I see them in my dreams, sometimes
Floating around rather aimlessly, these paper boats going
these books, to whom I am nothing more than a fair-weather friend
often look at me, in my dreams
and call me names.
I do not think of myself as a traitor though
to say the truth, i do not think I ever meant to read them
beyond the first expression of immeasurable loss
or of forbidden love
on page 67
or that acknowledgement to “my daughters,
light of my life,who will one day know, why
their mother had to leave and their father
had to write this book”
on page 445,
or sometimes, not even beyond the carefully constructed lie of
“all characters and names mentioned here are fictional
and bear no resemblance to anyone, living or dead”.
so i could amuse myself by carving and shaping up my real world
to fit the writer’s.
There is of course a certain selfishness
in the piling up of books and not reading them,
in the meticulously haphazard castle of imagining made out of
the brick and mortar of paper and ink
a castle, more like a refuge, from the storm raging outside
of what is real, of that which does not succumb to sleep
and does not trail off with time.
there is comfort in knowing that the knights of What Could Be
could ride on their black and white steeds and slay
the dragons trampling all over What Is.
But an even more disquieting thought
of watching them fail, and fall in battle
and bleed streams of impotent ink
….of waking up and finding the storm breaking down
that last door
makes me selfish.
I do make it a point to run my hands through
all of my books though, maybe even sit with them
and have a convivial chat sometimes,
thus creating for myself
the conceit of having the greatest minds of our times
become, for a moment, my audience.
They listen rapt as I talk about this and that,
and the best thing is, they always agree with me
because I never find cause to ask more of them ,
and then be proved wrong. I do not dig too much into them
or scratch on their wounds to reveal the flesh and bones
of better books and truer stories,
or of empty words and untold sorrows
and they extend me the same courtesy.