The Selected #PoemMonday Poems

New Year's Sale 2021


We all had a lot of fun coming up with silly rhymes or trying to match the themes of the books that were ordered or handing and emailing poems back and forth, but for me, the real joy came from slowing down. It’s easy, especially at holiday shopping pace, for order processing to become a kind of data entry. As I’m typing in ISBNs and contact information, it’s easy to forget that the ISBN is a book and the contact information is a person. Taking the time to write a poem for each order forced me to spend some time, albeit in a distant way, with every person who placed the order.  Part of the goal of #PoemMonday was to give everyone caught up in the frantic point-and-clicking of #CyberMonday a chance to slow down and enjoy the fact that commerce is really a relationship. It was about using the internet to help provide a small human moment to our customers. I didn’t realize that it would do the same thing for me.   

I’m not going to lie. Another reason I wanted to do something like #PoemMonday was so we could have something to share once the day was over. So here is our something to share: a selection of the poems we wrote on #PoemMonday.

We Thank You

We thank you for shopping independent
and finding our selection resplendent.
When you shop with us
we’ll ship without fuss
a reading experience transcendent.

-Marie, Bookseller Emeritus


Nein and the Tolerable Rain

After saying "No" for nine straight weeks
to everything from invitations
to free desserts
to all expenses paid lottery prizes of cars and trips to
tropical paradises
he found days of cold rain
tolerable in exactly the
incorrect way.


The Purity of Defeat

I remember when I threw the frisbee too hard
and it landed in one of those forbidden
yards of ghosts and contemptuous old men.
My friend turned to me and said,
"Well, it's gone. Nothing we can do now.
Want to go play Nintendo?"
My friend was right.


The Art of Asking for the Art of Asking

Transmissions through mediums that are media
the light in the studio that hits the paint
is the same like that hits your eye
months, years, decades, or centuries later
when you see the art in a museum
or hanging as a poster on the wall.
Art will give you everything.
All you have to do is ask.



A Reader's Koans

do the words in
the unread book

What does the
author write when
they are inspired with a poem?

is the right
book to read
right now?



Between the World

A hand turns the world,
in its palm the grasses
linger longer than the tombs
in any sky, stars show.



In a student’s hand from afar
The other side of a subway car
In the middle of a stack
Beneath a toddler eating a snack
On an e-reader, through the glare
Before it’s shorted by a solar flare
Over the head of that child in your lap
Nestling in close before her nap
Through the eyes of a bookworm making
Tracks through the pages of Gluten-Free Baking 
In the dark of a shoplifter’s backpack
Full of Vonnegut, Burroughs and Kerouac.
Annotating Atwood, Faulkner or Wallace
Looking for the good, the bad, the flawless
Through the amber glow of beer or scotch
Reviewing the first copy of Set a Night Watch (man)
From below the tumbling ten-foot stack
Beside your bed: Death by hardback.
In a cone of light while your partner’s sleeping,
Your heart in your throat, silently weeping
In the x-ray screen at airport security
Looking for bombs--like Grey or Purity.
 On the kids’ faces when grandma says “Dearies,
I’ll buy every book in your favorite new series.”
 In the glow of the booksellers’ eyes,
Alchemists of knowledge, wonder, surprise



The Agent

The book is opened to the page
where you disappeared; the lightning
still keeps you, and the lost
ship rocks on the clothesline.



A Grimm Tidying

After quickly hugging
all seven of their sons
it was quickly clear
which three did
not spark joy.

The ogres would be
placated for
another thirty years.



The Garden

A book plants wordlings
inside a child.
Watered by poetry,
nourished by story,
a mind flourishes
between the pages.


Let It Snow: Francophile Variation

When winter comes
and others flee
for Florida
and tropical keys

I turn my back
and venture forth
toward icy winds
of the frozen north.

The mercury drops,
and others rage,
but as for me:
"Qu'il neige,
Qu'il neige,
Qu'il neige!"




I think that I shall never look
Upon a Kindle lovely as a book.

A book that needs no battery
Or USB plug or memory

A book that I can drop twelve flights
And share without the digital rights

A book that I can read in private
Knowing it’s not trying to pirate

My personal data and reading habits
My love for knitting, zombies, rabbits

But no matter how well the Kindle outstrips
The book, it’s still toast in the Apocalypse.




Whose book this is I think I know
His order’s still being processed though
I hope the customer will not mind
This poem written to fill the time.

Our other clients must be annoyed
I’m sitting here appearing to avoid
Ringing their sales up with a smile
Offering candy to their child.

Twelve more customers need a hand
Finding that title on cooking bland
Meals for kids or a title reviewed
On NPR--the cover’s rose-hued.

But you’re the one we want to keep
By adding more to your heap
Of pages to read before you sleep,
Of pages to read before you sleep.


Poem for Celeste

what if my blue bitterness
pressed toys into the fire
would there be monsters
robots or fish
in the resulting
sparks & ash



Coffee with Anne Carson

She was supposed to meet
Anne Carson over coffee
some Wednesday morning when they both had the time
to talk about the nature of desire and how 
it's change over the millenia.

Of course,
Anne Carson never showed up,
so desire has been
pretty much the same.