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Monday, November 15, 2010

THE SERIAL READER


The play’s the thing is what you could say about
my early reading habits, Sam Shepard, O’Neill, Mamet,
Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, August Wilson,
Neil La Bute lined his shelves, filled his book bags.
Ten years of nothing but scripts, screenplays,
one act plays, American Theatre arrived monthly.
I dreamed of writing a play, seeing it produced,
finding my script on a shelf at the book store.

One day I picked up a Civil War book, Killer Angels.
I turned away from the plays for three years.
I moved on to the American Revolution, World War I
and II. Finally he read the Vietnam War. Five years passed,
captivated by war books, buying the all the best-
A Rumor of War, Dispatches, The Things that They Carried.
I lost track of time, but knew when my mission was over.

It happened to me again, a change of reading habits
when I stopped near the Drama shelves, reached out
and pulled a book from the shelf. I was drawn
in by poetry, a name I’d never heard before-Bukowski.
Words flowed from the page; the book had a different feel-
What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire.
Line by line I read, relating to the poet’s words.
I got suckered in by poetry. I told everyone how
my life had become poetry, writing, workshops, classes,
festivals, readings, a blog, published in a dozen places.

Each night I park myself in my big brown chair to
crack open the latest find from the internet or bookstore.
Now I joke that I’ve got to be careful not to pick up
another kind of book, it may lead me astray and test
my loyalty to my loved ones. I read nothing but poetry.

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