So I started toward Houston Street. On the way, I came upon one of my favorite haunts, The Mercer Street Bookstore. It is a haven of quiet discovery. There is always something that catches my eye. On the shelves are so many possibilities that beckon like beacons. Currently the most attractive section for me is the poetry section. Here I discover poets with rich imagination... I stumble upon them in a much more meaningful search than Google could ever hope to deliver. I touch the covers, leaf through pages, my eyes wandering over words and lines in random paths.
Today, as I walked into the store, sitting on a prominent display shelf was a book on American minimal music that I had never known. It was an electrifying moment of discovery. Then I explored the books of poems and found many gems, but two caught my eye and ear right away. Celia Gilbert's voice in Bonfire was strong and sensuous with a clear sense of poetic rhythm and shaping metaphors that were inspired and insightful. I often like to read the poems aloud, and these seemed so so rich with possibilities.
In addition there was classic rough news, a profoundly erudite poetic voice of Kenneth Fields, who seemed to echo the tone and sensibility of Robert Graves. I always have loved Graves, and here I thought was a new found friend.
Both of these volumes reached out to me. I had gone in with the intention of just securing one new book to keep me occupied for an afternoon, but I left with three books. Even so, the cost for these is minimal compared to buying as new books, but they are usually mint condition, for the fate of poetry is that many poets publish, but few of us really listen to our poets. So these books have never been opened, never been read. Somehow poetry was something we learned to avoid in our classroom encounters in public school. I never understood this since so many of my high school friends "secretly" wrote poems that were expressive of the anguish that most of us go through as teenagers.
I left with three books that are always a rich resource for my thinking and planning, for dreaming about the realities that lay ahead, for hoping to discover something of myself in these new voices, these new singers for a 21st century. How can one not succumb to the mystery of a a used bookstore, the filled shelves of books that have already taken a journey to end up on those shelves, lying like explosives ready to be ignited by the some incandescent insight triggered by the power of language.
Not far from Mott street, on Elizabeth street, a dear friend had a serious struggle with drugs that removed her from my life for a while. We finally renewed contact and she had developed a promising career as a site specific composer... and then she disappeared and I have not heard from her again.
Crossing Chystie Street, I see the Sarah Delano Roosevelt Park which connects with Canal Street at the other end, an oasis amidst the brick and cement. The trees are verdant green and the afternoon is punctuated by basketball players and people strolling almost aimlessly. The afternoon sun is bright, but the air is fresh and pleasant from the rainstorm the night before.