Bookstore (Poem)

It was a Saturday evening,
my wife and I ambled into the bookstore
with steaming hot cups of coffee in our hands.
The warm air breathed sensually across my face
and down my neck, smelling faintly of paper,
glue, and memories of childhood.

It felt good, that warm blanket of air that
wrapped around us as we shook off the
winter chill. I gripped my wife’s hand
in muted joy. She graced me with a Mona Lisa smile;
we separated as she moved with lithe grace
to the mystery novels and I plodded my
way past shoppers to the science-fiction books.

A curious book caught my eye, “The Magician’s Bible.”
I approved of the title; more books needed
the word “bible” in their titles.
With certainty borne of being a bibliophile
I knew that if I wandered around the store I would find
the Cookbook Bible, and the Comic Book Bible,
the Bible of Great Poets and even
The Bible, pick your version.

Bible; a word that, as Inigo Montoya would say,
does not mean what you think it means any
longer –
A word invaded, assaulted,
and besieged by modern connotations.
Chafed and bruised, it’s been used and left
behind as something both less and
something more.
No longer a word of holy origin
No longer spoken of in reverent and
hushed tones.
No longer what it was. Subsumed
and saturated in a broader definition.

And then I looked around the bookstore
filled with the middle-aged and elderly.
Anachronistic and obsolete, they prefer
the printed page, the tactile feel of paper
and not haptic feedback on a backlit
screen.

Apps and Internets and bandwidth –
foreign terms, strange concepts
unimaginable and inexplicably
complex. How they must
fear and resent the surge in
technology, these dinosaurs
in this museum of nostalgia.
Surely they felt a vague unease
as they stared at The Magician’s Bible
clinging to a narrow definition and
unable to comprehend the new and
greater
vision of it.

I pulled my smartphone,
loaded with an entire
binary library on a
miniscule chip,
from my pocket and
pondered
the significance of it.

I frowned as I realized I was
in a cemetery
The warmth was suddenly
oppressive
so I found my wife,
grabbed her elbow,
and led her back into the
winter night

– Ron Sparks 12/28/14

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