Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mailbox Treasure

Last week, I ordered several books that are out of print on this glorious invention, the internet. This doesn't have nearly the same soothing effects of wandering about a used bookstore for several hours, though it does have better end results (if your goal is to actually get the books you want, which is not always my purpose in such heavenly realms).

The nice side effect of ordering books online is the excitement to greet the mailbox at end of day. Rather than flyers that might (but never do) have coupons for things you need, piles of bills, and bribes that would turn on you later if you were dense enough to take them, there might be a package with your name on it and, within, brilliantly arranged bits of tree pulp with just the right ink upon the pages. It's even more exciting when they're books you've wanted for years.

For example, the only one of five that I've received so far is Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Pictures From the Gone World. I love his unusual arrangement of words and the false cheer in his cynicism. My favorite poem in this book is "The world is a beautiful place," which, contrary to its first line, is not the kind of poem you should necessarily read first thing in the morning.

I also ordered Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind, mostly because I'm looking for a single poem of his - the one that piqued my interest in his work years ago. Unfortunately, all I remember about it is there's a tulip in it somewhere. That's not terribly helpful to me, especially when his works are so numerous and nearly every poet writes about flowers.

At some point in college, a friend introduced me to Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book by Shel Silverstein. I provided a dramatic reading on the spot for everyone in the room, and it was delightful fun to read aloud. But don't let Silverstein's typical nature and the colorful cover fool you: this is not a children's book. Unless you want your kids to throw eggs at the ceiling, cut your hair in your sleep, and have nightmares.


On Saturday, I suddenly remembered that Monday (yesterday) was not a mail day here in the US. I got incredibly sad, and as Monday felt a lot like a Saturday to me, I kept eyeing the mailbox each time I walked in the front door. And then I remembered all over again that no post would be coming and my world crumbled around me.

But I can't wait to get home today. Hopefully another bit of well-arranged tree pulp will be waiting for me.

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