Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Atlantis Dancing

A few days ago I drove to a used bookstore
looking for an old paperback about The Doors.

The pretty young woman in charge of the bookstore
said she could picture the book I was looking for
but didn’t think she had a copy on the shelf.

She showed me the way to their pop culture section
and checked through each of the books on all of the shelves.

“I’ve seen it,” she said. “But we don’t have a copy.”

Ellsworth was fifteen, when he astonished the Bible-class teacher by an odd question. The teacher had been elaborating upon the text: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Ellsworth asked: “Then, in order to be truly wealthy, a man should collect souls?” The teacher was about to ask him what the hell did he mean, but controlled himself and asked what did he mean. Ellsworth would not elucidate.

The Fountainhead
by Ayn Rand

If I’m remembering right, one of the stories
in the book is that whenever Morrison moved
he packed along boxes and boxes of old books
and in his apartments he would challenge people
to pick a book any book when his back was turned
and read a passage at random and Morrison
would tell them the author and book the quote was from.

I don’t think The Doors would do well in today’s world.

I think Morrison is lucky he broke on through
and got to whatever is on the other side.

I know people still listen to dance music now
and while they’re listening they do something like dance
but no one seems to pay attention to lyrics.

Some books are hard to find. Although no one reads books.

Some people try to collect things. Frankenstein tried
to collect body parts, to build a new person.

I wonder about the legend of Atlantis.

Atlantis isn’t a place we try to rebuild.

Is Atlantis something like a sanctuary,
a place we can go, to get away from people
who collect things, who would collect us like good books?

I’ve come to think the sound of people reading books
must be something like dance music in Atlantis.

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