Tuesday, August 07, 2018

But You Must Visit Powell’s

no out-of-town guest escapes that cry.
Burnside, Hawthorne, Cedar Mills, it doesn’t matter,
go for an author event, stay to browse.

Buying books from Amazon compared
to shopping Powell’s is like—

it’s not the buy-local ideology (which I support)
or that Powell’s is a union shop (which I endorse)
it’s not even the coffee. It’s

the difference between buying a bouquet from 1-800-FLOWERS.com
and walking through a wildflower meadow.

The smell of paper. The colors and textures.
And if you go home without picking anything, there’s still
a sense of ease
of timelessness between the wooden walls

and the dust on your fingertips, maybe flecks of red and blue,
from touching faded paperbacks.
Bumping into browsing friends
or strangers who might become friends.

Once we met a man in Religion
who had half the books stacked on the floor. He was buying
for a bookstore in London. A co-religionist of ours,
we brought him home for dinner, because, hotel food
you get tired.

Even friends who don’t read
(we have a few. I know, it’s weird)
we make sure to enforce the pilgrimage: you must, you must
you must visit Powell’s.


Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

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