Pre-Valentine’s Day Squalor


The boy at the far end of the train car
kept looking behind him
as if he were afraid or expecting someone

and then she appeared in the glass door
of the forward car and he rose
and opened the door and let her in

and she entered the car carrying
a large black case
in the unmistakable shape of a cello.

She looked like an angel with a high forehead
and somber eyes and her hair
was tied up behind her neck with a black bow.

And because of all that,
he seemed a little awkward
in his happiness to see her,

whereas she was simply there,
perfectly existing as a creature
with a soft face who played the cello.

And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together

is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,

I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted

when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.

-Billy Collins


Go Boldly into YA

When someone recommends a book, I immediately ask, “is it for grown-ups? Because I don’t read those.” Followed by, “Does it have dragons?” -Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen

My new life mantra. I am unafraid. I embrace the spastic and bipolar perpetuity of ages 12 to 18. No, I feed it. Nah nah boo boo, bitches.

Yeah... No.

Look past the Barnes and Noble marketing strategy, folks. Do not stare directly into the sparkles of brooding vampires. Young Adult Literature is where it’s at. (Mind you, B&N does not shy from the dark places. They have a gift floor, these days. You actually have to seek out the books. Any concern for the well-being of their soul evaporated a long time ago. Probably with the development of the Nook kiosk. But I digress…)

Why YA you ask? Instead of looking for or fearing the next “great American novel” or “page-turner” as deemed by the NY Times or NPR or Bob the Builder, I look for colored shelves. For angst resolved with optimism. Or vice versa. And dammit, I look for witches.

Life post-30 toes the darkness. Vivé! Forever young.