“That Old Book Smell” (Burn Poetry)

Posted: June 24, 2010 in Burn Poetry
Tags: , , , ,

That Old Book Smell

I like books.
Old or new.
Bent from a ride in a back pocket
or crisp and fresh like
a jade dollar bill
straight from the bank.

So when the hippy girl
shakes her hippy head,
neck tattoo of a tree shaking
with a violent disapproval
usually reserved for
references to war or George W. Bush,
because I claimed that books on
computers
weren’t necessarily a bad thing?
It
pisses
me off.

“But,” she argues passionately,
“you can’t replicate that
old book smell!”

Is it the book that smells?
Or the bookstore
where you slither to a podium, your
damn-I-wish-I’d-lived-in-1969
outfit flopping ingloriously
in mechanical breezes?
Where you whine and bleat
into amplification all the drivel
that you think
makes you sound intellectual?

Or is that fabled smell you hold so dear
bound in with the spine?
Do you dive your nose ring in there
and snort a line of publication?
Take a hit of pure, crystal
paragraph.
Nothing?
That’s what I thought.

Your own perfume,
Eau de American Spirits Unfiltered
might mute that old book smell anyway.

It is a book’s words that are of import,
a poem’s ideas that are vital.
The smell is inconsequential.
A book’s smell is but the garnish
at plate’s edge of a
full meal.

The young boy who says,
“Technology is cool!”
Lured in by flashy pomp
of computer’s stylish looks
may turn to,
“Reading’s cool!”
Turns to
“Vonnegut’s cool!”

So before you flap your disapproving
hoop earrings and
sling your hemp backpack on,
before you grab your Chai
something, something, something else
latte and flounce out of the room,
lift up your I-pod Touch and see what it smells like.

Grab your Droid phone.
Close your social networking site,
where you organize your
coffee dates
and skate-park rendezvous,
and see if you can find
your own reflection
in that 200 dollar
(which is roughly 54 packs of cigs,
to put it in terms you’d more readily understand)
piece of technology you claim not to covet.

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