt word. As I look at those who have already read it, I see only a few familiar faces. (Hi, Marilyn) so I’ll risk running it by again. (The prompt word today was mystery.)

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown



The fresh bookstore smell of them,
bending the pages to crack the spine,
notes scribbled in the margins,
hearts with initials on the flyleaf,
something to loan or to wrap for a gift,
something propped up on the bathtub edge,
it’s paper sprinkled with drops–
pages wrinkled into a Braille memory–
that rainstorm run through,
how he put it in his back pocket.

Poetry touched by fingers.
Single words met by lips.
Words pored over by candlelight or flashlight
in a sleeping bag or in a hut with no electricity.
Books pushed into backpacks
and under table legs for leveling.

Paper that soaked up
the oil from fingers
of the reader
consuming popcorn
or chocolate chip cookies
in lieu of the romance on the pages–
finger food served with brain food.
Passions wrapped in paper and ink–
the allure of a book and the tactile comfort.
The soul of a…

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Plucked from Line––5 Poems Stolen from Ginsberg: NaPoWriMo 2016, Day 12

For National Poetry Month, we are asked to write a poem a day for one month.  Today the prompt is to write a poem based on the index of a book. At first I was uninspired by this prompt.  I wrote several that seemed lackluster, then had chores and an appointment. In the middle of the afternoon, I decided it was time to get out of the house.  I headed to one of the fish restaurants on the lake and picked one from the road that looked peaceful and cool and atmospheric.  When I walked in, however, the TV was blaring some sports match.  When I took a table furthest from the TV, the waiter asked if I’d like to try one of the palapas.  We walked out of the large restaurant and I discovered my perfect environment to write.  I’d grabbed a book of Ginsberg poems–one of the few books I could find that actually had an index.  I settled in under the palapa roof, ignored the young men first working on their jet ski and then swashbuckling in circles in the water below the palapa, ordered a couple of quesadillas, anejo rum and Coke and  this is what transpired.

Plucked from Line––Five Poems Stolen from Ginsberg

These poems are comprised of selected lines from the first lines and titles index of Allen Ginsberg Collected Poems 1947-1980, Harper and Row, 1984

I met Allen Ginsberg in 1985 at a concert at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in L.A. when, after waiting in line for too long, I knocked on the door to ask if I could use the ladies room. He was the one who opened the door and graciously let me in. Later, he read his poems to the strum of some instrument—perhaps a sitar.

The book I took this from is signed: Allen Ginsberg, 3/12/85 HH (or perhaps AH) Los Angeles. There is a little doodle of a plant and some bees that looks like it is there to cover something else—perhaps a flub when he started to date it again. I don’t know if I bought the book that night or whether I had it and took it for him to sign. Or, perhaps I bought it in a bookstore later and it wasn’t signed for me at all. I prefer to remember that this reading/concert in the famous guitar shop was a promotion for his book, which had just been published, and that he signed this for me.


Plucked from Line, Five Poems


A bitter cold winter night
after dead souls,
after 53 years,
after thoughts fall,
after All, what else is there to say?
All afternoon cutting bramble blackberries––
a new moon looks down on our sick sweet planet.


An imaginary rose in a book
an open window on Chicago
as orange dusk-light falls on an old idea
at gauzy dusk, thin haze like cigarette smoke.
Aunt Rose––now––might I see you?
A very dove will have her love.


Because we met at dusk,
Buddha died and
cars slid minute down asphalt lanes in front of
city flats, coal yards and brown rivers.
Coughing in the morning,
covered with yellow leaves,
delicate eyes that blinked blue Rockies all ash
don’t grow old.
Do we understand each other?


Drive all blames into one.
Go back to Egypt and the Greeks.
Green air, children sat under trees with the old.
Green valentine blues––
have you seen the movie?


High on laughing gas,
how come he got canned at the ribbon factory?
How sick I am.
I am a Fake Saint.

Spinal Tap: NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 10–“Book Spine Poem”

Today’s NaPoWriMo Prompt: Write a “book spine” poem. This involves taking a look at your bookshelves, gathering a list of titles and using the titles to create a poem that is seeded throughout with your own lines, interjections, and thoughts. (Did I take the fun out of it by putting all the book titles in italics?)

Spinal Tap

The artist in his studio may anguish behind bars
while right outside his window are nights of rain and stars.
No kindness goes unpunished, my friend’s mother would say
in infinite jest­­­­––she knew that our hearts were young and gay.
She’s all blue shoes and happiness and feasts on cakes and ale.
He looks through a glass darkly as he nibbles on his kale.

When the sun also rises, he goes west with the night––
never seeing sunlight when it is at its height.
Books, paintings and poetry are the edge of man.
We have not seen the whole of him. In fact, we never can.
It is the face behind the face by which he must be gauged–
that face we never see at all if he keeps it caged.

We have the full cupboard of life, although it is not free;
and this world of the makers (whoever they might be)
is ours to pick and choose from, though we must pay the price
when we add our unique nature to others’ sage advice.
Our lives are jigsaw puzzles that each of us must solve
to form a different picture as our lives slowly evolve.

Reading adventure stories of someone else’s strife
cannot compensate us for an empty life.
Revolution from within cannot be won by reading.
To use The Joy of Cooking also takes some kneading.
Dust on my heart collecting–every year there’s more.
A little life is not enough. I must open the door.

We need new names and faces, some are heard to confess,
so who we are inside of them, no one will ever guess.
The husband’s secret shared only with the woman upstairs,
is someone else’s love story. Nobody really cares.
There is a village in the sun. I keep my real life there;
and someday, someday maybe I’ll join it if I dare.